Schlitterbahn New Braunfels was voted the World’s Best Waterpark in 2015, but regardless of this amazing award, our very own Do512 Family Content Manager had never been in all of her many years living in Austin. So we sent her and her family down to this HUGE park (only about 1 hour south of Austin), to try it out. Prior to her visit, she admitted that she was “not a big fan” of waterparks, but when she came back from this adventure, she changed her tune. Beaming with compliments about this “best ever” experience, she wanted to share her top 10 reasons that everyone should check it out. So here you go…
— Beautiful Setting: One of the things that really stood out right away was how pretty the surroundings are at Schlitterbahn. This is not some giant theme park taking up miles and miles of concrete way out in the middle of nowhere. It’s located on the banks of the spring-fed Comal River with naturally landscaped grounds of hundred-year-old oak, cedar, and cypress trees. And the water is COLD in much of the park because it’s coming from this river. So refreshing!
— 4 Parks with 1 Admission: With 4 areas of Schlitterbahn, including Tubenbach, Surfenburg, Blastenoff, and the Original Schlitterbahn, there is SO MUCH to do. We spent a long time in the Original park, appreciating the classics before hopping aboard the complimentary tram to head to all the newer stuff, but the shady trees in the older park just felt so nice and peaceful. And when we got home, 2 out of 3 of my kids said that the Hillside Tube Chute in the Original park was their favorite thing from the whole day. So they seemed to have some fondness for the older park, too. When we got to the newer side, the kids went NUTS. The youngest LOVED the Kiddie Coast and the Krystal River, and the bigger kids were huge fans of Hans Hideout among many other things.
— Excitement for Thrill Seekers: Each section of the park has something for adults or teens & tweens that are looking for some excitement. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard about the Black Knight today. But the Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride, the Dragon’s Revenge and so many tube chutes will have your adventurous family members quite happy.
— Easy Fun for Non-Thrill Seekers: Looking for some tame fun? There’s plenty of it! We loved the Hang Ten Activity Pool, the Krystal River, the Lava Lagoon, the Lagoon Activity Pool, just to name a few things.
— Terrific for Toddlers & Young Kids: If you’re wondering if your kids are too young for a visit to Schlitterbahn, I say “no way”. I wish I would have taken my toddlers here because there are so many fun spots for the little ones (under 48 inches). Check out the Pollywog Kiddie Park, Schatze’s Central Park for fun things like a walk-through car wash, the pirate ship at Kinderhaven, and the super amazing Kiddie Coast that includes a pirate ship, a yellow submarine, water cannons and a friendly octopus that lets kids slide down his arms.
— Lazy Rivers: While all of these tubing experiences are not exactly “lazy”, what could be better than floating along on a hot summer day in an inner tube? At Schlitterbahn you can do this is so many different ways — on the Congo River Expedition or Torrent River where you’re in a wave pool but in river form, or The Falls, the world’s longest waterpark ride that takes you from one park to another and back around.
— Shade: In every section of the park, there is plenty of shade! Either natural from the trees or from giant umbrellas, there is no shortage of places to sit without being in the blazing hot sun. Two thumbs up for this!
— Lines Are Not Too Long: While it’s true that we went mid-week, we were so surprised how the lines were so short. We imagine they are longer on weekends, of course, but because the park is so huge, it seems like people are spread out all over the place and not just rushing to get to the same ride, slide, chute, etc.
— Pack Your Own Food & Drink: Besides the admission for tickets, we literally did not spend one single dollar at the park! This is a big deal. There are so many events, amusement parks, etc. where we spend a fortune on food, treats, etc. Don’t get me wrong — there is food aplenty in the park for purchase. But if you choose to pack your own picnic, you are welcome to bring in a cooler as long as it does not contain glass or alcoholic beverages.
— Free Parking: Like the food and drink note above, I can’t stand it when you get somewhere only to find out you have to pay $10, $15, $20 just to park your car. Not so at Schlitterbahn. No fees for parking make the cost of admission much sweeter.
Tips for When You Go: My family had such a wonderful time, we are literally looking at the calendar to figure out when we can go again. No joke. It was a blast for all ages. I do have a few tiny words of advice for anyone going for their first time, like me:
- Study the map & the rides before you go. We spent a lot of time just winging it, which was fine and fun, but we ran out of time quickly and we could have prioritized our visit much better.
- Plan on a whole day or maybe 2 days. As noted above, we did not allow for enough time to do and see it all. Get there when the park opens (10 a.m.) and plan to stay all day or opt for a 2-day or season pass.
- Wear water shoes. We saw many folks getting onto tube rides with their flip flops only to have to hold on to them as they went on their way. We also saw many people burning the bottoms of their feet because they opted to go without shoes at all. The smartest of the crowd were wearing water shoes that would stay put. We took note of that for our next visit.
- Lockers or no lockers? These are available for your small items (keys, phones, wallets, purses, etc.) but we noticed that everyone was simply placing their bags, coolers, towels, etc. on tables. I cannot guarantee that this is the safest route, but we decided to go for it, and take the “when in Rome” attitude just leaving things in one spot, and it worked out fine for us. If you choose to get a locker, they are $8 plus an extra $2 refundable deposit.
- Prepare your young kids for the unexpected on tube rides. When you start out, you might be side by side, but because of the force of the water current, you might get separated for a second. But let the kids know you’ll all meet at the end to save from any panic.
–> Park schedule: Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is open daily through August 28, 2016 at 10 a.m. but closing times vary during the season. Click here to view the calendar schedule.
–> Tickets: Click here to view a big list of ticket & pricing options. When you purchase tickets online you can take advantage of more savings. Also groups of 15 or more are eligible for group rates. The online one-day general admission price for adults is $50.99, and for kids ages 3-11 & seniors over 55, the online admission price is $38.99. Kids ages 2 & under are free.
–> Giveaway! We have a 4-pack of tickets to give away! Winner of these tickets can choose to use them anytime in the season except for these blackout dates: Saturday July 9, 16, 23, 30 and August 6, 13, 20. *Entering the giveaway will add you to the Do512 Family email list, where we let you know about the best Austin family events each week.
The giveaway has ended. Thanks to all who entered.