GLENDALE, AZ — Update (Aug. 5): Hurricane Harbor Phoenix will remain closed for the 2020 season, the water park announced in a note on its website. All season passes and pre-purchased tickets will be valid during the 2021 season. Visit SixFlags.com/Phoenix for more information. The water park briefly opened again in June, but closed weeks later after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order closing some bars, gyms, water parks, movie theaters, and tube operators.
Six Flags will reopen its water park, Hurricane Harbor Phoenix, to members and pass holders for a series of "preview days", June 12-14, and to the general public on Monday, June 15, the water park announced Wednesday.
The water park also announced a list of new protocols to encourage social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including temperature checks, requiring masks while on the property, limiting the amount of guests each day, touchless bag checks, and an online-based reservation system.
Masks are not required in pools nor on water slides or rides, but are required when entering the park, in dining areas, and other areas where social distancing may be difficult, the park said. Kids two and younger are also not required to wear a mask.
“We have developed a comprehensive reopening safety plan that includes best practices from theme park and water park industry experts, along with top destination parks from around the world, which will allow guests to experience our parks in the safest possible way," said Six Flags President Mike Spanos in a news release. "This ’new normal’ will be very different, but we believe these additional measures are appropriate in the current environment."
Here are the changes to know about, according to Six Flags news release (we shortened some lines for clarity and formatting):
- Contactless thermal imaging will be used to screen temperatures of guests and employees prior to entry (anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or above will get a secondary screening)
- Individuals will be required to acknowledge and abide by the company’s health policies, which includes not entering the park if guests have recently been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- Guests over the age of two and all team members will be required to wear face masks covering the nose and mouth throughout their visit/work day
- Masks will be available at the front gate for any guest without one
- Masks will not be required on waterslides, water attractions or in pools
- Distance markers will be added in all park entry, ride, restroom, retail locations, and dining queue lines
- A limited number of complimentary lifejackets will be available upon request; however, families are encouraged to provide their own coast-guard approved lifejackets for children under 42 inches, or those who are not strong swimmers.
- All Hurricane Harbor lifejackets will be sanitized after every guest use
- Dining areas will be adjusted to allow ample space between seated parties
- Guests will be allowed to ride on a tube with family/group members, but will not be allowed to share a tube with those not in their immediate party
- Guests will be separated by empty rows and/or seats on all rides and attractions
- Six-foot viewing areas will be marked for guests to observe game play, and arcade games will be reconfigured or deactivated to comply with social distancing requirements
- Advanced security screenings will enable touchless bag checks
- Capacity at indoor venues and on some attractions, including the Wave Pool and Lazy River, will be reduced to meet social distancing requirements
- Guests viewing outdoor entertainment will be separated by at least six feet.
HOW TO MAKE A RESERVATION
Members, season pass holders, groups, and those with single-day tickets will have to make an online reservation. Those buying single-day tickets will be able to make a reservation during the purchase process. Reservations will open on June 5.
To make a reservation:
- Go to https://www.sixflags.com/reserve
- Enter the online order number, ticket number or Membership/Season Pass number
- Select the day and the approximate time you want to visit
- Acknowledge company’s health policy
- Purchase pre-paid parking
- Watch video of the park's social distancing and sanitization procedures
Once a reservation is made, people will be contacted via email, text, or both, the day before to confirm their reservation. Guests can cancel before 8 a.m. the day of their scheduled visit without penalty, a news release said.
Hurricane Harbor has a variety of admission options and pricing. Single-day tickets start at $36.99, according to the park's website.
Diamond and Diamond Elite Members will be added to the park's priority waitlist. Members and pass holders will receive priority booking over single-day and group tickets.
Visit www.sixflags.com/phoenix/plan-your-visit/safety-protocols for more information.
As for the other water parks in the Valley, some have opened while others remains closed.
Golfland Sunsplash and the Arizona Grand Resort's Oasis Water Park both opened shortly after the state's stay-at-home order was lifted on May 15.
Big Surf remains closed. A message on its website reads: "Our current opening date is to be determined as we received more information from health authorities." The most recent post on its Facebook page is from March 16.
According to the CDC's website, "there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus."
As of Wednesday, there have been a total of 22,223 positive cases of COVID-19 and 981 deaths in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Service's data dashboard. There have been more than 345,000 tests conducted.
IF YOU GO:
Hurricane Harbor Phoenix
4243 W Pinnacle Peak Rd, Glendale, AZ 85310
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include more information on other water parks in the Phoenix area, and the state's current COVID-19 cases.