Schlitterbahn is the Perfect Destination for Affordable Summer Fun
Looking for a relaxing way to cool off and spend time with the family? Schlitterbahn is a possibility worth considering. Its well known slogan, the “hottest, coolest time in Texas,” is hardly an exaggeration. Water rides and slides for those of varying swimming abilities and physical condition, accommodations within the park, and free parking, life-jackets, and tubes make Schlitterbahn a fun destination for families. Featured many times on the Travel Channel, Schlitterbahn has received the Golden Ticket Award for best water park multiple times, and one of its featured rides, the Master Blaster, is consistently voted Best Water Ride in the World.
Schlitterbahn, often voted the “Best Water Park in the World,” is a family-owned business based in historical New Braunfels, Texas. Bob and Billye Henry opened the first Schlitterbahn in 1979 with four water slides on their New Braunfels property along the spring-fed Comal River. Later, the Henrys purchased more land near popular Camp Warnecke and opened another section, Schlitterbahn East. The older portion became known as Schlitterbahn West. The two areas are divided, but free parking and shuttles makes transportation between them easy. The park design and name evokes a sense of the history of New Braunfels, which was settled by Prince Solms and a group of Germans in the Nineteenth Century. The word “schlitterbahn” means “slippery road.” Today there are three Texas Schlitterbahn parks, located in New Braunfels, Galveston, and South Padre Island. There is also one in Kansas City, Kansas. Two more parks are under construction in Cedar Park, Texas and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Schlitterbahn has a number of themed areas and rides. Surfenburg is a beach area that contains “beach” attractions. Blastenhoff, on the other hand, has more “thrill-based” attractions. Schlitterbahn presented the world’s first uphill water ride, the Dragon Blaster, in 1994. Later, they added the Family Blaster and the Master Blaster. The Master Blaster has consistently been voted the World’s Best Water Ride, and has been featured on the Travel Channel. The attractions are rated on a four-grade system, with the lowest grade denoting rides that are suitable for the youngest children. Moderate ratings are for those who want to do more than splash in the water, but do not really want a heart pounding, thrill-a-minute adventure. These attractions typically have up to four feet of water, and are fun but not too adventurous. The highest grade rides are for strong swimmers in good physical condition who are seeking a bit of a thrill. Some attractions may vary from park to park.
The Family Blaster is an uphill water ride that is suitable for the entire family. The family rides together on a single, large tube. It is an uphill “water coaster,” so the family can enjoy a roller coaster experience in the water. Surfenburg also usually contains some “kid-friendly” splashing pools, a kiddie park, a hot tub, and a large beach area that fronts an enormous pool. There is also plenty of time for gentle tubing in a waterway surrounding the Surfenburg Area.
The Master Blaster is a six-story high water coaster that covers over 1000 feet. Not for the faint-hearted, it is one of the most popular attractions in the park. Blastenhoff also is where one can find the dark, enclosed Black Knight Tunnel Slides, where two people can share an inner tube and slide down in the dark. For a white water tubing experience, try the swirling waves of the Torrent Wave River. Adventurous families can try the Wolfpack Raft Slide, a downhill, swerving ride experienced in a single, large, circular raft. Blastenhoff also has some play areas for younger children.
Tube Chutes and Other Water Attractions
Of course, there are many tube chutes throughout the park that will appeal to people of all ages and abilities. Some of these are themed, such as the Congo River Expedition in New Braunfels. Others are quite strenuous, such as the Der Bahn speed slides, which send sliders over a cliff into the cool water below.
Lodging and Accommodations
Schlitterbahn Water Parks offer lodging and accommodations within the parks. Since prices may vary slightly, it is best to visit the website of the specific park for exact pricing. Each park also has a number of restaurants, but like most theme park restaurants, they are a little over-priced. Schlitterbahn, however, allows families to bring picnic food and drinks from outside into the park. This can save a lot of money. Glass containers and alcohol are not permitted. Some parks even have an area with boutiques and shopping. Overall, those who want the convenience of a restaurant can buy food in the park. Those who would prefer not to buy food can bring a picnic and enjoy it near the water.
The parks also have events that occur “off season.” The popular Galveston indoor activities are among the most frequented. During the winter, part of the Galveston park is enclosed and heated, so that the water-based fun can continue year round. In New Braunfels, there is a Hill Country Christmas event that includes carolers, “snow” and ice skating. The Christmas Shoppe, which is located in a beautifully restored old, German home, is open year round and stocks beautiful Christmas ornaments and decorations. There is still plenty to do at Schlitterbahn during the fall and winter. Check websites for specific events and information.
Pricing, Coupons, and Discounts
Like most theme parks, Schlitterbahn tickets are fairly expensive. Still, it is a good value comparatively speaking, because Schlitterbahn offers free parking and shuttles. Life jackets and tubes are also free. Furthermore, the fact that food and drinks are allowed into the park is also a money-saver. Prices may vary slightly from park to park. A Platinum Pass, which is good at any Texas Schlitterbahn, is available for $249.99.
•Children (ages 3 – 11)…..$99.99
•Seniors (ages 54 and up)…..$99.99
There are many coupons and discounts available for those diligent enough to seek them. First of all, it is possible to save $2.00 per ticket just by purchasing the tickets online at the Schlitterbahn website instead of at the gate. Also, visit websites like retailmenot.com and tjoos.com for coupon codes. Tourism websites often have printable coupons for area attractions, including Schlitterbahn. One doesn’t have to surf the web to find deals. Local magazines and tourist guides often contain Schlitterbahn coupons. There is even a Coca-Cola/Schlitterbahn promotion, and discounts are available on some Coke cans. There are deals out there for those who are willing to look.
Schlitterbahn is a premier water park and resort destination for those looking for fun in the water. With lodging and food available in the park, it is an easy way to spend a few days with the family. There are rides that will appeal to everyone. It really is the “hottest, coolest time in Texas.”