Great River Water Park

great river water park st paul



We’re close. We’re so close. We’ve all earned yet another Minnesota Winter Survival badge, whether we like it or not. But there’s still a perpetually substantial lake-effect chill in the air (to be expected…we do have 10,000 of them), so until the warmth really settles in, my family is still relying on the beauty of indoor facilities. The Great River Water Park, located in the Oxford Community Center in St. Paul, has two larger waterslides, a lap pool and a shallow kiddie pool with play area, is a pretty entertaining way to spend a couple hours with kiddos. And better yet? It’s really reasonable in price, especially if you go on half-price days or discount Sundays. The glory of outdoor pools will be upon us soon enough, but in the meantime, we found great relaxation lounging around Great River.

great river water park st paul

What is it?

Great River Water Park is one of the many robust St. Paul Parks & Recreation aquatic facilities (others include Como Park Pool, Highland Park Aquatic Center and Phalen Park Beach), but Great River is the only indoor option, located inside the Oxford Community Center off Lexington and I-94. Open all year, the water park offers a small kiddie area with nets to climb, two small slides, some water-shooting spigots and plenty of room for kids to crawl, climb and run through knee-deep, semi-warm water. There are also two large-sized tube slides for anyone over 48″ and a lap pool with a diving board for open swim. The community center offers concessions and a sauna as well, and really, who in their right mind doesn’t dream of a sauna break at this point in the year? The kiddie pool can get awfully crowded but if you go early enough in the morning, this is a great way to wipe out an entire carful for under $20.

great river water park st paul

Fit for what ages?

With its two small slides and miniature water falls, the small wading pool is awesome for toddlers up to age five, but there seems to be a small gap for young school-age kids who aren’t yet 48″ or strong swimmers. I can see how boredom would set in quickly for their age and size. Once kids hit 48″, they can cruise down the two large tube slides, but the slide exit is in a different pool, so be sure you have a strong swimmer before sending them down alone. The large pool has a diving board for strong swimmers in the deep end and life jackets are available for little swimmers who want to venture into this pool and do it “all by themself!” Of course, parents must keep an eye on their children because, duh, it’s water and water is scary. The three sections (kiddie pool, slide pool and main swimming pool) are separated by walls so it can be hard if you are trying to manage a toddler and a teenager simultaneously.

great river water park st paul

How much are we talkin?

Admission into the Water Park is $5 (under 48″) and $6 (over 48″). You can also purchase a family pass (for up to five family members) and only pay $20. Then, each additional member is an extra $4. Discounts are available on Mondays and Wednesdays (half price) and Sundays ($4 admission).

Locker rentals are available for $1 and there is a concession stand that offers pizza, hot dog and chicken nugget combos for $3-4. Drinks, fruit snacks, frozen yogurt, candy, chips and popcorn are all for sale for less than $3 each. While the health factor certainly isn’t there, the price is very cheap for food.

Memberships are available (year-round and seasonal) and include unlimited access to Great River Water Park, Como Park Pool, Highland Park Aquatic Center and Phalen Park Beach. Those family memberships range from $200 to $500, but if you’re a water-loving kind of family who lives on the east side, this might be a winner for you.

Birthday parties are also available at the water park and they range from $11/person to $15/person, depending on the package you get.

great river water park st paul

Want some tips?

While locker rentals are only $1, we simply set our bags and towels on one of the poolside chairs and kept an eye on them. There is a family locker room (as well as a men’s and women’s) which provides plenty of room for changing as well as restroom facilities. The concessions are located in the pool area and there are designated areas for eating. Outside food and beverage are not permitted.

As if admission wasn’t cheap enough, if you visit Great River Water Park on a Monday or Wednesday, admission is half price (I’d pay $3 to swim any day!). On Sundays, admission is $4 for everyone. Don’t plan on swimming? You’ll still need to pay $3 to sit and watch. At that point, you may as well just spend the extra $2 and get your splash on!

Are there lifeguards? Yes. But you should still keep an eye on your kids at all times. This can prove to be a bit difficult if you have some children who want to use the kiddie area and others who want to use the slides or large pool because there is a wall separating the two areas. I understand that they did this for the safety of wandering toddlers, but it makes it impossible to view both sides at the same time. If your little one wants to enjoy the big pool, consider renting a life jacket for free.

The sauna is tucked in the wall between the kiddie pool and the slide pool and is your classic sauna (the kind that reminded me of sleepovers at my friend’s houses in the 80s) with a very hot furnace. Feels amazing if you’re 34 and are catching a five-minute break from being splashed in the face, but is not intended for super little ones…especially with tiny, touchy hands that are drawn to the color of fire.

