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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Schlitterbahn Kansas City




Swimming pools and water parks, oh my they are such great fun for our family.  So we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try Schlitterbahn in Kansas City.

Schlitterbahn roughly translated means slippery road, which describes Schlitterbahn’s “transportainment” system of transporting guests throughout their water park via water.  More on that later.

Schlitterbahn has been building water parks in Texas for a couple of decades, but the Kansas City park is the first time Schlitterbahn looked outside of Texas.  They must have done their research because hot, blue skied days are served up just as frequently as BBQ in Kansas City.

Finding the park is somewhat easy.  Just head East on State Street after exiting from I 435 in Kansas.  State Street is also the exit for the Kansas Speedway and Great Wolf Lodge, which are on the West side of the interchange.  We couldn’t find any signs on State to indicate where to turn for the water park, but the giant sandcastle visible on the North side of the road gave it away.  The water park is nestled at the bottom of a hill, so only the tall slides are visible from the road and highway.

Schlitterbahn is open Memorial Day week-end, including the Friday of that week-end, through Labor Day, but only on week-ends the last couple of weeks of August.  Opening times vary from 10:00 to 11:00 am and closing varies from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  Check the website for specific hours of operation.

Cost:  There are a variety of packages to choose from that include towels, water shoes, “Splash Cash”, etc. but basically it is about $40 per adult which is 12 and over, and $33 for children ages 3-11.  Children 2 and under are free and there is a discount for seniors.  Everyone who enters pays.  There are no “I am here just to watch” rates.  The website does offer a $1.00 discount on pre-purchased tickets.  Just know that a 10.95% tax is added to all on-line purchases and tickets purchased at the park. (We had two free tickets from MyCokeRewards)

Area where tickets are purchased.  Be sure to pick up a map.
Splash Cash is an opportunity to add funds to a bracelet, which either has an account number or RFID capability and then the amount is subtracted when purchases are made by the wearer.  Schlitterbahn advertises this as a convenience so that you don’t have to carry cash or cards with you. (I also wonder how much “Splash Cash” isn’t spent down to the exact amount.)  We did not take advantage of Splash Cash.

The boy enjoying lunch at the edge of the water.
Coolers are allowed inside the park and will be checked after tickets are purchased for glass and alcoholic beverages.  We packed drinks, lunch, and snacks, which meant there was no need for Splash Cash. 

Tubes are also free on all of the attractions and so is parking!  Bonus!

Now for the watery fun. . .

Schlitterbahn, as of right now, has a two sections—one that includes the wave pool, Torrent River, slides including Wolfpack, the Storm Blaster, Raging River, and Kinder Haven.  Another area includes the Cabanas, Boogie Bay, BoogieBahn, another set of slides including the Twister, King Kaw, Mighty Mo and Kristal River.  You can literally float from one attraction to another, although turns can be tricky.  Slides do require exiting, accept for the Storm Blaster, which allows you to wait in your tube and then be transported up the slide via conveyer belt.

Our area at Boogie Bay.  Check out the empty seats at lunchtime.
The Sunday we went to the park, we arrived around 10:45 am and the park had opened at 10:00am.  There is quite a walk from the parking lot down the hill to the ticket center which includes restrooms, a shop, and lockers.  There is another trek from there to the water park itself.  Most people then find the closest spot which is near the wave pool or Kinder Haven, and those areas were quite crowded.  We kept walking past the Cabanas which are reserved, to Boogie Bay and had no trouble finding lounge chairs under an umbrella.  Another area for guests just past BoogieBahn was human free for most of the day and there is another area past that which is a part of the King Kaw river that no one had found.  When we asked the staff person checking our cooler about finding a spot at Boogie Bay they agreed and said, “No one makes it down there” which was great news!  While we were in the park, we had no idea how many people were there.  It wasn’t until we went to the parking lot later and found it full to over flowing that we realized how many people were there, but it sure didn’t feel that way.  So know that even though the parking lot is full, there is still plenty of room at the water park.


Another area that had limited human contact during the day.


We had great access to the entrance to King Kaw from our spot at Boogie Bay.  So we grabbed tubes and headed to the "transportainment" system.

 This is one of the conveyor belts that transports guests. Don't worry about a huge drop off on the other end, as the conveyor gently deposits guests on the other side.

 While floating on the various water ways that flow one right into another, there are signs to indicate where you are going,  your choices, and at times, there are even lanes in the water.




 The giant corkscrew shown below is what sweeps up the water to form the waves in the Torrent River.  Waves are released every few seconds and continue throughout the Torrent River until they are released on in the wave pool area--Torrent Beach.



This is where the waves are released.  You can see on the sides how far up the waves go if you look for the wet areas.  This was fun.  Though I don't think I would want to be a lifeguard perched high on the wall.  I asked if they had to be careful when they jumped in, as the depth of the river isn't very deep.  They told me they could only jump in if a wave was going by.  Hmm. . .

 You can see how crowded Torrent Beach can be.  The wave pool is pictured below.


 Kinder Haven offers water play for the little ones.  Of course, swim diapers are required.


 The slides of the pirate ship exit near Henry's Hideout, which is the swim up bar.  Oh, this may be the place Splash Cash is needed.



 Life jackets are free for guests.  There are restaurants and shops located across from Kinder Haven.  Restrooms are also here.  Speaking of restrooms, they were a big disappointment.  It was a surprise to see the park so clean and the bathrooms, not so much.  Ventilation is a big issue as they offer shower facilities and changing facilities. 
Cabana Village offers several cabana rentals, all of which are in this area and can accommodate up to 6 guests each.  While the Cabanas are along a river, there is not direct access, so guests had to leave and walk either to Kristel Beach or Boogie Bay to gain water access. 

Here's the husband when we finally found the Mighty Mo.  It was one of our favorites but so hard to find.  Signage was not the best and only if you were headed to the mountain of slides you might find the entrance.  Be sure to look for the Mighty Mo and ask if you can't find it.

 There are directional signs throughout along with carved characters.  I asked a staff member if there was a story behind the carvings and was told they didn't know.  So, if you find out there is a story, please let us know.

 While Schlitterbahn boasts BoogieBahn as the only surf ride in Kansas City, it was not operational on the day we were there.  Something about equipment not working and either they could operate BoogieBahn or King Kaw, but not both.  There was no discount in admission due to this feature being closed.



This yet to be completed structure is Verrict, the world's tallest water slide.  It was supposed to be open yet this summer, but we met some of the builders while floating on one of the rivers who told us they are behind.  I asked one of the staff if had been tested and they said it would be tested after it opened.  It just looked dangerous to us. . . but we will see!

The husband and I shared a tube and used the conveyor system.  There were no worries about weight limits, but there are some on the slides.

 The boy's favorite of the day was the Storm Blaster which is a water slide the propels guests up and down with water, similar to Crush-n-Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World.


We had a great day and left the park about 4:00 pm or so.  Guests were still streaming in as there is an "after 3:00 pm" ticket.

If I had to choose between Schlitterbahn and Adventure Bay in Des Moines, Schlitterbahn would win hands down.  Just comparing ticket prices, Adventure Bay comes out ahead, but when you add on the fact that you can bring a cooler into Schlitterbahn, and both parking and tubes are free--both of which require payment at Adventure Bay, a day at Schlitterbahn costs less!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the photos of the pirate ship! Looks like one for Captain Flint and I to snatch. "Captain Flint?" you ask. We be (Kansas) PiratesAndParrots.com And on Facebook, Captain Flint

    ReplyDelete