The Call Of The Wet And Wild

How’s this for a big splash? Last year, Conde Nast Traveler ranked the Kalahari Water Park Resort in Sandusky, OH, as No. 1 among “The World’s Coolest Indoor Water Parks!”

Now how’s this for a bigger splash for local families? As of yesterday–July 1–a new and grander Kalahari Resorts and Conventions opened in the Poconos—or in car terms, a two-hour drive for most NYC-area families.

Owned and operated by a family itself, Kalahari is the kind of resort that children love on impact and parents appreciate because of the easy fun, the family-minded amenities and services, and the smart and special ways that the resort is also a kind of cultural experience and adventure. True to its name, Kalahari celebrates Africa—its people, animals, culture, and geography—in all sorts of clever ways. The new Pocono location itself opens as Pennsylvania’s largest indoor water park (about 100,000 square feet), plus 457 guest rooms containing one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites; and  30,000-square-ft family entertainment center with “dry” activities such as mini-bowling, a wonderful array of arcade games, and black light mini golf. And there is more to come: Construction on “Phase Two,” expected to be completed by Spring of 2017, will give the resort and convention center a total of almost 1,000 guest rooms and about 200,000 additional square feet of indoor water park space—making it the largest resort of its kind in the country.

Kalahari offers a variety of guest packages along with welcoming day visitors.  For more information and reservations, visit or call (570) 216-5489. For additional details on the history of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, the authentic African inspiration and the visionaries behind it all, the Nelson family, visit

I was given a detailed tour of the site a week ago as a small army of construction workers focused on the final touches and all the employees, from life guards to chefs, prepped for opening day. The photos below, shot by photographer Karen Haberberg, were from our tour.

You’ve heard what Conde Nast Traveler had to say; I’ll be writing more about my own experience in the weeks ahead. But suffice to say that I was impressed, and I hope the photos give you a taste of Kalahari’s unique mix of water fun and African spirit.