I spent $500 to take my two kids on a one-night trip to Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Texas.
Our stay came with a room, arcade access, and two-day water-park access.
It was expensive, but the water park was amazing and my kids loved the arcade.
My kids and I didn't visit a water park this summer, so I began looking into indoor options now that the weather's cooled down.
Eventually, I set my sights on Kalahari Resorts and Conventions. The massive indoor water park and resort seemed perfect for my 8-year-old and 11-year-old.
We stayed at the location in Round Rock, Texas, though there are also Kalahari resorts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
Our hotel stay came with park access, which felt like a good deal
My one-night stay in a standard room with two queen-size beds and a pull-out sofa bed cost just under $500.
The stay included access to the water park, plus access to the arcade and indoor attractions at the property's Tom Foolerys Adventure Park.
We could've visited both without a resort stay — all-day passes to the water park would've cost us $50 a person. A pass for the water parks and Tom Foolerys would've been $100 per person, so about $300 for my kids and me.
Plus, overnight resort guests at this location can enjoy the water park on the day of check-in, and stay until closing time on the day of check-out.
With those costs in mind, it felt like a great deal to spend an extra $200 for a hotel room so I wouldn't have to drive home while wet.
Plus, being able to visit the water park for two days instead of one was especially appealing — it felt like getting $150 worth of day passes for free.
The water park was a blast, and my kids especially loved the slides
Checking into the elaborately themed resort was quick and easy, and we all received wristbands to use throughout our stay.
In some parts of the hotel, massive bamboo pillars made us feel like we were under a huge hut. My kids were also drawn to the lobby's massive hippo and alligator sculptures.
The huge property was also filled with shops and restaurants. On the way to the water park, we passed a mini grocery store, a luxurious ice-cream shop, a place to make your own tie-dye shirts, a Build-A-Bear, and a spa.
We used our wristbands to enter the indoor water park, which consists of over 220,000 square feet of heart-pounding slides and escapades.
Without an extra set of grown-up eyes, renting a locker — which costs between $15 and $30 a day depending on locker size — was worth it. We also used our wristbands to rent towels at no cost so long as we returned them daily.
My kids ran through Splashdown Safari, a multi-level water fort, to warm up. We went to a huge wave pool and then tried the lazy river, basketball hoops, and slides.
They liked challenging each other in the Cheetah Race, a massive slide with multiple lanes and mats. They also loved going down the Kenya Korkscrew slide together in a tandem tube.
If I stood in the right spot, I could watch both of my kids and cheer them on while they rode separate slides.
My son enjoyed the Zig Zag Zebra body waterslide and the Tanzanian Twister funnel flume that had a free-fall drop into the pool. My daughter was obsessed with the Dungeons of Hout Bay, a midsize slide with a free-fall drop into the pool.
I also liked that lifeguards and lounge chairs were abundant throughout the park. After three hours of water-park fun, my kids were ready for the arcade.
The arcade was massive, but it ended up being pretty pricey for me
My kids said the arcade at Tom Foolerys Adventure Park is the biggest they've ever seen.
Unfortunately, when booking the trip, I didn't realize our indoor attractions and rides wristband didn't actually include many games in the arcade.
It included a few rides and attractions, but I spent a lot of money on arcade cards so my kids could play other games. This added about $75 to the total cost of our trip.
I thought the food was yummy but a little expensive
Later in the day, we placed a to-go order at the resort's B-Lux Grill & Bar. Our favorite menu items were the bacon-and-grilled-chicken ranch mac and cheese ($18) and a big Bavarian pretzel ($15).
The next morning, we had a delicious brunch at Great Karoo Marketplace, an African-themed restaurant with a buffet.
The buffet had a custom omelet station and tons of cereals, waffles, and sausages. The buffet costs $26 a person for adults and kids over 13 years old. Kids ages 4 to 12 are $13 each.
We weren't in the water park or our room most of the time, but I don't regret our trip
Our safari-themed room wasn't very memorable or special so I didn't even think to take a photo of it. It had tan-and-black wallpaper, photos of zebras, and branded Kalahari toiletries.
The room was perfectly fine, and before we checked out of it, I asked my kids if they wanted to go to the water park again.
They didn't. Instead, they wanted to return to Tom Foolerys for more rock climbing, rope-course challenges, photo-booth photos, and games.
This trip was very expensive for my budget, and most of the time, we weren't in the water park, but I could imagine us coming back here once a year for a special getaway.
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