Featuring America's top destinations
Schlitterbahn Waterpark, New Braufels, Texas
by Carl Burnham
In our return visit to Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels, Texas, we can see why it continues to be voted the highest rated waterpark in the world. There are rides to suite all ages, from the kiddies to the thrillseekers spread out over 65 acres. For a review of the main features of the New Braunfels waterpark, read our previous feature.
On the afternoon of our visit to New Braunfels, even with possible rain in the forecast, the park was packed. Some rides such as the Master Blaster (rated the best water ride in the country) require a wait in line of over an hour. Plan accordingly, and suggest getting to the park when it first opens to avoid long lines.
When you arrive, you have a decision to make, which side to go to first, East or West? The waterpark has two sections, which are separated by the Comal River. Free shuttle service can take you between each one throughout the day in a matter of minutes. Given the expanse of the park, it can be confusing, even with a park map in hand. I recommend studying the online map closely to become familar with where everything is and for what you will want to ride to plan your schedule. Have a meeting place and time for your family or group to get together if separated. There are some clocks in the park, you may want to bring a waterproof watch as well. There are lockers that can be rented to securely keep your belongings, and food and drinks (no glass or alcohol) are allowed into the park. Some popular rides can have long wait times of 1 1/2 hours or more, so arrive early for those if you don't like waiting in long lines. Rides are measured on a clearly defined scale from low speed to high thrill, with a diamond symbol being high thrill (the most popular rides).
My personal favorite ride is The Torrent, located in Schlitterbahn East, which has no wait times (all you need is to grab a tube). As you float along in the water, you are suddenly lifted by swift currents that become tidal waves that sweep you along. The float/tidal ride is located next to the base of the Blastenhoff area which includes the wildly popular Master Blaster, Wolfpack, and Black Knight slide and rafting rides. We waited in line for thirty minutes for the Wolfpack but decided on The Torrent. If wanting a true getaway into water fun, you can schedule a stay at one of the six vacation homes that are fully equipped near the waterpark. Be aware that these can be reserved up to a year in advance.
It was noted by staff who visited several years ago that the variety of food offerings was vastly improved, with barbeque (turkey legs, smoked sausage) and roasted corn welcome additions. Also, there are more brand-name offerings, like Dippin' Dots, ICEE, and M&M Ice Cream. Several hot tub areas are in the park where you can swim up and have your refreshment while soaking in the water.
The entrance fee is now $34.50 adult and $28.50 per child (pricing subject to change), which is rather pricey if you have a large family. Be sure to get there early to get a full day's experience, have a chance to visit both sides of the park completely, and to beat the lines to the favorite rides.
New Schlitterbahn Waterparks have been opened at Galveston and South Padre Island. Although smaller in area than New Braunfels, one of the unique features we hear of the Galveston location is a section of the park that can be covered in less than 10 minutes with a portable see-through roof in case of rain or cold weather, providing heated water and controlled air. We plan to feature both of their new parks in the future.
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View our archived Schlitterbahn Feature.
Detailed Area Map | GPS: 29.701° N 98.1236° W | Weather
To visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels:
(Schlitterbahn West entrances)
From Austin, take I-35 to Exit 190B. Go 1 mile south on Business 35 until you reach Highway 46/Loop 337. Turn right onto Common Street, then turn right on Liberty Street to the Castle Entrance or Wave Fest Entrance.
From San Antonio, take I-35 to Exit 184, then turn left on Rueckle Road/Loop 337. Stay on Loop 337 for approximately 8 miles to Common Street, then turn right Liberty Street to the Castle Entrance or Wave Fest Entrance.
If arriving prior to 11:00 am, parking space may be available in Schlitterbahn East. To get there, stay on Common Street. Turn left on Union from Common, and go approximately two blocks to the Schlitterbahn East parking area located on the right.
Visiting South Padre Island? Visit our feature on the Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark on the island.
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