When I saw an advertisement for Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos, boasting to be Pennsylvania’s largest indoor waterpark, meaning it’s larger than the other two I won’t name, I told my husband we had to scope it out. Seriously, how much cool kid points would Marcus score with a party at an indoor waterpark! I’d imagine not many would be cancelling on that party!
Having a winter birthday can really stink. Just ask my son Marcus. He has watched his summer birthday sister have the most awesome birthday parties outdoors at our home, zip-lining party at Adventure Park, beach parties, parties at amusement parks. Yes, I’ve gotten quite the earful over the years about how he can never have a sunny outdoor pool party because he’s born in December. His double whammy is the fact his birthday is just days before Christmas making parties in general harder to book – thanks, holiday parties! – and attendance to his party always questionable as everyone is so busy around the holidays with last minute cancellations right up to the party date – how rude! Having been traumatized once as a child having a birthday party during the middle of a major storm where NO ONE came to my party, I’d do anything to spare my son that kind of pain. But hey, every kid deserves at least ONE birthday party right? Despite all our efforts to host an allergy safe birthday party for our Marcus, he actually opted for his annual birthday trip after one of his most severe anaphylactic attacks to date had him scared to try anything new. We couldn’t blame him, but still on my checklist of things to accomplish is one awesome birthday party for my little man some day.
We quickly booked an overnight stay for the little man’s sixth birthday, his annual birthday trip, to check out Kalahari Resorts & Indoor Waterpark. While it wasn’t a birthday party per se, we were definitely celebrating and scoping Kalahari Resorts out for a future party.
How was it you asked? It was AWESOME! The kids had the best time!
As a family of six, we absolutely loved the two bedroom suite. It was the perfect split for our family. This railroad style suite had one queen size bed in the first room as you entered – perfectly placed for any child who tries to escape past the parentals to get to the arcade or waterpark. Each room has its own tub bathroom and separate sink area. We did wish they had more kid-friendly handheld shower heads, you know, to hose them down. In the second room, you have two full size beds and a pullout couch that sleeps an additional two people. Our suite opened out to a patio, perfect for warmer weather. A huge plus was the in-room mini-fridge, essential for any family with young children. It allowed me to keep my kids hydrate with nice cold water and also housed their temperature sensitive medications.
The waterpark was awesome! While only half of the planned attractions were open at the time, there was more than plenty for my kids and I to do. Once the expansion opens, this will be the largest indoor waterpark in the US which is amazing!
Top Five Rides
- Flowrider – This one tops the list, manned by skilled flowrider experts. Grab your confidence by the reigns and listen carefully. They will have you bodysurfing or surfing like a pro in a minute!
- Anaconda – One of the first rides I tackled once I overcame my intial fears of rollercoasters with water involved. Lots of quick turns and drops is what makes this ride so thrilling.
- Tanzanian Twister – This ride is insane and only for the strongest of swimmers. We heard it repeatedly being called the Toilet Bowl ride as it slides you into a whirling vortex (just like a toilet bowl) and ends with a big free-falling splash!
- Wild Wildebeest – One step down from the Tanzanian Twister, this is a 4 person inflatable ride that also has you spinning like and testing gravity with your friends and loved ones by your side, so HANG ON TIGHT!
- Zimbabwe Zipper – You like things fast? This goes FAST!
The indoor/outdoor hot tub was a favorite of the entire family. How cool is it to be outside in a hot tub with snowflakes falling all around you.
- Tiko’s Watering Hole is an entire section carved out with similar thrills and fun as older kids, just perfect for the tiny tots with slides, lazy river rides and all.
- Splashdown Safari is the perfect attraction every member in your family will love, from the tiny tot to the eldest. They’ve got a little of everything – slides. water guns, interactive water fun.
- The Arcade is huge! At 30,000 square feet it can be its own day visit! It’s not your ordinary Arcade either. They have mini-bowling, blacklight mini golf and loads of other fun activities!
- Kalahari Adventurers Club hosts activities throughout the day so that kids can take small breaks away from the Waterpark activities. Most activities are complimentary unless noted, and the ones that have an activity fee is pretty minimal.
The communal showers in the facility was the only thing I would have liked differently. It definitely does allow you to extend your stay past the check out time of 11am but I had 3 naked children running all over the place and chasing them down to hose them down was no fun. Read my hack on how I carved a little spa day extension.
Food and Allergies
We loved that we didn’t have to leave the waterpark to get some real food. They had a quick-serve inside and refreshment areas within the park including an Adult ONLY swim-up bar called the Thirsty Turtle.
As far as allergies go, Kalahari handled it with grace. The moment I mentioned my son’s food allergies at Safari Grille, they didn’t let me take from the self-serve and made us a fresh order. Scoring extra bonus points was their slushies bar making this dairy-free child super happy that he was enjoying the same treats as his siblings without having to stare at them eating ice cream or even worse feel bad for being the reason why they couldn’t have it. Everyone LOVES slushies!
We loved Brandberg which has a classic tavern feel. Very family friendly food choices for the kids while letting the adults indulge in a wine selection that rivals a fancy New York City restaurant. Highly recommended is their prime rib!