Splish, Splash, Safety: Your Family's Guide to Safe Water Fun at Roaring Springs!

25 Years of Fun at Roaring Springs Waterpark: Fun Facts, Surprising Stories, and Two Generations of Splashtastic Memories

Read Time: 8 minutes

Can you believe it’s been 25 years?

Kids who spent childhood summers splashing down Mammoth Canyon, playing in the waves of Whitewater Bay, and hanging with friends at H2Overload, are now bringing kids of their own to Roaring Springs. And what a wild ride it’s been, starting with just seven attractions on opening day, June 19, 1999, to what is now one of the largest waterparks in the entire US.

Boise’s OG Waterpark

If you grew up in Boise in the 80’s, Wild Waters was your summertime jam, with newly invented fiberglass waterslides running down a 60-foot hill at Cole Road and the freeway.

Wild Waters was torn down in the mid-90’s to make way for the Flying Y interchange, and…

Five Guys With a Splashy Idea 

To fill the swimming-pool sized void left when Wild Waters closed, five local business guys came up with a plan to build a big new waterpark called Roaring Springs.  

Construction started in the winter of 1999, with an ambitious goal of opening a 15-acre, $15 million waterpark in just five months. It took crews working round-the-clock under flood lights at night for Roaring Springs to open on June 19, 1999. 

Plunge into Fun 

170,000 guests experienced Roaring Springs for the first time in the summer of 1999, when tickets were just $19.99.

And… BRRR…one million gallons of cold water greeted guests, as natural gas boilers weren’t installed until year two.    

In the 24 seasons since, more than six million fun-seekers have splashed the day away at Roaring Springs, from across Idaho, the US, and many foreign countries.

In fact, Roaring Springs is a vacation destination for 25% of its guests!   

Roaring Springs is still locally owned and operated by two Boise families who are committed to providing an outstanding guest experience, and to keeping the experience fresh by consistently adding new attractions. 

The Great Dolphin Dunk

In 2001 Roaring Springs dropped 10,000 toy dolphins in the Endless River for the first time for a race to the finish.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Ada County had opened just a few years before, and became Roaring Springs’ charity of choice, with our shared focus on kids and families.  

The Great Dolphin Dunk has raised more than $1 million to help provide local Boys and Girls Club members academic support, healthy meals, and a safe place to go after school and in summer.

An Avalanche of Excitement

Three years after opening, Roaring Springs added its first major new attraction: the Avalanche. This thrilling half-pipe plummets you and a friend up and down a mountainous slide, fast. Really fast.  

To unveil plans for the great white icy landslide, Roaring Springs commissioned a 1,000-pound ice sculpture, and park owners smashed a wall of ice with ice picks to unveil the Avalanche. 

One bride and groom even took the plunge from high atop the Avalanche.

Who Let the Dogs Out? 

Roaring Springs celebrated its 5th anniversary in 2003 with the High Dive Spectacular, featuring six professional divers who performed three shows a day.  

Kids and adults laughed at the comedy dive routine performed to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” And marveled at the sunset finale of a high diver with a flaming cape plummeting 8-stories and hitting the surface of a 10-foot temporary pool at 55 miles-per-hour.     

Inspiring Young Readers 

Roaring Springs launched its Roaring Reader program in 2004, with the goal of motivating kids to dive into books. In the past 20 years, nearly half a million Treasure Valley elementary school students have earned a free Roaring Reader ticket by reading for 600 minutes. That’s 300 million minutes (or 570 years) of reading!   

Viper’s Vortex: Totally Tubular

Roaring Springs’ management team frequently travels to other waterparks to ride waterslides to select the newest, latest and greatest to bring to Boise (we know, it’s a tough job, but…).

On one such research trip in 2006, marketing director Tiffany Quilici rode “The Storm” at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando. It was a bowl slide like Viper’s Vortex. A single rider flew down a steep run-in (pelted by rain and lighting), then shot out into a giant bowl…but with no tube.

Quilici made a quarter revolution before being flushed upside down and headfirst into a deep catch pool below. She insisted that tubes would make for a safer and less scary spin on Roaring Springs’ new Viper’s Vortex.


If you were a teen during the H2Overload era, you can almost feel the warm summer nights at the waterpark, see the girls in bikini tops and cut-off jeans, and hear the vibe at Club Wave.

H2Overload was sensory overload. A place for teens to see and be seen. There were belly flop contests from the Wave Pool stage, and breakdancing and limbo on the dance floor. There were flip phones, funnel cakes, flirting, and friendship.

