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Above & Beyond

Raging Waves becomes Illinois’ only water park with zip ride

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012 3:49 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Raging Waves’ latest ride is also its driest. The Cowabunga Zip Line is a 2,200-foot tour of the park from 70 feet above. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the attraction will be held June 2 at the Yorvkille water park.

YORKVILLE — Raging Waves, Illinois’ largest waterpark, will open for summer on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 26.

Raging Waves will mark its fifth season by adding a The Cowabunga Zip Line — making it the only water park in Illinois with a zip ride. It will offer a fun and exciting glide through four courses as participants ride up to 70 feet off the ground for a 2,200-foot-long tour over the park.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the zip line is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 2.

The Aussie-themed, privately owned park opened for business in June 2008 with the goal of providing a family-friendly entertainment spot. The 45-acre park has attracted nearly 300,000 visitors from all over the region and boosting the local economy by offering over 500 jobs at the Yorkville park each season.

“When we opened four years ago, our vision was to offer enjoyment for families as a way to connect and play together,” said Sandy Martinez, marketing director at Raging Waves. “We’re celebrating our achievement of that goal, and we want to share our success with our visitors and the community.”

The beginning

In 1989, Randy Witt began dreaming about the ideal family entertainment spot. Over the next 20 years, he pursued the vision of opening a world-class waterpark.

Witt studied dozens of successful waterparks nationwide, observing, taking notes, and talking with park owners and managers. For the Witt family, vacations were centered around the next waterpark visit.

After two decades of research and planning, Witt and business partner Scott Melby opened Raging Waves in Yorkville. Sitting on 45 acres, the waterpark is the largest in Illinois, rivaling Gurnee’s Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Rockford’s Magic Waters.

With 17 waterslides, a wave pool, multiple family play areas, a lazy river, and over 20 private cabanas, Raging Waves is a family-friendly destination. It was built with environmentally friendly green initiatives, including solar-heated pools and recycled water that irrigates the park’s landscaping.

“In a society where families are constantly being pulled apart by multiple commitments and societal expectations, we wanted to build a place where families could come together and enjoy a time of reconnecting,” Witt said.

“Every decision we make is based on accommodating families, so we offer free parking, affordable concessions, and 90 percent of our rides can carry multiple people.”

The waterpark opened in June 2008 and has become one of the World Waterpark Association’s most-visited attractions and was named by USA Today as the top Illinois summer destination.

“Randy’s hard work and passion for a clean, family-focused waterpark has paid off,” Melby said. “We look forward to another fantastic year at Raging Waves.”

Visit www.RagingWaves.com or call (630) 882-6575 for more information, including an operating schedule and fees.

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