Do Water Parks Have an Age Limit?

water park age limit

The pool and the beach aren’t the only places you can get relief from the heat; water parks are an excellent place to cool down at as well. In fact, water parks are probably even more fun and exciting than the pool because of all the slides and other recreational activities you can do there. If you are thinking of going, you must consider the age limit.

As long as there is a supervising adult with the group, anybody of any age can enter the water park. Even babies are allowed entry, oftentimes for free if they are 3 years old or younger! However, the age at which someone is considered an adult differs depending on the water park. For most water parks, ages 16 and older is considered an adult. Anyone younger than that will need to be with a supervising adult otherwise they cannot go in alone.

There are more rules to consider with regards to age, and understanding these rules is very important to ensure that you don’t run afoul of the water park’s regulations and get denied entry or kicked out because of it. That wouldn’t be a fun way to spend your weekend.

To help you better plan your next water park trip, we have done the hard work of researching the most common water park rules, especially with regards to the age limit, that you should know. Thankfully, the age limits are very similar to swimming pools.

At least how old must you be to go to the water park alone?

If you want to go to a water park alone, then you must be an adult. A water park’s definition of an adult may differ from what a court of law considers an adult, which is typically 18 years of age. Some water parks consider a person 16 years of age or older to be an adult. Some might even consider a 14 year old to be an adult.

This cut off point is important, because anyone younger than that cannot enter the water park alone unless they are with an “adult” supervising companion. Furthermore, a child does not need to be with his/her parents as long as s/he is with a friend that is an adult (again, water park standards of an adult), regardless of familial ties.

Keep in mind that there is another minimum age to consider. Just because a child is let into the water park with an adult doesn’t mean they can be left unsupervised afterwards. As an example, some water parks have a rule that anyone under the age of 13 must not be left alone. Therefore, the supervising companion must always be nearby and cannot go off and do their own thing.

It is very important for the supervising adult to stay near their underage companions not just for safety reasons, but because they will be responsible for any consequences if something should happen.

At the end of the day, it is up to the guests to look up the rules and regulations of the specific water park they are going to. While there will be a lot of similarities, the age limit is one area that might differ slightly between water parks. It does not matter if your underage child is “more mature” than other children; this is not a valid reason to be exempt from the rules.

What are the age restrictions for entry?

There is no minimum age limit to enter the water park as long as there is an adult chaperone. Even babies can enter the water park, oftentimes for free as long as they are under 3 years old, and as long as they are with an adult.

Even though anybody can enjoy the water park, it is perhaps the kids that will enjoy it the most, though it’s totally okay for adults to tap into their inner child and enjoy going on all the slides as well.

I mentioned above that children below a certain age must be supervised at all times, but that shouldn’t be an issue as long as the supervising adult goes on all the slides as well. In fact, many slides are designed so that more than one person can go down at the same time. Therefore, perhaps the whole family can be together for a lot of slides.

Do water parks calculate their fees by age?

You may have thought that water parks base their admission fees on the age of each guest. Some do, but some of them will adjust the cost based on the guests’ heights.

Charging by height is actually a very fair way to calculate costs because all slides are restricted by a height requirement. Therefore, someone who is shorter may not be able to go on as many slides, and it would be unfair to charge them the same price as someone taller who can go on all the slides.

Thus, you will find that a taller guest will get charged more than a shorter guest if the shorter guest is below the height requirement for some slides. This might be poor form, but as a taller person, if you want to maximize your dollar, you had better go on all the slides that someone shorter can’t!

Additional considerations

It is not just age that should be your only concern. There are some other considerations to keep in mind so that you can have a pleasant time at the water park with no issues.

Body weight

In addition to age and height, there is also a consideration of body weight. Most slides at water parks have a maximum weight limit of around 300-400 pounds, but some can go as low as 200 pounds.

Guests that look like they are around that weight may be asked to step on a scale. It is at the discretion of the water park staff whether a guest can safely go down the slide or not.

There has been some controversy regarding this practice because guests who were asked to step on the scale have complained that it is humiliating for them.

However, you must keep in mind that the chances of falling out of the water slide or through it is a serious safety concern if the weight limit is exceeded. If a guest is denied from going down a slide, it is for their safety, not to humiliate them.

Another concern is that, if an overweight guest is having trouble staying afloat, it will be difficult for lifeguards to rescue someone so heavy. Again, there have already been cases where people have lost their lives due to drowning at water parks.

There have been cases where a large guest collided with another guest, causing life-threatening injuries.

For these reasons, age is not the only restriction you should be worried about when going to the water park. Even if you and your comapnions are allowed entry into the water park, there is still a concern with regards to each guests’ weight.

Swimming ability

Another concern an adult should be worried about is swimming ability, whether it is their own or the children that s/he is supervising.

Age has little bearing on one’s swimming ability; some people have had little to no swimming experience at an old age, and some have had significant swimming experience at a young age.

If a child is not old enough to swim unsupervised, even if the child is a strong swimmer, then the adult should follow the rules and supervise the child regardless.

To be safe, adults should make the children under their supervision wear a personal flotation device such as a life jacket. Water parks have PFDs available for guests to wear if they are not confident in the water or for disabled guests that have trouble staying afloat without assistance.

Items to bring to the water park

The age limit at water parks is easily bypassed by having an adult with the group. However, just because it is so easy to enter the water park does not mean that guests should come unprepared.

The water park is outdoors where the sun will be shining down on everyone all day long. It may not feel as bad because the water is providing relief, but the UV rays will do their damage regardless. Water-resistant sunscreen is therefore an essential item to bring to the water park.

It’s not a bad idea to bring food and snacks to store in your car. Some water parks are okay with you bringing outside food and snacks inside, but some aren’t. The ones that don’t allow it will typically have a park re-entry option so that guests can quickly step outside to grab a bite and return afterwards.

Some water parks have restaurants, snack bars, or food stands inside the park. Make sure to grab your wallet if you want to have a meal in the park.

It’s also a good idea to bring bottled water with you. Most water parks either allow bottled water or they will provide fountains inside so you can rehydrate yourself. Ironically, playing around too much at the water park will make you very thirsty, so quench that thirst once in a while.

Parting words

Even though water parks technically do have an age limit, it’s very easy to bypass it as long as one person in the group is an adult by the park’s standards. That number may be anywhere from 14 to 18 years of age. That said, below a certain age, children must be supervised at all times even by an adult.

Age is not the only consideration when going to the water park. There are also concerns with regards to height, weight, and swimming ability. Just because you are allowed entry to the water park on the basis of age does not mean that you are in the clear.

Therefore, you should play it safe. Do not go on a slide if you are close to the weight limit. Wear a life jacket if you know that you are not the strongest swimmer. Make sure any children are carefully watched so that they can be kept out of danger. Read up on the water park’s rules and regulations so that you don’t have any nasty surprises the day of the trip!