Schlitterbahn: Unconventional, Unimaginable Amusement

Schlitterbahn: Unconventional, Unimaginable Amusement

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Nov. 14 2019, Published 10:55 a.m. ET

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and no one does it bigger than Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts. Founded in 1979 by Bob and Billye Henry, this large scale amusement park has spent 40 years cultivating the most enjoyable and family friendly experience. Schlitterbahn prides itself on being a park of firsts, leading the nation in the newest technologies and overall experience.

Juxtaposed to the Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas, the Henrys saw an opportunity to create a family-oriented resort. With just one water slide and promising grounds, they were able to grow the resort into the thrilling amusement park experience it is today. They chose the name Schlitterbahn, which loosely translates to “slippery road,” to pay homage to the town’s historic German heritage.

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photo courtesy of Schlitterban

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The Henrys’ main goal of the water park and resort was to create the best family experience. While most water parks charge for things like tubes and life vests, Schlitterbahn customers enjoy those amenities free of charge. Plus, guests can bring in any amount of coolers that they want (without alcohol or glass containers). Visitors are also encouraged to take advantage of the numerous grilling stations situated throughout the park.  

What makes the park so distinctive, and sustainable, is its use of spring water sourced directly from the Comal River. The water is sourced and filtered to keep out fish and other debris. Since the water ends up being put back into the river, the park ensures that the slides and chutes aren’t cleaned with harmful chemicals. Their goal is to sustain the river and its beauty for years to come. 

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Guests can actually swim in the Comal as well. The White Water Tube Chute’s accumulation of short drops leads to one large plunge into the river. These lengthy tube chutes are what the park has become known for. The Raging Rivers Tube Chute, of the largest in the world, gives riders the option to cross over into other tube chutes. The 45 minute long attraction has become a treasure among park-goers. 

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Schlitterbahn has endless options of this lazy-river/rapids hybrid attraction. One that stands out is The Falls. This attraction allows for a completely customizable experience starting high up above the Comal with beautiful views, and leads into downhill rapids. It combines relaxation with a little bit of fun. You can stay on the attraction for as long as you want by going up the first ever “AquaVeyer,” which is basically a conveyor belt that brings you right back to the beginning of the ride. 

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Schlitterbahn has pioneered new age water amusement technology that has become the standard for parks across the U.S. Teaming up with engineers, the owners of the park were able to create new attractions such as a simulated surfing ride, which they named the Boogie Bahn. Using water pressure technology, they were able to mimic a wave wall of constant flowing, pressurized water. 

Using that same technology, the park was able to patent the first water coaster. Schlitterbahn is home to two of them. One of them, Dragon’s Revenge, puts all water slides to shame. Not only do riders enjoy up and downhill thrills, they get a full experience with elaborate, medieval decorum. 

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They also have the Master Blaster, which has been ranked the top water attraction in the U.S. With lightning fast speeds, crazy turns and drops, the Master Blaster combines all the fun of a roller coaster with the refreshing excitement of a water slide. The Boogie Bahn and coasters are now duplicated at water parks across the globe, and have become a staple on cruise ships. 

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photo courtesy of Schlitterban

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Other exciting rides include the Black Knight, which is a pitch black water slide, and Wolf Pack where you and up to three other guests can all ride together. Schlitterbahn also has the most unique lazy rivers, adding a dash of excitement to the normally tame attraction. The Torrent River, another favorite among park goers, is a lazy river, wave pool hybrid. And, the BackSplash waterslide brings you right into the vibrant Kristal River that is filled with different colored alligators.  

Schlitterbahn prides itself on having multi-generational fun for the whole family. For the little ones, there are plentiful parks with attractions catered for them. For the adults, there are several heated pools with swim up bars. The drink selection includes beers, and deliciously strong frozen mixed drinks. 

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The park is also quite philanthropic. They created an American Heroes Week where first responders and those on active duty can enter the park for free while their families enjoy park passes for 40 percent off. In addition, they have Foster Families Splash Day where they open up the park for foster families. According to Teri Adams, the COO at Schlitterbahn, there were roughly 2,000 foster families in attendance. Cedar Fair entered into an agreement with The Henry Family in June 2019 to acquire three properties and the rights to use the Schlitterbahn name.

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Where to Stay

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Riverbend Cabins

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photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(855)-246-0273

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Treehaus Luxury Suits 

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photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(855)-246-0273

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SchlitterStein Lofts 

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photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn

305 W Austin Street

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(855)-246-0273

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Where to Eat

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Spud Ranch

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photo courtesy of Spud Ranch

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(830)-387-4466

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Tin Top Burgers and Beer

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photo courtesy of Tin Top Burgers

283 South Union Avenue 

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(830)-507-9138

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Pat’s Place 

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photo courtesy of Pat’s Place

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(830)-625-9070

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What to Do

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Escape Haus

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photo courtesy of Escape Haus

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(830)-832-5040

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Dry Comal Creek Winery & Vineyards 

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photo courtesy of Dry Comal Creek Winery

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New Braunfels, TX 78132

(830)-885-4076

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Comal Tubes 

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photo courtesy of Comal Tubes

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New Braunfels, TX 78130

(830)-387-4408

(originally printed in Bleu Magazine Issue #62) 

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