The Next Wave of Fun at Magic Waters Waterpark

ROCKFORD, IL – Magic Waters Waterpark, a facility of the Rockford Park District, is not only getting ready for the 2016 season, but the waterpark is about to undergo a major renovation.

Three years ago, the Double Dare Drop speed slides opened, dropping thrill seekers 75 feet in a matter of seconds. Now it’s time to make room for something new, and it’s up to waterpark guests to help decide what’s next.

Magic Waters Waterpark is committed to continuing to expand and improve the waterpark, and often evaluates and updates a multi-year Master Plan. Since the Rockford Park District took ownership of Magic Waters Waterpark in 1988, the District has either added a new feature or enhanced existing pools, water slides, or other on-site amenities nearly every year. The last major addition was in 2012 when the Double Dare Drop was unveiled.  

The Rockford Park District has begun working with an aquatic design firm on potential renovation ideas due to the fact that as part of the multi-year Master Plan for Magic Waters Waterpark, the Splash Blaster water slide has been retired.  “Well-maintained park space and recreational facilities that will last for generations to come is a priority of the Rockford Park District.  Typically, water slides need to be refurbished after about 15 to 20 years.  We were at the point where we needed to evaluate the future of this ride to best utilize taxpayer resources,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke.  

Input Needed on Next Wave of Fun 

Citizen ideas and user feedback are very important to the Rockford Park District.  Magic Waters Waterpark staff has continuously gathered citizen feedback every season, which helps guide staff when updating the Master Plan.  An online survey was published April 25, 2016. Input from this survey will help staff prioritize renovation options. Final renovation plans will be announced later this summer.


In December 2015, the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners approved the initial authorization for the sale of General Obligation Bonds in the amount of approximately $3,500,000.  The net cash proceeds were approved to help fund continuing work on a multi-year Master Plan for the waterpark.  

2016 Season Highlights

Magic Waters Waterpark will extend evening hours on Wednesdays from July 6, 2016 through August 10, 2016. Wet Wednesdays will provide guests the chance to enjoy the waterpark from   3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and admission is just $10.  New food options and meal deals will also be debuted this summer, as well as new cooked-to-order grill items. For a complete 2016 season schedule, visit

Magic Waters Fast Facts
•    43-acre waterpark, 10 waterslide features
•    Pineapple Bucket – Holds 1,000 gallons of water
•    Free parking and one cooler/food container per family is allowed into the waterpark
•    Staff – 335 seasonal and full-time
•    Customers – 41% resident; 59% non-resident
•    Attendance in 2015 – 186,334

History of Expansion at Magic Waters Waterpark
•    1988 – First tube slide added
•    1989 – Second tube slide added
•    1993 – SplashMagic River opens
•    1997 – SplashMagic Island opens, Island Café and restrooms added
•    2000 – Park District acquires 12 acres adjacent to waterpark; Splash Blaster opens
•    2004 – Abyss ride opens
•    2009 – Typhoon Terror ride, Luau Lane Tailgate Area, Cabana Village, and Hula Hut     changing facility added
•    2010 – Tsunami Bay wave pool new wave system installed
•    2011 – New and improved Tiki Island and Paradise Pipelines
•    2012 – Double Dare Drop opens
•    2013 – Tsunami Bay backdrop and décor updated
•    2014 – Paradise Pipelines and SplashMagic River renovated
•    2015 – Enhancements made to Tsunami Bay as a new liner was installed

Magic Waters Waterpark Recognition and Awards

Over the last 10 years, the Rockford Park District’s Aquatics department including Magic Waters Waterpark has received a variety of awards and accolades, some of which are highlighted below: 
•    2015 – Received “Decade of Aquatic Safety Excellence Award” from Jeff Ellis & Associates. The award is for consistently achieving the highest quality of lifeguard professionalism, operational standards, and performance over the last decade as an invaluable partner of the Jeff Ellis & Associates Comprehensive Aquatic Risk Management program.
•    2015-2008: Received either Platinum or Gold International Aquatic Safety Award from Ellis & Associates, meaning overall audit scores exceed industry standards.
•    2014: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for Magic Waters Waterpark
•    2011: "Rated #4 Publicly-owned Waterpark in the Country" by Aquatics International
•    2008-2011: Received SWIM! Award from World Waterpark Association for Superior Waterpark Inspiration & Motivation.  The SWIM! Award recognizes excellence in training, inspiring, and maintaining exceptional, motivated employee teams who provide outstanding guest service at waterparks.