Reason Closed: Escalating costs of business, state reclamation requirements
Current Use: New housing development with artificial lake
Situated just south of Highway 120, with easy access from Interstates 5 and 580, the Manteca Waterslides opened their gates for the first time in the summer of 1974.
Built by R.H. “Budge” Brown, a local farmer, it was the first waterpark on the West Coast and holds an important place in history – the distinction of being the first waterpark to feature fiberglass slides – now a staple of the industry.
But arguably, the most recognizable and feared feature of the park was the massive, dominating, 80 foot behemoth known as V-Max – which still holds the record as the tallest waterslide in California.
Unfortunately for the park, those same freeways that made the park so convenient were also good at providing long distance commute options for Bay Area drivers. Suddenly, Manteca was more known for affordable housing than waterslides.
Coupled with skyrocketing workers’ compensation, health care costs and sheer red tape, the park announced 2004 as it’s final season. The Manteca Waterslides closed forever on September 26th, 2004.
By 2006, all traces of the park were removed, leveled and submerged under an expansion of Oakwood Lake. In 2013, work continues on the re-development of the site, in the form of suburban style, upscale housing.
Many of the slides never left Manteca. The two that revolutionized the waterpark industry still sit off Highway 120 on a private lot.
But to truly experiences the waterslides, simply visit California’s Great America, and their Boomerang Bay Waterpark. That’s where you’ll find Screamin’ Wombat & Ripsnort Ridge, or if you were a fan of them at Manteca – two thirds of “Thunder Falls.”
Even Great Wolf Lodge is looking into opening one of their indoor waterpark resorts…you guessed…in Manteca in the coming years – we may just see the waterslides return to Manteca after all.