TAYLORS FALLS, WI
Wild Mountain is an adventure I’ve been talking up to my kids all summer long. They were most excited for the alpine slide and go-karts. Being three and six, my descriptions lived up to their expectations, and then some. For my husband and I, we saw a lot of safety hazards and run-down rides. But we did enjoy the scenery of the park and the water area very much. Wild Mountain is a locally-owned park that hosts waterslides, go-karts, a free fall and alpine slides that weave through a beautiful wooded area. It sits about an hour from Minneapolis and makes for a decent road trip on a sunny day when you just want to escape the concrete.
What is it?
Wild Mountain is an outdoor recreation area that serves both the winter and summer seasons. In the winter, it is a pretty rookie ski and snowboard hill, but offers some great downhill snow tubing. However, in the summer, they open the grounds to go-karting, an alpine slide, a free fall jump, and a waterpark for kids of all ages. Only an hour from the cities, it is definitely rural – set back in the woods surrounded by picnic benches and greenery, making it a nice spot for a family picnic. Wild Mountain is only a small drive from Taylors Falls in the St. Croix Valley, which has many other family outing opportunities such as Interstate State Park, Fawn-Doe-Rosa Wildlife Park and Scenic Boat Tours along the St. Croix River. If I had to guess, I’d say this park was created years and years ago and it appears to have a hard time maintaining upkeep. It’s run-down to say the least, but to a kid who is just looking for a good time, this place is worth a short visit.
Fit for what ages?
Depending on what you do, this place can be good for all ages. My little ones really did enjoy the kiddie waterpark and the lazy river. They also loved the alpine slide (except for the time we had to walk down the hill because we got stuck. Literally. Just stopped.). My six-year old adores go-karts so he spent a lot of time going on those with my husband. There were a lot of teenagers enjoying the bigger waterslides and some adults participating in the FreeFallXP. As a grown-up, I liked splashing in the kiddie area with my kids and cruising the lazy river. But my favorite part was the chairlift ride to the top of the alpine slide. While it took me a time or two to get over my anxiety-ridden panic that my daughter’s skinny butt was going to slide out the back of the chairlift (it didn’t), I started to enjoy that relaxing five-minute ride through the woods with my little family of four.
A couple notes on ages and heights: If you have a child under 36″, I would wait until they are older because there’s really not enough to do to get your monies worth. Kids from 36-54″ can ride the alpine slide for free in the lap of an adult (this is what we did). The same height restrictions are required for driving go-karts. If you have a child under 54″ who wants to do the driving, Wild Mountain offers two small kiddie go-karts on their own tiny, separate track for kids over 36″. My daughter attempted these, but there was no instruction for her and she continuously crashed into the metal wall until she was near tears. So, there’s that.
For the waterslides, 46″ is the magic height. If you are 46″ or taller, you can ride all the bigger slides solo. Under that? Some allow you to go with an adult while others are simply off limits. But please use your best judgement. It IS water and it IS scary and if you don’t have a good swimmer, but they’re tall enough to ride, consider going with them for the sake of their safety. Life jackets are required for kids under 46″ on the main slides and under 42″ in the lazy river.
The kiddie water area is fun for all ages. While there are a number of intense spray devices and a gi-nor-mous water bucket that pours out every few minutes with so much ferocity it could ground a 300-pound wrestler, the kiddie area really does offer the safest option for kids under six. There is a quiet pool with a frog slide and enough zero-depth water that is far enough away from the spraying and splashing, so even my timid-please-don’t-splash-me daughter could enjoy her time in this park. There are beach chairs where parents can relax and watch their kids play and the lazy river is good for all ages.
Make sure your kids are patient in case of long lines during the warmest summer weekends. Just be sure to be a parent here because, while fun is top priority at this park, safety and rule-enforcement seem to fall by the wayside a teeny bit, so do your job.
How much are we talkin?
All depending on what you plan to do here, you can definitely save money by purchasing the Super Day Daily Pass (or if you live close enough, a Super Day Season Pass). If you decide to pay by individual attraction, you might end up spending more than you anticipated.
The Super Day Daily Pass includes unlimited water rides, go-karts and alpine slide rides and will cost you $36.99/over 54″ or $18.99/under 54″. The Freefall XP is not included in the Super Day Pass.
You can pay for unlimited water rides (no dry rides) ranging from $10-17/person or pay-by-ride dry rides for around $5/ride. This is very expensive for what you get, so if you want to do the dry rides, I highly advise purchasing the daily pass.
