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Kalahari's Expansion Makes It Nation's Largest Indoor Waterpark

By Laura Collins

December 21, 2007

 

 The grand opening of Kalahari Resorts' expanded indoor waterpark mixed a variety of opposites Thursday afternoon.

Business suits and swimsuits, Christmas carols and 85 degree weather, stilts walkers and cirque performers all added to the eye feast that was the unveiling of the nation's largest indoor waterpark.

At 173,000 square feet, the waterpark's newest additions include a wave pool with eight ocean-like wave settings, an extreme mat racer slide, another FlowRider surfing attraction, Kalahari's longest tube slide, a basketball pool, a children's play area and indoor/outdoor spas with a swim-up bar, among other things.

"We set out to create the greatest indoor waterpark anywhere in the country, and we feel we've succeeded at that," said Todd Nelson, owner and president. "When you set out to do a project like this, you have to say what are unique things that no one is doing."

One of the most unique aspects of the expansion is the "intelligent roof system" that lets in natural light and allows people inside the waterpark to get a tan in the middle of December.
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The children's play area, Kids Safari, is 2,700 square feet and built specifically for children in the 1-5 age range. With shallow water, foam padding, slides, nets and interactive water toys, Kids Safari is designed to let parents keep an eye on their children from every angle.

Jacque Riffle, a nanny from Norwalk, took 3-year-old twins to the park Thursday to try out the new play area.
 

Register photo/ LUKE WARK Friends Justin Buzille, left, of North Canton and Tony Mueller of Akron race down the Cheetah Race water slide Thursday afternoon at Kalahari's grand opening of their indoor waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK Friends Justin Buzille, left, of North Canton and Tony Mueller of Akron race down the Cheetah Race water slide Thursday afternoon at Kalahari's grand opening of their indoor waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK Visitors play in the wave pool Thursday afternoon on the grand opening day of their indoor waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK Visitors play in the wave pool Thursday afternoon on the grand opening day of their indoor waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK A raft full of waterpark visitors shoot around the outside of the Tanzanian Twister, a giant bowl shaped ride that swirls riders around and down a hole in the center, Thursday during the grand opening of Kalahari's newest waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK A raft full of waterpark visitors shoot around the outside of the Tanzanian Twister, a giant bowl shaped ride that swirls riders around and down a hole in the center, Thursday during the grand opening of Kalahari's newest waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK Aleksa Gizewicz, three, sits on the shoulders of her father David Thursday afternoon as they watch a performance in the wave pool of Kalahari's new indoor waterpark expansion. The Gizewicz family drove from East Hampton, Conn. to be some of the first to play in Kalahari's newest additions to its waterpark.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK Aleksa Gizewicz, three, sits on the shoulders of her father David Thursday afternoon as they watch a performance in the wave pool of Kalahari's new indoor waterpark expansion. The Gizewicz family drove from East Hampton, Conn. to be some of the first to play in Kalahari's newest additions to its waterpark.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK A Kalahari waterpark rider goes in circles as she heads toward the center of the Swahili Swirl ride to be dumped out into the pool below during the opening day of the hotel's newest indoor waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK A Kalahari waterpark rider goes in circles as she heads toward the center of the Swahili Swirl ride to be dumped out into the pool below during the opening day of the hotel's newest indoor waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK Children gather at the edge of the water basketball pool to watch cirque performers do an act above the wave pool Thursday during Kalahari's grand opening of their indoor waterpark expansion.
Register photo/ LUKE WARK Children gather at the edge of the water basketball pool to watch cirque performers do an act above the wave pool Thursday during Kalahari's grand opening of their indoor waterpark expansion.

"I really like it," Riffle said. "We don't have to worry because it's not deep and it's a perfect place for them to play. Everything is their size. If you take them to the park everything is too big for them."

The event concluded with three performances by cirque acrobats who balanced, twisted and twirled with ribbon and netting on a platform stage in the middle of the wave pool.

"It's cool to see them stretch their bodies that far," said Paul Sangree, 11, who came from Cleveland for the opening.

By the numbers:

* At 173,000 square feet, Kalahari Resort is the largest indoor waterpark in the country under one roof

* Three NFL football fields could fit inside the indoor waterpark

* More than one million gallons of water flow through the waterpark

* Each FlowRider surfing attraction pumps 50,000 gallons of water per minute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit FunCoast.com to view live streaming video of Cedar Point thrill rides like Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force on the popular FunCam.  Search event calendar listings, entertainment schedules, restaurant reviews and find ferry boat schedules to the islands all at http://www.funcoast.com.

 

Copyright 2007 the Sandusky Register.  All rights reserved.