Saturday, August 31, 2013

The WET and WILD of Vegas

In May of 2013, Wet n Wild opened a third park in Las Vegas, NV. I just went out to visit in August. (Their other U.S. properties include Phoenix and Honolulu, both of which have been reviewed previously.)

Before I get into the rides, there is one neat feature that this park includes: For $35, you can buy a rubber wristwatch. Around the park, there are some computer kiosks that allow you to select which ride you would like to go on next. If you have one of the park's wristwatches, you can use this feature, and the watch will tell you when the ride is ready - this way you won't have to wait in line, and the watch is also useful in determining when it is time to put on more sunscreen. I haven't seen this before, but I have read that Wet n Wild Phoenix added it after I have visited that park.

The park was somewhat busy in terms of crowds, but the wristband made it seem like the park was only lightly filled.

The rides include:

The Rattler - this ride looked exciting, but required multiple riders - the Wet n Wild Las Vegas site didn't exactly make this clear.

Royal Flush Extreme - A bowl slide - it was fast and exciting, but the color scheme here seemed a bit bland. Clever title, though, especially for Vegas. Still, a very exciting ride.

Constrictor - A very exciting tube slide. There are parts of the slide that are wider to speed up your riding experience.

Hoover Half Pipe - a ride that would push you up a wall, I didn't do this ride as it required multiple riders, but I would likely be apprehensive about this ride even if I did have other riders, it did look a bit scary.

Canyon Cliffs - a steep body slide, skipped as this didn't really interest me. Note that this ride cannot be reserved in advance with the wristwatch.

Desert Racers - a mat racing slide - I actually didn't like this one as much as similar types of rides in other parks, as the beginning did not have me entering an enclosed tube - I don't know why this matters to me.

Zipp Zapp Zoom - a standard tube slide, it actually felt a bit slower than other tube slides elsewhere, but it was still fun. If you go down the correct tube (the green one), there are interesting light designs throughout the tube.

The park additionally has a wave pool and a lazy river, although only one of them appears to open at a certain time.

Food: Pricey, as with most water parks, and very bland choices such as hot dogs and burgers (interestingly you can only buy the food packages here, e.g. hot dogs and fries, as opposed to just one hot dog.) Unfortunately, there are no other places for food even in the vicinity of the park.

Transportation: Obviously, you'll want to fly into Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Unfortunately, if you don't have a car, you'll need to take a taxi from the Strip, as there are no public busses that move you close to the park, and the park does not have it's own transportation. This could change, however, as the park only opened in 2013. A taxi from the Strip is about $40 each way.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars; this is subject to change if more features are added to the park.

Wisconsin's Kalahari Maji Hifadhi Ya

Hujambo, wenzake msomaji,

Wisconsin Dells is one of the water park capitals of America. The Dells are an interesting place, as, aside from the water parks, the town would seem like a standard place to pull off the highway for an overnight hotel stay - most of the restaurants and hotels are generic brand-name hotels. But this blog is about the Kalahari water park. I visited my brother who was spending the summer in Milwaukee, WI, and one day we drove up to the Dells for some water park fun - it was surprisingly cold for a July day, so we went to the Kalahari water park, the largest indoor water park in the Dells. There is a smaller outdoor section - I went on some of the rides, but it was too cold to stay out for long.

It was built in to it's own hotel - unlike Great Wolf, however, they sell a limited number of day passes.

The rides include:

Victoria Falls - a raft ride, I didn't go on it.

Master Blaster - a water-coaster type ride that propels you up and down the hills. When I was reading about this ride before, the site said "no single riders", but that turned out to be a blatant lie (note that it no longer says that on their website.) Be careful where you position your feet however, you don't want your ankles to be rubbed by the grills. This was probably the best ride in the park.

Screaming Hyena/Sahara Sidewinders - body slides that involve being dropped through a trapdoor at the start. I didn't go on this - as adventurous as I can be sometimes, this seemed way too scary for me.

Rippling Rhino - a tube slide with where you go down with a long raft.

Elephant's Trunk - a body slide. It is exciting, until the end where I would be thrown into a pool and get water up by nose.

Tanzanian Twister - a bowl slide where you are dumped into a pool of water at the end. I didn't do this ride - I've done a similar ride at Splash Lagoon (Erie, PA) but had no desire to do it again.

Zig-zag zebra - your standard tube slide deal - get an inner tube and have fun!

The Outdoor section of the park includes:

Extreme Rush - a mat slide, but one with twists and turns, unlike the straight mat slides in other parks. I personally didn't care for the twists and turns while I was on my stomach.

Swahili Swirl - A bowl slide, where you would be Swahili Swirled in an inner tube and then dropped into the exit pool.

Wild Wildebeest - An inner tube slide - it had parts that would drop water on you, and was more exciting than Zig-Zag Zebra, but as the weather was colder this day, it was harder to enjoy.

Anaconda - a raft ride outdoors, I skipped this ride.

The water park had a number of hot tubs, a wave pool, and a lazy river inside. One hot tub would be entered from the indoor park but went outside.

Food: Everything was pretty standard as far as water parks go. There may be more restaurants on the hotel premises, but I didn't want to get too far from the park. As much as I enjoy water parks, eating at them is becoming my least favorite part of the experience - the food offered is always along the lines of poorly-prepared burgers, hot dogs, and fatty fries.

Transportation: Wisconsin Dells doesn't really have any public transportation. I got up here by driving up with my brother from Milwaukee. The closest airport is Madison-Dane County (MSN), and the Kalahari hotel does have a shuttle from MSN (about 50-60 mins in distance), but that's pretty much it. Wisconsin Dells isn't easy to get around if you don't have a car or a friend with a car.

Overall: It was a very nice indoor water park. Some of the rides are pretty intense, so if you enjoy the more extreme types of slides, you will love this place. It's probably the largest indoor water park I've been to. It was crowded, but this was a Saturday in July, whereas I usually try to go in May/early June/late August/off-season.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.