|Product type||Water park|
|Markets||Southern United States|
Midwestern United States
|Previous owners||The Henry family|
Schlitterbahn is an American brand of water parks and resorts owned by Cedar Fair. It was previously a company that was family-owned-and-operated by the Henry family that was based in New Braunfels, Texas. Schlitterbahn opened its first location, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, in 1979. At its peak, the company consisted of five outdoor waterparks, two indoor waterparks, and three resorts.
Schlitterbahn's outdoor water parks are seasonally-operated, typically open from late April through mid-September, while its indoor locations operate year-round. Two parks are located in Texas.
On June 13, 2019, Cedar Fair entered an agreement to acquire two of Schlitterbahn's properties in Galveston and New Braunfels for $261 million. The deal, which closed in early July 2019, gives Cedar Fair the option to purchase Schlitterbahn Waterpark Kansas City for $6 million within 120 days of the transaction which Cedar Fair declined to do. Additionally, the rights to the Schlitterbahn name were included in the acquisition.
New Braunfels, Texas
The first of the parks was in New Braunfels and opened in 1979. The park was named "slippery road" in German because of the local area's German heritage. It originally consisted of four waterslides. The park expanded three times. Surfenberg was the first part of the expansion and had the world's first inland surfing ride, the Boogie Bahn, in 1992, created the first uphill water coaster, the Dragon Blaster in 1994. In 1996 the next section opened - Blastenhoff - and featured the world's first wave river, the Torrent, and the world's most award-winning uphill water coaster, the Master Blaster. In 2011, the park expanded again, adding The Falls, the world's longest tubing river, featuring rapids and tube chutes.
As of 2019, the park had won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for 22 years straight. In total Schlitterbahn New Braunfels has received 39 Golden Ticket Awards. The park currently employs 2,000 seasonal workers.
The 26-acre Schlitterbahn park in Galveston opened in 2006, and is open for part of every month of the year. The park features the most thrill rides of any of the Schlitterbahn parks and is home to the world's tallest water coaster, MASSIV. MASSIV opened in 2016 and features the most current technology including water and power saving features never used before. MASSIV holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the Tallest Water Coaster and is 81 feet, 6 inches tall.
South Padre Island, Texas
The park in South Padre Island opened in 2001. An indoor section opened in 2012. The park features Transportainment - a system where guests can ride through the majority of the park's attractions while floating in their tubes. In fact, this park has floating queue lines for three of the four uphill water coasters. When the Henrys sold the company to Cedar Fair, they retained the ownership of this property and will rebrand it. The park was rebranded as Beach Park at Isla Blanca in December 2019.
Corpus Christi, Texas
In May 2012, Schlitterbahn announced that it would move forward with plans to begin construction of a new water park in the Corpus Christi-Padre Island area. It was announced that the park would open during the summer of 2013, but due to various delays groundbreaking didn't take place until February 2013. A 574-acre plan for the city includes a marina, the Schlitterbahn water park with lodging, and a golf course. Vendors complained, and even sued, Schlitterbahn over $500,000 in unpaid bills on the Corpus Christi project. After several months, Schlitterbahn paid the vendors and threw them a party. Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi opened on June 20, 2015, with a full-service restaurant, the Veranda, two kids areas, the Krystal river system, the Sky Blaster and the Aquaveyer. In 2016 the southern end of the park opened along with a resort. Christened Schlitterbahn Riverpark - Corpus Christi, the park features nearly 2 miles of river and multiple blasters. In 2017 Padre's Plunge, a SkyTrans Manufacturing Shoot the Chute, opened in the southern end of the park. The ride had previously operated as "Buzzsaw Falls" at Alabama Splash Adventure. This park features four types of rivers, two children's area, a massive swim-up bar, a stage for concerts, a resort with several event spaces, and a full-service restaurant. On May 1, 2018, IBC Bank took over ownership of the park at foreclosure auction. Schlitterbahn continues to operate and market the park for the new owner. The property was rebranded as Waves Resort Corpus Christi.
Kansas City, Kansas
The first phase of the park in Kansas City opened in July 2009. The park opened each year in May. It is the former site of the Verrückt water slide, where an accident on the slide resulted in the death of a 10-year-old boy. The park was home to more than a mile of interconnected river rides. The park was closed after the 2018 season and has not reopened. Cedar Fair declined to exercise its option to purchase the property.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
A long-stalled project in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Schlitterbahn received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to construct a 64-acre water park at the old Fort Lauderdale Stadium. The initial project would have used portions of the old stadium to construct a castle-like entrance to include lodging, dining and shopping facilities. Other projects included incorporating the neighboring Lockhart Stadium into the plan by expanding the park around that stadium.
A lawsuit between Fort Lauderdale and nearby Rapids Water Park delayed the project. On March 29, 2017, federal U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez ruled against the City of Fort Lauderdale in the case stating they "did not follow their own charter" in awarding the property lease to Schlitterbahn without conducting a competitive bid process and declared the lease "invalid, null and void." 
Premier Parks LLC eventually won the bid for the project with plans to build a Wet'n'Wild brand water park on the site. However, in September 2018, the CEO of Premier, Kieran Burke, cancelled the deal.
Cedar Park, Texas
- On March 6, 2013, Nicolas “Nico” Benavidez, a 20 year old seasonal employee at Schlitterbahn South Padre was fatally injured when an overhead gate slammed down and pinned him. He was left on life support for organ donation and later died from the injuries on March 11. OSHA investigated and fined Schlitterbahn $96,000 for six safety violations related to the fatal incident.
