The water areas might be closed but Wild Waves is still open. Twenty-five-plus rides, as well as a kiddie area and two haunted houses, are up and running in the dark during weekends in October as Wild Waves Theme Park in Federal Way turns into Fright Fest.
Kids and adults alike will love special attractions such as Booville, the haunted houses and a truck showing five-minute 4-D movies. In addition, radio station 92.5 broadcasts live from the park on Friday and Saturday nights. Come by the tent to get your picture taken, win prizes and maybe even get on the air.
Unscary attractions for ages 12 and under
Booville, the kids zone, is for kids ages 12 and under and offers lots of non-scary activities, including inflatables, crafts, face painting, balloon animals and percussion sets for the kids to bang on.
For my 7-year-old, the hit of the evening was the glow-in-the-dark bubble tent where black lights illuminated glowing bubbles. Besides the cool bubble machine, the tent offers plenty of space for running, jumping and punching bubbles. My son happily spent several hours in Booville, then topped off his visit with a few of the rides in Kiddieland.
Kids over 48 inches tall can also enjoy rides in other park areas.
Haunted houses, for ages 13 and older
Both haunted houses at Fright Fest are rated PG-13. In the Playground, visitors don 3D glasses to tour an abandoned carnival. (The premise: When the show pulled up stakes, a few reject clowns stayed behind to scare unsuspecting guests.) Staff members told me that this house is very colorful, with black lights and artistic 3-D clown imagery. It is also reported to be the less scary of the two haunted houses — that is, unless you are afraid of clowns! The Chamber of Souls is a more traditional haunted house with monsters lurking around every corner and lots of “jump scares.” Heads up: Lines were very long for both haunted houses.
Caveat: One of the haunted houses had a window showing short animations to watch as you stood in line. Among several disturbing scenes, one depicted a man hanging himself. Even though these were in silhouette, it was detailed enough that both teens I brought to the park (ages 14 and 15) decided not to go through the haunted houses.
The teens did very much enjoy exploring the park after dark, the rides, the fun music and dressing up. (My daughter's favorite ride was the Disc ‘O Flashback.) There are plenty of Halloween-themed concessions open, as well as stands selling glow-in-the-dark and LED light gear. There is also a "Psychic Boutique," where you can get your palm read or a tarot card reading for $5.
Celebration Square, Northwest Territory and Old West Territory are all open during Fright Fest.
If you go ...
When: The park is open from 5-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights through Nov. 1 (including Nov. 1) and from 5–9 p.m. on Sundays.
Cost: Adults/$27.99, kids under 48 inches tall, $9.99, and kids under two years of age are free. Buy onlline. Additional discounts are available for seniors, military, and AAA. Check the website for other deals. There are two rides which are not included in the admittance price. If you plan on riding either the Soaring Eagle Zip line or the I-5 Sky Coaster, pay up front, because tickets can’t be purchased at the ride queue.
Tips: While much of the park is well-lit, some of the pathways between areas were pretty dark. I would recommend bringing a flashlight or using your phone’s light to avoid stumbling. And bring your patience. All of the rides outside of the kiddie area had long lines. Kids can go in costume; check the park's rules on wearing costumes.
Parking: Parking is $10 per car.