Rapids Water Park

Rapids Water Park will reopen Saturday in West Palm Beach. (Scott Fisher/SunSentinel / March 8, 2013)

When Rapids Water Park in West Palm Beach reopens on Saturday, it will offer a new attraction for surfers, wakeboarders and bodyboarders.

The FlowRider is an artificial-wave system that allows two people to surf at once. It moves 30,000 gallons of water per minute, keeping the waves in one location over a fixed surface at 35 mph.

The FlowRider is the first simulated wave/surf ride in Palm Beach County, and is included in the park's general admission. A similar system has been keeping riders wet for about two years at the Aqualina store at the Villages of Gulfstream Park, and some cruise ships departing from South Florida ports also have offered them.

Bryan Megrath, Rapids Water Park's general manager, says it's safe for children, and adults will like it.


Hollywood Doggie Beach Pictures

"It's also a great spectator ride," he says. "Park guests will enjoy watching all the action."

Rapids, which is opening for its 35th season, is South Florida's largest water park. Rapids officials also are introducing a season pass for $129.95. It includes unlimited admissions (no blackout dates); free parking; 10 percent discounts on food, beverage and merchandise; 20 percent off cabana rentals; and discount coupons for friends. Only 5,000 passes are being issued.

The water park also has added 12 new private cabanas around the Big Surf Wave Pool ($119 on weekdays for cabanas, $129 on weekends). Each cabana includes a ceiling fan, a flat-screen TV, a table, lounge chairs, a cooler and personal food and beverage service. Three pavilions for group events that can accommodate up to 1,000 people also have been added.

The park will be open daily through April 21 and May 17 through Sept. 2. It will be open weekends only from April 22 through May 13 and from Sept. 3 through Oct. 27.

Daily tickets at Rapids cost $38.99 on weekdays, $42.99 on weekends, with special rates after 4 p.m. daily. General parking costs $10 and locker rentals cost $8 (small) or $12 (large).

The park now sells tickets at RapidsWaterPark.com.

Meanwhile, the four water parks operated by the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division will reopen March 22 and operate daily until March 31. The parks will then be open weekends only from April 6 to April 28, and follow a varied schedule the rest of the year.

NSortal@SouthFlorida.com