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Beat The Desert Heat – My Hurricane Harbor Phoenix Review

hurricane harbor phoenix review

Are you considering a trip to Hurricane Harbor Phoenix? I’ll share my experience from my recent visit and give you some of my tips, including one that will make sure that you don’t pay too much!

Hurricane Harbor Phoenix is located about 30 minutes of north of downtown Phoenix. It was originally opened as Wet ‘n’ Wild, but in 2019 it was rebranded to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. After taking it over, Six Flags made some improvements and has since added some new attractions but the core of the park remains the same.

Similar to the Wet ‘n’ Wild in Las Vegas, both parks were taken over by another company. The Las Vegas Wet ‘n’ Wild was converted to Cowabunga Canyon. You can learn more about that park in my article on the Best Water Parks in Las Vegas as well as my Cowabunga Bay vs Cowabunga Canyon article.

The park is the largest in the Phoenix area and has 11 slides (excluding the toddler slides) of varying thrill levels. In addition to the slides, there is a wave pool, lazy river and a recently opened pool called Paradise Island which has water volleyball courts, basketball nets and more.

The park has something for almost everyone. It’s not the largest park you’ll find, but if you’re looking for a full service water park in the Phoenix area, this is your only real option.

Water Park Dad’s Insider Tips

  • Keep in mind that most of Hurricane Harbor Phoenix is an outdoor park and isn’t open year round. They typically open in March for Spring Break and close at the end of September. They are open seven days a week during the peak season in the summer, but off-peak season they are usually only open on weekends.
  • This park is cashless, so be sure to bring a credit or debit card. If you only have cash, they do have cash-to-card machines at the park if you need them but they are located at the front gate and you will have to pay for parking with a card before you can even get there.
  • Buy your tickets online! They tried to charge me more than double for buying at the gate.
  • Before you go, check to see which attractions are closed. While it’s disappointing that there are so many shut downs, they at least do a pretty good job of giving you a heads up on their website. You can also call ahead if you want to be extra sure.
  • On hot desert days, be sure to bring sandals or water shoes to protect your feet. The ground can be too hot to walk on for parts of the day!
  • Consider bringing your own life jacket for kids under 48″. To enter the wave pool, children under 48″ need to be accompanied by an adult and must also wear a life jacket. They have some available at the park, but they’re really tired and warn in. They will work if you need one, but I would suggest you bring one from home if you have one.

hurricane harbor phoenix front entrance
This shark greets you at the front entrance!

Pricing – How Much Does Hurricane Harbor Phoenix Cost?

The pricing here ranges between $29.99 on less popular days and $39.99 on more popular days. As a heads up, if you buy your ticket at the gate it will cost you significantly more. I planned to buy at the gate as there was nothing on their website saying that it would cost more. But when I showed up and they tried to charge me $65 I changed my mind.

I was able to buy tickets on my phone in about 2 minutes (it even let me use Apple Pay so I didn’t have to type in all my card details and address. It was really quick and easy and ended up saving me $35! I got my bar code immediately and walked right in.

In addition to the gate admission I also had to pay for parking ($20) and a locker $15 for the smallest option.

hurricane harbor phoenix lockers
The locker station near the front entrance of the park

The Attractions – Slides, Rides, Pools and Playgrounds!

While this isn’t the largest water park I’ve been to, it does have something for almost everyone.

This water park is great for young guests as there is a water playground, splash pad as well as a slide section meant for toddlers. That’s all in addition to the wave pool (which was pretty tame when I was there), the lazy river and Paradise Island which has a zero entry pool for younger kids. It even has a mini-Tornado slide which isn’t something you’ll find at many parks.

hurricane harbor phoenix kids area collage
The area for the youngest kids with a water playground, slides and even a mini-Tornado slide!

For older kids, there are plenty of slides for kids taller than 48” with a more limited selection for kids between 42” and 48”. For anyone 48” or above, there are four main slide towers to choose from.

Bonzai Pipelines: These slides seem to be untouched since Six Flags took over. They haven’t been painted like the other slides in the park and they’re pretty tame by modern water park standards. They are still plenty fun, but they won’t get your adrenaline pumping as much as some of the other slides.

hurricane harbor phoenix bonzai pipeline
The entrance to the Bonzai Pipelines

Next to that tower is the tower with the Anaconda and Wahoo Racers (the mat racing slide). The Wahoo Racers has six mat racing lanes which helps keep the line moving pretty fast. They all start off with a fully enclosed curve in the darkness then pop out into a typical mat racer style with some humps on the way down. These were fun and I love how fast the line moved.

hurricane harbor phoenix wahoo racers
The six slide mat racer called Wahoo Racers

The starting position for the slide at the top of the slide tower

Anaconda shares the same slide tower, but has a separate line. This slide is pretty unique and does get popular, but I wouldn’t call it the signature ride for this park as it’s pretty tame. I enjoyed it, but it’s basically just a bunch of really tight turns. I did like that there are lights in the slide so even though it’s fully enclosed, you can still see as you’re going down. This was one of the more popular rides, but earlier in the day, it didn’t have a huge line.

anaconda hurricane harbor
Anaconda at Hurricane Harbor in Phoenix

On the other side of the park are the more popular slides. Immediately to your left as you walk in is Mammoth Falls and Big Kahuna. This slide tower was broken on the day I visited which was disappointing as I was most excited to go on Mammoth Falls – I love weightless slides like this. It was really disappointing that this was closed for the entire day and although the rides seemed to be full staffed with lifeguards (even though no one was on the ride…) there didn’t seem to be anyone working on repairing the slide.

