Water parks are a tried-and-true summer staple, and coming in 2020, Texas is getting a new take on a classic. Kalahari Resorts is set to open an African-themed water park in Round Rock, near Austin -- its first in the Southwest.
Kalahari currently has resorts and convention centers in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Pocono Mountains location in Pennsylvania claims the title of America's largest indoor water park, clocking in at 220,000 square feet, according to Samantha Flynn, a public relations representative for Kalahari. The entire experience, from the hotel rooms to the food to the water park itself, is meant to invoke Africa: There's music from Cape Town, coffee beans sourced from Rwanda and decorations inspired by wildlife of Botswana.
The resort’s name comes from Botswana, too. Todd Nelson, who owns the resort chain, visited the Kalahari Desert with his family and said he was inspired to bring the culture back to the states, according to the website.
The Round Rock location will feature both indoor and outdoor water parks, up to 1,000 hotel rooms, restaurants, a family entertainment center, spa and convention center.
Since 2020 is a long way away, we decided to round up some other fun water parks scattered across Texas. All are open now:
Chadillac’s Backyard Waterpark
Want to keep it country while you’re cooling off? Chadillac’s is arguably the chillest (pun intended) water park in Texas. Designed as a giant swimming hole, the park is way north of Houston. Features include no-frills slides, beach volleyball, zip lines, and, of course, swimming. If you want to kick back and stay awhile, there are also campgrounds, horseshoes and barbecue pits, with beer pong for adults. It’s probably not a place that’s going to wow the youngsters, but it might be the most relaxed adults will ever feel at a water park. 16038 Crowley Road, Conroe.
Ah, a classic. With four locations across the state, Schlitterbahn is made for good ol’ family fun. The rides are almost too many to name, but they range from twisting slides to beaches to whitewater rivers to heated pools with swim-up bars. Whatever level of thrill you’re looking for, Schlitterbahn aims to please, making it a winner for the whole family. Locations in Galveston Island, New Braunfels, South Padre Island and Corpus Christi.
Typhoon Texas has parks near both Houston and Austin, and the Pflugerville location, near Austin, has recently undergone a total overhaul. Attractions include seven-story free-fall slides, a head-first slide you can race friends down, and a tidal wave bay where you can relax or ride the tides. There’s also a zip line course over the park to get a bird's-eye view, and a three-level obstacle course for adventure-seekers who want to get out of the water. Locations in Pflugerville and Katy.
As the only lakeside water park in Texas, Beachside Billy’s is found on the shores of Lake Travis. You’ll find a variety of slides, both open and closed, pool areas, and a pirate ship area for young’ns. It’s hard to beat the views, with the lake shimmering right alongside the park. Guests are welcome to bring their own tubes and floaties if they’d like to venture to the lake itself. Bonus: In the summer, the park hosts adults-only beach bashes with live music and swim-up bars (Aug. 19 and Sept. 3). 16107 FM 2769, Leander.