Last week marked the Grand Opening of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in the Pocono Mountains. We were excited to attend the Grand Opening and also to be able to interview Travis Nelson, son of Kalahari Resorts president and founder Todd Nelson, to learn all about everything that Kalahari has to offer. They are currently the largest indoor waterpark in Pennsylvania, and with expansion currently underway for Phase II of their project, they will soon become the largest waterpark in the nation.
So the theme and size of the resort obviously set you apart, but what else do you think will separate you from other waterparks in the Poconos?
Travis: Sure, you touched on couple of big ones, our authenticity with Africa, and obviously we build them large. And what’s unique about the fact that they are so large, is that were able to offer outside admission to the local community and that’s something that really isn’t offered at other resorts in this area or many in the country. So we build them big enough that you can come in and use the waterpark during the day and not have to stay with us.
Our restaurants are very much open to the public, come on in, use valet, enjoy the Brandberg restaurant – which I think is going to be a local favorite. It’s a really great gastro pub, beautifully themed restaurant, with craft cocktails, wine and craft beers. Our spa, we have a gorgeous spa that is certainly available for the public as well. So our resorts are for the local community as well and that’s really unique.
Does Kalahari offer any specials for locals?
Travis: We do have a locals program that you can actually sign up for that includes discounts at different outlets, complimentary valet if you use our outlets, things like that. So they are definitely encouraged to give us a call and we can sign them up for both of those kind of deals as well.
What’s the best way to find out about upcoming specials and events? Do you have an email list or should they check the website?
Travis: Certainly they can sign up for emails, our website www.kalahariresorts.com/pa, find out about all of the information – about resort specials and packages for overnight, there is all kinds of information available there.
Your family took a to Africa recently and I’m sure you get a specific feeling being there, what was that feeling and what did you do to infuse that back into the resort?
Travis: This Last trip we took in October was 23 days and 25,000 miles, and we really got into the culture of the people of Africa. So we were going into villages and meeting the artists that were creating the work and purchasing the art from those artists. We were eating food and getting into the kitchen and talking to the chef and we were experiencing the REAL Africa. So to be able to bring pieces of that back, and to be able to document it with our videos, but also have the art too. Africa is kind of hard, not everyone is going to be able to make that journey, so maybe you can come here and get a little bit of that feel and take that home with you as well.
Can you give us one phrase to sum up the resort for someone wanting to visit?
Travis: Kalahari Resort a one stop shop family destination, it’s built by families for families, so we just encourage you to come out and spend a long weekend, enjoy, relax, have fun and just get to experience all that Kalahari has to offer.