This summer my family finally was able to take the short vacation that covid put on hold for two years. I can’t tell you the excitement we all felt preparing for our trip to Kalahari.
As always, preparation was key to success but I also learned a few things. Even seasoned traveling moms can learn a thing or two.
These tips will work with any waterpark. Two to three days is a good amount of time. If you plan to go, stay at the resort. You won’t save money staying elsewhere, plus some benefits are only for those staying at the resort.
Before you go, check on their website. It provides reviews and important park details. Look for the rules for heights, weights, etc. for each pool and slide. I knew what each kid could do before we went.
Find out when you can arrive. At Kalahari, for example, you can swim before your room is ready the day of check in and until 3pm the day of check out. You need to have separate bags packed for this. You don’t want to be digging in suitcases in the parking lot.
Bring Your Own Towels
You can rent towels there and it is free, BUT if a towel is lost or not returned you are charged $20 a towel. I read several reviews from parents who said towels came up missing from their pile or they returned them and were still charged. I have my own pool bag and brought two towels per person. I brought one set with me to the pool. Worked out perfectly and I didn’t have to stand in long lines with three squirmy kids while I waited to rent towels.
We were there for 2 days and I brought three swimsuits for each kid, and myself. I am so glad I did. I hung up the bathing suits to dry but they didn’t fully dry before morning. If you have a baby, I would suggest having even more, plus a decent amount of swimmy diapers. If they soil the bathing suit, you don’t really have a way to wash it. I also brought a few wet/dry bags for suits for the trip home and in case of accidents. Even though we only were there two days, we used all the bathing suits.
Many of these parks do not allow you to bring your own food to the park, but you can to your room. And I did bring a ton of food with us. I am so thankful I did. I had our mini fridge and cooler full, as well as a pretty big bag. There were many restaurants in the resort, but the first night it took a really long time to get our dinner. My kids were exhausted and falling asleep at the table. The second night, they didn’t like the food and barely ate it. It was easier for us to eat in the room. We did go get special ice cream treats. Those, everyone loved.
Our meals were simple. Breakfast: cereal, yogurt and fruit. Lunch: sandwiches, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, hot dogs. Dinner we ate out.
Importance of Safety
I recommend bringing your own life jackets. The ones at the park are first come, first serve. For kids under 48’, they are mandatory. By bringing our own I didn’t have to worry about the right size, fit, or availability. My kids are used to their floaties, so they were comfortable.
For babies, I would make sure you try on their life jacket and have them wear it for periods of time before they go to the park. Having to suddenly wear it for long periods of time could create tears and frustration.
I picked a checkpoint and we would explore one area at a time. Each girl knew where that checkpoint was. I told them if at any time they couldn’t find me, they could go there. I also made sure they knew who the life guards were and that they could go to them if they needed help. When you have several mobile kids, you have to plan for this. We never needed to use either of these supports, but the kids were prepared. We reviewed every time we got to the waterpark, as well as not leaving the waterpark area with anyone but mommy or daddy.
Cabanas for Rent
The cabanas looked really nice and had seating areas and even tvs. If you plan to be at the waterpark all day, this is a good option. I threw what we needed in our pool bag and planned for breaks back in the room for snacks and some time out of the water. This is a great option for a nursing mom or one who needs to pump to feel more comfortable and not have to go back to the room. The pump from the Althea Collection would be great in this situation, since it plugs directly into your Alex & Thea Diaper bag.
Waterpark Time and Breaks
We were able to spend a few hours in the pool when we first got there. We explored the park and my oldest was able to do some bigger slides with her dad. The next day I wanted to get to the park when it first opened at 10am and there were very few people there. It allowed my older girls to explore and play, as well as no wait time for my 3 year old. I was easily able to supervise all of them. We played for a few hours and then went back to the room for lunch.
One thing I would do differently is I would have planned more breaks and maybe done some of the outside exploring or games in between the waterpark. By the end of day two, two of the three girls had some pretty annoying and painful red marks on their legs from the slides and their life jackets. Instead of the slides for so long, I would maybe spend more time swimming, the wave pool or in the lazy river.
Bedtime was easier and a bit more challenging. The kids were tired so they did fall asleep okay, but staying asleep was another story. Our room was on the main floor of the hotel. So a lot of people were going down our hallway at all hours. I really wish I would have thought to bring a sound machine, like the one from the Alex & Thea Collection. My youngest kept stirring and waking the two nights we were there and that meant that mommy didn’t sleep well and neither did my 7 year old who was sharing a bed with her. The sound machine would have made a world of difference.
We did play indoor glow mini golf, which was fun for the whole family. They also had mini bowling. They house a giant arcade but I really didn’t want to spend the money and waste the time we had swimming. I think if my kids were older this would have been something we would have considered, but it simply wasn’t worth it for us.
There were a lot of other activities that were available that we didn’t take part in but would consider for the future. They had an outdoor mini golf, zip lines, ropes courses, etc. Ideas we will keep in mind for the future.
All in all this really is a great place for a short family getaway, anytime of the year. Really something for everyone from baby to teens. They had swings, shallow areas, and special slides. I love the versatility of what they offer for ages, as well as the accommodations for those with disabilities. I can’t tell you how many families I saw that had children with a magnitude of different disabilities and everyone was having a wonderful time.
This is one of those family vacations that everyone, regardless of age, swimming ability or disability, can truly have a good time together. I would highly recommend looking into these types of parks for your growing family.