The Dream of Raging Waves
Raging Waves is a 20-year dream of Randy, one of the park’s three founding owners. The other two are Randy’s wife, Dawn, and Randy’s late brother-in-law, Scott. Randy and Dawn took many vacations with their kids to water parks around the country in order to get ideas for Raging Waves!
In 2008, Raging Waves opened to the public with 17 waterslides, a ¼ mile long lazy river, 350,000 gallon wave pool, sand area, leisure pool, and two restaurants. 15 summers later, the park sprawls over 58 acres with 15 additional waterslides, 43 private cabanas, a total of 11 dining options, and more.
Raging Waves is first and foremost family-friendly! We strive to maintain this at every aspect of the guest experience.
Nominated as one of the cleanest parks in the United States, Raging Waves takes pride in maintaining a very clean facility for you and your family to enjoy.
At the center of everything we do is the safety of our guests. All of our lifeguards have completed the Ellis & Associate’s International Lifeguard Training Program and we have taken great care in partnering with vendors that have proven reputations in water safety.
The Story Behind the Name
Ever wonder how the park got the name, Raging Waves? Well, there is one specific rock in the Raging Waves plaza that tells the story. The rock really isn’t that big, but inscribed are the words “The Lord on high is mightier than the many waters, yea, than the raging waves of the sea.” The verse is Psalms 93.4. “As owners, we believe God is indeed all powerful and He has a hand in all we do. We choose to follow Him through all the ups and downs in life and we know He will carry us through; even though the “waves” of life may be “raging” at times,” said Randy. The next time you are at Raging Waves, take a look for this rock. There is a reason that Illinois’ Largest Waterpark is still standing and operating to this day.
Timeline of Growth
1986 – Randy decides to exit the corporate world in order to create a place for families to have fun. The initial concepts of what will later become Raging Waves are influenced by his stock car racing career, first consisting of go-kart tracks, and then mini golf. Later on, someone tells Randy he should add “one of those waterslides”: a relatively new and seemingly enjoyable attraction. After thorough research, Randy abandons the go-karts and mini golf to instead build a park with all water rides. It was something different (at the time) and there was nothing else like this in the Chicago metro area.
1986 to 2005 – Randy and his wife travel around the United States, learning all about the business. They visit numerous parks to meet with owners and understand what works for their guests. They also speak to manufacturers, designers, and waterpark builders, gleaning as much knowledge as possible. At the time, most waterparks in the United States are family owned by people just like Randy who had a dream and made it work. As his children are born, the business trips become family vacations – it is all his children know at the time.
2004 to 2006 – Randy’s brother-in-law becomes his business partner and helps Randy reach out to investors and bankers in order to secure financing to start building Illinois’s Largest Waterpark. Randy quits his full time job in development to instead devote his time to working on Raging Waves.
2005 – The Witt family acquires 45 acres of farmland in Yorkville, IL. At the time, Kendall County is the fastest growing county in the United States.
2006 – Construction begins, along with many problems. The Great Recession results in construction overruns and delays. In their naivety, Randy and his family learn that not everyone is nice and wants them to succeed. They also meet a lot of really good people who help them through those hard times.
2008 – Raging Waves opens as Illinois largest waterpark with 17 slides, a 1/4 mile lazy river, 350,000 gallon wave pool, sand area, leisure pool, 20 cabanas and two restaurants. Raging Waves’s three pillars are also born: safety, friendliness, and cleanliness.
2012 – An outside firm approaches Raging Waves about building and operating a 2,200 foot zip-line, allowing guests to traverse the entire park from above. The attraction is named Cowabunga Zip Line, and operates until 2015 when the outside firm decides to cease operations.
2013 – Raging Waves adds two additional dry attractions: Outback Road Rally, a pedal cart track, and Sea Lion Splash, a live presentation by an outside vendor featuring animals and trainers.
2014 – Raging Waves brings in an exciting show called “Sinbad and the Search for the Golden Pineapple”, featuring Olympic Diving, Acrobatic Diving, Comedy routine, and a 85′ High Dive.
2015 – Koala Kove, one of the kiddie areas, is expanded. The pool is enlarged and adds zero depth entry, along with the debut of new splash features 2 new slides for the little ones to enjoy. The variety of dining options is expanded with the addition of Surfside Subs.
2016 – The Ol’ Billabong Swimming Hole is closed and repurposed for the debut of the park’s first large addition, Wonambi.
2017 – Always expanding dining options, Jet’s Pizza is brought in and a dedicated pizza kiosk is added.
2018 – In celebration of the park’s 10th anniversary, Raging Waves unveils its largest expansion yet with the addition of two new attractions: Wild Wallabies and Quokka-Nut Island. Theming throughout the park is upgraded and Kiddie Bunga Bay is completed. Raging Waves also is able to purchase 20 additional acres along the south side of the park. It becomes apparent that this land will be needed for additional parking and further expansion.
2019 – Phase 1 of parking lot expansion and construction of eight additional private cabanas is in the works.
2020 – Construction begins for Aussie Mat Dash, but is delayed as the COVID-19 pandemic brings the world a halt. After partnering with industry leaders to advocate for clear and fair reopening guidance as well as remaining steadfast in faith, Raging Waves is able to reopen on July 11, 2020.
2021 – Aussie Mat Dash construction is completed, bringing the total number of slides to 32. In addition to completing Phase II of the parking lot expansion, the park adds six additional cabanas, along with more lockers near the Hungry Croc Restaurant.
2022 – Raging Waves celebrates its 15th anniversary.