This guest post is by Allen Schowengerdt.
4:30 a.m. Kids wake up.
5:00 a.m. Kids back to bed after a struggle and a small bribe.
6:00 a.m. Kids awake again. It’s clear they’re not going back to bed.
6:30 a.m. We manage to make our way from under the covers, due largely to the automatic coffee pot we set the previous night.
Christmas morning, you ask? Nah. Only the biggest day of our summer vacation and our trek an hour south of Austin to New Braunfels and the greatest water park in the world: Schlitterbahn.
Getting up early wound up being a good thing. The early start let us go through our checklist of items to bring, which included our picnic, our swimming supplies including sunscreen, and some snacks for the trip there and back.
We like that Schlitterbahn lets visitors bring their own picnic items into the park, which helps save a bit of money and avoid another line or two. There are several restaurants and grills at the water park, with cheeseburgers, pizza, funnel cakes, and some fantastic BBQ, but bringing our own picnic is really the ticket. This lets each family member bring what they want to eat and drink, which is more helpful than you might realize when the only thing your four year-old daughter will eat is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The water park opens at 10 AM, so we left plenty of time to get there as the doors opened. Miss one minute of the day and your kids will never let you forget it, right? So we got there on time—no small miracle with kids—which means the day got a perfect start.
Whatever you know about water parks, leave it at the front gate. This place is mindboggling. For starters, parking is free, tubes are free, and lifejackets are free! Other places can totally ruin your day with how much they charge for these standard items. Free is good.
I won’t kid you about the lines being long on the weekends and around major holidays. They’re not unbearable, but if you choose a day in the middle of the week, you’ll be rewarded with quicker access to the most popular water features.
The water attractions at the original section of Schlitterbahn – New Braunfels are river-fed from the Comal River, which means the water is cold and unfiltered. It’s a brilliant design and an excellent melding of man and nature. It adds great charm to the place, and we don’t mind it at all. It’s also very refreshing on hot summer days and makes the rides feel like real white water rapids and river currents sweeping you downstream.
Most of the lines for rides are covered with canopies, which is way nicer than standing with the sun beating down on you while you wait for your turn. There are a lot of river attractions and tube rides. One of my favorite tube rides is the Black Knight at Blastenhoff. It’s totally blacked out, and every twist and turn sends you in unexpected directions. A total blast!
The newest river feature, The Falls, is the real deal. No, it’s better than the real deal; it’s super-duper awesome according to our little peanut butter sandwich eater.
The Falls is a genuine river-rafting experience, and I’m telling you it’s fun. It’s a 3,600-foot river filled with twist, turns, riverside attractions, rapids, waterfalls, and a pace that ranges from casual to exhilarating. Not too fast for our little one, who has the kind of fun that makes you smile as a parent, and not too slow for the older kids and adults. It’s terrific, really, and it’s a great way to spend time at Schlitterbahn.
The park is divided into three sections, which include the original Schlitterbahn West and two new areas, Surfenburg and Blastenhoff. We got to enjoy the newer side of the park the first day, and spent the second day enjoying the original park.
Did I forget to mention we spent two days? Well, it’s really the best way to do everything. There are many lodging options, including at the water park itself. With nearly 60,000 residents, New Braunfels is home to plenty of grocery stores, restaurants, and other things to do.
Whether you spend two or more days or just make a day trip, you and your family will have the time of your lives at Schlitterbahn. Plan accordingly, check ’em out online before you go, and set your sights on having one heck of a good time!
About the writer: Allen is a writer, marketer. His main interests are home and family safety. Allen is also an avid basketball and college football fan.
Photos courtesy of Schlitterbahn.com