Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort - a Family Tradition

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Aug 21, 2009 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort - a Family Tradition

Yes, the Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort is a family tradition for OUR Family - we head there several times a year (including the Unschoolers Winter Waterpark Gathering). This summer, on our way home from Minnesota, we stopped and played at the original Kalahari Waterpark Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. It was AMAZING!! But it is also a Family Business, as you can read further along in this article.

First, I'd like to share a key detail about the rooms. We stayed in a section that had an extra keycard requirement to enter. This was for safety, and there were many families with kids staying in this wing. I appreciate all that Kalahari is doing as much as they can for family safety.

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

The indoor waterpark was enormous (as is the one in Sandusky, where we usually go - here's our review, including decor, types of rooms, etc.).  There is a large outdoor waterpark here, as well. The decor is beautifully African-themed. Inside the indoor waterpark, the kids area is enormous. Within the indoor waterpark, there are many different large water slides, a lazy river, some hot tubs, a wave pool, the surfing area, sports areas, etc. But the kids area takes the cake - our daughter was delighted!

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

There was also a new Indoor Theme Park, with a 6-story Ferris Wheel, ropes course, climbing wall, bowling, golf simulators, go-carts, arcade games, and our 7yo daughter's favorite, Laser Tag. Our family played Laser Tag for hours. Our daughter says, "it is fun but I didn't like it when my dad wanted to split up with me. So each time, we played together and had fun! The first time, we probably got the most points. We also went on the go-carts - I wasn't tall enough so I went with my dad. It went fast!"

Kalahari Indoor Theme Park

Kalahari Indoor Theme Park

Kalahari Indoor Theme Park

We were intrigued by the history of the Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort. Here is some interesting background information from a lovely card in our room, as well as from the Kalahari website.

"From a humble beginning in a small storefront in Wisconsin Dells, Todd and Shari Nelson opened their first Pizza Pub Restaurant in 1983. The small store quickly became a hit. IN fact, people found the pizza deliciously unique, and it developed a local following so strong it became hard for the place to keep up with the ever-growing demand. Over the next few years, the business outgrew its space several more times, eventually becoming a 600-seat full service restaurant - one that is a mainstay of the community today.

Living in a resort town, and noticing the growing demand for year-round vacations, Todd and Shari developed and opened their first waterpark resort - the Raintree Resort - in 1997. As had happened with their Pizza Pub, their hard work, attention to detail, and customer service resulted in favorable reviews and a loyal customer following.

Ever the optimists, Todd and Shari found the largest piece of property they could, risked everything they had, and opened the first African-themed Kalahari Resort in 2000. Once again, their hard work and customer-driven focus met with rave reviews, and the race was on. Five expansions later, the Kalahari-Wisconsin Dells has become the standard-bearer for a fat growing industry. At more than 1 million square feet and growing, the 752-room resort houses Wisconsin's largest indoor waterpark. In December 2008, Kalahari unveiled its new 100,000 square foot indoor Theme Park.  They opened Kalahari Sandusky in 2005 and are now planning another branch in Fredericksburg, VA.

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

Beyond waterparks, Nelson is also dedicated to philanthropic giving and corporate responsibility. Under Nelson’s leadership, Kalahari has worked closely with non-profit organizations that serve local Kalahari communities. Kalahari serves as the host of annual fundraising events, such as the United Way Duck Derby, a toy duck race to benefit United Way and Golf for a Song, a charity golf tournament at Kalahari’s Trappers Turn Golf Club to raise funds for Wisconsin Dells High School’s marching band and music programs. Most recently, in September 2008, Kalahari Field, a new synthetic sports field at Huron High School in Ohio, opened thanks to contributions of $500,000 in cash, in-kind donations and fundraising events donated by Kalahari. Additionally, through a myriad of ongoing philanthropic activities, Kalahari supports organizations including the Make A Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society and Multiple Sclerosis Society, to name a few.

In recent years, Nelson and Kalahari have continued to broaden their long-standing commitment to ecofriendly initiatives at Kalahari Resorts. As a responsible industry leader, Nelson is dedicated to introducing state-of-the-art “green” operations that protect the environment. Notably, Kalahari-Wisconsin is home to the state’s largest solar hot water system and an Entergize Energy Control System that conserves energy, and as part of the 2007 Kalahari-Ohio expansion, the property introduced a Texlon transparent roof system which works as a natural heating source for the indoor waterpark. Most recently, Kalahari Resorts introduced the AquaRecycle system, a laundry water recycling and filtration system which allows the reuse of 70 percent of laundry water at both properties.

Nelson operates the family waterpark business with his wife and five children.

For more information, please see:
kalahariresorts.com/wi/

 

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort

 

 

All photos copyright Jessie Voigts.

 

 

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