Boise’s Summers Were More Fun With This Long Lost Waterpark
If you grew up in the Treasure Valley, was it truly summer until you experienced the worst sunburn of your life while plunging down slides like Bonzai, Corkscrew and Roundhouse?
While those names instantly bring back a flood of unforgettable summer memories for '80s and '90s kids, there are very few images of Boise's first real waterpark floating around the internet. Located at 1850 Century Way, Wild Waters was a summer staple until the mid '90s. It was demolished when construction for the Flying Y started and was replaced by the Cole/Overland exit ramp.
Wild Waters took advantage of Boise's natural topography to create some of its most exciting slides like Bonzai. That ride is the twin racing slides you see in the upper left hand corner of this photo that Facebook user Dane Mullen shared. Some remember the vertical drop on it being so steep that it felt like you were falling instead of sliding. In Dane's comments, a former employee identified the slide on the far right as Sidewinder.
We're not sure where in the picture Cliff Hanger was but it was another ride that comes up time and time again when you mention Wild Waters. It was a a bar that you held onto while sliding down a track, eventually causing you to plunge into the 12 foot deep pool. The same pool had a high platform that you could jump off of.
In the popular "Boise & the Treasure Valley History" group on Facebook, Courtney gave one of the best descriptions of the park we've read over the years. The multi-level ride she described was called "Snake River." You'd slide down in tubes, land in a pool of water, slide down to the next level and land in another pool and repeat until you made it all the way to the bottom. A few group members admitted to trying to stay on the tubes as long as they could on that ride, eventually forcing the lifeguards to get in the water and push them down to the next level.
Wild Waters also had a hot tub, swimming pool and kiddie play area. Day passes were about $7, season passes started at $50 and you could bring your own food into the park. Having a Wild Waters season pass was such a badge of honor that Boise clothing start-up "Boise OG" recently reproduced them as stickers. They're working on other Wild Waters items to add to future collections.
At one point, there was a similar Wild Waters park in Coeur d'Alene but unlike the Boise park, it wasn't immediately demolished after its final season in 2009. For years, it decayed and started to look like something you'd see in a dystopian future. YouTube user "adamthewoo" explored the remains in 2016.
The heavily vandalized park was finally demolished in 2018, but no one's sure what the lot along I-90 will become. According to KREM, a large apartment complex was the last idea that was pitched.