Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains have long been a popular destination for a weekend getaway. However, the region—just 1.5 hours away from Manhattan—is drawing more and more families as the new indoor water park capital of the Northeast. Camelback Resort’s Aquatopia Indoor Water Park opened in early May, and Kalahari Resorts plans to open Phase I of their 150-acre Pocono property this July. For your vacation planning purposes, we’ve broken the scene down park by park, from the most heart-pounding features to what to do once you’ve toweled off. Dive in!
Kalahari Resort, Pocono Manor, PAWater Park Size: 100,000 square feet Aesthetic: “Following the theme of Kalahari’s two existing resorts in Wisconsin Dells, WI, and Sandusky, OH, the Pocono resort will also be authentically-African themed… In October 2014, [park owners] the Nelson family took on six countries in Africa in 23 days across 24,000 miles to bring authentic African experiences and items back to the Pocono resort—from handpicking coffee beans that will be brewed on property, to selecting art for the convention center walls, choosing authentic crafts for guest souvenirs and more.” Accommodations: 457 guest rooms containing one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. Day passes are available for the park. Wildest Feature: “Guests can bodyboard or surf 365 days a year on the Flowrider, or experience thrills down the Anaconda water roller coaster, relax in the lazy river or spas, and feel the high-energy oscillations of the Swahili Swirl.” Dry Activities: “Kalahari boasts a 30,000-square-ft family entertainment center with mini-bowling, cutting-edge arcade games, a 5D theater, black-light mini golf, and more. Spa Kalahari is a full service spa where guests can relax and rejuvenate their mind, body, and spirit with amazing body treatments, luxurious messages, skin care, nail care, and more. Need some retail therapy? Kalahari has more than 6,000 square feet of retail space.”
Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark At Camelback Lodge, Tannersville, PAWater Park Size: 125,000 square feet Aesthetic: “Adventure-themed” Accommodations: 453 rooms; 16 different suite layouts. Park is exclusive to Camelback Lodge guests and included with your room reservation, along with one day of admission at the resort’s outdoor Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark. Wildest Feature: “Starting with a heart-pounding drop, riders on the Venus Slyde Trap speed down an enclosed serpentine flume before they are injected into a 16-ft sphere where they bank around 90-degree turns, and finally are plunged back into darkness. Next, riders are propelled back into the rushing waters where they experience wall-crawling Zero-G oscillations before being swallowed and spit back out into a plunge pool below.” Dry Activities: “The 45,000-square-ft Arcadia Family Adventure Center offers two levels of themed activities including: more than 100 video, interactive and ticket redemption games; the Ascent, a vertical rock climbing wall and K2 Klimb overhead ropes courses for adults and kids; Meh-Tah’s (Not So) Mini Golf; Lazer Runner black-light laser tag; Polka Dot Pots children’s arts and crafts; Oasis Kids Spa offering manicures and pedicures to the youngest of guests; and Kartrite’s Kids Quest, a themed soft play area for the littlest of adventurers. Adults wanting to retreat for a massage, nail treatment, or workout can find respite at Serenity Spa and Fitness Centre.”
Great Wolf Lodge, Pocono Mountains, PAWater Park Size: 79,000 square feet “with slides that rise to the ceiling and even loop out of the park and around the exterior of the property.” Aesthetic: “North Woods” Accommodations: 401 rooms are divided into three suite categories: Standard, themed, and premium. Rooms range from standard family suites to camping-themed in-suite KidCabins. Only guests staying overnight at Great Wolf Lodge have access to the exclusive waterpark. Wildest Feature: The Double Barrel Drop begins with “a drop into a huge vortex where you and another brave soul will be thrust up and down each side of the funnel. This is then followed by a 450-degree hairpin turn that shoots you into the second vortex before splashing down.” Dry Activities: Kids befriend pixies, gain magic powers, and battle dragons using an RFID-equipped magic wand in the MagiQuest fantasy-themed scavenger hunt; Howlers Peak Ropes Course, which features a “pulse-pounding ‘quick jump;’” the dessert-themed Scoops Kid Spa which offers ice cream-inspired manicures, pedicures, and completely organic chocolate facials; and the black-light Howl at the Moon Mini Golf “complete with nature-themed challenges, glowing wooded pathways, and an easy-for-all, sand-trap free course.”