The grand opening of Kalahari
Resorts' expanded indoor waterpark mixed a variety of opposites
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
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.
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
Jacque Riffle, a nanny from Norwalk, took 3-year-old twins to the
park Thursday to try out the new play area.
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
WARK Visitors play in the wave pool Thursday
afternoon on the grand opening day of their indoor
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.
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.
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
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
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
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