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Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park

by Mommy Frog on July 24, 2023 Los Angeles

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Cowabunga! The surf's up in Buena Park at the coolest water park in the area. Knott's Soak City Water Park is located next to Knott's Berry Farm. If you are visiting Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm this summer, there's nothing better than chillin' out and cooling off in a wave pool or lazy river. Knott's Soak City offers splish-splashin' fun for the whole family. Seriously, the parents we saw were having just as much fun as the tadpoles! As for me, I'll never turn down the opportunity to float down a lazy river.

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Boy floats in Lazy River

Knott’s Soak City Water Park Overview, Hours and Tickets

Knott's Soak City is a 15-acre water park that gives locals and theme park vacationers a welcome oasis to cool off on a hot summer day. With all the palm trees and green space, you'll froget that you are in an urban area. Many of the attractions are named for SoCal surf spots, bringing a bit of local culture and lingo to the park without having to make a trip to the beach or deal with pesky sand. The park is a comfortable size with plenty to do, but small enough that your older kids, tweens and teens can split up from you and easily find your chairs again.

Knott's Soak City Hours

You can find Knott's Soak City hours in the official Knott's Berry Farm app. The park typically is open at 10 a.m., but closing hours may vary. Knott's Soak City is open from May 20 through Oct. 1, 2023. (The season was extended on weekends through September, which is great news since September is one of the hottest months in SoCal.) The park is open just on weekends early and late in the season, but it is open daily from mid-June through mid-August.

Knott's Soak City Tickets

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Turtle squirts water in Gremmie Lagoon

The water park requires a separate ticket from Knott's Berry Farm. You can save $16 vs. the gate price when you purchase Knott's Soak City tickets in advance through Undercover Tourist. With those savings, you can visit the park, have lunch and be prepared to visit in advance. You do not have to pick your date in advance or make a reservation to visit.

Knott’s Soak City Location, Parking and Arrival Tips

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - The Fun House Bucket dumps water on kids

Knott's Soak City shares a parking lot with Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park and is located about 10 minutes away from Disneyland near where Interstate 5 meets state Route 91 in north Orange Country (just south of the Los Angeles County line). You can find it at 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620.

You'll want to enter the main parking lot off Beach Boulevard when heading from Crescent Ave. to La Palma Ave. After paying to park, head all the way straight and then turn to the right to get the closest parking to the water park entrance in this L-shaped lot. If you accidentally end up parking near theme park parking, no worries. There is a path that wraps around to the water park from that side too.

Like any park, you'll get the best experience, shortest lines and best choice of chairs (and shade) if you arrive before the water park opens. There are plenty of chairs but limited shade covers, so the shady chaises go first. There is also a lot of lawn area where you can find some shade beneath the palms. You can bring your own beach umbrellas for shade if you like. If you want to use the umbrella with the chaises, bring something to attach them to the chaises and keep them vertical. We saw people tying clothing to them to secure them.

Knott’s Soak City Water Park Rides and Attractions

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Life Jackets in Tidal Wave Bay

Knott’s Soak City boasts 23 different speed, tube and body slides including a thrilling family raft ride. It has a 750,000-gallon wave pool, a one‑third‑mile lazy river and plenty of water play areas for the whole family. Most slides have a maximum weight of 300 pounds.

Tidal Wave Bay

Jump in the waves like you're at the beach in this 750,000-gallon wave pool. From 4-foot waves in the 6-foot deep end to tiny ripples at the zero-entry shallow end, there's something for everyone in this wave pool. Babies in arms still need to wear a life jacket. A water wheelchair is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Banzai Falls 

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Kids race down slides on mats

Grab a mat and up to five friends to race down this water slide to see who is the fastest of them all!

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Fun House Dump BucketFun House 

The Fun House is a three‑story structure with 200 water guns, nozzles, sprayers and other interactive surprises. Watch out for the clanging noise to summon you for the giant bucket about to dump 500 gallons on the crowds below. The water is very shallow in depth (a maximum of 6 inches deep) and great for all ages from tiny tadpoles to the big frogs who love getting dumped on or spraying others. Why do I always seem to be the victim? Young kids not ready for the big thrills will find these slides just the right speed and height, and a step above those beginner slides at Gremmie Lagoon. We saw just as many parents lining up for the big splash as we did tadpoles!

Gremmie Lagoon

The smallest tadpoles will love splashing about at Gremmie Lagoon's pint-sized playground. Water depth reaches 1 foot. Your toddlers and young ones can jump and splash around with the interactive octopus that resides in Gremmie Lagoon or climb aboard a miniature submarine. Oversized animals of all shapes and sizes squirt, sprinkle, soak and splash kids and parents too!

Laguna Storm Watch Tower 

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - A line forms for Storm Watch

There are three tube slides to choose from — Typhoon, Tornado and Cyclone. Grab a tube (single or double to ride with a friend) and climb the 43-foot tower. The slide ends in a 3-foot, 6-inch pool. This is a ride to prioritize at park opening, as the line gets longer throughout the day.

