PHOENIX — The seasons for many of Arizona's water parks were cut short last year -- and in one case, cut completely -- because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state's initial efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
A year later, some of Arizona's water parks are preparing to open for the 2021 season with COVID-19 safety protocols, such as mask requirements and reduced capacities, in place.
Here is what you need to know.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix
The Phoenix water park barely opened for the 2020 season when the pandemic hit and restrictions were soon put in place. After briefly reopening in June, the water park decided to remain closed for the remainder of the season.
Hurricane Harbor Phoenix announced that it will open for the 2021 season on March 13. To start, the water park will be open on weekends in March, April and May, and will open daily beginning May 31. It is also open for Spring Break, March 13-21.
Among its COVID-19 safety protocols, the water park will open at reduced capacities (25%), employees and guests will undergo a temperature screening before entering the park, and masks are required for those two and older (masks are not required when in the pool or on a water slide or ride).
This year, tickets and reservations will be available via Hurricane Harbor's website. Concessions and other purchases will not accept cash and instead use debit or credit cards or the park's mobile app. Hand sanitizer, socially distancing markers, and enhanced cleaning are also part of their safety protocols. You can read more, here.
Hiring: The water park is looking to fill 500 positions before the start of the season, including lifeguards, food and beverage employees, cashiers, security, EMTs, cooks and supervisors. You can apply, here.
The "Paradise Island" expansion was delayed due to the pandemic. It is now expected to open late summer 2021. The expansion includes a 12,000-square-foot activity pool with volleyball, basketball, and a beach-style entrance.
For those who bought tickets or season passes for the 2020 season, Hurricane Harbor said those tickets would transfer to the 2021 season. Those with questions or concerns should contact the water park's guest relations department.
The "Sunsplash" side of Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa will open for the season for Spring Break, March 6-14, and will then be open on weekends for the rest of March, April and May. Beginning June 1, the water park will be open daily.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tickets have to be bought and reserved in advance and through Golfland Sunsplash's website. The water park will be open at reduced capacity, masks are required (except when in a pool or on a ride), and hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the complex. You can read more, here.
Hiring: Golfland Sunsplash is also hiring for its upcoming season. Positions include lifeguards, Castle staff, catering, EMTs, food and beverage, admissions, cleanup, and overnight security. You can apply, here.
Big Surf Waterpark
Due to the pandemic, Big Surf Waterpark announced that it would remain closed for the 2020 season entirely. As of this publication, Big Surf has not yet made any announcements regarding its 2021 season. No updates on social media either.
Typically, the water park opens in May.
Salt River Tubing
Salt River Tubing opened for the 2020 season, closed when restrictions were put in place, and then decided to stay closed for the remainder of its shortened season.
Opening dates have not yet been announced for the 2021 season, but the business typically opens in April or May.
Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge Arizona, which is part of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and falls under its jurisdiction, has remained open through the pandemic, including its signature indoor water park.
According to its website, guests are required to wear masks while inside the resort, except when eating or drinking or at the water park in a pool or on a water slide. They have also increased cleaning and have hand sanitizer available. You do have to be a guest staying at the resort to use the water park. You can read more about its safety plans, here.
Oasis - Arizona Grand Resort & Spa
The seven-acre Oasis water park, part of the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, opened in February. Currently, it is open Thursday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The lazy river is closed on Thursdays, according to the website.
Beginning in March, the water park will be open daily and its hours will expand, according to the website.
While the water park is open to guests, non-guests can purchase a day pass through Resort Pass.