The name ‘Schlitterbahn’ actually to belongs to three water amusement parks in Texas. One is in South Padre Island, another is in Galveston and the original flagship amusement park featured here is in New Braunfels. There is also a fourth that goes under the ‘Schlitterbahn’ banner which is located in Kansas City.
The Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort in New Braunfels opened in 1979 on land which had been purchased for the purpose by Bob and Billye Henry. In 1991, they bought more land which enabled them to open two separate amusement parks in the New Braunfels area which became known, unsurprisingly, as Schlitterbahn West and Schlitterbahn East. The amusement parks are separated by several city blocks and shuttle buses are used to ferry visitors between the two. In fact the ‘East’ amusement park is further divided into 2 separate areas – Surfenburg and Blastenhoff – the former built in 1991 and the latter following 5 years later.
One of the amusement park’s claims to fame is that in 1994, it actually opened the world’s first ever uphill water ride – the Dragon Blaster. More uphill water rides followed at the amusement park. These were named the Master Blaster and the Family Blaster. In fact, the Master Blaster has won several amusement park industry awards as the best water ride in the US over the years since it was first introduced. The amusement park itself has also won awards for being the best water amusement park in the U.S. on numerous occasions over these past few years.
Unlike most water amusement parks, one of the unique features about this amusement park is that it derives its entire water source from the spring-fed Comal River which runs alongside its southern border. The water from the river is pumped into the amusement park then cleaned and filtered back into the river after use, taking great care not to use any chemicals in the process to maintain the river’s natural quality.
And it’s name? Well, ‘Schlitterbahn’ is a German word translated into English as ‘slippery road’. It also uses the clever slogan of being able to offer you ‘the hottest, coolest time in Texas!’ and thousands of visitors will, no doubt, agree with that.