8.05.2010

The Shaws Go to Schlitterbahn

Earlier this week we loaded up the car and took a mini road trip a few hours west to New Braunfels for a couple of days of ultimate water park fun at Schlitterbahn. As you can see someone was a little excited.
After checking into our hotel that evening we made a beeline down the highway to check out a Tex-Mex restaurant (really, are you surprised?) because 1.) it's always time for Tex-Mex and b.) they are building a Chuy's near us and we just couldn't wait to get a sneaky-peaky.
It did not disappoint. (How could something called Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom enchiladas, extra thin chips with chunky salsa and spicy queso ever disappoint?)
After fortifying ourselves with not so healthy but oh so yummy breakfasts at IHOP the next morning we made our way into Schlitterbahn (central Texas has a heavy German influence just in case you were thinking that's a completely made up word, it means slippery road).
Now I'll just go ahead and get this party-pooper statement out of the way and admit that I have never been a fan of water parks. I know, I know, throw your tomatoes at me, but when faced with the prospect of gazillions of scantily and sometimes questionably clothed people of all shapes and sizes, looooong lines and small children in soggy swim diapers I have always said nay, nay, no way.
But then I thought of how much fun Annelise would have and I caved. Aren't you proud of me?
Schlitterbahn is a little bit like Disneyworld in that if you are a first timer (like us) you will spend (i.e. waste) a fair amount time just figuring out where things are and how to get to certain rides/attractions. There's also something of a protocol within Schliterbahn which involves scoping out a picnic table or group of lounge chairs and dumping all of your paraphernalia (bags, clothes, shoes, coolers, snacks, etc.) there to set up camp. Once claimed that spot is now yours, even if left unattended, it's your home base to return to after venturing out for hours. If you were a dog you'd just pee on it, but leaving tote bags and towels is much more pleasant.
The odd (and actually wonderful thing) is that no one messes with your stuff, it's like there is a Water Park Code of Honor or something and everyone trusts one another which is strangely beautiful and refreshing. The first day we rented a locker for our wallets and phones but the second day we threw caution to wind and left them in my tote bag. Gasp! (Now watch there be a wave of tote bag burglaries...I hope not!)
The first day we wandered around for a while trying to find an unclaimed spot and also familiarize ourselves with everything, I was starting to feel overwhelmed and snippy (really, are you surprised?) when we heard someone call out "Scotty Shaw!!" and lo and behold it was one of Scott's friends from waaay back (they grew up together and worked together at NASA/JSC--he was even a groomsmen in our wedding--but we haven't seen him in years). It turns out he and his family go to Schlitterbahn every year and happened to be there the two days we were, talk about small world! He and his wife let us put our stuff at their "camp" and also showed us around and gave us insider tips, like the best order of some of the rides and least crowded hours of the day, etc. We REALLY appreciated their help! (Shame on me for not taking their picture!!)
We spent the first day at the original Schlitterbahn which ended up being our favorite because it's the largest and has the most variety of tube rides, slides and pools.
I can't say I'm a fan of water shoes, but in a place like Schlitterbahn they are a must, lots of people went the barefoot route which makes me cringe, but to each his own.
I learned that I am an inner tube ride kind of girl and not a bare water slide girl (although I think I secretly already knew this). I love floating, spinning, riding through rapids, sliding down slides in my tube, I don't like totally in your face (and other parts) water slide rides. We did all the tube rides as a family and Scott and Annelise (remember, she's an adrenaline junkie) did the water slides, so it all worked out.
Part of the second day we spent at Surfenburg (a separate park, but still part of the family). It was really family friendly with large water play areas and lagoons that Annelise LOVED.
In fact it was quite difficult to get her to leave this area.
We also enjoyed the lazy river (floating in tubes, again, oh I am a fan) and some lounge time too.
We never even made it to the third water park (Blastenhof) which is a teensie bit sad, but since we kept hearing how BAD the lines were for the water slides (and they didn't have many tube rides) we were okay with missing out on it for this trip.
We finished up the second day back at the original Schlitterbahn and rode our favorite tube rides one last time. We were pleasantly surprised when one of the rides seemed longer than it had the first day and we eventually found ourselves floating in the Comal river (the day before sections had been closed because they didn't have enough lifeguards).
I eventually made some sort of peace with all the various body parts on display, even my own, and tried not to let anything bother me. Sometimes it was humorous, sometimes cringe inducing, but overall nothing too retina damaging (although I think I've seen enough bums and boobsicles to last me a good while).
By the end of the day mountains much like this one could be seen in nooks and crannies throughout the park. Don't they look sort of sad and lonely?
We shut the park down both days (it closes at 8:00) and then made our soggy way to supper. After existing on Goldfish, Cheese-Its, Trail Mix and Dippin'Dots for most of the day we were ready for real food. We drove down the road to this quaint little town...
to eat here:
We broke one of our vacation rules by eating at the same place twice but we loved the casual outdoor atmosphere lost in the trees along the river we ended up eating supper there both nights.
We even ate the same meal (thick burgers slathered in spicy queso with a side of crunchy onion rings) because they were oh.so.very.tasty.
Once our tummies were full (and then some) we retreated to our hotel to clean up and sleep the sleep of the truly exhausted.
Since we had such a great time on our mini-vacay and I seem to have overcome my water park phobia...
I predict many more of these in our future.

