Earlier this summer, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Sandusky unveiled some new features: Bugs Burrow, an outdoor waterplay area designed especially for the littlest water lovers to splash and play; signature restaurant B-Lux Grill & Bar; and a new spa Float Experience, which allows guests to get away from it all and float in a gravity defying, sensory-free solution of water and Epsom salt for total relaxation.
I’d been to Kalahari before, but it was several years ago and my husband and I had yet to take a visit with our sons, ages 2 and 5. So when Kalahari extended a media invitation, I was thrilled for the opportunity.
First off, the massive size of the resort and its theme and decor were enough to excite our kids. They both opted to skip their morning snack and get started splashing right away (passing on snacks is a BIG deal for our hearty eaters).
We started by heading outside to Zambezi Water Park to check out Bugs Burrow, which gives visitors the feeling that they’ve been shrunk down to the size of an insect, with giant, colorful bugs and flowers dotted between the area’s nine slides and and eight over-water swings. There’s a good variety of slides — tubes, straight, curved, etc. — to keep things interesting for adventure-seeking young children. (Kids must be 48 inches tall and under to ride the slides; they must be able to walk up the stairs and slide down unassisted.) The swings and fountains kept our cautious 2-year-old entertained while big brother explored. One thing I liked about Bugs Burrow is that the water is a little deeper at the bottom of the slides, so I felt this area is a good transition to the larger water slides Kalahari offers from the other kid areas with mats and very little water upon reaching the bottom of a slide. Also outside, we spent time in the Kids Safari Pool, Lagoon Pool and a splash pad area.
Our time at the resort was split evenly between the outdoor and indoor attractions. Inside, our 2-year-old loved Coral Cove and Kid’s Safari, while our 5-year-old was slightly more adventurous in the Wave Pool and sitting on mom or dad’s lap in the Lazy River (my personal favorite). Neither of our kids are swimmers yet, and because they are under 48 inches tall, they were required to wear life vests, which Kalahari offers its guests; this was an added level of safety that I appreciated.
For lunch, we tried B-Lux Grill & Bar, which offers next-level burgers and handcrafted milkshakes. While the menu isn’t huge, it offers plenty of variety to keep kids and adults happy. My husband and I both opted for burgers, while the boys chose mac & cheese and pizza. Kids meals include a side and drink for $7. The portions were large, so we didn’t indulge in dessert or one of the mega-milkshakes (one of which comes topped with a whole donut!), but my goal is to save room next time.
As Ohio’s largest indoor waterpark, the fun will continue year-round for most attractions. Bugs Burrow, and the outdoor Zambezi Water Park as a whole, will close after Labor Day and reopen next Memorial Day.
Note: Kalahari offers thrills for adults and adventure-seeking older children, but due to the ages of our kids, I didn’t experience any of that that on this visit. The resort also offers tons of non-water family activities, including an animal park, laser tag, arcade, 7-D motion theater, mini golf, mini bowling, and more.