With splashes and squeals, Waterford Oaks reopens in Oakland County

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Waterford Oaks Waterpark reopened Sunday for the first time since 2019, welcoming swimmers and families to soak under the sun.

Things have changed at the Waterford Township waterpark, which is home to Michigan's oldest wave pool. There's a national lifeguard shortage and higher wages are required to accommodate a nationwide lifeguard shortage through Labor Day weekend, Oakland County park officials told The Detroit News.

Still, families like Brian and Patricia Keckan of Farmington Hills headed to Waterford Oaks on Sunday to reconnect and introduce the wave pool to their daughter, Noelle, 4.

Nearby, the pool's Big Bucket dumped its load on children like Jai Sreeram, 6, who laughed in the splash pad beneath.

Kids and adults enjoy the wave pool at Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford Township, which features Michigan's oldest wave pool, reopened to the public for the first time since 2019 on Sunday, June 26, 2022. The water park was closed because of COVID in 2020 and then because they couldn't hire enough lifeguards in 2021.

Due to the shortage, the park will only be open three days a week. They're offering a $300 bonus to new employees, $500 to those who stay the entire season.

"It's been a long, long process, a very difficult process to get enough (lifeguards) to that level where we felt comfortable to open a water park," said Mike Boyd, park supervisor of Waterford Oaks, earlier this week.

This summer's lifeguards will work between Waterford Oaks Waterpark, which will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays; and Red Oaks Waterpark, which will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. A shuttle will take staff between the two parks.