Closed since 2019, Waterford Oaks gets ready to make a splash this summer

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Foiled first by COVID-19 and then a lifeguard shortage, Oakland County's Waterford Oaks water park is finally set to reopen in late June.

The opening, planned for June 25, will mark the first time since 2019 that both of Oakland County Parks' two water parks, Waterford Oaks and Red Oaks, will be open. But parks officials say hiring staff for all of the county's 14 parks will be critical for operations.

“Waterford Oaks Waterpark has provided countless hours of enjoyment and lasting family memories for generations," said Chris Ward, director of Oakland County Parks and Recreation, in a press release. "Oakland County Parks and Recreation is committed to bring back this popular and treasured attraction, but we need your help to make it happen. Please help us spread the word about our job opportunities at the park this summer."

Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford Township has a wave pool, water slide and other features.

Red Oaks in Madison Heights opened last summer, albeit with reduced hours and no concessions. But park officials were never able to open Waterford Oaks because they couldn't hire enough lifeguards.

This year, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners bumped up the starting wage for lifeguards at its parks to $15.35 an hour. Parks officials have already had two job fairs to hire workers.

A sign announces the closure of Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford, June 30, 2021. The Oakland County Parks system had to close some pools and attractions due to a shortage of lifeguards.

Waterford Oaks, located on Scott Lake Road in Waterford Township, is one of the oldest water parks in Michigan. Its wave pool was the first to open in the state and one of the first in the country when it debuted in 1976. It also had Michigan's first children's water playground.