Kalahari is basically like Las Vegas for kids. Water parks, sugar, shopping for stuffed animals, arcades, and rides are all under one roof. So, when Kalahari Round Rock opened, we had to visit. Visiting Kalahari Round Rock has now become a birthday tradition for our family. Instead of throwing a party, we pack up and head to Kalahari. At this point, I consider myself a seasoned Kalahari visitor. So, I’m dumping my tips and pictures here in hopes of making your first trip a massive success without completely breaking the bank.
When to Visit?
You will save money if you can be flexible about your visit to Kalahari Round Rock. As you would expect, peak times and weekends are more expensive. For example, we’ve paid $200-300 for a Thursday in February. But that same room could cost double that on the weekend in the summer. And, the farther in advance you book your room, the more savings you will receive, up to 25%, according to their website. So, think about when your kids have a random day off from school, and you could get out of work or your other responsibilities. If you must go during peak times, that’s okay. Try to book as far in advance as you can and follow some of the other tips I share below to save money while you are there. And, if you are a military or first responder family like us, click here for more on the Kalahari Salutes discount program. You deserve it.
How Long to Stay?
Here is my best cost-saving tip! Most families can get the whole Kalahari Round Rock experience by only staying one night. Let me explain. You can enter the hotel and amenities as early as 10 am on your arrival day. Your room will not be ready for check-in (typically), but you can grab your bracelets and gain full access to all the activities Kalahari Round Rock offers. When your room is ready, you’ll get a text, and those bracelets you wear will act as your room keys for the remainder of your stay.
In the meantime, we start our day at the water park and play until the kids are tired or it closes, whatever comes first (water park hours are 10 am to 8 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to 9 pm on Friday and Saturday). We spend that evening or the following day (or both) at Tom Foolery, playing games, riding rides, and doing the ropes course. After that, we check out and head back to the water park until the boys feel like leaving. We all log 3-4 hours at the arcade and 10+ hours at the waterpark. One night is plenty for us!
Kalahari Water Park-Tips & Tricks
According to their website, Kalahari Round Rock is the largest indoor water park in the United States, and they have an outdoor park on-site too. My favorite part is they have water attractions for all ages:
- Little Ones: Coral Cove, Lazy River, Splashdown Safari, Tikos’ Watering Hole, Wave Pool
- Bigger Kids: Cheetah Race, Lazy River, Lost Lagoon, Rippling Rhino, Splashdown Safari, Swahili Swirl, Wave Pool, Zig Zag Zebra
- Tweens/Teens: Barrelling Baboon, Cheetah Race, Florider, Kenya Korkscrew, Lazy River, Lost Lagoon, Rippling Rhino, Sahara Sidewinders, Screaming Hyena, Serengeti Spinner, Stingray, Swahili Swirl, Tanzanian Twister, The Smoke That Thunders, Wave Pool, Wild Wildebeest, Zig Zag Zebra, Dungeons of Hout Bay
- Grown-ups: All of the above plus the Grotto Swim Up Bar!
The waterpark is heated and usually pretty warm. If it’s a nice day, there is a kid and adult-friendly, smaller water park outside as well. They also have 2 indoor/outdoor hot tubs. Click here for a map of the water attractions at Kalahari Round Rock.
Kalahari Water Park-Need To Know
Here are a couple of other things we’ve learned from our visits to the park:
- Height matters. Forty-two inches is generally the minimum height for most of the bigger rides (with an adult). Sometimes kids have to be 48 inches to ride or ride without an adult.
- Kids under 48 inches are required to wear a life jacket, and Kalahari provides those on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- The water park offers towels for guests, but make sure to return them, or they will charge you per towel.
- Cabanas are available. We rented one on our first trip. Though it was nice to have our own dedicated space, locker, server, etc., I’m not sure it’s worth the cost. On all our other trips, we grabbed a table and locker. Lockers are $10-25 for the day and use a keypad and code (no key).
- Go ahead and purchase the reusable elephant water bottles for your kids. After the initial investment, refills are free or discounted. You will make your money back.
- It’s bar food at the pool (they serve adult beverages, too!). So, plan if you have any food allergies or restrictions. I generally go with the flow and try to eat a healthy dinner. They have a bean burger at the water park that isn’t too bad!
