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Headquarters New Braunfels, Texas
Area served Texas
Schlitterbahn is a family-owned and operated company based in New Braunfels, TX. Schlitterbahn began its first park, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, in 1979. Since then Schlitterbahn has developed three waterparks located in Texas and one in Kansas City, Kansas.
Schlitterbahn Waterparks are summer seasonal parks. They operate typically from late-April to mid-September. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, which opened in 2006 has one indoor section that has limited operation during the Fall and Winter seasons.
The name Schlitterbahn is a made up German word loosely translated as "slippery road".
History and development
Once a river accommodation called, "Landa Resort" Schlitterbahn began as a couple of slides meant to entertain resort guests. By the early 1990s, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort stretched over 65 acres (260,000 m2) and featured hundreds of resort rooms, dozens of water slides, kids' water playgrounds and miles of inner tube chutes.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort in New Braunfels is the reigning winner of the Golden Ticket Award for Best Waterpark and has been since 1998.
By 1996, Schlitterbahn had achieved national recognition when it was voted the nation's number one waterpark by the readers of Inside Track magazine.
The Master Blaster uphill water coaster has been the Golden Ticket winner for Best Water Attraction from 1998–2002 and from 2004-2009.
Blaster Technology was invented at Schlitterbahn and is now used at waterparks all over the world.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort in New Braunfels, Texas, originally opened in 1979 with four water slides, is built along the cool spring-fed waters of the Comal River. Bob and Billye Henry purchased 40 acres (16 hectares) on the Comal River called Landa Resort in the 1930s. They slowly added the water recreation that is now known as Schlitterbahn West. In 1991, the Henrys bought another 25 acre (10 ha) piece of property known as Camp Warnecke and transformed it into Schlitterbahn East. The two parts of the park are separated by several city blocks with free parking available at both locations and a free shuttle between the two areas.
Schlitterbahn West is better known as the Original Schlitterbahn and is home to the park's signature German-inspired tower. This section of the park has a decidedly German theme, paying homage to its German ancestors. The most popular rides in this section are the spring-fed tube chutes like the Raging River Tube Chute, the Hillside Tube Chute, and Whitewater Tube Chute.
Schlitterbahn East is further divided into two themed areas; Surfenburg, built in 1991, and Blastenhoff, built in 1996. In 1994, Schlitterbahn opened the first ever uphill water ride, known as the Dragon Blaster. Since then, they have added several other uphill water coasters, the Master Blaster and the Family Blaster. The Master Blaster in particular has often been voted as the best water ride in the world by travel publications and is frequently mentioned on the Travel Channel as such.
In addition to these water coasters, the New Braunfels park now boasts over 3 miles (5 km) of inner tube rides, 7 water playgrounds for children, 17 water slides, 9 tube chutes, and the world's first surfing machine (Boogie Bahn, which is used by both professionals and casual visitors).
One of Schlitterbahn's most defining features is the park's water source. All the water used in the Original section of the park, Schlitterbahn West, is pumped from the Comal River that flows along the park's southern boundary. The water is filtered and cleaned and after use is released back into the river. No chemicals are used in the cleaning process so as to maintain the river's pristine state.
Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark
In 2001, the 15-acre (61,000 m2) park (6 ha) Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark opened in South Padre Island, Texas.
Schlitterbahn Beach was the second waterpark in the Schlitterbahn family. It is located between the dunes and wetlands on South Padre Island. It is accessible from Padre Boulevard and via a footbridge from the beach.
The entire site is approximately 26 acres (110,000 m2) and the waterpark covers about 15 acres (61,000 m2) with approximately seven acres of parking – all designed around nearly four acres of protected wetlands. The park includes 11 attractions, and 13 water slides.
The centerpiece of the park is a highly themed, five-story Sand Castle with six turrets connected by ramps, stairs and netclimbs. The Sand Castle was named the Best New Kid’s Ride/Attraction by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions.
Another central feature of the park is the Boogie Bahn2 where guests try their skills during the day and the Schlitterbahn Surf Team performs after park hours. Sea Trek is an underwater helmet diving experience were guests can view the ocean without ever leaving the park. The park also features a wave pool, five beaches, sand volleyball courts, and the Transportainment river system.
Transportainment [transportation + sport + entertainment = Transportainment®]
This park features the first installation of the Transportainment river system that transports guests around the park on water. The attraction is designed to minimize the time park guests spend standing in lines.
