White Water is a seventy-acre amusement park in Marietta, Georgia. It opened in May of 1984 as White Water Atlanta and was owned by a company. In 1999, it was brought into the Six Flags family of parks.
When I was going in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, it was still owned by a company out of Branson, Missouri.
We were never a big amusement park family. I think we went to Six Flags once or twice when we had relatives in town. For most families in our area, it was one of the main summer destinations along with Six Flags Over Georgia and the Stone Mountain Laser Light Show. We definitely were not season pass holders for any kind of park.
My mom had back problems that kept her from riding roller coasters and most of us don’t do very well with high summer temperatures. White Water Atlanta is only open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
Sometimes I had friends who were season pass holders and the friend’s mother would take us to White Water. Most of the times I went to White Water, it was as a guest of a lady we knew from church and her son because they had season passes.
My mom would drop me and my brother off at Ms. Darlene’s house in the morning with a bagged lunch because food at the park was always really expensive. The big special treat at White Water was usually Dippin’ Dots. (I loved their mint chocolate.) We would each get to have one small cup of Dippin’ Dots just before we went back home.
My favorite attractions in the park were the following.
1. Little Hooch (Short for “Chattahoochee”)
This isn’t so much a ride as it is a walk through or glide along (if you rent a raft) in shallow water. There were a couple of waterfalls and nice cooling jets. It wasn’t exciting, but it was a nice way to stay cool.
Summers in Georgia are incredibly hot and humid. No matter where you went in the state unless you were inside a car or building with air conditioning, your clothes will stick to your body by lunchtime.
One of the flumes did end in the Little Hooch though.
2. Lizard Tail
The Lizard Tail was a body flume. Most of the kids referred to it as the “Baby Dragontail”. You would sit down and cross your arms and then the attendant would help you push off when the light turned green. There were a couple of small bumps and then you were let off into a shallow pool at the end.
3. Dragon Tail
The Dragon Tail was a much longer version of the Lizard Tail with more bumps. It also moved the fastest but had one of the longest lines with a really steep staircase. As someone who is not a huge fan of heights (because of my depth perception issues) I am amazed I was brave enough to do what it took to ride this as a teenager.
I would usually ride Lizard and Dragon Tail each once per visit and fairly early in the day before it got too hot to stand in line (and before I lost my nerve).
4. Bermuda Triangle
Bermuda Triangle was a two-person raft flume. I preferred the raft flumes because they didn’t go as quickly as the body flumes. I would ride the Bermuda Triangle a couple of times during each visit before returning to Little Hooch or going to the Wave Pool.
Another thing I liked about Bermuda Triangle is that it was visible to expressway traffic. During the summer, it was always fun when I was in the car to look at the White Water sign when we went by and see rafts going through a couple of the turns in the Bermuda Triangle.
The reverse was also fun: looking through the trees from my raft to see the expressway traffic. It was a really cool liminal effect. I never got to go to White Water at night, it was always a daytime thing for some reason. I like to think it would have been even more fun at night.
5. The Wave Pool
I spent most White Water visits going between the Little Hooch and the Wave Pool, which was officially labeled “The Atlanta Ocean”. No one called it that. It was always referred to as the Wave Pool. Most of the time the waves were gentle and you could sit on your raft and enjoy a gentle rocking motion until the foghorn sounded and the water swelled like a real ocean.
In the evenings, they showed “Dive-In” movies on a large screen. (Another reason I wish I had been able to go to White Water at night at least once.) As I mentioned in my Hot Tag interview, I love the aesthetic of a glowing blue pool under the moonlight. I don’t necessarily want to go swimming at night, but I love the way the water looks.
I did go to American Adventures at night once for a youth group outing. It was during White Water’s off-season, but we enjoyed the bumper cars and the arcade.
American Adventures was sold and is no longer open to the public. Six Flags uses the property for training now, but part of a trip to White Water also involved at least a brief stop in American Adventures. At least for a brief break from the blistering heat.
If you had a season pass or were lucky enough to have friends who did, White Water and American Adventures was a definite destination in the summertime. Like your neighborhood pool but better. I haven’t been to White Water since I started working during the summer. I had always been during the day during the week. Weekends are usually so crowded you can barely get into the parking lot.
Still, I enjoy the memories of going as a twelve to seventeen-year-old, walking from ride to ride, riding the wave pool, or on the racetrack at American Adventures. I wish I had pictures from our visits, but there wasn’t really a secure place to keep a camera when you went on the flumes or in the pools.
For more summer fun check out these features:
- Especially For Girls Journal – Magic Summer
- ’90s Summer Reloaded
- Spending Summer Vacation on Wagon Train
- My Summer of Batman
- What a Pennsylvania County Fair Looked Like in 1990