Popular Billings Waterpark Reopens After Months Long Closure
Back in December, my wife wanted to have a birthday party for one of our kids at The Reef Indoor Waterpark. At the time, it was closed for renovations. We were bummed, and we weren't alone in our disappointment. One of the complaints I frequently hear about Billings is that "there's nothing for kids to do around here" and during the waterparks closure, there was one less option on the list. As of last week (1/7/22), The Reef is now open again on weekends for hotel guests and non-guests alike.
Water parks in Montana seem to come and go.
When was a kid, the place to go in the summertime was the Big Timber Water Slides, just off I-90 by the prairie dog town east of Big Timber. Riding in the church youth group bus from Bozeman, the hourlong drive seemed to take forever. It was Montana's first outdoor waterpark and has been closed for decades. You can still see the decrepit remnants of the old waterpark from the highway.
Big Splash Waterpark was a hotspot in Billings.
Now the site of the LaQuinta hotel on South Frontage Road, Big Splash Waterpark was built in 1992, according to this paywalled Billings Gazette article. It was purchased by Billings businessman John Dehler in 1994 who operated the large outdoor waterpark until it closed in 2008 when The Reef opened at the Big Horn Resort. The Big Splash property was finally leveled in 2012 for development.
The Reef is now open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
I spoke with Big Horn Resorts James Franz today (1/17) who told me The Reef had been closed since April 2021 for a million-dollar update to the park's equipment. The huge indoor waterpark is currently open to guests and non-hotel guests on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and they're hoping to add Thursday soon.