We decided to take a quick getaway last weekend to the Poconos in celebration of my daughter Zoe’s 5th birthday. I originally booked Kalahari Resort a few weeks back for Saturday into Sunday, then later purchased a Groupon for a Camelback Resort for $250. The Groupon included a one-night stay at the lodge, breakfast for two, and entrance for four at the resort’s indoor waterpark, Aquatopia. We arrived Friday night right before the waterpark was set to close at 10 pm, so we didn’t get to experience it that day as we originally planned. I was exhausted from the hour plus drive, which came after a long work day and last minute packing lol, so I went right to bed. The next morning, we got up around 9 am and started preparing to head to breakfast and right afterwards the waterpark. Breakfast was buffet-style and pretty decent. The view of the mountains was amazing. My son, Noah, who fell asleep the ride there the night before, was in complete awe.
We started heading to Aquatopia about thirty minutes after breakfast and check-out time, and I bravely brought my phone along. Although I actually planned ahead and purchased a waterproof case from Amazon, silly me left it at home. But luckily for me and others who are just as phone crazed as I am, the gift kiosk shop had some available. The price though – $31!!! “That’s about double the cost of the case I purchased from Amazon,” I exclaimed to the cashier. She then kindly told me to pick one out and she would give me a discount. I ended up paying $19, which was definitely better than the original quote. It was certainly worth the cost, because even though I reluctantly used it, not one drop of water got into my phone. Even after being completely submerged in water.
We spent about two good hours at Aquatopia. The kids and I went on the multi-level water playground, which was pretty big with multiple slides all around it. We later went in the wave pool, which was cool. What I loved most about Aquatopia was that it was super warm inside, which made getting water poured on you from different locations and jumping into the pool very easing and refreshing at the same time. I also liked that towels were available at the entrance.
We arrived at Kalahari around 1:45 pm and its presence was in full view while exiting the highway. My kids were so excited seeing the painted animals on the exterior of the large building. It made for a pleasant arrival. Kalahari has an African theme, so there were African animal sculptors and paintings all around the hotel, which was definitely more modern and “clean-feeling” than Camelback. Camelback’s carpet (I know lol, who pays attention to the carpet) was really old looking, while I could tell that Kalahari’s carpet was very new or new-ish. We were on the 6th floor and had a balcony with a great view of the pond and outdoor waterpark that looked to be still in construction. In addition to our one-night stay, the total cost also included four waterpark entrance passes, a whole pizza pie with four fountain sodas, and breakfast for four. Although I wasn’t able to find any Groupons or discounts for Kalahari, the inclusions of two meals and entrance passes, definitely made the trip worth the money (well… kinda), which was more than double the total cost of Camelback. We headed to the waterpark after lunch and I immediately noticed that it wasn’t as warm as Camelback and I had to search around for extra available towels. EVERYTHING else though (long pause) was soooo on point. The lazy river, the wave pool, the water playground with multiple slides, the pools with basketball hoops for children of different ages, the indoor/outdoor hot tub, and the massive slides for anyone 42 inches and up. There was so many different pools or water areas for people of all ages, even infants. Kalahari is self-acclaimed the largest waterpark in the country. I haven’t been to many, but I certainly agree with this accolade. Although I enjoyed my time at Camelback, Kalahari was by far the best resort. Plus we were able to enjoy it longer and more after going multiple times during our stay.
Here are some of my pros and cons for both:
- Towels available in front
- The indoor temperature was perfect
- They require any one under 48” to wear lifejackets (which I brought along with my children), but they have them available for those who didn’t
- Wristband provides access to hotel room and waterpark
- Arcade near waterpark
- Hotel room can use an upgrade
- Only offered two breakfast tickets
- Waterpark is big. Rides and water areas for all age groups (infants to adults)
- They have cozy cabanas for rent
- Hot tub – two thumbs up!
- Access to food inside through the resorts concession outlet
- Several swim-up bars
- They also require any one under 48″ to wear lifejackets
- Also have wristbands for access to hotel rooms, waterpark and resort purchases
- Access to towels
- Price could be better, but it was worth the cost
- and that’s about it lol
In spite of the slight differences, we enjoyed both resorts and would certainly go again. Have you ever been to either Camelback or Kalahari? If so, what was your experience like?