Waterparks are a definite summertime privilege that we all look forward to. However, Florida waterparks in the summer also come with the perils of scorching hot pavement when you come out of the water, bugs that like to fly around and ruin the fun, and those pesky summer storms that roll in just about everyday with their ominous clouds and thunder and lightning that forces you out of the water to seek shelter. It’s a real struggle bus sometimes. But what if I told you there was a glorious place where you can enjoy the waterpark rain or shine, cold or hot, and there are no wasps, ants, or mosquitos around to harass you . Where is this mermaid mecca? It’s the massive indoor waterpark at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, the largest indoor waterpark in America!
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary night stay and access to the waterpark in exchange for providing my feedback on our experience. Full disclosure.
My son and I kicked off our summer with a visit to the largest indoor waterpark in America. This was the last stop of our Lake Erie Love family travel tour and this was the part of the trip the teenager was most looking forward to. We have been to numerous outdoor waterparks so we tend to think of ourselves as waterpark fans but this was our first indoor waterpark adventure.
The rooms are very spacious and appointed with African themed motif. The teenager said the room had “much swag”. In other words, it was a very nice. LOL There was a microwave and refrigerator as well as a sofa sleeper couch. There was also a fireplace heater. From our balcony we had a fantastic view of the outdoor play area and in the distance we could see the animal preserve on property. The bathroom was spacious and clean. I would give our room 4.5 out of 5 stars. It really did exceed our expectations.
The kids will love the huge arcade downstairs. There is also a glow in the dark miniature golf course.
Additionally there were quite a few restaurants to take advantage of and plenty of food choices. They have sit down restaurants, a grill for quick service things like pizza, fries, and sandwiches. They also have deli style sandwiches and a salad bar for a healthier option.
There is also a place to satisfy sweet tooth lovers like us. We stumbled upon this little counter teaming with all kinds of desserts and we couldn’t resist trying them. I mean look at these. Can you blame us? They tasted as good as they looked.
When you walk into this aquatic atrium the first thing you will notice is that it is very warm and humid. There are all sorts of colorful tubes swirling and twirling and intertwining all over the place. We were so excited, we didn’t know where to start first. We played in the wave pool and floated along the lazy river. If there was a slide with a float then we rode it. It wasn’t crowded at all so we rode them over and over and over. I’m not a big fan of the enclosed tube rides but my son convinced me to race him on one particular set that was pretty wide and not too narrow.
His favorite slide of the day was the Tanzanian Twister. It starts as a narrow tube that swirls around and then shoots you out into a big funnel where you go around and around until you go down the drain into a 6 foot pool. I lost track of how many times he did this ride but it was at least 5 times.
There is a big splash area with a bucket that dumps a massive amount of water on you, water cannons, and not so scary water slides that are mild enough for little ones but still fun for us big kids too. There is also an area for the toddlers and the babies. The tween kids, especially the boys, spent a lot of time in the Shooting Star basketball pool.
While the teenager was getting his NBA live on in the pool, I took that time to go over to the adult only area. There is a swim up bar and spa area that you can enjoy indoors or outdoors or both. This area was 21 and up and not so crowded. There is another spa area on the other side of the atrium with the warm spa waters minus the bar that is open to everyone. The water coaster was closed for repairs so that was a bummer because we both really enjoy the water coasters.
The Flowrider is a bodyboarding/surfing simulator. It’s an attraction the waterpark is known for and you just can’t come to Kalahari without giving it a shot. First my son gave it a go the first evening we went into the waterpark. He actually did manage to get up on his knees…..and then….wipe out! He made the fatal mistake of trying to adjust his swim trunks and down he went. The next morning we went back bright and early and the line was short so he went a multiple times. He never did manage to stay up very long.
It looked like so much fun that I decided it was too good of an adventure to let it pass me by. Luckily they gave me a t-shirt to wear to prevent any possible wardrobe malfunctions in the event of a wipeout. Ladies…don’t argue with them. Just take the shirt. Trust me. Take the t-shirt. You will likely need it.
It was a blast even though I completely sucked at it. LOL But I had so much fun. I went a few times managing to achieve what I like to call the aquatic Superman. On the second time around I somehow jumped down and missed the board completely. It was so embarrassing. I realized mid-air that I was in trouble but I was powerless to do anything about it. Down I went, body surfing without a board and man did it hurt! The water shot me back up like a canon. All I could do was sit there and laugh at myself. The guys in the line were all cracking up and my son teased me to no end. Thankfully there is no video proof of my embarrassing moment. If you visit the Kalahari Resort the Flowrider is a must do attraction, even for us moms! Don’t chicken out. Go for it. It really is fun and it will raise your cool factor a few points.
Other things to note:
- Waterpark has changing room and lockers available.
- You are able to still enjoy the waterpark for some hours after you check out.
- There is a food available inside the waterpark atrium.
- Floats are provided in the wave pool and the lazy river so no need to worry about renting.
One night was truly not enough to experience all that the resort had to offer. I was pleased with the service from the bell hops, to the food staff, to the front desk. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I would love to visit again when there’s actually snow on the ground outside just for the effect of knowing that you’re in a tropical fun zone with a blizzard outdoors. Special thanks to the staff at the Kalahari Resort for having us and to Lake Erie Shores and Islands.
Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™
“Adventure is a lifestyle.”