The Kalahari Resort Wisconsin Dells needs no introduction if you’re from Wisconsin or the Midwest. We’ve been going to the Dells our whole lives. It is the place we went in the summer for some outdoor waterpark fun and in the winter to a waterpark hotel.
Wisconsin Dells is a city in southwestern Wisconsin, along the Wisconsin River. It is widely known as the waterpark capital of the world, thanks to an abundance of theme parks, waterparks, and water sports adventure activities all over the city. Out of all the Wisconsin Dells Waterpark hotels, Kalahari Resort is one of the best-known.
Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells is a Safari-themed waterpark hotel, with an outdoor waterpark, indoor waterpark (the largest in the state, in fact), and on-site adventure park. Because of the fun attractions, this is a great place for families with teens and young children, but it also has meeting and convention facilities. Between all the activities, themed design, and top-tier hotel facilities, Kalahari Resort is one of the best waterpark hotels in Wisconsin Dells.
The Kalahari Wisconsin Dells outdoor waterpark (called The Zambezi outdoor waterpark) is 75,000 square feet and has no less than nine different individual water activities.
For more moderate and slow-paced activities, there’s a 750-foot-long lazy river where you can peacefully float along in a tube. It winds around the entire outdoor area, so you can get a good view of the whole outdoor park. If you’d rather stay put, check out the outdoor whirlpool spa. Parents with younger kids will have fun exploring the Splashdown Safari, a multi-level tree fort with slides and tipping buckets.
But, most visitors to a waterpark are looking for a little heart-pounding excitement. The slalom water slides, appropriately called the Extreme Rush, zigzags left and right suddenly as you zoom along. These are the only slalom slides in the whole state. Or try the Zimbabwe Zipper, a spiraling flume slide that will have you sliding down the tube at over 40 miles per hour.
And then there are the tube slides, where you ride an inner tube while also zooming down different kinds of water slides. The Wild Wildebeest is a fast water slide for a tandem tube, meaning a double inner tube with a spot for two riders (and hand grips so you can hold on tight).
The Anaconda is a single-rider tube slide that has sharp turns and even sudden drops, and the Swahili Swirl has a high speed funnel slide that will have you swirling around and around before plummeting into the pool below.
But of all the slides, The Smoke That Thunders is the most intense of all the rides, perfect for anyone chasing a bit of adrenaline. It features a high-speed ride through a dark tunnel, swirling through a funnel, and an almost vertical drop into the catch pool.
If you get hungry, you don’t need to go far. The outdoor waterpark has a dining spot called the ZanziBAR, which serves things like french fries, breaded chicken strips, and corn dogs. It hits the spot for a quick bite to eat. The outdoor waterpark is open from May to September.
Kalahari Resort Indoor Waterpark
At over 125,000 square feet, the Kalahari’s indoor waterpark is the largest in Wisconsin. And with a waterpark that size, the list of activities is extra long.
If you’re looking for the standard water slides, you won’t be disappointed. The Sahara Sidewinders is a 250-foot ride that will have you hurtling along, sometimes vertically, and through a 360-degree loop into the pool. Or, try the Tanzanian Twister, where you’ll zoom around and around in the funnel slide before free falling into the catch pool underneath. If you’re really adventurous, try the Screaming Hyena, a drop slide that starts 60 feet in the air.
There are several tube slides if you’d prefer to sit in something comfy while you zoom. The Elephant’s Trunk is a tandem tube slide that extends over 270 feet. The Rippling Rhino, meanwhile, is the largest group slide meant for groups of 2 or 3 and has drops, sharp turns, and a big splash into the catch pool underneath.
Little ones who may not be ready for the bigger rides will still be able to have fun: the Leopard’s Lair is a multi-level water tree fort with mini slides, a shallow pool, and water cannons that fire at random. Tiko’s Watering Hole is perfect for young kids who just want to get used to being in the water, with a zero depth pool and mini water slides. The mini wave pool is equally fun for young kids.
The indoor waterpark has some very exciting rides that are unique to Kalahari. The Flowrider is a mock-surfing ride where you can practice your surfing and balance skills on a wave simulator, and the Master Blaster, a 570-foot long water slide with a rollercoaster-like blast start. And the newest attraction is the underwater Virtual Reality, where you can feel like you are exploring brightly colored reefs underwater, or the endless galaxies of outer space.
There are a few options inside the waterpark for food and snacks. The Mud Hut swim-up bar serves signature cocktails or ice-cold beer for adults who want a refreshing drink. The Cracked Coconut, Safari Snacks, and the Zulu Grill serve gourmet burgers, pizza, salads, fresh sandwiches, and more.
Thanks to Wisconsin’s continental climate and frigid winters, the indoor waterpark is open year-round. The facility loans complimentary life jackets for any children under the minimum height to ensure safety.
Tom Foolerys Adventure Park
As if the Kalahari Resort’s indoor and outdoor waterparks aren’t enough excitement, the hotel also has an adventure park right on the grounds. Tom Foolerys Adventure Park is a 100,000 square foot theme park with no less than 21 separate games, activities, and attractions. As a guest of the Kalahari Resort, a wristband is provided with access to the adventure park. Several attractions are included with this wristband, and some cost extra.
For younger kids, there’s an African-themed carousel ride (with safari animal rides), the Sky Rangers mini roller coaster, and the Lil Toucans rope-climbing course.
For older kids, there are endless things to do. Active kids will love the Conqueror’s of Mt. Foolmore, an indoor rock climbing wall, a laser tag arena with four individual courses, and the Toucan Climb, a three-story ropes course for ambitious climbers.
If you’re looking for the kind of ride you might find in a theme park, Tom Foolerys has those too. There’s a Ferris wheel that stands over 6 stories tall, the G-Force 1 ride which sways, spins, and swings like a pendulum, a 50-foot high drop ride, and even a zip line.