Kids are not supposed to climb on the turtle in the play area. Learned that one the hard way. He’s very hard to resist, in our defense. The kiddie pool is a lot warmer than the other two pools, but is still only lukewarm. I found it most enjoyable to crawl around on my hands and knees with my whole body submerged. I’m sure I looked cool doing it too.

Kids must be 48″ tall to ride the tube slides and you cannot ride them in tandem. Kids smaller than 48″ cannot sit on a parent’s lap. Not 48″ = Not getting down the slide. Period.

This place is also a decently-priced option for a birthday party. For $11/person, kids get an hour in the party room, all-day admission to swim, cake, ice cream and beverages. For $15/person, kids get all of that plus the option of pizza or hot dogs.

great river water park st paul

Hours and Location

270 N. Lexington Parkway  |  St. Paul, MN 55104

Open Swim and Waterpark Hours
Sunday  11:00am – 5:00pm
Monday  10:30am – 12:30pm and 4:00pm – 8:30pm
Tuesday  Closed
Wednesday  10:30am – 12:30pm and 4:00pm – 8:30pm
Thursday  Closed
Friday   10:30am – 12:30pm and 4:00pm – 8:30pm
Saturday  12:30pm – 7:00pm


Follow Oxford Community Center on Facebook to see special hours or deals, swimming camp options, recreation classes, and Fun Fitness Friday dates (when admission is only $2). The Facebook page covers all St. Paul aquatics facilities.

Disclaimer: I received a family pass to the Great River Water Park in exchange for my time sharing this post and hosting this giveaway. All thoughts are my own.

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  • monica
    03/29/2015 at 7:22 pm

    I can’t wait to garden! We involve our kids in it and they love it!

  • Debbie Mc
    03/29/2015 at 7:26 pm

    Looking forward to my parents visiting from south Africa

  • Beth
    03/29/2015 at 7:47 pm

    We’re looking forward to hiking, canoeing, and exploring all the local playgrounds this summer!

  • Dawn racky
    03/29/2015 at 7:50 pm

    I look forward to being outside with my kiddos and going to the zoo which we absolutely love. 🙂

  • Rachel
    03/29/2015 at 7:59 pm

    Biking with our new bike trailer !

  • Brandy
    03/29/2015 at 8:04 pm

    Looking forward to biking and spending all day at beach!

  • Cyndi
    03/29/2015 at 8:06 pm


  • Michelle S
    03/29/2015 at 8:12 pm

    Swimming, wade pools and splash pads!

  • Steph
    03/29/2015 at 8:17 pm

    I can’t wait for the cabin!!!!

  • Carrie Klun
    03/29/2015 at 8:23 pm

    Swimming in the lakes and pools.

  • Jana johnSon
    03/29/2015 at 8:28 pm

    I can hardly wait to go for family bike rides and picnics….playing outside until dark and waiting for the ice cream truck to arrive!

  • Kim ahlman
    03/29/2015 at 8:38 pm

    Can’t wait to go to the beach and outdoor water parks!

  • Kris
    03/29/2015 at 8:48 pm

    Looking forward to hitting all of the playgrounds and splashpads!

  • Kelly
    03/29/2015 at 8:58 pm

    cant wait to explore Bunker Hill Park!

  • Jenna
    03/29/2015 at 8:58 pm

    Looking forward to parks and splash pads!

  • Anne
    03/29/2015 at 9:04 pm

    Going to the park and pool with my girls.

  • Leah M
    03/29/2015 at 9:05 pm

    We are looking forward to going outside without jackets on and trying out our new bike trailer!

  • Lindsey Melville
    03/29/2015 at 9:23 pm

    Biking with my son and being out doors with my boys!

  • MaryBeth | the thrive blOg
    03/29/2015 at 9:24 pm

    Just playing outside in the warmth with my kids!


  • Karla
    03/29/2015 at 9:42 pm

    Looking forward to lots of bike rides this summer!

  • Sara
    03/29/2015 at 9:45 pm

    Hiking, exploring state parks; walking, reading, and eating outside!

  • Ana
    03/29/2015 at 9:57 pm

    I’m excited to check out as many Minnesotan lakes as I can this summer.

  • becky M.
    03/29/2015 at 10:22 pm

    I am SO looking forward to spending weekends at the cabin. It is everyone’s happy place!

  • Cheryl
    03/30/2015 at 12:05 am

    I can’t wait to run outdoors and get some sun!

