Launch Slideshow

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KALAHARI RESORT | SANDUSKY, OHIO

KALAHARI RESORT | SANDUSKY, OHIO

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Families can take a passport-free vacation to an exotic destination thanks to the African-themed Kalahari Resort.

The venue features a 173,000-square-foot indoor waterpark (reportedly the largest in the nation) and 77,000-square-foot outdoor waterpark. In addition, Kalahari offers 884 guest rooms and suites decorated with authentic, imported African artifacts, plus a convention center, on-site dining facilities, a full-service spa and a 27-hole golf course.

Some of the resort’s most recent additions include a 12,000-square-foot wave pool with eight ocean-like settings. And the transparent roof system helps reduce energy consumption by providing natural sunlight to heat the indoor aquatics facility.

Among Kalahari’s 13 water slides, guests will encounter the 400-foot Rippling Rhino, the Tanzanian Twister and a 55-foot decline slide called the Cheetah Race. Adults can enjoy some grownup libations within the aquatics park at the indoor/outdoor spa with swim-up bar or the outdoor Zanzi Bar. Built in the shape of the African continent, the custom-built Zanzi Bar features eight 50-inch, flat- screen televisions and a built-in DJ booth.

The resort employs 250 lifeguards, and depends on incentives and team-building activities to keep turnover low and recruitment high. To bring in new guests, Kalahari uses integrated marketing campaigns that include print, online, radio and TV advertising as well as public relations, community relations and viral marketing.

In 2007, the resort hosted the “Go Big or Go Home” event, which featured sumo wrestlers and Kalahari founder Todd Nelson, who unveiled the resort’s latest expansion plans to public officials and the media. The event was broadcast online to more than 20,000 e-newsletter subscribers, and the campaign also included more than 90 print and Web ad placements, 70 broadcast segments and 88 radio segments.

To combat rising gas prices, Kalahari recently introduced the “4-40 TGIF” promotion, which offers guests $40 off each night stay and a $40 gas card when they book four consecutive weeknights at the resort. Future plans include adding new rides and continuing to increase mid-week business through convention center group bookings. — I.H.