Photo courtesy Schlitterbahn

With the opening of the new Schlitterbahn Vacation Village waterpark, Kansas City, Kan., now is a bona fide vacation destination.

The first phase of the $750 million development officially opened in July 2009.

Open year ’round, the completed project will include the waterpark, shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment venues, all connected by Schlitterbahn’s signature Transportainment River System — manmade tubing rivers designed to carry guests throughout the property.

The 370-acre Vacation Village property is the first expansion outside of Texas for the Schlitterbahn group of waterparks. Phase one of the outdoor waterpark includes  an uphill water coaster, tubing slides, 13 kiddie slides, and a swim-up refreshment bar. All told, the waterpark is expected to span 40 acres and is scheduled for completion in 2011. Plans include a 130,000-square-foot, enclosed, climate-controlled area. Construction of lodging, shops and restaurants also is set to continue through the next few years.