- On August 7, 2016, a 10-year-old child, Caleb Thomas Schwab, son of Kansas representative Scott Schwab, was killed in the park while riding the Verrückt, a water raft ride touted as the world's tallest water slide. Schwab died before reaching the bottom. Two other unrelated riders in the same raft sustained injuries. The ride was decommissioned and later demolished. The park settled with all parties in 2016. In March 2018, a Wyandotte County grand jury filed indictments against the park and three park employees, including the park's co-owner, Verrückt's designer and a former park executive. The indictment accused the park and its employees of negligence, as well as concealing design flaws and other issues with the ride. On February 22, 2019 all charges were dropped by Judge Robert Burns against the construction company and Schlitterbahn owners.
In Popular Culture
- Hollandsworth, Skip (July 20, 2018). "Schlitterbahn's Tragic Slide". Texas Monthly. Archived from the original on July 20, 2018.
- Loose, Cindy (July 4, 2004). "Water park fans say Texas' Schlitterbahn is the slippiest, drippiest of them all. We had to take the plunge". The Washington Post.
- White, Tyler (April 20, 2015). "New luxury cabanas, food coming to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Galveston". San Antonio Express-News.
- Brezina-Suttell, Scott (June 13, 2019). "Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. plans to enter Texas market with $261 million acquisition". Crains Cleveland Business. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
- "Worlds of Fun owners purchase Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kan". KWCH 12. June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
- Carnett, Lindsey (June 15, 2019). "New Braunfels' Schlitterbahn sold to Ohio company, Company also buying park in Galveston and has option to buy Kansas City site". New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
- "History Highlights". Schlitterbahn News Room. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "Schlitterbahn park makes big splash with global recognition". September 26, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- Boyd, John (July 6, 2014). "Schlitterbahn fun facts". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
- Boyd, John (May 18, 2015). "16 fun facts about Schlitterbahn Galveston". Houston Chronicle.
- "Tallest water coaster". Guinness World Records. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Boyd, John (March 5, 2014). "35 fun facts about Schlitterbahn on its 35th anniversary". Houston Chronicle.
- Anders, Helen (December 2013). "In winter, the Texas coast is a bargain". The Dallas Morning News, Austin American Statesman. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
- Savage, Jessica. "Corpus Christi City Council gives unanimous vote to Schlitterbahn incentives". CCCT.
- Savage, Jessica. "Details of proposed $117 million in incentives unveiled in Schlitterbahn bid". CCCT.
- Ellison, Andrew (March 12, 2015). "KRISTV.com – Continuous News Coverage – Corpus Christi – 6 Investigates follow up: Schlitterbahn pays vendors, throws the". kristv.com.
- Danner, Patrick (May 1, 2018). "IBC Bank takes over Schlitterbahn park at foreclosure auction". San Antonio Express-News.
- "Schlitterbahn water park opens". Kansas City Business Journal. July 15, 2009.
- Osterheldt, Jeneé (May 20, 2015). "A deluge of options as KC-area water parks open this weekend". The Kansas City Star.
- Barszewski, Larry. "Planned South Florida water park making a splash". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- Barszewski, Larry (March 31, 2017). "Judge stops plans for 'biggest and baddest' Fort Lauderdale water park". Sun Sentinel/Broward County. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- Wallman, Brittany (September 3, 2017). "Fort Lauderdale will get a water park after all". Sun Sentinel.
- Wallman, Brittany (September 4, 2018). "Plan for Wet 'n' Wild water park in Fort Lauderdale goes down the tubes". sun-sentinel.com.
- Seninsky, Frank (January 26, 2011). "Schlitterbahn Waterparks: Leading the Industry with Expansion and Innovation". tapmag.com. Tourist Attractions and Parks. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- "Official: Schlitterbahn hopeful for future water park in Cedar Park – Community Impact Newspaper". Community Impact Newspaper.
- Quiroga, Ray (March 9, 2013). "WEB EXCLUSIVE: Waterpark employee remains critical". Port Isabel-South Padre Press. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- "Hospital: Lifeguard dies after accident at Schlitterbahn". KGBT. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- Quiroga, Ray (March 11, 2013). "UPDATE: Schlitterbahn employee injured in accident dies". Port Isabel-South Padre Press. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- Heller, Sasha (August 30, 2013). "Schlitterbahn cited $96k for fatality". Port Isabel-South Padre Press. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- "2013 - 08/27/2013 - South Padre Island water park cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for failing to protect workers from hazardous energy sources". www.osha.gov. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- Porter, Toriano; Bauer, Laura (November 22, 2016). "Schlitterbahn will close Verrückt water slide where 10-year-old boy was killed". The Kansas City Star.
- Bauer, Laura (August 10, 2016). "Another family says raft on Schlitterbahn's Verrückt went airborne on July ride". The Kansas City Star.
- Gutam, Matt; Sivertsen, Lisa (February 13, 2017). "Family of boy killed on water slide: 'We're still hurting'". ABC News. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- Koch, Mackenzie (March 23, 2018). "Court documents detail alleged negligence in design of Schlitterbahn water slide that killed 10-year-old". WDAF. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- Brocchetto, Marilia; Gray, Melissa. "Kansas water park executives charged with murder in boy's death". CNN.
- Hopkins, Anna (February 23, 2019). "Charges dismissed against water park owners in case of 10-year-old decapitated on 17-story slide". Fox News.
- "Former Kansas attorney general reacts after Schlitterbahn charges are dropped". KCTV Kansas City.
- "Charges dropped against Schlitterbahn officials". KSHB. February 22, 2019.
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