Kids Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park

Even though we are Knott’s Berry Farm Season Pass Holders (the purple pass!), we have never been to their water park Soak City!  Our family received tickets and we decided to visit on one of the busiest days of the American year:  the 4th of July.  For reference, LittleGray is 6 and just hit 42″ but did not want to try the big 42″ and up slides.  LittleSage was way too short for any of the big slides but enjoyed the all ages areas with the family.  There is a huge section of the park with the 42″ and 48″ slides that we didn’t visit since the girls were too short and timid.

I have to admit, I was scared!  I’ve heard all the rumors about how it would be crowded and hot, but the girls were so excited to spend a day as a family.  The girls aren’t necessarily the strongest of swimmers and we were adding an additional level of uncertainty by going on a national holiday.  I asked around for tips, and the number one piece of advice was to get there early!

Parking:  Even though Soak City opened at 10 in the morning, I wanted to get to the parking lot an hour in advance to process our tickets and get through security.  The parking for Soak City is at the same main parking lot as Knott’s Berry Farm (the very first left as you enter and go under the underpass).  The Soak City entrance is at the far corner of the lot, and there are signs saying “Soak City” that will lead you the right direction.  If you park on the “main” side of the lot (meaning the side where you would usually park if you’re going to Knotts), take a left before you go under the underpass.

There is a shaded path alongside a river that leads directly to Soak City.  This is also how you get to Knott’s Independence Hall, which is the historic brick building replica of the Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  There are restrooms in the smaller brick building to the right.  The Soak City entrance is just to the left of Independence Hall.

Gremmie Lagoon:  If you have kids shorter than 42″, you’re going to want to head directly for Gremmie Lagoon.  This are is reserved for guests under 54″ and it is huge!  Even though this was one of the busiest days of the year, it did not feel crowded.  The lines for these slides were only a few minutes long.  I am 100% a helicopter mom when it comes around water.  Since it was our first time at Soak City, I did not feel comfortable letting the girls explore on their own.  My husband and I took on a one-on-one approach with the girls.  Our safety rules were that the girls had to look up every 5 seconds to make sure they could see a parent and to always ask before going to a different part of the lagoon.

There are four main attractions in Gremmie Lagoon:  spray fountains, submarine walkthrough covered slide, big octopus slide, and small boat slide.  On side of the lagoon without the slides are animals to climb on.  There is also ample space to splash around or just sit in the water and relax.  The boat slide was hands down LittleSage’s FAVORITE part of the entire water park.  She would go down this slide and immediately get back in line.  LittleGray loved the submarine and the octopus slide.  The fountain area was in a very shallow area so if you have a child who does not like the deeper water, this will be the spot you want to focus on.

Wave Pool and Lazy River:  These are the two biggest family attractions for guests of all ages.  All children under 48″ are required to wear life jackets.  Soak City provides life jackets, but you can also bring in your own Coast Guard approved life jacket (puddle jumpers are allowed!). You don’t need an intertube to enjoy these attractions, but they will definitely enhance them!  LittleGray preferred to swim freely in a life jacket while LittleSage was way more comfortable sitting in an intertube with one of us.

Getting an intertube can be a challenge especially on busier days.  The slides, wave pool, and lazy river all have their own unique intertubes which stay at the attraction when you leave.  You do have the option of renting your own intertube for $10 a day which is good everywhere.  If you don’t have your own tube, you just have to be patient and wait for someone to be done with theirs.  At the wave pool, we got lucky, and another mom handed me hers as she was on her way out.  Since the lazy river is so popular, there is often a line to grab a tube at one of the two entrances.  You can also do a lap without a tube and see if anyone wants to ditch their tube somewhere along the route.  We spent most of our time in the wave pool and it was the best time we’ve had together as a family!  We also brought our go pro and let the girls take a few videos from their perspective.

Our Setup:  As soon as we entered Soak City, we headed directly to Gremmie’s Lagoon.  Since annual passholders got early admission that day, all of the chairs in the shade were already claimed.  We found a couple of chairs alongside the grass, so we threw our towels on them and parked our wagon right behind our chairs.  If you want a relaxing place away from kids splashing and playing in the lagoon, head for the grass.  If you know your child is going to be wanting to spend most of their time in the fountains or on the slides, then try to claim a chair along the perimeter of the lagoon.  The entire area is backed by the lazy river which cools off the area nicely.  Another great area to set up camp is by the wave pool because it is convenient to the bathrooms and drink refill station.

What we brought:

  • Wagon to hold all our gear
  • ziplock bags!  I did not have a chance to pick up a waterproof cell phone case, so I triple bagged our phones and brought them in with us.
  • umbrella (make sure it’s under 8 feet in diameter)
  • towels–I brought 6 and used every one!  I used them for the ground, on the Soak City chairs, to dry off, and to cover our belongings to keep them out of the sun
  • sunscreen–be sure to reapply often!  I preferred the spray kind so I didn’t have to dry off before reapplying
  • small cooler with fruit and snacks (no outside food is permitted, but individually portioned snacks, water, and sports drinks are allowed)
  • thermos cups–I have the purple refillable cup from Knotts which also works at Soak City.  I always pour my drinks into my thermos cup so it stays cooler longer.  I still had ice in it at the end of the day!
  • small wet bag to hold suits–this also was super helpful in holding cups and bringing back lunch to our spots
  • sunglasses–it is so bright especially since the sun is reflecting off the water.  The girls don’t usually wear sunglasses but I wish I made them wear them all day.  LittleGray didn’t wear them and she got burned right under her eyes
  • change of clothes and underwear–this is often overlooked, but the drive home will be so much more comfortable in dry clothes!
  • small face towel–I wish I brought this!  There were so many times when water would get into the girls eyes and I wish I had a little cloth to help them dry off.


We got to Soak City right when it opened at 10:00 and didn’t leave until 5:00!  If you have the purple Knotts pass, you can add on the Soak City gold pass option at any time (you just pay the difference in price).  Looking ahead, I would definitely add the Soak City option when buying your passes for 2019.  I believe the difference in price was only about $20.  With the girls being so little and needing constant supervision, I definitely appreciated the help of my husband being there so we could split up and give each child one on one attention.  I don’t think I’d be able to go alone with the girls without my husband just because they are not strong swimmers.  This was the perfect way to spend a hot summer day as a family, and it might even become a new 4th of July tradition!

I posted our entire visit on our instastories highlights. You can find them here.

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