When I was a kid we never really took family vacations. With two working parents and three kids I think time and money were both factors. When I became a parent I made it a priority to make sure we tried to get away once a year. Nothing fancy or far, just a chance to get away and spend time together as a family. As they kids have gotten older they have started to have some input on these vacations and they have been begging to go to a waterpark resort again. It had been about 3 years since we had last visited one and I think they have asked weekly since that trip.
Last weekend my family and I were invited to Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells to participate in their Mommy Blogger Kalahari Kampout. It gave us a chance to really dive in and check out ll that Kalahari has to offer to families
Prior to our trip pretty much all I knew about Kalahari Resorts was that it was the largest resort in the Dells. In fact, being a life long resident of the Chicago area I have only been to the Dells once before (3 years ago) so I went in with very few expectations. Kalahari blew them all away. It was a gorgeous resort, with enough to do to entertain kids (range from 1-7 years) and adults, and the staff and service was the best I have received in a long time.
When I checked in (before they knew I was with the bloggers visiting). I was warmly greeted and given information on all the activities they had that weekend (we stayed Friday-Sunday). In addition to the waterpark and theme park they have Camp Kalahari. Located right outside the waterpark entrance and amidst the restaurant Camp Kalahari offers activities, arts, and crafts for children staying at the park. It’s open almost all day for just drop-in coloring and the option to buy individual projects or there are special events scheduled throughout the day. While we were there they had cookie decorating every afternoon. While Camp Kalahari is not a babysitting service (you can’t leave your kids unattended all day!) the staff is very friendly and helpful and you can leave your older kids to stay and work on a project while you go grab a quick bite to eat.
Let’s move on to the main attraction, the waterpark:
Kalahari has the largest indoor waterpark in Wisconsin, and while you can tell because there are so many things to do, while you are in there it doesn’t feel like it. The waterpark is set up as several different pools or areas that are all under one roof. The last waterpark we visited had them as separate pools that you had to visit, which was hard when you have kids of multiple ages. With Kalahari’s set up I could easily hangout in Tikko’s Watering Hole with the youngest kids while dad and the oldest went to the Wave Pool or Leopard’s Lair and meet back together without having to leave the pool.
When I was posting photos from my weekend someone asked me about the temperature in the pool and the park in general. The pools were all very warm. Tikko’s Watering Hole was the warmest and in fact before I was totally wet (when I was just walking around in knee deep water) I was actually hot and sweating. The wave pool and slides are a little cooler by nature because of all the moving water. My super skinny kids have always tuned blue in waterparks after 90 minutes or so in the water and they swam for almost 4 hours before we had to forcefully remove them because the little one had blue lips.
Tikko’s Watering Hole was by far the most popular with the 1.5 and 5 year old. This new addition is a 5,000 square foot pool with slides, interactive play and 200 foot lazy river just for them. My girls spent hours on this! The oldest one sometimes would forgo the inner tube and used her life-vest to “swim” (float) around the river.
Another feature that I appreciated were the life jackets. My kids love water, but they are beach babies. The spent their early years on the shore of Lake Michigan on the Northside and they have always done better with beaches than pools. None of them can swim. Kalahari has tons of life jackets spread out around the park for kids to use and in fact require ALL children under 48in (all of mine) to have one on in any of the pools beside Tikko’s Watering Hole. There is even a guard in the wave pool area that I saw on more than one occasion go up and measure a kids and send them out to get a jacket, safety is priority at Kalahari. Those vests proved to be a real confidence booster and convinced all my kids to try the slides on this trip, something they have never done!
Lest you think it’s all fun for the kids there is plenty, besides the lazy river, for parents to enjoy at the pool. Sadly being pregnant meant I couldn’t try out any of the larger slides and I love water slides! Kalahari features America’s first indoor super loop slides, three of them. All present a near 60 foot drop and the Super Loop Sahara Sidewinder slide takes you on a 250 foot journey form the roof of the waterpark to the water below.
By far the coolest thing they had, and the thing I was most disappointed to miss out on was the Surfari Flow Rider that allows you to surf inside. It was seriously so cool! We got to watch a pro demonstrate how it works, and than to our delight and surprise he took the smaller kids out with him so they could try it out!
My son is still talking about it, it was so cool!
In addition to the waterpark, if you need more to do, there is a 100,000 square foot indoor theme park. Not just your standard arcade, this features a six-story Ferris wheel, ropes course, mini-golf, bowling and go karts. Even with the kiddie rides closed for renovation while we were there the littlest one found games she enjoyed, even if she didn’t know what she was doing:
I know being green is important to many of our readers so you will be happy to hear that it’s also very important to Kalahari. They make it a priority to maintain Eco-friendly practices to help reduce water and energy consumption. They feature low energy consumption water pumps throughout the park, use low flow dishwasher spray heads and lo-flow shower-heads that reduce water consumption by 2.46 millions gallons per year. They have also partnered with Clean the World to recycle soap and shampoo products left in the rooms for distribution to impoverished people worldwide. The Dells location also uses rooftop solar panels which heat more than 50% of the resorts hot water.
As with all resorts there are lots of add-ons everywhere you go from the candy shop and paint your own pottery to pictures surfing or with the baby tigers that visit on the weekend. What I enjoyed was the the Theme Park was totally separate from the waterpark because honestly when we go back we would skip it entirely and my kids would be fine. My younger ones were just too young to enjoy it and it was very loud.
We stayed in a suite when were there, really a must for families! It gave us two bedrooms and a pull out couch (should we need it) as well as a microwave and fridge. It also had two bathrooms which made getting everyone cleaned up after the pool much easier! Kalahari is definitely on our list of must visit again locations!
Do you want to beat the winter blahs and getaway to the Kalahari? I have a one night stay in a dessert room for one lucky reader! Just fill out the rafflecopter below, ends December 13
Can’t wait to book your getaway? Kalahari has a special deal for my readers, $129/night in January. Also be sure to follow them on Facebook where they are posting a deal a day for all of December!
To see more pictures from our trip see our Facebook page.
Disclosure: My family and I were hosted at Kalahari for the weekend to learn about the resort. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.