Families and Kids

Big Surf is big Tempe fun

“The White House doesn’t have air conditioning, so it gets pretty hot in there during the summer.  Nothing is more refreshing than heading down to the water park.  I love that lazy river.”  – Abraham Lincoln


Ok, so maybe that quote isn’t exactly 100% accurate.  But I’d like to think that if water parks were around in the mid-1800’s, Mr. Lincoln would’ve been a huge fan.

The heat of Arizona summers doesn’t bother me.  Most of my weekends are spent at the pool of my apartment complex.  It was fun at first but eventually it got old pretty quickly.  Luckily for me – and most of us – there’s a great water park practically in our backyard.

This past weekend, some friends and I headed over to Big Surf Waterpark here in Tempe.  I had never been before, so I was expecting the typical amusement park downers – no parking, expensive admission and long lines for the slides.  Parking was a breeze (we got a great spot, right by the front entrance), the admission was half what I anticipated and we didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for the slides.

For those like me, which like a little adventure but are deathly afraid of those slides that drop straight down, you’ll love the Black Hole.  It’s a slide that’s completely enclosed so you can’t see what’s in front of you.  Every time you dip or turn, you’re caught off guard.  Right next to it is a big, white slide called White Serpentine Slide.  Unlike the Black Hole, it’s open, so you can get nice little tan as you’re sliding down.  By far, the most popular attraction at Big Surf is the Waikiki Beach Wave Pool.  Did you know that it’s the third largest wave pool in North America?  It’s true.  There were a ton of people in there, swimming around, having a blast.  Unlike other wave pools I’ve been at, this one wasn’t cramped and there was more than enough room for everybody that was there.

If you have younger kids, they’ll love Tahitian Twisters and the Otter Slides.  They’re smaller and more kid friendly. Captain Cook’s Landing also is a popular place for kids.  They have some animals there (not real ones) for the kids to climb on and of course, a lot of water too.

One thing that I’m thinking about doing is taking surf lessons, which Big Surf offers.  I’ve secretly always wanted to learn how to surf, so why not learn now?  All the lessons take place at the Waikiki Beach Wave Pool everyday from 5pm – 6pm.  You can either bring your own surf board or rent one from them.  There’s no better place to learn how to ride the waves than in the desert.

For more information about Tempe attractions, be sure to visit our website or call 800-283-6734.

Written Patrick