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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions: A Review

If you live in the Midwest, there’s a good chance you know the Wisconsin Dells and the resorts it includes. Resorts such as Wilderness, Great Wolf Lodge (formerly Key Lime Cove), and Kalahari. While the other two resorts have a forest theme, the Kalahari is more of an African Safari-themed resort with an elephant as its symbol and mascot. Even though this resort is geared towards children, it can be fun for the whole family or just the adults. The resort has gone cashless which means not only do they only accept cards, they have found a way to make your resort wristbands your way to pay for anything. The Elephant symbol on your wrist can be used to change to your room, get into the waterpark, and possibly get onto any ride. Areas of entertainment here include the Indoor Waterpark, Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park, Cinco Niños and Brew Pub, AMC Cinema, and Spa Kalahari & Salon.

Indoor Waterpark

Wisconsin’s Largest Indoor Waterpark is a must-see during your stay. Voted #1 best indoor waterpark, the park is included during your entire stay along with access before check-in and after check-out.

To ensure the safety of your items, without purchasing a cabana, there are cheap, personal lockers next to their all-inclusive locker rooms. However, if a cabana is what you’re looking for, then they have a variety of options around the water, some including your own private pool or hot tub. Even without a cabana, you can still enjoy the food of the waterpark with its two food and snack stands and its two bars (with 21-and-over outside areas to get away from the kids). Your average waterpark is packed with lines for the ride that last longer than actually being on the slides, but at the Kalahari, the lines are either short or fast-moving so you can be in and out to enjoy the next waterslide. With many unique rides, it’s hard to choose. Rides include the Master Blaster, a two-person water slide that imitates a roller coaster. Victoria Falls is a two to four-person slide with a circular tube that follows a wide yellow slide. Other multiplayer rides include the Rippling Rhino, a two to three-person ride that’s fast-paced on another long raft, and the Zig-Zag Zebra, a more tame ride that only allows two riders on a tandem tube. For a more thrilling, one-player adventure there are slides such as the Tanzanian Twister, a short slide with extreme water and air pressure that shoots you into a bowl until you drop 6 feet into a deep pool of water with no tube. Then there’s the Elephant’s Trunk, a very long and dark one-person, no-tube slide that leads you in circles until you reach the end. Just like any waterpark, this one has a lazy river and a wave pool—the two connect actually. Unlike any waterpark, the Kalahari has a surfing simulator where each rider gets one minute on a simulated wave with rushing water and a boogie board. The most common experience at this waterpark, however, is unattended and rude children. No parent at this waterpark watches their own children so beware of staring, cutting, screaming, and horseplay. No matter the time of day, this area is booming with hundreds of families enjoying the slides and splashing through the multiple water jungle gyms.

Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park

Tom Foolery’s is a large indoor amusement park and arcade. This place is an endless money hole of fun. Purchasing “Ride Wristbands” during the purchase of your stay is the best decision you will make for the whole trip. A Ride Wristband is a version of the normal resort wristband that allows you to get free access to any attraction at Tom Foolery’s as many times as you want. Attractions such as a Ferris wheel, Laser tag, go-karts, rock climbing walls, a 3-story ropes course and zip-line, mini golf, a drop tower, and a 3D video game experience. In Tom Foolery’s, you can purchase a game card and put funds on it to play any of the many arcade games mixed into this amusement park. With the tickets and points you win from the arcade, you can go to the shop and pick out items to exchange for tickets. My advice for this area, from personal experience, is to go for the jackpots (they’re made for kids so it’s easy), purchase a Ride Wristband with your stay, and do not wear warm clothes. Tom Foolery’s is an awesome way to kill a couple of hours while draining all the money from your wallet. Upstairs, however, is a bowling alley that includes darts, pool, and ax throwing. Although the energy up there is enjoyable, bowling is not. Not much of this resort breaks down, however bowling is too expensive for the alley to break down after each turn. Leaving halfway through your game is highly recommended. 

Cinco Niños and Brew Pub

Once Tom Foolery’s gets you exhausted enough, you can head right outside to the Brew Pub to enjoy delicious food, a warm atmosphere, and decadent milkshakes. The service is good now and then but no matter where you go in the Kalahari, the workers will be miserable and show you that. However, don’t let this treatment steer you away from the mouth-watering food and towering specialty milkshakes. Open until 11pm, the Brew Pub is a great place to cool down after hours in the Foolery, which tends to get quite warm inside.

If you wake up hungry before 11:30am, the Mexican restaurant outside of the waterpark serves the tastiest breakfast buffet with good service and more food than you can even pick from. An entire room dedicated to expertly made breakfast food along with a separate buffet for more items and an omelet bar. Afterward, you can head to the waterpark and splash around for a couple of hours before returning right back to Cinco Niños for a delicious and authentic Mexican lunch—quite unexpected in Wisconsin. 

With the AMC theater playing all the exciting new movies and the Spa Kalahari & Salon treating stressed-out parents whose kids are at the Build-a-Bear next door, this could be the perfect getaway for you. The hotel includes cozy beds, balconies, and daily room service, along with a TV, free wifi, and a sky bridge connecting you to the rest of the park if you’re staying in their farthest building. Every lobby and lounge area makes you feel like you’re in a tropical resort in Africa and not at a children’s resort in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

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