Kalahari Resorts

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Kalahari Resorts
Location Wisconsin Dells, Sandusky, and Pocono Mountains
Coordinates 43°34′13″N 89°46′20″W / 43.570178°N 89.772184°W / 43.570178; -89.772184, 41°22′58″N 82°38′38″W / 41.382750°N 82.643977°W / 41.382750; -82.643977, and 41°05′55″N 75°23′24″W / 41.098621°N 75.390042°W / 41.098621; -75.390042
Theme African
Owner Todd Nelson
Opened 2000, 2005, and 2015
Operating season Year-round
Website http://www.kalahariresorts.com

The Kalahari Resort and Convention Center is a water park resort chain with locations in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; Sandusky, Ohio; and Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. At 173,000 square feet, the indoor water park at Kalahari's Ohio resort is the largest in the United States. Kalahari's third location opened on July 1, 2015 in the Pocono Mountains area and is set to surpass the size of the Ohio resort's indoor water park at 200,000 square feet when it's completed.


The Kalahari Resort is named after the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa, hence the African theme at all the resorts. The lobbies have artificial fountains, trees, and animals that have been imported from local markets and shops in Africa. Special Africa-themed events, such as getting photographed with baby lions, are also held. Most of the water slides are named after African animals, such as the Rippling Rhino and the Wild Wildebeast. Other services at the Kalahari include restaurants, gift shops, and sweet shops. Kalahari Resorts Wisconsin Dells includes a 104,000-square-foot (9,700 m2) convention center, while Kalahari Resorts Sandusky, Ohio, as of January 2012, has a 215,000-square-foot (20,000 m2) one. The Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, and the Nia Center in Sandusky have both won awards for their AquaRecycle system, a laundry water recycling and filtration system that reuses 70 percent of its laundry water.[1] Fredericksburg, Virginia had been considered for the site of a resort, but the plans never materialized,[2] and a Pocono Mountains location opened in 2015.

Wisconsin Dells[edit]

The Wisconsin Dells resort is Kalahari's first location, having opened in May 2000. The resort has 756 guest rooms, suites, condos, and five-bedroom condos, making it the second largest resort in Wisconsin. It has four main restaurants, and several other eateries in the water park, lobby, and theme park. Other activities include a spa, a fitness center, movies at AMC Desert Star 15, live entertainment at Crystal Grand Music Theatre, and golfing at the Trappers Turn Golf Club on the north side of Wisconsin Dells.[3]

The indoor water park at the Wisconsin Dells location is the largest indoor water park in Wisconsin, at 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2). It was also America's largest indoor water park until the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky finished its indoor water park expansion in December 2007. The Wisconsin Dells resort's Indoor Waterpark is home to the first indoor uphill water coaster and first indoor FlowRider surfing simulator. In 2011, the indoor waterpark went through an expansion, which included America's first indoor "Super-Loop" slides.[4] Kalahari's indoor waterpark includes numerous water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, an interactive play structure, and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. Wisconsin Dells Kalahari also has a 77,000-square-foot (7,200 m2) outdoor water park with several water slides, a lazy river, and a three-story interactive play structure.[3]

In December 2008, the resort became home to a 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) indoor theme park. It includes a six-story ferris wheel, a laser tag arena, a two-story go-kart track, a mini golf course, a 24-lane Brunswick bowling alley, rock climbing walls, carousel, sports bar, a ropes course, a 5-D theater/ride, a swinging pendulum thrill ride, and an arcade spread throughout the complex.[5]


The outside of the Kalahari resort in Sandusky, Ohio

Opened in June 2005, the Sandusky, Ohio resort is "America's Largest Indoor Waterpark",[6] at 173,000 square feet (16,100 m2). It is located about 8 miles (13 km) south of Cedar Point on Milan Road (US Route 250) in Huron Township. The water park opened in May 2005 and contains a FoilTec roof system that lets in natural light, allowing people to receive a suntan at any time of year.[7] The location also features two Flow Rider surfing simulators, a variety of water slides, wave pool, a basketball pool, a children's play area, an indoor/outdoor hot tub and a swim-up bar.[8][non-primary source needed]

With 884 guest rooms, suites, and condos, the hotel is the largest in the state of Ohio. Like the Wisconsin Dells resort, the Sandusky resort also has four main restaurants, as well as smaller and quicker food options throughout the lobby and waterparks. Aside from the waterparks, other indoor activities at the resort include an arcade, a spa, a fitness center, 9-hole mini golf, pottery painting, mini bowling, a 5-D Theater/Ride, and a laser tag arena. Outside there is an animal park, ropes course, zip line tour, and climbing walls.

In August 2006, the resort opened a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) convention center. They later expanded this space to 215,000 square feet, making the resort home to the largest convention center hotel complex in the Midwest.

Pocono Mountains[edit]

The Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania location opened on July 1, 2015. The first phase of the resort has cost $235 million, which includes a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) indoor waterpark, an outdoor waterpark, 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) convention center, 457 guest rooms, a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) entertainment center featuring mini bowling, mini golf, a 5-D Theater/Ride, and arcade games. The second phase commenced just as soon as the first one was completed. Once completed, it will double the size of the indoor waterpark to 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2), add 500 more guest rooms, expand the convention center to 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) square feet. After phase 2, the resort will occupy 150 acres of land. Phase 2 is in progress and set to be completed in Spring 2017.[9]

The resort is set to have three main restaurants: Great Karoo, Ivory Coast, and Brandberg, as well as smaller dining options like the resorts in Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky. It is also set to have a spa and 6,000 square feet (560 m2) of shops.[10][non-primary source needed]


  1. ^ "Kalahari Commits to AquaRecycle Laundry Water Recycling System". Green Lodging News. May 27, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ Vo, Thy (February 19, 2016). "Garden Grove's Big Wet Gamble". Voice of OC. Santa Ana, California. Retrieved February 21, 2016. A proposed $260 million indoor waterpark hotel and convention center by Kalahari Resorts in Fredericksburg, VA ... stalled and ultimately never materialized after the developer failed to get financing for construction. 
  3. ^ a b Bishop, Christy. Kalahari Resorts. N.p., December 3, 2011. Web. Dec 5, 2011.
  4. ^ Selwyn, Adam. Kalahari expands Waterpark, Yahoo Finance. N.p., 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 5 Dec. 2011
  5. ^ Seyler, Christy. Fun Coast. N.p., January 29, 2009. Web. December 5, 2011.
  6. ^ Collins, Laura (2007-12-21). "Kalahari's Expansion Makes It Nation's Largest Indoor Waterpark". The Point Online/Sandusky Register. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  7. ^ Butcher, Dan (July 15, 2009). "Top U.S. water parks". edition.cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Kalahari Resorts Indoor Waterpark Ohio". Kalahari Resorts. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Kalahari Waterpark Resort Opens in the Poconos". PA Home Page. Retrieved July 2, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Kalahari Resorts Poconos Mtns, PA Phase 2". Kalahari Resorts. Retrieved July 2, 2015. 

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