Shrimp Haus™ Full-Service Restaurant The Shrimp Haus is adjacent to the waterpark and is open year-round with beach-to-bay views. During the waterpark's season, guests can have a front-row seat from terraces overlooking the park's Boogie Bahn surf machine.
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island
A third Schlitterbahn park, the 26-acre (110,000 m2) Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, was originally scheduled to open in Galveston, Texas in May 2005; but its opening was delayed due to a fire in the hangar where all the construction equipment was located. The Galveston park officially opened its indoor Wasserfest section on March 12, 2006. The first summer section, Surfenburg, opened on April 22, 2006 and the final part of the park, Blastenhoff, opened in Summer 2007. The park will be open year-round, with the indoor Wasserfest section open in the winter season and all three sections open in the summer. In September 2008, the park suffered some water damage to its buildings after hurricane Ike, forcing it to close for several months for repairs. The park opened again in March 2009. Guests that visit the park will see no evidence that damage to buildings ever occurred other than some signs informing them where the hurricane Ike water level was. For the 2009 summer season, the park has added a new Dreyer's Sweet Shop and complimentary wi-fi services in the park.
During the summer season, late April–September, the park features more than 30 attractions, including high speed body slides, rivers, uphill coasters, tube chutes, family raft slides, kid's playgrounds, and a man-made surfing wave.
During the heated indoor season, October–mid-April, the Wasserfest area of the park is enclosed and features a dozen heated attractions. (Both the air and water are heated to at least 80 degrees.) The 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) Wasserfest area is the world's first convertible waterpark and has been ranked the #1 Indoor Waterpark in the World by Amusement Today.
Like all the Schlitterbahn Waterparks, guests can bring in their own coolers (glass and alcohol are prohibited.) Parking, lifejackets, and tubes are always free.
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is the largest waterpark in the Houston area.
Both the South Padre Island and the Galveston parks feature "Transportainment" river systems, which allow visitors to navigate most of the park without having to leave the water.
Schlitterbahn Vacation Village
Schlitterbahn Vacation Village, in Kansas City, Kansas is Schlitterbahn's first park outside the state of Texas. The project has an estimated cost of $750 million. The site is a 370-acre (1.5 km2) tract near Village West in Kansas City, Kansas. It is only a few blocks away from the Kansas Speedway. Groundbreaking was at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 18, 2007. The outdoor waterpark opened during the 2009 summer season. The Vacation Village will include Schlitterbahn Water Resort, "Interactive Marine Park," Riverwalk, and Lodging.
When complete, the resort will be a year-round retail and attractions destination with more than 4 miles (6.4 km) of interconnected rivers that carry guests between cabins, treehauses, a full-services hotel, a waterpark and the Riverwalk with destination shopping, dining and other entertainment.
Projects In Development
Schlitterbahn Cedar Park
In late January 2010, Schlitterbahn announced their next development: a waterpark, boutique hotel, and conference center to be located in Cedar Park, Texas. The first phase of this new complex is scheduled to open in summer 2012. The new entertainment resort will have retail space and restaurants, and eventually occupy 95 acres (380,000 m2).
Schlitterbahn Fort Lauderdale Resort
In June 2010, Schlitterbahn announced that a new waterpark would be built in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The park would consist of giant river systems where visitors can ride inner tubes or swim between water slides, wave pools, downhill rapids and beaches. Treehouse-style hotel rooms would surround the resort. A computer-controlled, water-based conveyor system would run throughout the park. There would be artificial wave pools, pool-to-pool chutes and a network of rapids that is described as the "thrill of a rollercoaster with the fun of a water slide." There would be five pools for young children and two pools dedicated to volleyball and basketball.
Floods and Hurricanes
All Schlitterbahn locations are open to the elements and thus open to natural disasters. Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels has been through three major floods in recent history. 1998, 2002 and 2010 all saw the closing for at least a few days of most attractions due to flooding.
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island had to evacuated during the approach of Hurricane Rita in 2005. The waterpark was affected along with the rest of Galveston Island when Hurricane Ike emerged in 2008.
Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark on South Padre Island was closed due to the approach of Hurricane Alex in the summer of 2010. However Hurricane Dolly in 2008 was one of the most notable storms to date to effect South Padre Island.