How To Do Schlitterbahn: New Braunfels, Texas
If you are a water or theme park enthusiast, you have probably heard of Schlitterbahn. If you haven’t, it is time to get familiar.
Schlitterbahn, a German-inspired water park, is one of the biggest names in the world for pure unadulterated family fun. It has been on my radar since seeing it showcased on a travel-related TV show about 15 years ago, listing it as the best and biggest water park in the world.
I jumped at the chance to go to the flagship park when a press trip opportunity became available. I couldn’t wait to be a kid again and have the ultimate water park experience while visiting Schlitterbahn.
A long time ago, New Braunfels, Texas had a family water park. In 1979, the Henry family took over the park and renamed it Schlitterbahn, a German word which translates to “slippery road”. Ambitious plans and hard work of the entire family helped to put Schlitterbahn on the map, literally.
Some 50 years later, it has five locations, four in Texas and one in Kansas. The New Braunfels location remains their flagship location. The success was also contributed to the Henry family’s dedication to customer hospitality, which keeps families coming back year after year.
Schlitterbahn is home to many water park industry firsts, including uphill water slides and surf rider technology.
Incredible Lodging Choices
There is lodging for every budget at Schlitterbahn, including tree haus luxury suites, trendy lofts, cabins, and condos. Guests can save money by purchasing a park ticket and lodging package. The plethora of resort activities includes scavenger hunts, campfires, board and yard games, and movies. Extended ride times for the park are also included in your Schlitterbahn accommodations, as well as free Wi-Fi.
I stayed at the Schlitterbahn lofts, super luxurious two-bedroom, two-bath accommodations with an upscale kitchen, stainless-steel appliances, beautiful artwork, and a killer balcony that overlooked the Comal River. It was a joy watching people float down the river in their tubes. The balcony featured silver bar stools with a marble ledge that was perfect for enjoying morning coffee and soaking up the scenery. My favorite feature was the enormous jacuzzi style tub; aaaah…. heavenly.
I was impressed at the immaculate grounds. Beautiful flowers and mature oak, cypress, and cedar trees grace the professional landscaping. The Henry family planted these trees when they first purchased the park.
Schlitterbahn’s Parks: Two in One
Two parks, East and West, make up Schlitterbahn. Though the distance is walkable, Schlitterbahn provides resort shuttles that will take you to and from the parks. Colorful wristbands are worn for park admission, resort access, and purchased packages within the park (bottomless sodas, ice cream, meals, and more). Part of the fun is having an arm full of wristbands, which also make for colorful Instagram photos!
Schlitterbahn’s West Park is the original park. The spring-fed Comal River powers many of its attractions. West Park’s many children’s areas catering more to families with younger children.
West Park is home to a heated pool, arcade, swim up pool bar, river adventure, and several tubing opportunities. Take a care-free 45-minute float on the Raging River or Congo River Expedition; a thrilling ride! On my visit, we were given a cabana, complete with comfy seating, a huge flat-screen TV, plus food and beverage service for our personal waiter. I highly recommend getting a cabana as it was a great escape from the intense sun and a nice place to keep our stuff and rest.
Make sure you take a picture of the iconic Schlitterbahn Castle at this park.
The East Park is home to the original Schlitterbahn surf technology, the BoogieBahn. Lie on a surfboard while fighting the ocean waves created by a torrential current simulator. Though nervous, I gave in and tried the BoogieBahn. It was difficult but great fun. Experienced boarders will be able to surf the waves standing up or on their knees. Don’t be too scared of falling off and getting hurt, the pool bottom is padded for safety.
The Blastenhoff area, Bay Pool, Master Blaster, and WolfPack are also in the East Park. My favorite ride was The Falls. Think of a rushing river with super-fast rapids, whitewater sized drops, and plunges. You experience all of this all while floating on a tube.
At one point, you and your inner tube are loaded onto a fancy Aquaveyor, the Transportainment river system that was developed 21 years ago. It carries you from one part of the ride to another, almost like groceries being scanned in a store.
Skycoaster flight, a free-fall ride that swings like a pendulum, is the biggest thrill at East park. It has huge drops which are perfect for adrenaline junkies. I loved hopping on the tamer Dragon’s Revenge with a friend and riding the two-seater uphill coaster. I was uneasy anticipating how the ride worked, but as soon as we took off I had the time of my life.
Kristal River is another enjoyable ride at East Park. Float with or without a tube, or even on a friendly alligator’s back (great photo-ops), on this endless river.
Schlitterbahn, the world’s biggest and baddest water park, has several food and beverage locations, with a total of 700 picnic tables. In addition to free parking, transportation, and inner tubes, Schlitterbahn also allows picnics to be brought in. What a huge saving for families!
For those fancying something a little more upscale than park food, Schlitterbahn can cater your event. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner catered by the park and all of our meals were amazing. One dinner was at the Bavarian Haus, a historic house with romantic table settings and lots of charm. Behind, in the back courtyard, is a dance hall with sliding doors and thousands of hanging lights. It was perfect for a celebration.
Here are some of the fantastic food choices I was able to enjoy:
- Breakfast: Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sausage patties, and other continental favorites
- Lunch: Fajita Fixings including chicken, beef, refried beans, queso dip, roasted poblano cream dip, and all of the traditional toppings
- Two Dinners: Ravioli with cream sauce, vegetable kabobs, beef brisket, cole slaw, mac and cheese, beef tenderloin, gorgonzola horseradish sauce, green beans, salad with fresh fruit, caramel cheesecake, and peach cobbler a la mode
Add-Ons: Park Extras
For the ultimate Schlitterbahn experience, rent a Blast Pass. This waterproof watch will keep track of your ride reservations, allowing you to enjoy the park and not stand in line. On-site photographers will capture enjoyable moments and add a sticker to your park wristbands. You can view and purchase your pictures using these stickers at a kiosk.
My Visit to Schlitterbahn Rocked!
Visiting the original Schlitterbahn water park provided me a chance to enjoy activities that I had not done for over 20 years. I loved every minute of my trip! Schlitterbahn provides wholesome fun. We were so busy laughing and floating that we didn’t even realize we had walked eight to ten miles a day.
Next visit, I will definitely take my entire family so they can enjoy it as well.
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