  • Laure
    03/30/2015 at 7:33 am

    I can’t wait to get outside to play! I have a 2 year old daughter and we just had our second daughter the end of December. . We have been very couped up!

  • Anjela
    03/30/2015 at 7:55 am

    We are excited to go camping and all the park adventures that await us!

  • andrea porter
    03/30/2015 at 7:59 am

    I can’t wait to visit splash pads

  • Jennifer Kelly
    03/30/2015 at 8:08 am

    I am most looking forward swimming outside!

  • Lindsey Guetter
    03/30/2015 at 8:27 am

    I can’t wait to go camping this summer.

  • Selena Davis
    03/30/2015 at 8:53 am

    I am excited to be outside with out bundling up. We love going to splash pads and playing at city parks.

  • Allison Jordan
    03/30/2015 at 9:04 am

    Going to Florida and all the fun parks and rec activities my children are signed up for.

  • Jena tauscheck
    03/30/2015 at 9:06 am

    I’m looking forward to walks around lake Calhoun, stopping at the park, and ice cream at the tin fish on our walk back!

  • Cassandra hiser
    03/30/2015 at 9:22 am

    I am most looking forward to playing at the park and going to Dairy Queen

  • Heather b
    03/30/2015 at 9:30 am


  • Audrey
    03/30/2015 at 10:14 am

    I can’t wait to pick strawberries this summer!

  • Katy
    03/30/2015 at 10:32 am

    I’m looking forward to lake time with my boys.

  • Dana Stowe
    03/30/2015 at 10:36 am

    I would absolutely love to take my grandkids here this summer 🙂 they would enjoy it so much 🙂

  • Kate H
    03/30/2015 at 11:01 am

    Being outside!

  • Carrie gorder
    03/30/2015 at 11:13 am

    I’m looking forward to lots of long bike rides with my nine-year-old daughter! We’re excited to ride on the Cannon Valley Trail in Cannon Falls and also bike around the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis. Can’t wait!!!

  • Elizabeth
    03/30/2015 at 11:31 am

    I can’t wait to take my kids to the park everyday!!!!! They so deserve it after being cooped up in the house all winter!

  • Teri
    03/30/2015 at 1:03 pm

    We are excited to build a tree fort and set up a tire swing in the backyard this summer!

  • Julie R
    03/30/2015 at 1:14 pm

    We have a new addition to our family, so we’re excited to get out to bike and walk all all over the cities. Plus, my older child is excited to plant his first vegetable garden. Bring on summer!!

  • Melissa Jenson
    03/30/2015 at 7:15 pm

    Looking forward to swimming, hiking, and biking in our favorite place, Madeline Island!

  • Mary
    03/30/2015 at 8:25 pm

    Looking forward to picnics in the park!

  • Elicia W
    03/30/2015 at 9:05 pm

    Going to the park without a jacket!

  • Michelle johnson
    03/30/2015 at 9:53 pm

    Hiking new parks!

  • Megan
    03/31/2015 at 8:44 am

    I can’t wait to take my kiddos camping.

  • Brenda R.
    03/31/2015 at 11:56 am

    Playing & laughing with my kids at the Splash Pads!

  • Amy
    03/31/2015 at 3:20 pm


  • SaraH
    04/01/2015 at 6:15 am

    I am most looking forward to tackling a new summer fun list with my family, especially exploring local parks and beaches.

  • Karen
    04/01/2015 at 6:20 am

    Finding some new parks, playgrounds and splash pads to explore!

  • Donna B
    04/01/2015 at 6:39 am

    I can’t wait to sit on a towel, in the warm sand, and watch my kids happily splash away on the lake 🙂

  • StepHanie m
    04/01/2015 at 6:41 am

    Boating. Vacations. Area beaches. And trying to grow a patio garden that the deer can’t reach and eat.

  • Liz L
    04/01/2015 at 6:48 am

    Being able to get outside play, run around, and go for walks with my son who is a toddler now and can do much more

  • Tara schletz
    04/01/2015 at 7:00 am

    Hot weather and cabin time!

  • Abby Leonetti
    04/01/2015 at 7:00 am


  • Midori
    04/01/2015 at 7:20 am

    I can’t wait to spend time with my toddler. I love how I get to rediscover the world through her eyes!

  • Lauren marsh
    04/01/2015 at 7:21 am

    drinking iced coffees and sitting in the sun..it is that simple

  • Esther
    04/01/2015 at 7:25 am

    I’m excited to chase after our one year old!

  • Jennie H
    04/01/2015 at 7:36 am

    Camping with the family! we’ve been going every year since the kids were 8 months old!