But just like the kids, H2Overload eventually grew up, and became Friday & Saturday Family Slide Nights.

Made in the Shade

In 2008, Roaring Springs guests got the chance to indulge friends and family in a day of VIP resort-style relaxation in nine new cabanas built by the Wave Pool, and later 12 more with views of Bearfoot Bay and the Endless River.

With the addition of the luxury cabanas in the new expansion area, Roaring Springs now boasts 38 cabanas, where grown-ups can even sip a summertime cocktail.

Idaho’s Best Whitewater

From the start, Mammoth Canyon Family Raft Ride topped the “What’s your favorite ride?” list. So when it was time to select a new slide to celebrate Roaring Springs’ 10th anniversary, Thunder Falls was a clear winner.

The team at Roaring Springs knows that friends and family love to experience the thrills and chills of waterslides together, so by design, many of the park’s attractions feature rafts or tubes for multiple riders.

Double the Fun!

In 2009 Roaring Springs had the opportunity to purchase Boondocks, the family entertainment center right next door.  

Why change a perfectly good name, you ask? Well, Roaring Springs only bought one of four Boondocks locations, so the purchase agreement required a name change. Wahooz just seemed fun.  

In 2012 Pinz became the first new bowling center built in the Treasure Valley in 25 years, adding a vibrant, upscale vibe to this classic favorite pastime.  

Next came the Indoor Adventure Park at Wahooz, featuring elements like the ropes course, bumper cars and Twister ride to weather-proof family entertainment in our corner of Idaho.  

Top 10 in the US

In 2015 Roaring Springs gained national acclaim when it was named the 8th best waterpark in the US by Trip Advisor.

Our employees jumped for joy!

Out of This World

Roaring Springs and Wahooz were already hosting hundreds of groups each year, from big company picnics to small family reunions. So why not launch into a whole new universe of events?

A star was born in November of 2019 with the Galaxy Event Center at Wahooz.  

The Galaxy hosts corporate meetings, fancy fundraising galas, holiday parties and more in a stunning $6 million space aglow with a star spanning the expansive ceiling. The Galaxy seats up to 400 for dining and features an executive chef.  

Oh, and where else can you play a round of mini golf for a teambuilding break, or let the good times roll with a cocktail hour in Z Lounge?     

Bye-Bye Blue Bucket

Remember the iconic blue tipping bucket filled by a giant blue faucet in Roaring Springs’ kiddie pool?

The notoriously unreliable bucket was replaced five years ago with a new watery wilderness playground for tots to explore called Bearfoot Bay

Award-winning Expansion

Just last summer Roaring Springs welcomed guests to the biggest expansion in its history. It’s inspired by everything we love about living in the Northwest…from wildlife to wild rivers, shared adventures and relaxing moments.  

Camp IdaH2O features seven kids’ slides, the world’s first and only Tippin’ Tater 750-gallon tipping bucket, and a grumpy lifeguard ram watching over all the fun.

Class 5 Canyon is the Northwest’s first wave action river, while Critter Crossing creates a topsy-turvy balance challenge across floating forest-themed features.   

Industry Accolades

Roaring Springs leadership proudly accepted the Leading Edge Award at the World Waterpark Association’s Conference in the fall of 2023.

The award recognized Roaring Springs’ creativity in the design of the new expansion, but also its innovation for a waterpark feature most guests aren’t even aware of.  

EAVS, or the Ellis Aquatic Vigilance System, is a network of cameras that send real-time video to two control centers staffed by EAVS certified Roaring Springs staff.

This provides a second set of eyes for every lifeguard on-stand, and another layer of protection to keep Roaring Springs guests safe.  
Roaring Springs was the first outdoor waterpark in the US to install the EAVS system.   

Roaring Springs’ Future is Crystal Clear

Phase one of the waterpark expansion that opened in the summer of 2023 included laying the “waterworks” for four more major water attractions planned in the next decade.  

What started as Boise’s backyard waterpark 25 years ago, has grown into a nationally renowned destination, winning global awards for excellence through our commitment to safety, innovation, and creating unforgettably fun experiences for guests of all ages

25th Anniversary Celebration! 

Join us on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 for a splashy sun-soaked celebration with discounted admission and fun-filled festivities! Watch for details on Roaring Springs’ Discounts & Events page.  

Tiffany Quilici is Roaring Springs’ Marketing Director, longest tenured employee at 23 years, and resident historian (plus the voice of Roaring Springs!)

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