This Texas-sized water park caters to family of all ages.
The water park provides over 30 attractions covering 26-acres on Galveston Island that will last you and blast you with water the whole day. With plentiful dining areas, staff, and enough restrooms within a toddler “I have to go now!”-radius, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston Island knows its audience. Younger kids will enjoy everything their height will allow them to ride with cutoffs of 42- and 48-inches. But that doesn’t have to stop them, as obliging parents can ride tandem on most rides with height-challenged kids. The vast majority of attractions are available to ride in twos, threes, or fours, allowing the whole family to stick together. And lucky for you, the Houston-Galveston area is exceedingly flat, so save your stair-climbing strength for getting in line for these attractions, although some of the newer rides do have ramps to ease the workout.
KidTripster Tip: Studying the park map prior to visiting to arm yourself with information - like highly-detailed ride ratings and multiple food and drink stands locations - will graduate you from Schlitterbahn novice to master in no time.
What to do?
Ride a spinning inner tube fit for a family of four down the high-speed Thunder Tub or pick up a raft and kick up your heels for a leisurely float down the lazy river that circles the entire park. The heated pool and swim-up bar provides cocktails and drinks for those who want to take their relaxation to the next level. Quiet coves, beaches, and bays abound with smaller pond-like places for little ones; for more adventurous toddlers, the park also boasts two pirate ships with slides, cannons, and sprinklers.
Death-defying teens can indulge in 60-foot vertical drop-offs, body board, or surf ocean-like waves; or fly 100-feet in the sky on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line (additional $10 fee). And for those daring types, hitch a ride on the recently-opened Massiv Monster Blaster, the world’s tallest uphill water coaster.
The indoor park also gives the sun-adverse time out of the rays while enjoying enough rides to get their fill or provides an escape for all, if Houston’s wild weather rears its ugly head. Cost: Youth (3-11) $40.99; Adults $52.99.
KidTripster Tip: If you’ve got a water-savvy toddler, find a two-person float with a seat (not a hole) in the front. Let them navigate the lazy river in front, while you relax in the back.
Where to eat?
Dining locations pop up throughout the park like freckles in the summer with 22 places to eat and drink, including various snack shacks, grills, and Dippin’ Dots ice cream stands. The numerous selections represent Texans’ varying tastes in food from tacos to BBQ, pizza to seafood, and funnel cakes to hand-dipped ice cream. For those inclined, you’re allowed to bring both food and drink, including ice chests, into the park although carry-in glass containers and alcohol are not allowed. Full wait-serviced, private cabanas are also available, starting at $195/weekdays and $245/weekends.
Where to stay?
Unlike the other three Schlitterbahn locations in Texas (New Braunfels, South Padre Island, and Corpus Christi), the Galveston Island Schlitterbahn lacks a resort hotel. It’s almost a better deal though, since there are 12 stay-and-play partners with Schlitterbahn packages within a five-mile radius. Inn at the Waterpark is the closest, starting at $110/night. Water park competitor, Moody Gardens, is well within walking distance with prices starting at $209/night. For those looking for something more diverse, The Victorian offers individually-owned condos that deliver the resort-style experience, starting at $205/night.
Schlitterbahn Galveston is afull one-hour trip from downtown Houston, headed south on I-45. In a city that stubbornly refuses to invest in public transportation or HOV lanes that continue all the way to Galveston, that time can easily double on the holidays and weekends. Luckily, Texans tend to rise late, so a head start in the morning can easily shave a significant portion of time off your trip.
Carla Reed has her three boys in swim lessons year-round to prepare her for battle with the never-ending Texas summers. Her weapon of choice? Water park madness.
This writer received a complimentary admission for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely her own.