What's your stance on water parks? Are you a fan of inner tube rides or water slides? Don't you think Schlitterbahn is just fun to say?

11 comments:

  1. I've been wondering where you went, it's not like you to not post for so long.

    This place sounds huge! You know we went weekly to our local water park for 5 years thanks to our season passes, and though there were torturous times it was also great for the kids. It was really nice when the kids were big enough to go on their own so my friend and I could sit under the umbrella and chat all day.

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  2. That sounds like so much fun! I loved reading all about your mini-vacay. A water park is definitely in our future one day, but I share your same reservations. The word boobsicle cracked me up, by the way! So funny!

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  3. We were just at a water park today. I am totally a tube ride fan. Never again will I go down one of the body water slides. Too scary. I was surprised my husband wanted to go down one that was a straight drop. I talked my daughter into skipping a tube ride so that we could watch. I told her that this would never happen again and we couldn't miss it. Sure enough, his first words at the bottom, "never again!!"

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  4. I'm not usually a huge water park fan either, but oh my goodness, we.love.schlitterbahn.so.much! I'm so happy you decided to take the plunge (haha) and give it a try. We are taking our kids next month for the first time, and I can't wait!

    It's been several years since we were there last, so I can't really remember if we made it to all 3 parks or not, but I do remember that I came WAY out of my fear-of-fast-rides shell and rode ALL the rides in the parks we did visit. By the end, I must say, I was loving them all....EXCEPT the water coaster. No love for that thing! :) I like both slides and tube rides, just not anything too fast.

    Totally agree with you on the "scantily and sometimes questionably clothed people of all shapes and sizes"! :)

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  5. Makes me miss living in San Antonio!

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  6. Jill: It is huge! There are three parks and trams that take you from one to the other. The parks are on 65 acres yet still within town (sort-of) so it's really neat. I liked how they strive to keep it family friendly and that there's plenty of variety of attractions.

    Anna: I'm sure Max and Mini would love them!

    Amy: Scott and Annelise loved the water slide/tube rides--even the one that was waaay fast and almost straight down. I just watched from the sidelines on those.

    Valerie: Good to know y'all love it too. We'll definitely be going back!

    Natasha: I know, there's so much to do in the San Antonio/Austin area--and it's so pretty. We're about 3 hours away.

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  7. I have never been to Shchlitterbahn but it looks like fun. In fact, I've only been to one water park and that was in Branson. I know I'm an inner tube kind of girl though. Right now my blood pressure goes through the roof just thinking of taking my six kids to a place like that, but I can see doing it when they are all older.

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  8. Nicole: I think I'd break out in hives just thinking about taking six young children--but when they are older it should be more doable for y'all. :)

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  9. All I remember about Schlitterbahn is that we waited in line to ride one slide for two hours. NOTHING is worth that. It pretty much ruined the whole experience for us.

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  10. Rochelle: You are right about some of the lines being terrible--most of those we skipped. I hate how that sucks up time (and expensive time at that) at the park. The longest wait we had was 45 minutes but it was for a river tube ride that lasted a while. In the evening though people started leaving the park and we were able to almost walk right in to several rides, so that was nice.

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