Last week I packed up the kids after school and took them away overnight. As part of a sponsorship with the Kalahari Resorts we got to spend the night and experience the fun of this new family getaway in the Poconos.
You can read more about the resort in my first post, but I’m going to share our experience with you, so you can find out if it’s the right place for your family to have a family getaway. Not only will I share my impressions and experience, but if you keep reading I have a discount code AND a giveaway for you!
Kalahari Resort Review
After a 2 hour drive from the suburbs of Philadelphia we arrived.
The resort is not completed yet. There is construction ongoing on the second wing of the resort through 2018. Thankfully they have managed to keep the noise and chaos of the construction away from the completed side. We only noticed it as we drove up and left, and I took note of the spot in the lobby where it would eventually open to the other side.
On arriving you’re greeted by the helpful staff and you immediately feel immersed in the resort. The music playing and the theming starts the second you get there. The lobby area was pretty amazing. The African theme was carried throughout the lobby area with hand carved tables, wildlife sculptures, decor, and a fun ‘watering hole’ fountain in the middle of the lobby area.
Throughout the lobby there are plenty of places to sit and relax including by the fireplace, at small tables, or you can walk around the shops including a higher end clothing store, a gift shop with small convenience area, a cafe with tons of sweet treats, and a sweet shop. The cookies were seriously as big as my teen’s head.
Once we checked in and got our bands (they give you access to your room, act as your waterpark ticket, and you can opt to have charging privileges put on them) we headed up to our room.
The room we were in is a typical family suite that sleeps up to 6. 2 queen beds and a pullout couch made for plenty of space for the 4 of us to stretch out. The room continues the African theming with the colors, decor, and style choices.
There is a mini fridge, microwave, and seating area for two in the room in addition to the couch seating area and two beds. It was plenty of space for us, and allowed us to bring along our own food-something that will save you big money.
The bathroom is a toilet and tub combo with the sink being outside near the ‘kitchen’ area. The tub was AMAZING (aside from a tricky drain plug) large enough that I was able to lay down in it fully. I’m 5′ 9″ so that NEVER happens. I have the model bookmarked for when we redo our bathroom. I loved it!
A nice touch was the bathroom products (aside for the bars of soap) being in recyclable containers.
There’s also a handy clothesline in the shower for drying your swimsuits.
For dining there are a ton of options from quick meals and fast food to fine dining, bars, and more. There are 9 dining options in all. We didn’t experience much of the food because we like to travel on a budget, but the Rwandan coffee I had in the morning was a highlight and affordable at $2. A splurge that’s needed for all the fun that was about to be had.
Now let’s get to what we’re really here for. Sure there’s a spa, other activities, a kids’ club, and a HUGE arcade but you really care about the waterpark, am I right?
Kalahari Waterpark Review
The waterpark was SO fun! Here’s a look at some of what they offer.
The photo at the top features Audrey on the Flow Rider. It’s my understanding that it typically costs extra, but since the park was virtually empty the kids went on anyway. It pumps water to make a flow that you can ride or body surf! The guards there are well trained to ensure you’re safe, but it’s not without risk. The kids fell off, and my youngest got a stubbed toe. The price of fun I suppose as he gave it two HUGE thumbs up.
It’s a crazy thing to watch, and I really wish I could have done it, too, but I was under strict orders not to by my doctor. BOO.
The guards helped the kids and taught them fun moves (like Audrey doing this ‘Hollywood’ style pose) in the photo at the top.
Toddler/Preschooler Play Area
The wow-worthy part was the baby and toddler area. It features a beach entry pool area with all kinds of fun for little ones like baby swings, seats for little ones to go right in the water (think a high chair seat in water they can splash in), animals to climb on, small slides, and even a tiny lazy river! So sweet.
The kids all loved the Splashdown Safari area. It featured a ton of slides, water squirters, and every so often a giant splashdown from a hippo’s mouth!
