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Wisconsin Parent

Wisconsin Dells: Kalahari Resort and Indoor Theme Park

Mar 09, 2015 02:00PM ● By Julie Henning
Home to the largest indoor waterpark in Wisconsin, the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is also one of the more convenient and accessible destinations in The Wisconsin Dells. It's hard to miss the Kalahari exit from Interstate 94; just look for the iconic six-story indoor Ferris wheel and building painted with the backdrop of a safari sunset.

Open year-round, the property features a 77,000 square foot seasonal outdoor waterpark that adds to the 125,000 square feet of indoor fun. In the same complex is the Kalahari Indoor Theme Park, which you can visit as a standalone destination or as a dry compliment to your waterpark fun. Over the past several years, I have I have visited the Kalahari with my kids and most recently spent the past weekend as an overnight guest. What I like the most about the Kalahari is that it appeals equally to toddlers as it does teens and is an ideal place for a day trip or getaway (regardless of the season). You'll find rides and slides of all sizes and speeds, a wave pool, indoor-outdoor hot tubs, and lazy river that winds and weaves around the complex. Outdoor Water Park Guests of the resort, our party of six stayed in a two bedroom suite located on the first floor between the indoor theme park and the indoor waterpark. The room featured a king bed, two queen beds, and a pull-out sleeper sofa and two bathrooms, perfect for a larger group to spread out and accomplish tasks like changing and showering in half the time. Being on the first floor, the room also featured a walk-out patio just behind the Zambezi outdoor waterpark; in the summer months, this can save you a trip through the main lobby and quicker access to both waterparks.

There are over 750 rooms to choose from at the Kalahari, Wisconsin Dells and ours happened to be located near one of the designated entrances. Although there are "quiet zone" signs posted along the corridor connecting the two buildings, this may be one of the noisiest locations in the building. So, if you are a light sleeper or have kids with nap time needs, you might want to avoid this particular spot (but if a steady stream of hallway noise isn't an issue, it sure is nice to be close to the parking lot and all the resort amenities).KalahariRoomAnother plus of staying at the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is a $5 savings on a general admission to the Kalahari Indoor Theme Park ($25.95 per person, valid for the entire stay, $11.95 for kids ages 3-6)—included in the package is Revolution 360, XD Dark Ride, Atomic Rush, Go Karts, Ferris Wheel, Climbing Wall, Laser Tag, Mini-Golf, Ropes Course, Carousel, Sky Tykes, and the Kiddie Bumper Boats. Note: all of these attractions are available à la carte from $3-$6 per person per ride if you decide you are only interested in one or two attractions. Indoor Theme Park 1This time, everyone in our group was tall and old enough to enjoy the full set of activities and, for us, the unlimited general admission made better sense. All of the other rides and games in both the Kalahari Indoor Theme Park and big game room (located near the entrance to the indoor waterpark) can be purchased using re-loadable action cards and are "pay per play". There's also a sizable 24-lane bowling alley located on the upper level near the lounge and bar.Indoor Theme Park 2On the subject of food, the Kalahari, Wisconsin Dells property features six different dining options ranging from surf and turf at the Double Cut charcoal grill and liquor bar to the convenience of a cup of coffee and deli-style sandwich at the Java Manjaro just off the main lobby. We enjoyed a delightful noon meal at the Wisconsin Brew Pub, where the kids menu includes baby back ribs ($6.99) and fried fish ($7.99). Other mealtime highlights included a mounding plate of nachos at the theme park bar and lounge and the giant refillable adult drink ordered from the 1, 000 square foot Mud Hut Swim-Up bar on the far end of the the indoor waterpark.

FoodDuring our stay, I was pleasantly surprised by two things—first, the on-site personal training and fitness room complete with free weights and the kind of equipment you would find at a private gym to help make your vacation guilt-free and second, the number of ADA accessible chairs located throughout the waterpark, as well as the private whirlpool cabana. When you check in, you'll also receive an Activity Guide that lists the various scheduled activities and events happening during your stay (choices during our visit ranged from designing a safari hat to family game night complete with snacks and prizes). ExtrasWhen planning your own getaway to the Kahalari, Wisconsin Dells, make sure and check the website for featured deals and have the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions mobile app downloaded to your smart phone (its available on both iTunes and Google Play).

* Our family received complimentary admission and lodging for the purpose of writing this story. I hope you find it objective; please leave a comment below if you have any feedback or suggestions.