Feature Article - September 2010
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Fun For The Whole Family

Waterpark Options for All Ages

By Dawn Klingensmith

During their brief stay last year at Great Wolf Lodge, the Gerwens took part in their share of "dry" activities, which perhaps goes to show how valuable these offerings are for both the park and guests looking to spend quality time with family.

"We participated in a 'Wolf Walk' that the girls enjoyed. The tour guide used the pictures on the walls in the grand lobby to talk about wildlife," Gerwen said. "We also played a live-action adventure game where participants use wands to complete quests throughout the hotel. We all enjoyed doing this together as a family."

(There's a water-based questing game on the market, as well, in which an "aqua glove" is used instead of a wand.)

There was a tech space geared for teens that the Gerwens had no use for, nor did Tracy or Paul bother with the fitness room. Due to time constraints, they did not participate in story times or craft activities or play in the arcade. "We didn't make time for that because the girls were having fun with other activities," Gerwen explained.

In fact, "There was something to do almost every minute we were awake."

The hotel had bunk beds recessed into cubbies with animals on the walls, "so the girls even had fun playing in the room," Gerwen continued. "There is so much to do in the water, as well as out, that a guest doesn't necessarily have to love waterparks to have a good time. I think this park does a very good job of providing a variety of opportunities for a wide range of ages, and for me it was fun just to see the girls having a good time."

Jeff said the same of Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. From the rides to the concessions, "They gear things to adults on down," he said, adding that there's a centrally located swim-up bar that serves beer.

Schlitterbahn Offers the Whole Shebang

Bundled Integrated Synergy, or BIS, is what Schlitterbahn Waterparks calls the combination of wet and dry elements at its four facilities—three in Texas and one in Kansas City, Kan.

This business model consists of retail, entertainment and lodging, all owned by one group at the top. The benefit from a business perspective is that discounts can be offered in one area and made up for elsewhere, and marketing can be scaled back in one area and ramped up in another, all for the benefit of a shared bottom line. From a consumer perspective, it ensures guests of all ages can stay happily occupied.