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“Fun trip - but could have been better”

Kalahari Waterparks
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Rain or shine visitors can enjoy the wet and wild rides at the largest indoor water park in the United States..
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fun trip - but could have been better”
Reviewed April 3, 2011

We have been to the Wilderness and Kalahari in the last couple of months - here is a comparison of our experiences.

Rooms - Small for the $. Lighting could be better. Every time we went in the bathroom and turned on the light, the lights flickered for 20 seconds before finally coming on. Felt like a strobe light every time you were in there. Room was clean and centrally located. Wildnerness offers a wider variety of accomodations for less money.

Theme\Shops - Cute village-like atmosphere, they did a great job with theming

Water park - At par with wilderness, but liked the Wilderness wave pool much more - much larger. Crowds were not too bad except for the weekend when things got out of control. Far too few tubes for lazy river and rides - especially on the weekends when we waited over 1/2 hour for a tube. Lifeguards would not allow swimming in lazy river without them. On weekend lines for rides were long. My husband loved the Flowrider. Liked the fact that the waterpark was all in one place, in contrast to Wildnerness.

Food - Better than Wilderness. Quick service seemed better than sit-down.

Service - inconsistent - we had some great service and some really poor service. My son wanted a picture with the elephant mascot, the escort allowed her to take a picture with a teenager, but when I asked her if my young son could take a photo with her, she said she was in a hurry. Restaurant staff was also inconsistent.

Definitely would recommend the sweet shoppes, pottery pizzazz, and indoor theme park - what fun!

Visited April 2011
3 Thank moma2z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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859 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Love it!”
Reviewed December 20, 2010

We have been to the Kalahari now twice and have had wonderful experiences. We love how clean it is... that is huge..both indoor and outdoor water parks are clean as well as the rooms. I love the upgrades you get if it is not busy, a wonderful surprise. The lobby is gorgeous and the staff has been friendly. I would like the indoor "theme" park staff to be friendlier, they tend to be more rude. We have been to the Atlantis, Mt. Olympus and the Wilderness and the Kalahari is our favorite by a long shot. We will be going back in July and are looking forward to it!

3 Thank Thunderdogillinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Appleton, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Kalahari Indoor Waterpark awesome”
Reviewed November 1, 2010

We had a great time at this resort. Great place to take kids of all ages. Also fun for adults. My husband kept leaving us to go on the bigger rides. The hotel staff were really helpful and got us everything we asked for. We didn't have to leave the resort at all with the restaurants that they have on site. We also hit the coffee bar. I would recommend this resort to anyone who wants a weekend of fun.

3 Thank michelleb100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaska, MN
Level Contributor
58 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Won't return - should have gone back to Great Wolf!”
Reviewed September 1, 2010

After a great vacation in the Dells last year at Great Wolf Lodge, my family and I had high expectations for our stay this year. Unfortunately, we decided to try the Kalahari for something different this year (we just returned home yesterday). Never again while I consider the Kalahari! It started going downhill upon arrival as we waited in gridlock just to get through the parking lot. Then we got into the lobby and there were 50 people waiting to check in.

This resort has extreme rules compared to the other waterparks in the Dells, life jackets are mandatory at all times for kids 48" and under, even in the pools. One of the snotty lifeguards whistled at me and told me that my baby (which I was holding) needed a life jacket and I told her that I was not going to go in the pool and she said "Well, your baby is too close to the pool - the baby needs a life jacket!" I hope someday this snotty young girl has a really colicky baby so she can see what it's like to have an infant in a life jacket for three days straight. We were at the Kalahari with friends and we all started calling the lifeguards 'the gestapo' because all we heard all day long was the lifeguards blowing their whistles and yelling at families that were just trying to have a good time.

The variety of the waterslides was also disappointing - they had quite a few baby slides and a good number of big tunnel slides (i.e. completely dark the entire way) but not a lot of intermediate slides and that is what we were looking for. The lines for all of the tube/family rides were really long. I felt like we spent our whole time at the Kalahari waiting in line. Just getting some nachos at a concession stand took 30 minutes. All of the foodservice staff appeared really inefficient or extremely understaffed.

Unfortunately, we also purchased the 'family getaway package' they were offering which included breakfast each day, one lunch, one dinner, indoor amusement park passes, etc. Sounded like a good deal, but we were disappointed over and over. Instead of being able to eat in the resort restaurants we had to hike over to Banquet Hall C in the convention center for our 'free breakfast' each day and the breakfast was the same every day. The lunch voucher was only good at one concession stand which, of course, had an extremely long line. The indoor amusement park was a waste. Maybe if our kids had been tall enough for the ropes course or some of the older kid attractions. Most of the place was just arcade games.

It seems to me that this resort is just overbuilt - too many people/too many rooms for the amount of waterpark space and other amenities that they have. Doesn't help that they let non-guests into the waterpark. Again, wish we had gone back to Great Wolf Lodge, what a great place - very family friendly, competent staff, no crazy rules or rude lifeguards - it has everything!

14 Thank Chaska_MNChaska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great Value, Super Fun!”
Reviewed August 28, 2010

This is a very clean hotel and water park with a lot to do. We just got back so we were there the end of August. Perfect time to go. Not very busy, little to no lines for the water slides. Very fun. Lots to do for all ages. There are a lot of life guards but that is no excuse to not be a hands on parent if you have little ones. Some of the rides are very large and I highly recommend life jackets. Our 5 year old is a non-swimmer and wore a life jacket at all times. He loved it. Our 7 year old is a little more brave and didn't wear a life jacket. We had an eye on her at all times, but was just fine. She loved it too. I highly recommend the Indoor Theme park too. It is a great way to break up the day so you don't get sick of the water. Well worth the money for the wrist bands that you get to use your entire stay. We were in there several hours a day. Food in the resturants was good, a little expensive. Breakfast and Dinner cost us about $100 a day for 4 people. We brought stuff and had lunch in the room. Lots of other resturants realy close by if you dont want to eat dinner in the hotel. The convience was worth it most of the time. All in all a great trip and we would forsure go back!

1 Thank relaxed309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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