Tom Foolery-What To Expect
Expect your kids to bankrupt you here. Ha! My only tips are to limit your time here and to bundle deals when possible. Also, think about what experiences your kids want to do. For example, we only have one kid who likes the rides and ropes course. The other is happy playing games. So we only pay for one pass to those attractions. Also, spending more usually unlocks bonus points when you load your play cards. So, I’d set a budget and then load the card with that, so you take advantage of the spend more, get more points options. The points don’t expire, so keep your cards for future visits.
Everyone can enjoy the arcade games. And, like the water park, Tom Foolery has options for all ages:
- Little Ones: Cave of Mirrors, Tarantok Base Camp (low ropes course), The Puppy Pulsar
- Bigger Kids: Cave of Mirrors, Tarntok Base Camp and Tarantok Rise (high ropes course and zip lines), Scream’n Centipede, The Cliffs of Foolsanity, The Puppy Pulsar, XD Dark Ride
- Teens/Tweens: Maximum Foolocity, Cave of Mirrors,Tarantok Rise, Scream’n Centipede, The Cliffs of Foolsanity, XD Dark Ride
- Grown Ups: Maximum Foolocity, Cave of Mirrors,Tarantok Rise, The Cliffs of Foolsanity, XD Dark Ride
Tom Foolery-Tips & Tricks
The arcade games are included with your Kalahari Round Rock stay for anyone with a wristband. The rides require an extra pass available for purchase. But, adults needed to accompany a smaller childer can ride free. For the ropes course of climbing activities, purchase a separate card or use the points you already have, whatever is a better value.
Beware, there are a ton of claw games! We’ve had good luck with some, not too much with others. Our best haul is with the Croc jibbitz machine or the small squishy type stuff. Both were over by the Cave of Mirrors on our last visit. Regarding tickets, the two games where you shoot water at a target and race (on the left as you walk to the water park) have been best for us. Play them with one other adult and let someone win every time. Tickets for days!
Where to Eat at Kalahari Round Rock?
Here’s what we do every time. Eat off the property before arrival. We drive up from New Braunfels and grab lunch at Hat Creek Burger Co across the road. I’m a sucker for a restaurant with a playground, and Hat Creek has many options and quick service. So, we eat and play until noon and avoid a more expensive meal on the property. Usually, when we arrive at Kalahari Round Rock, our room is ready, and we can dump our stuff and then hit the water park.
We then grab a snack at the waterpark and dinner at B Lux Grill & Bar. You can also grab a pizza and gelato, call for room service, or drive off the property for dinner at one of the many nearby restaurants. And let’s not forget that most kids don’t care what they eat. I pack cereal cups, mac n’ cheese, milk, and a whole bag of snacks for them since there is a fridge and microwave in every room. Often, this is enough for them, and we only have to grab food for mom and dad. We always make a stop (or 2) at The Last Bite for candy and ice cream.
There are great signature restaurants if you desire more of a sit-down meal experience at Kalahari Round Rock. I recommend bringing a grandma with you (or a babysitter or older kid), so you can sneak away for a nice dinner. Here is a complete list of all the restaurants at Kalahari Round Rock.
Kalahari Round Rock for Adults?
Like any good kids’ place, Kalahari also caters to adult caregivers. True story, some of my best girlfriends and I are considering a night at Kalahari without the kids. Here’s why:
- The rooms are spacious, clean, and modern. In other words, it doesn’t feel like a kid’s park.
- The waterpark and arcade are fun for adults too. There’s even an adults-only swim-up bar.
- Signature restaurants: Double Cut Steak House, Sortino’s Italian Kitchen, Cinco Niños, B-Lux Grill & Bar. Click here for the live entertainment schedule.
- Consider visiting during the annual wine festival or when the Amatuli shops are open.
- The full-service spa opens daily.
Our Kids Love Kalahari Round Rock
I hope you found this information helpful in planning a trip to Kalahari. As we take more trips, I’ll update this blog post. Until then, reach out with any questions I didn’t already answer. Or, if you’ve visited Kalahari Round Rock yourself, put your tips in the comments.