Big Kahuna is more of a family friendly tube slide while Mammoth Falls is higher intensity and throws you up on the wall as you experience momentary weightlessness.

hurricane harbor phoenix bahama blast
The slide tower for Bahama Blast and Typhoon Twister

The final slide tower was for Bahama Blaster and Typhoon Twister which was the most popular tower by far. The Bahama Blast is the signature slide for the park as its touted to be the first and only duelling water coaster in the world. Water coasters can be found in other parks – with one of the coolest ones probably being the Dream Runner at DreamWorks Water Park at American Dream in New Jersey. But the ride at Hurricane Harbor Phoenix is unique because you can race your friends!

The slide is over 800 feet long and includes uphill sections which make for a long water slide. While this is awesome when you’re on the ride, it also makes for a slower moving line as it’s such a long ride!

Below the Bahama Blaster on the same tower is the Typhoon Twister which had a consistent line while I was there. This slide has a bowl which is why these slides are often called toilet bowl slides. You rinse around the bowl and end up flushing out the bottom! Instead of slides like the Tanzanian Twister at Kalahari Resorts which drop you out of the bottom into a pool, this one is kinder and has a slide to guide you out of the bowl.

hurricane harbor phoenix tornado

In addition to these slide towers, there is also Tornado which has its own structure. This is one of the more popular rides with consistent lines. You can find this style of ride around the country as it’s a crowd favorite. This four person tube slide starts out pretty tame but as you turn the corner heading down towards the Tornado, there is a VERY steep drop that leads you into the Tornado. You’ll ride up the wall and slide back and forth towards the exit where you’ll pass by a waterfall on your way down to the exit.

This was my favorite ride from the day – there is a reason you will find these at water parks all over the country. They are really fun! A must try if you’re at the park.

When I was there, the wave pool was reported to be broken but it was actually functioning. Although, the waves that it was creating were really small and weak. I guess weak is better than nothing?

hurricane harbor phoenix wave pool
The wave pool at Hurricane Harbor Phoenix

The lazy river was also closed and when I asked the lifeguard I was told that it was because they didn’t have enough staff that day.

Paradise Island is the new section at the back of the property which has a zero entry pool and is set up for water basketball and volleyball. Unfortunately this was also closed when I was there.

The Food – Spoiler: It’s Nothing Special

The food is exactly what you’d expect at a water park. It was not very impressive, but I did appreciate that they had online ordering through the app. You could place your order and get notified to pick it up whenever it’s ready. This means you can keep laying by the pool and walk right up to pick up your food. I’m a sucker for efficiency – especially when it means more time on the slides!

I had some fried bread and got it with strawberries and cream – it was tasty, but not the best food I’ve ever had at a water park. It also cost me $12.99 which was not cheap.

They had a main dining area with a good amount of seating as well as an outdoor bar and a group of food trucks. They weren’t all open when I was there but they did have Dippin’ Dots, a taco truck or the fried bread truck.

The view of the main food area when you walk in to the front entrance of the park

Final Thoughts On My Hurricane Harbor Review

I enjoyed my time at Hurricane Harbor Phoenix, but it was disappointing that so many of the attractions were not working. I would typically write this off as an unlucky day, but from the research I did before I went to the park it seems like there are often closures for certain rides.

Be sure to check and see what rides are closed on the day you’re planning on going

Even though online it said there were a few attractions closed, when I showed up there were even more things closed. I was pretty disappointed to not being able to ride Mammoth Falls as the reviews I read made it sound really fun.

Overall, this park is far from being one of the best parks in North America but, it’s the clear winner for the best water park in Phoenix.

It’s kind of surprising that a city as big as Phoenix that gets so hot can’t support more water parks, but for now this is your best option if you’re looking for a water park in Phoenix. Six Flags has made some improvements since they took it over from Wet N Wild and I expect they’ll keep improving the parks over the coming years.

I hope this was helpful and I hope you have an amazing day when you visit Hurricane Harbor Phoenix!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Was Hurricane Harbor Phoenix Called Before?

Hurricane Harbor Phoenix was previously known as Wet ‘n’ Wild but was rebranded and updated by Six Flags. The park was opened under the Hurricane Harbor name in 2019. Since conversion, Six Flags has added new attractions and repainted some of the older slides.

Can You Bring in Food to Hurricane Harbor Phoenix?

You are able to bring one unopened water bottle per person, or an empty reusable water bottle. There are filling stations inside the park. As for food, the official rules state that you can’t bring outside food, drinks or ice chests into the park. However, there are many examples of people bringing in some small snacks for toddlers and babies. Typically at water parks if you’re only bringing a few small snacks it’s not an issue.

Is Hurricane Harbor Phoenix Open Year Round?

No – Hurricane Harbor Phoenix closes for the winter season. It’s typically open from Spring Break in March until the end of September. In the off peak season, it’s only open weekends and holidays and during the peak of the summer it’s open seven days a week.

How Much is Parking at Hurricane Harbor Phoenix?

If you have a season’s pass, the parking is included. If you’re purchasing a day pass, you’ll have to pay extra for parking. When I went I had to pay $20 for a day of parking and I believe you can pay extra for preferred parking spots.

What is The Biggest Water Park in Arizona?

Hurricane Harbor Phoenix is the largest water park in Arizona. For such a hot place, there aren’t that many water parks to choose from. Hurricane Harbor is your best option if you’re in the Phoenix area and looking for a water park.

If you enjoyed this, please check out my other water park research here.