Red Oaks Waterpark to open Wednesday; Waterford Oaks will stay closed depending on staffing

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

It's wave pool time in Madison Heights.

Red Oaks, one of Oakland County's two water parks, will finally open for the summer on Wednesday but the other, Waterford Oaks, will stay closed until enough lifeguards can be hired.

“We’re thrilled to open. We frequently hear waterpark visits are a staple of summer plans,” Interim Executive Officer Susan Wells said in a statement Wednesday. “The fact we have a new water feature (a splash pad) to debut adds more excitement.”

Red Oaks Waterpark finally opens for the summer on Wednesday. It was closed year due to COVID.

Both waterparks were closed last summer due to COVID-19. They typically open the first week in June but Oakland County officials said a shortage of lifeguards and other staff pushed back opening plans.

Waterford Oaks, which is hosting a hiring fair from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday at the park at 1702 Scott Road, will remain closed until enough lifeguards and park attendants can be hired.

Red Oaks, meanwhile, opens Wednesday with a new $1.9 million splash pad. It has 52 interactive water features, including a water play climber with slides and a dumping bucket. It has zero depth 160-feet by 105-feet of play area with an new adjacent shade structure. A new $284,000 family restroom is adjacent to the splash pad, which replaces an older feature at the waterpark.

Online tickets also will be available this year at for a cheaper rate than buying them in person. Tickets are $17 per person online and $20 per person purchased at the park.

But expect some changes this summer because of the late opening and staffing issues. Red Oaks will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. but concessions will be closed, no season passes will be sold and there will be no shelter rentals. Pre-packaged drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. The park's River Ride also will be closed due to staff shortages.

“Operations hinge on being able to provide a fun, safe experience for our guests. The safety of our staff is also paramount,” Wells said. “The River Ride takes seven lifeguards to staff. That’s just too labor intensive for us to operate this season. Lifeguard recruitment is a county and national struggle for operations of pools and waterparks.”