Kalahari Resort Poconos Review for Families

Looking for indoor water park fun and family-focused adventures on the East Coast? The Kalahari Resort is sure to thrill kids and parents alike with its African-themed decor, plentiful activities, delicious dining and luxurious amenities. My 6-year-old daughter and I were recently invited to check out this new hotel in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Here’s why you’ll have a roaring good time at this unique resort and family entertainment center.

Kalahari Resort Poconos - A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary
Kalahari Resort Poconos – A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

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Kalahari Resort in the Poconos

This is Kalahari’s newest location, joining properties in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and Sandusky, Ohio. Plans are underway for Phase II, which will make this America’s largest indoor waterpark by spring 2017. I was pleasantly surprised by the authentic African decor such as batik prints, beaded souvenirs and carved wooden sculptures and furniture, plus Africa-shaped room signs.

Kalahari Resort Poconos Big Five Fireplace
Kalahari’s Big Five Fireplace wows all ages (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

In the lobby you’ll find fresh ground Rwandan coffee beans, hand painted murals and Big Five animal sculptures featuring Africa’s large mammals: African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and white/black rhinoceros. A large photo collage in the lobby showcases the founding family’s many research trips to Africa. As someone who has visited South Africa, I appreciated this attention to details.

Kalahari Resort Poconos - A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)
Photos of Africa are on display in Kalahari’s lobby (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

Kalahari Water Park 

Without a doubt, the resort’s showcase feature is its 100,000-square-foot indoor water park, the largest in Pennsylvania. Featuring a retractable roof, the waterpark offers a water coaster, and plenty of raft and tube waterslides. Splashdown Safari includes net crawls, water guns, and a huge variety of slides. Sporty families will enjoy shooting hoops in the Lost Lagoon basketball pool.Grown-ups will appreciate the Thirsty Turtle Swim-up Bar, the relaxing lazy river and an indoor/outdoor hot tub (my favorite!). For little ones there’s Tiko’s Watering Hole with adorable swings and a mini lazy river. 

Kalahari Resort Poconos - A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)
Kalahari’s waterpark is the largest indoor waterpark in Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

I guarantee the water park where you will spend the majority of your visit so be sure to bring your most comfortable swimwear, flip flops, goggles and waterproof camera or phone cover. The pools and surrounding areas are very clean with the water constantly being tested. In addition, I was impressed by the many staff members and lifeguards on-site keeping everyone safe. Towels are available throughout the facility and lockers are available for rental.

For an extra fee you can attempt stand-up surfing or body boarding on a FlowRider or sign children up for mermaid lessons, one of the resort’s newest offerings. If you really want to be pampered, rent your own private indoor cabana and enjoy a flat-screen TV, chaise lounges, refrigerator, security safe, food service and other amenities.

Kalahari Resort Poconos - A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary (Photo caption: Lyla Gleason)
I tried the FlowRider and my daughter had her first mermaid swim lesson at Kalahari Resort (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

Arcade Entertainment

When you’ve had your fill of water fun, the 30,000-square-foot arcade offers oodles of entertainment. Expect hundreds of video games and arcade favorites. (Skee-ball, anyone?). Families can also enjoy mini-bowling, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, laser frenzy challenges, virtual reality rides and more. My daughter had never been anywhere like this before so she was in video-gaming heaven.  

There is no way to enter the waterpark without going through the arcade so count on your kids pulling you toward the bustling lights and games. Try to set a budget in advance to manage everyone’s expectations. Points are loaded onto a game card and it is very easy to lose track of how much you’re spending until your card needs to be re-filled. When you’re done, take your winning tickets and redeem them for prizes and souvenirs.

Kalahari Resort Poconos - A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)
Kalahari’s 30,000-square-foot arcade is a gamer’s paradise (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

Just for Kids

In addition to the waterpark and arcade attractions, the resort offers several options for keeping kids busy throughout the day. The Kalahari Adventurers Club offers supervised activities like arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, family hikes, games and more.

Junior foodies can decorate cookies and cupcakes and make personalized pizzas and their own caramel apples (some fees apply). Younger kids will also want to check out the resort’s complimentary story time in the lobby featuring Kenya the elephant.

Family Fun at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Pocono Mountains, PA. Junior foodies can make their own caramel apples and attend character breakfasts at Kalahari Resorts Poconos (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)
Junior foodies can make their own caramel apples and attend character breakfasts at Kalahari Resorts (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

Kalahari Resort Dining

Choose from three full-service restaurants at the Kalahari Resort in the Pocono Mountains. Ivy Coast Restaurant overlooks the resort’s impressive lobby and offers a la carte favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet serves breakfast and dinner. The family-friendly offerings are extensive with made-to-order and classic dishes as well as fun surprises like a chocolate fountain.

Brandberg, named after the highest point in the Kalahari, is the resort’s most upscale restaurant. Enjoy innovative appetizers like Tempura Battered Banana with maple and ale ricotta and cayenne pepper, steaks, fish, burgers, brick oven flatbreads and more. The space is gorgeous and the knowledgable staff is quick to help with menu recommendations. Grown-ups can order from an array of artisan cocktails, unique beer offerings and a large wine selection featuring several South African varietals. In addition, the weekly Kenya’s Birthday Bash Celebration is a fun-filled character breakfast party with family-style dining, dancing and kiddie games. 

Kalahari Resort Poconos - A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)
The dessert buffet at Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

Accommodation Options

Kalahari Resort in the Poconos features 457 rooms and suites with African decor and amenities galore (microwave, coffee maker, refrigerator, iron, ironing board, in-room safe, cable television, and hair dryers). Accommodations include complimentary Wi-Fi, access to the fitness center and admission to the waterpark. Instead of room keys, all hotel guests receive waterproof wristbands, which open guest rooms and allow access to all facilities. In addition, you can decide which family members can charge via their wristbands, a great option if you are traveling with older kids and teens.

Kalahari Resort Poconos - A Splashy Escape from the Ordinary (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)
Kalahari’s spacious two-room family suite on the ground floor features an outdoor patio (Photo credit: Lyla Gleason)

We stayed in a spacious two-room family suite on the ground floor, which was steps away from the waterpark and arcade action. With two attached bedrooms (one in front with a king bed and the other with two queens and a fireplace), my daughter had her own bedroom and bathroom so we could spread out and sleep well. There was also a queen-sized sofa sleeper, making it a great room choice for larger families. Check out is at 11 am but you have access to the waterpark for your entire last day. Believe me, your kids will want to stay at the Kalahari Resort as long as possible!

Has your family ever stayed at a Kalahari Resort? Would you like to? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Globetrotting Travel Mama: Our hotel stay and some of our meals and entertainment were provided free of charge for purposes of this review. All opinions are mine, as always.

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    1. Thanks Ellen! It is such a fun place with so much to see and do. I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

  1. Lyla – My daughter was looking over my shoulder while I edited this post and she was like, “When do we get to go THERE?!” We are such a family of water park lovers – we’re all jealous over here!

    1. So funny! It was such a fabulous trip I’m sure your family would love it there. My daughter is still wearing the bracelet in case we go back. Ha ha.