The lazy river was another nice feature, it was a lazy experience for sure, though you have to watch out for waterfalls!
The big stuff? There are 6 large water slides. They’re all different, and the kids tried them all several times. The winner was definitely the ‘Barreling Baboon’ slide.
More To Do
Additionally, you’ll find a hot tub next to the Splashdown Safari and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. There’s also a large pool with basketball hoops for playing ball.
Seating + Storage
There is plenty, PLENTY of seating around the waterpark, and lockers of several sizes you can rent for the day. This is handy for storing your valuables and your dry clothes.
Another option is to rent a private cabana. The cabanas are available for an additional fee and feature plush(er) towels, seating, outlets, a safe, and a TV in case you aren’t already entertained enough. 😉
Lastly, there are several dining options and a swim up bar in the waterpark. The bar featured humungous drinks of all kinds, while the other dining options were closed while we visited.
More To Know About Kalahari Waterpark
One thing we missed? A wave pool. There is none to be found at Kalahari.
In most of my photos you’ll see the place looks empty-there were maybe a dozen or two families there while we were visiting! It was like having the place to ourselves. While it’s not ideal to pull kids out of school, once in awhile I don’t think it hurts (especially if they’re doing well in class). That’s why I highly recommend using the discount code below that’s valid for weeknight stays. You will practically have the place to yourselves! I can’t speak to how busy it will be on the weekends, but it was definitely picking up a bit more when we left Friday afternoon.
I also have to give a huge shout out to the guards. They have the place SO well covered-even with only a handful of guests they did not cut back on staff. It’s encouraging to know that they are carefully watching out for the safety of guests.
The one thing we really didn’t love about the waterpark is that outside food is not permitted. This was unfortunate because we packed our own food and the restaurants and snack bars in the waterpark were closed (aside from the over 21 bar area). We ended up leaving our food with the front desk clerk and ate our lunch in the lobby. Not a deal breaker, but a hassle for sure.
Another issue? You have to walk straight through the arcade to get to the waterpark. Not an issue for my kids (even if there was some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ about certain games), but something to know.
The arcade itself was according to my spendthrift daughter, ‘WAY overpriced.’ Most games were about 8 credits-for a total of $2. The kids opted not to spend their money in the arcade, though we did check out ‘The Prize Trunk’ which may be the coolest prize area we’ve ever seen.
Overall we had a great time, loved the waterpark, and would consider going back (especially in the dead of winter!). I would caution parents with older kids that are thrill seekers that they may not get more than a day out of the waterpark.
Important things to know before you go to the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos:
- Check in is as early as 12pm, though you may not get into your room until 4pm. You can go to the waterpark from 12 until whenever your room is ready.
- Checkout is automatic (no need to go to the front desk) and at 11am.
- You can stay at the waterpark until it closes the evening of your checkout (though that may make a long ride home!).
- Waterpark hours vary.
- There are plenty of other things to do from spa-ing, outdoor stuff, and kids’ activities.
- Be prepared and you can save a lot of money. If you end up needing convienece foods, drinks, or similar items you will spend a lot.
- Set a budget and stick to it. It’s easy to overspend if you aren’t careful.
- Splurge on the Rwandan coffee. It’s delicious.
- Budget for meals or pack food. Maybe both depending on your family. With a microwave and fridge you can easily take care of all your meals.
Kalahari Resort Discount Code
I’ve got a great discount code to share! You’ll get a look at the resort and a review from me, but you can enjoy it, too! Get a room for $199/night (which includes water park admission!) and get a $100 family entertainment card!*
Kalahari Resort Giveaway
This giveaway is now closed. Winner to be announced.
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Disclosure: This post was made possible by iConnect and Kalahari. I was provided compensation, but all opinions are 100% mine.
*The offer is valid October 1-November 24th for Sunday through Thursday night stays. To book call 1-877-KALAHARI and mention promo code iConnect. Restrictions apply, offer subject to availability. Does not include taxes and fees.