Money-saving tip? Buy online before you go to save $6/ticket or look on Groupon or other discount sites for really good deals! Also be sure to check their coupons page to see updated savings options. Currently, if you go on a weekday after 2pm, the Super Day Pass is half-price. This is the way to go, in my opinion.
There is no park admission fee if you just want to wander and watch your kids play, but there are concessions and lockers ($5 up-front with a $2 refund at end of day) that require payment should you use them. Life jacket rentals are free.
Want some tips?
Let’s start with the easy stuff: This place gets busier as the season gets longer. June is the quietest and hot August days get relatively cramped. A lifeguard told me Tuesdays and Wednesdays are their slowest days, but I’m guessing weekdays are all just going to be a better option vs. busy, hot summer weekends. We went on a holiday weekend and it was completely dead. Like, wonderfully dead. I can imagine that the lines get long and the waiting gets old if you are there on a really crowded day.
For the water areas, note that kids under 42″ are required to wear a life jacket on the lazy river. Also, the bottom of the pools are really rough on your feet. I brought home a good number of blisters, and I have old woman feet. Fresh kiddo feet are very prone to scrapes from the bottoms of these kiddie pools. No water is heated in the kiddie area either, so it’s very nice to go on really warm days or you can get very chilly very fast!
There are changing rooms and bathrooms on both sides of the park and some lovely spots to enjoy picnics. I couldn’t find a baby changing table anywhere, but I’m sure they must exist…just not in the main chalet area. In the main chalet, you’ll find video games, lockers, some Wild Mountain souvenirs and concessions (hot dogs, nachos, icees…your classic selection at your classic prices).
The alpine slide was the big attraction for our family. It’s gorgeous on a nice day and is long and windy, offering a big dip in the middle that really gets you moving and gets the kids giggling. A couple things worth noting though: Safety was lacking. Yes, the workers space people out getting onto the chair lifts to kindly prevent lines at the top. But there are still lines and amazingly there is no one at the top sending people down at appropriate times. When my son and I got slowed down, a teenage boy rammed into the back of our sled and it could’ve been a lot more painful than it was. There are two lanes – the right lane is for single passengers only (assuming that’s because they go faster), but the left lane has a dry spot in which our sled completely stopped at one point. Like, dead stop. Like, had to get out and walk down the rest of the hill carrying a heavy sled. That sucked! But my husband and daughter (read: not pregnant and not six, so the weight may have had something to do with our stopping) flew down the hill every time and laughed and loved it. Just watch for dry spots and don’t overuse your brake, especially if you’re going doubles. Hang on to your flip flops, purse and sunglasses on the chairlift ride up. Oh, and your kids. For the love of God, hang on to your kids! Can you tell I’m scared of heights?
There is something there called the FreeFallXP and it looked pretty awesome. We didn’t do it because our littles were lacking the bravery for it (the height fear is genetic, apparently), but basically you select one of two heights from which to jump and you dive into a monstrous pillow. I’d have tried it but it wasn’t included in our Super Day Pass.
The go-kart track is a nice size but the line can get that way as well. My son is obsessed with these so spent a lot of time cruising the track with dad and loving it! He claims that car #92 goes the slowest, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. 🙂
All the staff we spoke with were very nice, sweet teenagers more than willing to help out and answer questions. From the girl behind the tickets desk to the lifeguards to the boy who hustled to scoop up my sunglasses and toss them back into my chairlift before we got too high – thank you for the kindness and smiles.
Keep in mind that this road trip can be spent doing a number of other adventures, and it’s definitely worth taking in a few pit stops. My family loves Fawn-Doe-Rosa Wildlife Park just outside of Taylors Falls, as well as hiking at Interstate State Park. We eat at the Drive-In right in Taylors Falls whenever we get the chance. For more ideas on this road trip, check out the Tips section in my post on Fawn-Doe-Rosa.
Hours and Location
37200 Wild Mountain Rd | Taylors Falls, MN 55084
Hours fluctuate by month here, but through most of June, July and August, they open at 10am daily and close between 6 and 8pm. September dates are more sporadic and this year, they close for the season on October 4. Your best bet is to check their website for specific dates and times. (Note that the X’s don’t mean they are closed, but rather just indicate weekends and holidays.) There is a huge parking lot and parking is free. The park is hidden among the trees, so don’t drive past it.
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