Two-Tank Trip: Kalahari Resort

Mention spring break to a college-age student and the destination is likely to include a 15-hour road trip south of here to the beaches of Florida.

roam_kalahari_1Mention spring break to a college-age student and the destination is likely to include a 15-hour road trip south of here to the beaches of Florida. Mention it to 30-something moms and dads with two or more kids, and it very well could be a two-hour drive on the Ohio Turnpike to Sandusky. If you close your eyes long enough, and let your imagination roam, you’re practically in Florida, some tropical paradise far from Northeast Ohio’s winter doldrums.

Kalahari Resort, an indoor water park and more in Sandusky, is far enough from home the kids will think they’ve gone somewhere, and close enough that no one needs to stop for a dinner break or ask “are we there yet?”

roam_kalahari_3Once you’re inside the park, it is as if you made that 15-hour drive to a beach in Florida, complete with the humidity, of course. There are 100 indoor water-park resorts in the Midwest, and Ohio has its fair share of those with nine. Of all those indoor parks in all those places, Sandusky might be the indoor-park capital. It has four, and none bigger or better than Kalahari. It is the grandest of all the indoor water parks in the country.

Kalahari opened in 2005 and quickly expanded in 2008. The African-theme park has 173,000 square feet with
17 water rides, slides, an indoor roller coaster, ziplining and a surf pool. But that’s not all, mom and dad. There’s something for you, too.

There is a spa, fitness room, miniature golf, dining, an arcade and shopping.

roam_kalahari_2The beauty of Kalahari is it’s small enough to do it all in a day, and large enough to make it a weekend without getting bored. The Sandusky resort has nearly 900 guest rooms and almost 200 condos. You don’t have to cram a late-winter or early-spring trip in, either. It can be the perfect weekend getaway in July when the temperatures soar and you’re looking for relief.

You would do well, though, to plan dinner and drinks near Kalahari. Otherwise, prepare to pay resort prices. Check Kalahari’s website ( for more information. A family of four can spend a two-day weekend there for less than $800.

roam_kalahari_4Of course, if you really want to time the visit west right, go in early summer. Kissing the shores of Lake Erie, Sandusky has become Ohio’s playground. In addition to Kalahari, there’s Cedar Point and the Great Wolf Lodge. A visit after Cedar Point opens and when the weather is warm enough to enjoy is akin to heading to Florida to go park hopping there. One big difference is the lines aren’t quite as long back home.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass