I recently had the opportunity to go with my family and try the new Kalahari Water Park and Resort in the Poconos. I was excited to do so because we’ve wanted to visit a place like this for some time, we just never got around to it. Now, I’m saying, get around to it! We loved it!
The Kalahari Resort is an African-themed resort that has a hotel, several restaurants, conference facilities, full arcade and the largest indoor water park in Pennsylvania. Prior to our visit, we poked around on their website, and let me tell you, pictures do not do it justice. Until you are there, seeing it all in person and getting a 360 view of the water park, it’s really hard to describe. It was much more than I expected.
Kalahari PA-Family and Sensory Friendly Travel Review
My only regret is that we only stayed one night. I would have liked to have stayed longer, we just couldn’t fit it in among all our other commitments. But 24 hours was not enough and my kids were asking for more. Todd Nelson, owner of Kalahari Resorts, his wife and five children are each intimately involved with the Kalahari project and have designed the resort to meet the needs of all members of the family. From toddlers to grandparents. You can see this throughout the resort, there really is something for everyone.
We arrived around noon because even though check-in isn’t until 4 pm, you can use the facilities beginning at noon. We had lunch at one of the lobby restaurants. My 6-year-old finished his lunch first, and then while the rest of us were finishing up, he got up and went over to “The Last Bite” several times to check out their candy and treat selection. Yes, we let him indulge.
Kalahari Water Park
Our room was ready early, so we put on our swimsuits and spent the afternoon at the water park. It is really amazing. I was most impressed with their huge variety of slide and play options for babies and toddlers. Typically when you hear “waterpark,” you think of older kids, so I was really surprised to see all that they had. If you have younger kids, there is plenty for them to do. Don’t think that you have to wait until they are older to visit.
There was plenty for my 6-year-old to do. He is a decent swimmer. He enjoyed the slides and the lazy river. We could not get him to try the bodysurfing/bodyboarding. My husband and I both tried it and it was fun. We both also tried the “big slides” and whoa! They have slides for all ages and abilities.
Food at Kalahari Resorts
They also have a swim up bar which is really cool to see. And, the water basketball court, we loved that! After we swam for a few hours, we went back to our room to dry off for dinner. For dinner, we went to the Brandberg restaurant and it was very good. I had a flatbread with goat cheese, tomatoes and balsamic. Mmmmmm, it was good. The restaurant is a bit dark, so I couldn’t get a picture.
Activities at Kalahari Resort
After dinner, we went to the arcade. I did some hand-over-hand things with Kevin, like Whack a Mole which he seemed to enjoy. Brian loves video games so he was in heaven with the Star Wars games, black light mini golf, and many other options. I really liked how much they have in one spot.
If you are traveling with a special needs child to Kalahari Resort in the Poconos, here are my tips:
- They have refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms if you need to bring special dietary things or refrigerated medications.
- Even if you do not require a special handicap-access room (which they have), know that the hallways can be long. It was a moderate walk from our room down to the water park. Kevin did fine, but sometimes he does a ‘flop and drop’ and refuses to walk. If that had happened, I certainly would have been wishing that I had requested a room that was closer to the activities.
- Both the water park and the arcade are noisy. I don’t know how you would avoid the noise in the indoor water park, inserted ear protection maybe? Kevin did fine with both, though he had enough of the arcade after about 90 minutes.
- I saw several gluten-free options for celiac disease, but did not see anything about food allergies and forgot to ask.
- The Brandenburg restaurant was our favorite, but it is dark. If your child is visually impaired, give it a preview yourself first so that you can navigate it successfully.
- All of the water attractions appeared to be handicap accessible and they have life jackets there for your use.
- If your child struggles with transitions or not getting what they want, or stopping a fun activity, make sure you prep them ahead of time. There is a lot to do, but of course, you don’t want your day ruined because of a huge end of day meltdown due to sensory or transition troubles.
- I saw several family restrooms and changing rooms.
- We were there during a very slow, uncrowded day which was wonderful! We pulled the kids out of school because Kevin just doesn’t always do well with crowds. But, I did not see anything like an access pass for lines or waiting. Ask at the Concierge Desk if that is something you need.
If you would like to try the Kalahari Resort (and I suggest you do!), here is more information:
Valid October 1 – November 24, Sunday – Thursday. $199 per night with a $100 Family Entertainment Center card. To book, call 1-877–KALAHARI with the promo code: iConnect. Restrictions Apply. Offer subject to availability. Does not include taxes or fees. (this was from 2015, not sure if it’s still valid)
- Kalahari Resorts on Twitter
- Kalahari Resort on Facebook
I know of several people and organizations who organize conferences, and I am definitely going to suggest Kalahari to them. I hope you like it too.