Kalahari Resort Sandusky-Indoor Waterpark

Kalahari Resort Sandusky-Indoor Waterpark

If you gave any of my kids a choice, skies the limit, to go anywhere they wanted, 9 times out of 10 they would chose an amusement or water park.  They have always been my little thrill seekers. Living in Ohio means anything involving water and outdoor activities typically has a window of Memorial Day-Labor Day, which means that 9 months out of the year cannot involve the water park feature outdoors, unless we travel out of the state. Lucky for us, we have a few indoor water park options just a few hours away , the two biggest hitters for us being Great Wolf Lodge (Options in Mason or Sandusky) and Kalahari Resort. Today we are going to focus on our review of Kalahari, which we have visited a few times now, the most recent being this past April for Spring Break.

  1. Very Large Indoor Water Park

I remember the first time ever visiting Kalahari I was surprised by the shear size of the indoor water park (which for comparison appears to be at least double the size of the indoor water park facilities that we have seen at Great Wolf Lodge). They have a lot of big hitters for those large thrill slides including a couple “toilet bowl” options (one multi-person with a raft, one single rider-no raft), a couple of large family raft and tube slides, a couple body slides, and a mat “racer” slide. Then they also have an area with a medium size kid section with some smaller slides and water shooting fun and 2 separate sections for the really little ones to play at. Finally you will find 2 family (indoor outdoor hot tubs, and a third for 21+), 2 flow rider areas, a lazy river, and a large wave pool.

  1. Helping our Boy Participate

The single rider toilet bowl slide is the only one that requires a “good swimmer” and is by far Damion’s favorite! We knew that he was a good enough swimmer but also worried that he wouldn’t be able to answer that question when directly asked by the lifeguard before entering the slide, and we also worried that he may have issues trying to figure out the exit as the flowing water makes it loud and hard to see. So our first few times we made sure to have one adult waiting at the exit to help and the other going in line behind him to notify him that he was a good swimmer and make sure he got on the slide. Once he learned the system we just continued to make sure the lifeguard at the top knew he was a good to go. Surprisingly, a large portion of the slides are a minimum height of 42 inches, so on our most recent visit our short guy, Drew, was able to ride most of the slides right along with us. Drew’s favorite slide was the racer which requires you to ride solo and lay on your belly facing head first. It is a little hard for our guy to maneuver and wait on the mat. So to do this slide we either stand beside him and hold his mat until the light turns green and then quickly hop down our own slide, or sometimes the lifeguards are kind enough to hold the mat for him. Flow rider is another fan favorite and can be done bodyboarding style at 42in and taller. This attraction takes a bit of skill to jump in and hold onto your board correctly, so for both of my boys I always ask the lifeguards to help them enter from the bottom portion which works much better for them.

  1. Cabana Rentals

An additional add on that you can pay for while visiting the water park is a cabana rental. There are a variety of cabana rental options including which go from somewhat standard up to one option with a personal 12 foot hot tub. We have visited the water park both with and without utilizing the cabana rentals. Cabanas were a great way to give our boys a sensory break throughout the day without requiring us to go back to the room. You can sit, relax and even watch tv while you wait for your ordered food or drinks to be delivered. They do come with a hefty price tag and you can definitely make a day without one, especially with older kids who don’t need breaks as often, but they are a nice thing to have when you can swing the cost. If you do decide to splurge for a rental, be sure to check the website and map to review features, location (as some are on second levels or tucked away in odd spaces), and capacity limits for the cabana before purchasing.

  1. Arcade and Additional Experiences

Of course the arcade is another big attraction at this resort. And no chance of getting by without your kids being aware that this massive arcade is at  the hotel, because of course, you have to walk through it to get to the entrance of the indoor water park. Many of the other additional experiences you could probably skate by without your kids knowing they are even there, but then again they look fun so you may not want to miss out on them as well. These additional experiences include a small mini golf course, a 7D motion theatre, laser tag, and an escape room.

  1. Restaurants

Quite a few dining options are available throughout the resort. Our family tends to go with the easy, grab and go or deliver to the room type options but if you are looking for a nice sit down meal they do have a bar and grill as well as an upscale Italian restaurant you can try. We usually like to end our night at the sweet treat section with some candy or ice cream.

  1. Other Tips

Check in usually moves pretty slow, and took a lot longer than our kids were able to wait without issues. They have modified check in a bit with some kiosks which seem to move a little faster than the old way, but still be prepared and ready with some options for your kids to get through the wait. The resort is very large and sometimes the walk from the room can be LONG. Seating in the water park is limited and is normally snatched up quickly, so be prepared to pay for a locker rental to hold your items while you enjoy the water park. They do provide towels at the water park, you just have to return them when you are done for the day. They also have lifejackets available and required at some locations for shorter heights. You can also bring your own but they will only allow the child to wear them if there are coast guard approved.  The resort does advertise that they offer a “sensory friendly calming room”. The room is located in the resort north wing across from the fitness center. We have never used it ourselves as the location is not close to the water park or arcade, and if we needed a break outside of those areas we would just venture back to our room, but it may be an option to walk down during the lengthy check-in process and utilize the room.

And that is just all of their indoor offerings. They actually have a whole outdoor section that offers another water park and many other experience options as well. Personally we have always made our visits to Kalahari during times that we wanted to escape the cold weather, but we will be sure to do another review of the outdoor section once we can check it out for ourselves. As you can see, this place has a multitude of fun to offer for your family, and for families like ours that come primarily for the water park, it is by far our favorite indoor water park offered in Ohio!  

For more information, here is the link to Kalahari’s website.