  • Rochelle Chorlton
    04/01/2015 at 7:37 am

    family bike rides, park, swimming!

  • Ben Chorlton
    04/01/2015 at 7:40 am

    biking, camping, waterparks

  • Jill
    04/01/2015 at 7:47 am

    Excited for family walks to the park!

  • Alison v
    04/01/2015 at 7:47 am

    I cannot wait for those late nights filled with fun and games and movies and then sleeping in with the kids the next day.

  • Tina Godel
    04/01/2015 at 7:47 am

    Hiking, bbqs, campfires, being outside!

  • Amy
    04/01/2015 at 7:57 am

    I can’t wait to go camping, swimmimg, and just enjoy being outside!

  • Courtney
    04/01/2015 at 8:01 am

    We are looking forward to the new park in town. And passes to valley fair

  • Cristine wurm
    04/01/2015 at 8:04 am

    i can’t wait to start my gardening and go to the U.P!

  • Lindsay
    04/01/2015 at 8:26 am

    we can’t wait to spend our weekends away at the cabin!

  • CLK
    04/01/2015 at 8:27 am

    I am most looking forward to spending time outdoors with the family

  • Becky
    04/01/2015 at 8:38 am

    Can’t wait for evening walks before bedtime. We need some fresh air around these parts!

  • Amber ZF
    04/01/2015 at 8:45 am

    I am excited to be outside with a toddler who is curious about EVERYTHING!

  • Sara Intihar
    04/01/2015 at 8:49 am

    Last summer we were in the middle of moving, so we missed out on going to the state fair. We’re definitely looking forward to going this year!

  • Sabrina k.
    04/01/2015 at 9:33 am

    With six kids itching to get, I look forward to going to outdoor play areas that we can spend the whole day at to burn off energy.

  • michelle poulin
    04/01/2015 at 10:29 am

    I’m most looking forward to having the summer off with my kiddos – first time ever! I’m due in June with my 3rd child and I’m taking 10 weeks off for maternity leave. Can’t wait to be outside and enjoy some quality time with my kids!!

  • Wendy
    04/01/2015 at 10:42 am

    I am looking forward to being with my family-both kiddos love to swim, so between Oxford and Como pools, we’ve got great places to take our baby and 4 year old! 😉

  • Kim
    04/01/2015 at 10:45 am

    We just love being outside. My 2 year old loves looking for “pocones” that is pinecones and exploring the outdoors. Can’t wait to do some biking and walking too!

  • Jennnifer Walsh
    04/01/2015 at 11:27 am

    new adventures and returning adventures with my family!

  • Maria Munoz
    04/01/2015 at 11:37 am

    Hi my nickname is Angie. I am a nanny of three pretty awesome kids. This summer I’m looking forward to doing as much stuff as possible with the kids, since during the school year there’s not much time with their homework and such to do fun things away from the house. Definitely, hopefully go to Minnesota zoo this summer with them since we haven’t gone. Check off some cool DIY summer fun stuff I found on pinterest with the kids. And go swimming as much as possible. Just make sure they are out and about as much as possible since during the school year we end up stuck indoors, well except for during winter and spring break.

  • Ashley Pulju
    04/01/2015 at 11:46 am

    My husband and I have a 3yr old and 4 month old… We are looking forward to long days outside:
    bike riding, sidewalk chalk art, growing a pumpkin patch in our garden, swimming, bonfires, grilling, yard games, fireworks, baseball, and exploring as much as we can of the metro areas fun (cheap) activites! (Also very much looking forward to my 30th bday in July and our trip alone (my husband and I) to Duluth!)

  • Leslie
    04/01/2015 at 12:15 pm

    Very much looking forward to lazy pontoon rides on the lake and toddler energy unleashed at the cabin.

  • Rebekah
    04/01/2015 at 12:31 pm

    I was just looking at this water park yesterday because I am pregnant again & will be aaaaaall summer this time. And as nice as it is to own, we just moved away from our awesome apt amenities: a giant pool & AC. There’s no AC in our house. I think I may melt.

    SO,this summer, I am really really looking forward to spending much time in cool locations like this pool, the one at Como, and if the Children’s Museum has strong AC, there as well, lol. Wish me luck! 😉

  • Ashley
    04/01/2015 at 1:19 pm

    swimming at the beach!

  • Melissa
    04/01/2015 at 1:50 pm

    I am most looking forward to spending the summer playing and swimming with my kids!

  • Ashley
    04/01/2015 at 2:25 pm

    My youngest was born last May, so summer was spent easing her into life. So, this year, I can’t wait to just spend time with my girls, and watching her take in all of the new exciting things the world has to offer.

