Image by/from Jeff Sandquist
Wild Waves Theme & Water Park is an amusement park and water park in Federal Way, Washington. Opened in 1977 as The Enchanted Village (with its accompanying water park, Wild Waves, opening in 1984), the park is a popular summer destination in the Pacific Northwest and it is Washington state’s only water and amusement park. The park’s name was reverted to Wild Waves Water Park and Enchanted Village Amusement Park in April 2016, and once again changed to Wild Waves Theme and Water Park in November 2016, as a result of the park’s acquisition by EPR Properties.
The Enchanted Village theme park was first opened in 1977 by Byron Betts. The initial 12-acre (49,000 m2) park site held only a half-dozen rides. In 1984, Wild Waves Waterpark was built adjacent to Enchanted Village; the combined amusement complex became known as Enchanted Parks. In 1991, co-owners Michael Moodenbaugh and Jeff Stock paid $8 million for Enchanted Parks. In 1993, Moodenbaugh traded his share of Enchanted Parks, Inc. for shares in their jointly owned amusement park in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada called Boblo Island Amusement Park, Inc. In 1993, Jeff Stock purchased several rides from Boblo Island. Stock then sold his shares of Enchanted Parks, Inc. in late 2000 to Six Flags for $19.3 million. In 1997, the park purchased the Loop Corkscrew roller coaster from the defunct Rocky Point Amusement Park in Warwick, Rhode Island and renamed the ride the Wild Thing. In 2000, the park had grown to over 70 acres (280,000 m2), with more than 20 rides, and was the Northwest’s largest waterpark. In 2002 and 2003, major expansion took place, with the addition of several new attractions, many manufactured by Zamperla and S&S Power. Also in 2002, approximately 1000 seasonal workers were employed for positions as rides operators and food service workers. Many of these seasonal workers are also students of local high schools. The park’s name was reverted to Enchanted Village and Wild Waves Water Park for the 2016 season to once again split the park into two separate parks instead of one.
In April 2007, Six Flags sold the park to Orlando-based real estate investment trust CNL Income Properties, which leased the park to PARC Management.
In January 2010, PARC Management had defaulted on its lease with CNL for Wild Waves and a majority of its other parks. Wild Waves was then placed under the new management of Norpoint Entertainment (owned by previous Wild Waves owner Jeff Stock). Stock implemented many changes to the park in 2011 including a new water ride for that season.
With the CNL Income Properties acquisition, the park was named Wild Waves Theme & Water Park. Other parks owned by CNL included Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, Elitch Gardens, Frontier City, SplashTown Waterpark, White Water Bay, and Waterworld California, all of which were bought in a $312 million purchase from Six Flags.
In November 2016, Wild Waves and the other CNL properties were sold to EPR Properties, based in Kansas City, Missouri. The total price of all the properties was $456 million, although there was no specific price disclosed for Wild Waves. The parks were placed under the management of Premier Parks, LLC.
On August 20, 2016, a 33-year-old man died in the Activity Pool due to drowning. A police report noted multiple missed chances to attempt a rescue. According to the report, children reported a body at the bottom of the pool to a lifeguard, who “believed that they were pranking him and did not think anything of it.” In a statement released by police, Wild Waves said they actively reviewed the accident, their safety protocols, and the actions taken by staff.
Lounge chairs (have since been replaced)