We discovered Kalahari Ohio a couple years ago and it has quickly become one of our favourite summer destinations.
Kalahari is located in Sandusky, Ohio. It’s about a 5 hour drive from the GTA west and makes for a great 2-3 day getaway. There are two options for driving to Kalahari – either driving towards Niagara and crossing at Fort Erie / Buffalo or taking the 401 to Windsor and crossing into the US at Detroit. It all depends on the time of day and the wait times at the border. I will usually check both Google Maps and Waze as well as the border wait times before we leave.
While the hotel is open year round, we highly recommend visiting Kalahari over the summer months.
The indoor water park is large – with a number of great slides, a wave pool and a lazy river for the whole family to enjoy. However, our favourite slides hands-down are in the new outdoor water park. These slides are AWESOME. The outdoor water park opened in 2017 and features three “thrill” raft rides and two body slides (the first time I rode on the green raft ride I thought I was going to fly right out!). It’s tons of fun and if you’re like us, you’ll want to ride the slides over and over again. There is also a large outdoor pool and huge outdoor kiddie area.
Also in the outdoor part of the park is a large ropes course. This is an extra activity that you need to pay for – though there are some packages that come with the ropes course included. This is another favourite activity for our kids (though I can’t stand to watch).
When they’re done with the water park for the day, our kids’ second favourite place to be is the arcade. Kalahari has a huge arcade with tons of games plus indoor laser tag. This was our first experience playing laser tag as a family and the kids loved it!
A two-night trip to Kalahari is not inexpensive – especially for Canadians given the current value of the dollar. However, if you sign up for their email list, there are a number of promotions that you can take advantage of over the course of the year. There are often deals for as low as $149 USD/night if you are flexible and can go mid-week. Note that there’s a nightly resort fee that’s added on top of this – be sure to look carefully before you book.
There are sometimes deals for Kalahari on Groupon – but I’ve found that the email offerS from the hotel itself are often better. Again, be sure to pay attention to any added fees on top of the room rate when you are comparing deals.
Kalahari also has a number of room options, including a variety of suites (many with full kitchens) if you’re travelling with a larger group. It’s a very large property (including a conference centre) so be sure to ask to have your room close to the water park (assuming that’s a priority).
There are a number of on-site dining options from the casual pizza take-out restaurant to a buffet restaurant and steak house. We’ve eaten at all three and they were all decent. However, if you want to leave the property, there’s also an Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse right down the street.
There’s lots of fun frozen drinks in large souvenir cups for both adults and kiddies – as well as the decadent candy shop in the main lobby as soon as you enter the building (Including chocolate covered bacon).
If you are planning to stay in Sandusky for a couple days, it’s also the home of Cedar Point. I visited several times as a teenager but we haven’t ventured there yet as a family – maybe next summer!