  • Stephanie stuart
    04/01/2015 at 6:43 pm

    We are looking forward to getting OUTSIDE this summer! With 3 infants the last 2 years, outside (the warm sunshine, cool breeze, dancing leaves and the ripple of water) seemed like a distant, faded memory!

  • Amber
    04/01/2015 at 6:49 pm

    cant wait to travel with my two daughters and make new memories!!

  • Heather larson
    04/01/2015 at 7:16 pm

    Being outside! The parks and outside neighborhood pools! 🙂

  • kate flores
    04/01/2015 at 7:36 pm

    Cant wait for fun in the sun at the lake!!

  • Nicole winker
    04/01/2015 at 7:49 pm

    This summer I look forward to visiting our wonderful state parks, hiking and fishing!

  • Nicole faulkner
    04/01/2015 at 8:31 pm

    paddleboarding, hiking around minnehaha, and Tin Fish lazy dinner outside!

  • Katie G.
    04/01/2015 at 9:03 pm

    Having time off to spend with my family, enjoying various fun places in Minnesota!!!

    04/01/2015 at 9:20 pm

    Staycation with family

  • Karen Mccormick
    04/01/2015 at 10:16 pm

    So looking forward to working parttime and being with my kiddos more this summer!!!!

  • Heidi Breitbarth
    04/01/2015 at 11:42 pm

    I’m most looking forward to finishing up this pregnancy (3rd child, due mid-Aug) and enjoying the warm summer days getting the house prepped before the crazy of life-with-a-newborn hits again. Swimming sounds heavenly.

  • Laura
    04/02/2015 at 12:34 am

    Looking forward to cooking out!

  • Charlene Anderson
    04/02/2015 at 1:48 am

    I am 39 years old and in my second year of college. I am super excited to hang out with my two beautiful daughters abd my amazing husband who is supporting my middle age career change.

  • Emily
    04/02/2015 at 7:43 am

    I can’t wait to be outside ALL day this summer!

  • Jenna M.
    04/02/2015 at 8:03 am

    I can’t wait to go exploring in the area and visit parks and bike rides.

  • JEnnifer Gansler
    04/02/2015 at 8:13 am

    My famlly is looking forward to sea kayaking at Apostles Island.

  • Callie
    04/02/2015 at 1:23 pm

    I am excited to get in daily walks to the park with my littles! We’ve been cooped up indoors for far too long 🙂

  • Katy
    04/02/2015 at 5:46 pm

    I can’t wait to go camping.

  • Stacey K
    04/02/2015 at 8:39 pm

    I’m most looking forward to watching my youngest explore the great outdoors as a one year old, her feet in the grass, toes in the sand, and the warmth of the sun on her sweet little face! I’m also looking forward to working with my oldest on figuring out how to peddle the trike, blow bubbles on his own, and build sand castles!

  • Joy Johnson
    04/02/2015 at 9:52 pm

    I am looking forward to sunscreen, splash pads, reading in the park programs, and lots of laughs with the loves of my life-my two girls!!

  • Angela
    04/02/2015 at 11:19 pm


  • Sarah
    04/03/2015 at 9:07 am

    Going to my cabin!

  • Kim Ahlman
    04/03/2015 at 9:28 am

    Going to outdoor water parks!

  • Jenny
    04/03/2015 at 9:37 am

    I can’t wait to have the windows open with the sounds of my kids playing in the backyard streaming in!

  • Emily olaleye
    04/03/2015 at 9:40 am

    I’m looking forward to taking my newborn to the aquatic center this summer In apple valley. You can bring in your own food and the zero depth waters are great for my boys who are not great swimmers yet. Plus my older (10 & 15) kids can meet up with their friends for a nice play date where mom is still around to see what’s really going on. This place also has a playground wit swings and sand plus a picnic area for large groups.

  • Stef
    04/03/2015 at 2:01 pm

    Biking and traveling

  • Stephanie Yursi
    04/03/2015 at 3:07 pm

    I’m looking forward to camping with my son and hitting the lakes! 🙂

  • Kelly bell
    05/14/2015 at 10:25 am

    I would like to do something fun an adventurous this summer with my four kids..I get them for tha summer me and their father are divorced an so I get them for the whole summer an if I could do at least one thing with them I would love nothing more then to take them to a water park..thank you.

    11/02/2016 at 5:46 am

    Wonderful.. new idea it is! River water park must be thrilling. I wannna enjoy in this river and splash water. I will surely make a plan to visit it in very soon because currently I am having great fun at Water Park in Montana.