Sunday, July 10, 2016

Aquatopia vs. Kalahari vs. Great Wolf Lodge

All are similar. All are great. But which indoor waterpark near NYC is the best? 

Great Wolf Lodge is best for toddlers and younger kids. It's the most "charming" of the three--the lodge theme, evening story time in the lobby, and a non-water adventure called MagiQuest, which involves magic wands. It's the "warmest" emotionally.

Aquatopia is best for bigger kids and teens. It has the largest wave pool and the most big slides, including a 60-foot free-fall body slide, and a bodyboard attraction called Flowrider. It has the smallest amount of floor space dedicated to toddlers, though a great tipping bucket play area. Unique perk: when the weather is nice, guests can also go to the outdoor waterpark Camelbeach, about a half mile away, at no extra cost.

Kalahari is less "cuddly" than Great Wolf, but it has the most dedicated floor space for toddlers--roughly 25%--and includes interactive water-play features. Kalahari also has the largest tipping-bucket play area. When the weather is nice there is a retractable glass roof, and there are two large outdoor pools. Kalahari allows day guests, so it may be more crowded. The biggest missing feature is a wave pool--it will be added in 2017 when the waterpark doubles in size to 200K square feet. That is going to make it a tough act to follow. (2017 update: the new addition has been completed.)


Best for Toddlers: Kalahari and Great Wolf (tied)

Best for Medium Kids: Kalahari

Best for Big Kids: Aquatopia

Best Wave Pool: Aquatopia

Best Arcade: Aquatopia

Least Crowded: Aquatopia

"Cuddliest": Great Wolf

Best All-Around: Aquatopia


  1. Great review. What age group ks considered "medium"? I am taking my 7 and 10 yr. old and I cannot decide which resort to visit? Thanks for your help!

    1. I think they will love Kalahari--but no bad choice for those ages.