Last week, my oldest daughter and I were able to sneak away for a little one-on-one time. C had been asking to go to a waterpark all summer, and it was at the last minute that I realized (while cleaning out a desk), that I had one free day pass to Kalahari from a blogging event I participated in, plus I found a gift card from Kalahari that was very close to expiring. You know how much I love a deal, so finding these little treasures convinced me that this was our sign to check out Kalahari Sandusky.
Most people who go to Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio will choose to spend the night. However, purchasing a day pass is a great option for those people who can’t get away for an evening- whether it’s being a caretaker, having a pet, or just living nearby and not wanting to pack for an overnight.
How much is a day pass to Kalahari in Sandusky?
Day passes to Kalahari Sandusky currently cost $64.99 per person the week and $74.99 per person on Saturdays. There are discounts for seniors and members of the military. The waterpark is open from 10 am – 9 pm Sunday- Thursday and 10 am – 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Seasonal hours may vary.
What is there to do at Kalahari?
What sets Kalahari apart from its competitors is its size. In 2023, Kalahari opened a massive 15,000-square-foot pool and upgraded some of the other outdoor features. This pool was probably one of the highlights of our day! For travelers looking for the ultimate experience, poolside cabanas or pool loungers can be rented.
The indoor waterpark is over 173,000 square feet and claims to be the largest in the Midwest. There is something for all ages, from large thrill-seeking slides to a play area best for kids 3-9, and an indoor/outdoor hot tub for the teens and adults.
Is a Kalahari day pass worth the cost?
Maybe. If there’s a reason why you can’t get away overnight or just need a day of fun, then yes. Otherwise, I think I’d fork out the cost of a room and bring the entire family.
For example, if I’d paid the full ticket cost, it would have been $130 for the day. Because we weren’t staying on-site, but I wanted access to my phone and wallet without just leaving it on a chair, I paid $25 for a locker day rental. No outside food or beverage is allowed to be brought into the waterpark, so I spent another $40 on food & drinks. Nearly $200 for a day trip is a bit high, in my opinion.
Compare that with the average weeknight rate for a room that sleeps 6. It seems to be about $300, give or take. For $300 + tax & resort fee (about $375), I could take 6 people (not 2), visit the waterpark for 2 days, and possibly not have needed a locker. A day pass for 6 people on a weekday would be $389.94!!! So taking our entire family would be an absolute bust, it would be better to just stay the night. I would also be able to have a cooler in the room with food and drinks and be able to use the room for eating and pool breaks.
Unfortunately, and maybe it’s just me, I wasn’t as impressed by the inside waterpark as I hoped to be. A few of the rides we wanted to try were closed for maintenance. The wave pool had no waves (IDK?). And the lazy river was not well-managed by the staff and truly felt like a free-for-all. I wanted to enter my zen while floating down a river, not have screaming toddlers splashing me in the face as they went by in life jackets (not required to be in a tube of any sort). Maybe my expectations were wrong, after all, this is a place for kids and families – I just felt like most of the lifeguards were teenagers who couldn’t have cared less.
The inside is also a maze of tables and chairs and people, which doesn’t make it easy to navigate. If I had been visiting with my other children, I think I would have found myself to be a nervous wreck as it’s impossible to watch two swimming areas at once.
However, our 9-year-old totally had the time of her life. She enjoyed the children’s area and the smaller slides indoors and did brave one of the bigger outdoor slides. Most of the time she was happy just to have her goggles (from home) and play around in the huge outdoor pool. So, maybe I’m just no fun?! Or maybe I was adding up how families spend $300 a night and then splurge for a $250 cabana?! I digress.
Things to know when visiting Kalahari for just one day:
- The waterpark admission desk is on the lower level. When you enter Kalahari Resort, proceed past the hotel check-in desk, go down the stairs, and through the arcade. It’s not the easiest thing to find!
- Day guests must bring their own towels!
- Most of the food and beverage stations were card-only. Leave your cash at home.
- Parking is free.
Do you have any other questions about visiting Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio? I’d love to help!
(I want to apologize for the lack of photos. You can tell my phone was locked up most of the day!)
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