Virtual reality games are becoming more and more popular and this theme park has over ten. The most popular include the XD Dark Ride, which combines an amusement park ride with VR technology inside a 5D theater, the Arizona Sunshine, which takes you through a zombie apocalypse, and the Arena Ultimate VR, the highest quality VR game where your body feels transported into the narrative.
Some of the other activities you can find at Tom Foolerys include an Egyptian-themed escape room, a 24-lane bowling alley, a 200-game arcade room, and a two-story go-kart track where you can safely race against other drivers. And it’s not all for kids: adults will enjoy the golf simulator game where you can practice your golf swing.
Kalahari Food Services
Kalahari Resort has so many dining options that you’ll never need to leave the hotel, and you might not even eat at the same place twice. It’s important to note that Kalahari is not a nut-free resort, so food allergies are important to discuss with your server. The resort has many different levels of dining, like buffets, drink lounges, snack bars, and higher-class sit-down restaurants.
Those looking for a quick stop in between trips down the waterslides will want to check out the following spots. Java Manjaro is a quick-stop coffee and pastry shop serving freshly-baked pastries, desserts, and (for mom and dad) Starbucks coffee. For similar sweet snacks, the Sweet Hut has candy, desserts, and cool treats like candied apples.
Waterpark Dining Options
Running around a massive waterpark or theme park is sure to make anyone hungry. The waterparks have no less than six dining options between them. The Mud Hut is a swim-up bar where you can get a refreshing cocktail or cold beer. Or, check out the Cracked Coconut, Safari Snacks, or the Zulu grill for gourmet burgers and pizza, or healthier meals like salads and sandwiches.
Tom Foolerys has dining options as well. Located in the upstairs part of the park, Volcano Lounge is in the bowling alley area and serves fresh pizza. Rattler’s Cantina is right in the center of the waterpark and serves pizza, burgers, hot dogs, and more (the kind of food you’ll probably will want when you’re running around an amusement park). If you are looking to go out for pizza, here are our picks for the best pizza in Wisconsin Dells.
Wisconsin Brew Pub
For a more relaxed, sit-down meal, be sure to check out the family-friendly Wisconsin Brew Pub, which specializes in all things Wisconsin (like cheese curds and local beer). There’s also Trappers Turn, which does classic Wisconsin fish fry, prime rib, and a hefty Sunday brunch (reservations are required).
High-quality dining is also available at Ivory Coast, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner right beside the hotel’s main lobby. Or try the Double Cut Charcoal Grill and Liquor Bar, a steak and seafood house.
But if you just don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your bed, don’t forget you can always order room service. Kalahari’s in-room food service brings signature pizzas direct from Ingraffia’s Pizza Kitchen.
There are tons of great restaurants in the area, make sure to read our best restaurants in Wisconsin Dells article for other suggestions.
Kalahari Resort Wisconsin Dells – Accommodation & Facilities
Kalahari’s accommodation options prove that there’s nothing lacking at this resort. The hotel has stay options with single rooms, double rooms, and even options for groups of 3-5 people or more. But the hotel takes it a step further by offering waterfront cottages and high-tech multi-bedroom rentals.
The accommodation options are sorted by how many sleeping rooms there are. Single sleeping rooms contain either two queen beds or a single king, and several options also contain full-size sofa beds or murphy beds. These are great options for families who are on a budget because you can still fit the whole family without paying more for separate rooms.
Some of the single sleeping rooms still include luxury elements like whirlpool saunas, private balconies, fireplaces, and wet bars. These are good options for anyone who doesn’t want to upgrade to the luxury rooms but is still interested in having elements of a luxury stay. If you need a kitchen and living area, there are suites available as well.
Suites at the Kalahari Resort
Double sleeping rooms also have several options depending on your group size and room needs. Each double sleeping room includes one bedroom with a king-sized bed and a second bedroom with 1 or 2 queen-sized beds. In some options, the second bedroom also has a full-sized sofa pullout. Some also have a second bathroom, ideal if you are sharing a space with more than four people. On our last trip we stayed in a double sleeping room with two bathrooms, it worked out great for us and having the grandparents stay with us.
Still, in the two-room category, there are two suites. The two-bedroom Kitchen-Living Room Suite has a king bedroom and a second bedroom with two queen beds, but it also has flat screen TVs, a living room with a sleeper sofa, a fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, and two bathrooms containing whirlpool tubs. Or take it one step further with the 2-bedroom Presidential Suite, which has all of the above plus a 55” projection TV, and a full-sized wet bar.
The remaining units have 3, 4, or 5 bedrooms. Several are within waterfront chalets or cottages. There’s also a staggering 10-bedroom entertainment duplex that combines two 5-bedroom loft houses under one reservation (be sure to call or email as this can’t be booked online). These multi-bedroom rentals offer extra luxuries not available in the standard hotel rooms, like pool tables, private patios, bunk bedrooms, and recreation rooms with wet bars.
Outside of the room rentals, the hotel facilities will add another level of enjoyment to your stay. The Kalahari Spa & Salon offers a range of relaxing body treatments and cosmetic services. Facials, nails, and makeup are just some of the available services.
As if running around a waterpark wasn’t enough exercise, Kalahari Resort has a fitness center with on-site personal training services. Personal training is available by advance reservation while the fitness center is open 24 hours.
Have you stayed at the Kalahari Resort Wisconsin Dells location? We’d love to hear from you below in the comments.
Before heading out for the day we suggest going out for a big hearty breakfast, here are our picks for the best breakfast in Wisconsin Dells. If you visit during the winter or have a rainy day, consider grabbing a pint at one of these breweries in Wisconsin Dells.