Information on:

Big Surf Waterpark

1500 N. McClintock Dr./Hayden Rd
480- 994-2297


Did you know that Big Surf Waterpark opened on October 24, 1969? In 1965, four years before the “surf center” opened, it was just an idea thought of by a man named Phil Dexter.  Dexter took that idea and in 1966 built the first model of his wave machine…in his backyard!

The following year he built a larger-scaled model in an abandonded billiards hall in Phoenix.  A fully engineered model was built later in 1967, and in the same year Clairol Inc., came on board to help further develop the wave machine.  Construction of Big Surf began in January of 1969 in Tempe, Arizona.  In September of that year, the surf center opened with a press conference and live surfing demonstration by World Surfing Champion Fred Hemmings Jr.  Now, 43 years later, Big Surf Waterpark is home to America’s original wave pool and features over a dozen additional rides for all ages! The famed wave pool is the third-largest in the world, holding 2.5 million gallons of water.

Big Surf served as more than just a surf center.  It was a popular destination for numerous concerts from musicians like: Pink Floyd, Elton John, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Sting, Rod Stewart and many, many more.  The concert tradition was revived in 2011 with two Sound Wave Electronic Dance Music festivals.  Big Surf was also featured in two motion pictures: Just One of the Guys (1985) and Storm of the Century (1999).


Barbara Adkins

Sunday, July 15, 2018
Okay I haven't been here since my kids have all graduated High School. Yes its 49 years old and yes it shows in some places more than others, however it's manageable. Only one slide was shut down but again not really an issue. We ordered a pizza for lunch and sang it wasn't too bad, but the tomato sauce could use a little zing/flavor. If your on a budget for a large family this is a great place to take them. I'll Definitely be back before the season ends.

Jessica Loza

Monday, July 16, 2018
Always a great place to visit. My daughter loves the waves. I love how much shading this park offers even while inside the water. Employees were all friendly and helpful. It's fun for all ages. We bought the season pass amd really enjoy it.

Matthew Everhart

Sunday, July 22, 2018
Lots of fun!! Season pass is worth the money if you go more than once. Coupons included with season pass get guests in free, discounts on rafts (which are great in the wave pool) and other great deals. Gets a little crowded.

Ron Webb

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Located on the boundary of South Scottsdale and Tempe, this water park is for all youth ages. Has a huge wave pool as well as smaller water pads and rides for younger kids. There is enough shade and lounge chairs if you get there at a reasonable time in the morning. Food selections are typical of this type of venue. They are sticklers for drinks from outside the park and will inspect your bag upon entry. You can bring a large cooler and leave it in your car and then exit and have a little lunch picnic for a much cheaper option. You may reenter the park with no problem. Highly recommend.

Rhonda Broviak

Sunday, July 22, 2018
This place is old and seems more for geared toward younger children. There were only about 6 water slides for older kids and adults. We still had a nice time with the family. But we had 2 nephews visiting us - one age 11 and one age 18. There aren't any "thrill rides" for the 18 year old. We got a good deal on Groupon for all of us. I'm glad we didn't pay full price. They both enjoyed the wave pool and spent most of their time there.

Big Surf Waterpark is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media