Malibu Run 

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - A kid rides on a tube down a slide

Before you grab a single tube and climb the 39-foot tower, watch the slides at the bottom to determine which color of the four different slides you want to go down (they have names). Two are open-air and two are fully enclosed, pitch-black tubes. This ride ends in a 3-foot, 6-inch deep catch pool.

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - People race down steep slidesOld Man Falls 

Again, watch these three slides at the bottom to determine which drop you prefer from these 63-foot-high thrills. Lie on your back cross your legs and clench those buttocks or you'll be digging to find your bathing suit at the end and may end up with water in places you don't expect). Sorry, Moms, I tell it like it is. Rash guards are permitted but no T-shirts unless they are bathing suit material.

Sunset River

Grab a tube — or not — and go for a relaxing ride around the water park in this lazy river. The maximum water depth is 2 feet and 6 inches. Guests can walk, swim or float to their heart's content. A supervising companion can watch up to two guests. A water wheelchair is available on a first-come, first-served basis and there is a wheelchair lift.

The smaller tadpoles can also enjoy Sunset River with supervision and life jackets. We even saw one smart momma wearing an infant in a carrier as she walked through the shallow lazy river, supervising her other small tadpole.

Shore Break 

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - People ride downhill on tube

There are two kinds of slides at Shore Break. There are two dueling tube slides (psst ... the one that loads and ends on the right has a bigger drop at the end and always seems to win the race). You can ride single or double.

The other four single-rider slides are a real adrenaline rush. Step into the Aqua Launch chamber — is that your heart beating or the ride? — and prepare for the floor to drop out from under you. You're about to go on a high-speed free-fall down seven stories and through a series of loops, darkness and drops. You cannot bring any loose articles on this attraction. Remove all jewelry, watches, hats and glasses before riding.

The Wedge

Grab the whole gang (from two to six people) for this open-air family raft adventure. A conveyor belt brings the rafts to the top so you don't have to. This ride ends in a 2-foot-deep catch pool. It's a good ride to access as soon as the park opens, before a long line forms.

Height, Weight and Other Requirements

All of the rides have a height, weight and/or life jacket requirement to ride or enjoy the attraction:

  • Tidal Wave Bay: Life jackets are required for guests under 52 inches or non-swimmers; children under 42 inches must wear a life jacket and be supervised
  • Banzai Falls: 42 inches
  • Fun House: No height requirement to play, but must be at least 42 inches to slide
  • Gremmie Lagoon: Must be under 54 inches or accompany someone who is
  • Laguna Storm Watch Tower: 42 inches and taller; life jacket required for under 48 inches
  • Malibu Run: Must be at least 48 inches tall to ride
  • Old Man Falls: Must be at least 48 inches tall to ride
  • Sunset River: Children under 42 inches must be accompanied by a supervising companion; children under 48 inches must wear a life jacket
  • Shore Break: Must be at least 48 inches tall to ride
  • The Wedge: Minimum height of 42 inches, maximum weight of 1,000 pounds

Knott’s Soak City Dining

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Kid eats mac and cheese

There are two main restaurants at Knott's Soak City and some snack stands. The Knott's Berry Farm dining plans and drink plans apply at Soak City too! You can purchase a drink plan to get free drink refills at the Coca-Cola refreshment station all day long, every 15 minutes.

Longboard's Grill

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Boy holds food tray at Longboard's GrillWalk inside this cafeteria-style dining location for burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, wraps, mac and cheese, sushi, fish and chips, salads and more. The mac and cheese was a generous serving that two tadpoles could easily share. Our taster gave it two green thumbs up.

Portside Pizza

Located near the entrance, this outside quick-service location has pizza, funnel cakes and salads. You can get a slice of pizza for $10 and a whole pizza for $36 so you might save by getting a whole pizza.

Snacks and drinks

Around the park, you can pick up your theme park favorites such as pretzels, cotton candy, ice cream, Dippin' Dots, frozen slush drinks and more. Funnel cake is a Knott's staple, and you can find this dessert at Portside Pizza. Get a drink or refillable souvenir bottle from the Coca-Cola refreshment stations. You can fill it up every 15 minutes.

Portillo's around the corner

The food in the park is pretty tasty and generous in portion size for lunch. But we would be withholding important information if we did not mention that our Frog Family's favorite quick-service restaurant is just a block down the street from Knott's Soak City on La Palma Ave. So if you want some Chicago-style hotdogs, Italian beef sandwiches or toadally awesome chocolate cake (or seasonal lemon cake), toadally drive through (or dine in) at Portillo's for an easy dinner on your way out of the park.

Knott’s Soak City Cabanas and Add-ons

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Cabanas at Soak City

You can rent cabanas and tubes at Knott's Soak City. We did not see the need for either on the day we visited, but these are options if you want a dedicated space, guaranteed shade or a tube. You'll want to reserve a few weeks in advance for weekends, especially in the peak of summer.

Cabanas for up to eight people come with four lounge chairs, four chairs and a patio set with an umbrella. Each cabana comes with four inner tube rentals.

  • Shore Break Cabanas are more private and the most affordable. They do not include food and beverage service.
  • Malibu Cabanas are mid-price and centrally located between slides, the wave pool and food. Food and beverage service is included (standard menu prices apply).
  • Wave Pool Cabanas are the most expensive and are to the sides of the wave pool. Food and beverage service is included (standard menu prices apply).

There are also cabanas in the Gremmie Lagoon small children area. If you have little ones, ask about those.

Season passholders can save on some cabana rentals. You cannot bring tubes into the wave pool.

You can add on meal plans, drink plans and more. There is a store where you can purchase anything you may have frogotten. You can also purchase a Big Squirt water squirt toy, which you can fill up at stations in the park. We saw a fill station near Fun House.

Soak City Water Park Tips

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Water dumps on boy

Follow these tips when visiting the water park:

  • Bring slip-on shoes and wear them to walk around, even if the ground is not yet hot in the morning. It WILL get hot, and you'll want them to return to your chairs later. You'll see piles of flip-flops, sliders and Crocs at all attraction entrances and exits.
  • Arrive before the park opens.
  • Find a chair with shade to escape the sun.
  • Set a meeting place and plan in case you get separated. We picked chairs in a spot that was easy to find.
  • Hit The Wedge and Laguna Storm Watch Tower at park opening for the shortest lines, as these attractions can grow long lines as the day goes on.
  • Focus on slides in the morning.
  • Save the wave pool, lazy river and splash areas for the afternoon when lines peak for the slides.
  • First Aid is located near the park entrance (we made a stop for a disinfecting wipe and a bandage when Tad hit his toe wrong on a slide).
  • We saw some single-use all-gender restrooms near Longboard's Grill if you need one.
  • Brings cards, Apple Pay or Google Pay for payment. Knott's is cashless.
  • Wear sun protection in the form of UV rash guards, hats and sunglasses.
  • Bring and reapply water-resistant sunscreen.
  • Don't froget to protect your lips, tops of ears and tops of feet from the sun.
  • A water wheelchair is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some attractions such as the Sunset River have lifts.
  • Take a second to study the bottom of the slides before climbing up. Assess where you want to end, so you choose the right beginning. Do you want an open-air slide or a dark tunnel? Note the names of the slides you want to ride. 
  • The park has life jackets galore.
  • Ask for free water at restaurants and filling stations to stay hydrated.

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Interactive play area in Gremmie Lagoon

Are you visiting on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday? Bring enough chaperones. Here is the link to the new safety policy. This chaperone requirement applies to both Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Water Park.

Soak City FAQs

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Life vests at wave pool

Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Do We Need a Locker at Knott's Soak City?

You can rent a locker at Davy Jones Lockers just inside the park entrance. We recommend leaving all valuables at home. In fact, we could not wear a watch, necklace or chain on one of the slides at Shore Break.

Is There a Dress Code?

This is a family-friendly water park, so wear appropriate swimwear. Guests are not allowed to wear T-shirts, shorts with rear/side metal rivets, zippers or buttons on some attractions. No loose articles are permitted on Shore Break and must be removed and left with a non-rider or left in a secure location.

Dress yourselves and your tadpoles in UV rash guards to protect your skin from the sun. Rash guards are allowed on all attractions.

What Do We Need to Bring?

Frog Family’s Stay-Cool Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park - Lazy River passes by a lawn area

Bring debit and credit cards or devices with Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay for food and other items. No cash is accepted. Bring your towels, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and slip-on shoes that can get wet. You can bring water and any refillable bottles if you have a Knott's Berry Farm drink plan. You may want to bring a waterproof pouch for your phone if you have one. You'll toadally want to purchase tickets in advance and bring them to save some green!

You do not need to bring life jackets because the park has free life jackets galore. You can bring wagons and strollers as well as beach umbrellas for extra shade or blankets to put on the ground.

What Can I Bring on the Rides?

This varies. We were able to wear glasses sometimes and hold our hats or visors on most rides. No shoes are allowed on rides, but you can leave them at the ride exit. On one Shore Break ride (where the floor drops out), no loose items are allowed at all. No chains, watches, glasses or held items.

Can We Bring Our Own Food?

You can bring water and refillable bottles with you and any foods needed for babies or special diets.

Now you are ready to make a splash at Knott's Soak City Water Park. You can save some green ($16) on Knott's Soak City tickets as well as up to $38 on Knott's Berry Farm tickets (and Knott's Scary Farm tickets) when you buy from your favorite froggy friends. If you need a rental car, add it to your cart when you purchase your tickets to unlock deeper discounts of up to 50 percent off. Ribbit! 

Related: Our Guide to Knott's Berry Farm This Summer

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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