|Privately/Family Owned Company|
|Industry||Amusement park Waterpark operator|
|Headquarters||New Braunfels, Texas|
Schlitterbahn is a family-owned and operated company based in New Braunfels, Texas. Schlitterbahn began its first park, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, in 1979. Since then, Schlitterbahn now has a total of five outdoor waterparks, two indoor waterparks, three resorts, a golf course, and two full-service restaurants in their parks in Texas and in Kansas City, Kansas.
Schlitterbahn's outdoor waterparks are summer seasonal water parks. They typically operate from late April to mid-September, but the indoor waterparks, resorts, and restaurants operate year-round. Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark, which opened in 2006, has one indoor section that has limited operation during fall and winter. Schlitterbahn South Padre Island Beach Resort has an indoor section that has limited operation year round.
The first of the parks was in New Braunfels and opened in 1979. The park was named "slippery road" in German because of the local area's German heritage. It originally consisted of four waterslides. The park expanded three separate times. Surfenberg was the first part of the expansion and had the world's first inland surfing ride, the Boogie Bahn, in 1992, created the first uphill water coaster, the Dragon Blaster in 1994. In 1996 the next section opened - Blastenhoff - and featured the world's first wave river, the Torrent, and the world's most award-winning uphill water coaster, the Master Blaster. In 2011 the park expanded again, adding The Falls, the world's longest tubing river, featuring rapids and tube chutes.
As of 2017, the park had won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for 19 years straight. In total Schlitterbahn New Braunfels has received 36 Golden Ticket Awards. The park currently employs 2000 seasonal workers.
The park in South Padre Island opened in 2001. An indoor section opened in 2012. The park features Transportainment - a system where guests can ride through the majority of the park's attractions while floating in their tubes. In fact, this park has floating queue lines for three of the four uphill water coasters.
On March 6, 2013, Nicolas "Nico" Benavidez, a 20 year old seasonal employee was fatally injured when an overhead gate slammed down and pinned him. He was left on life support for organ donation and later died from the injuries on March 11. OSHA investigated and fined Schlitterbahn for six safety violations related to the fatal incident.
The 26-acre Schlitterbahn park in Galveston opened in 2006, and is open for part of every month of the year. The park features the most thrill rides of any of the Schlitterbahn parks and is home to the world's tallest water coaster, MASSIV. MASSIV opened in 2016 and features the most current technology including water and power saving features never used before. MASSIV holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the Tallest Water Coaster and is 81 feet, 6 inches tall.
On August 7, 2016, a 10 year old child, Caleb Thomas Schwab, son of Kansas representative Scott Schwab, was killed in the park while riding the Verrückt, a water raft ride touted as the world's tallest water slide. Caleb died before reaching the bottom. Two other unrelated riders in the same raft sustained injuries. The ride was decommissioned and is being demolished. The park settled with all parties in 2016, however, a grand jury filed an indictment against the park and a former executive in 2018. The indictment accused the park of negligence, as well as concealing design flaws and other issues with the ride.
In May 2012, Schlitterbahn announced that it would move forward with plans to begin construction of a new water park in the Corpus Christi-Padre Island area. It was announced that the park would open during the summer of 2013, but due to various delays ground breaking didn't take place until February 2013. A 574-acre plan for the city includes a marina, the Schlitterbahn water park with lodging, and a golf course. Vendors complained, and even sued, Schlitterbahn over $500,000 in unpaid bills on the Corpus Christi project. After several months, Schlitterbahn paid the vendors and threw them a party. Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi opened on June 20, 2015 with a full service restaurant, the Veranda, two kids areas, the Krystal river system, the Sky Blaster and the Aquaveyer. In 2016 the southern end of the park opened along with a resort. Christened Schlitterbahn Riverpark - Corpus Christi, the park features nearly 2 miles of river and multiple blasters. In 2017 Padre's Plunge, a log flume type ride, opened in the southern end of the park. The park features four types of rivers, two children's area, a massive swim up bar, a stage for concerts, a resort with several event spaces, a golf course, a tennis court, and a full service restaurant.
A 4 year long stalled project in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has gotten final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to construct a 64-acre water park at the old Fort Lauderdale Stadium. The initial project will use portions of the old stadium to construct a castle-like entrance that will include lodging, dining, and shopping facilities. Other projects include incorporating the neighboring Lockhart Stadium into the plan by expanding the park around that stadium. South Florida families are urging for the project to become a reality, but while no timetable has been set on when construction will begin, the park was predicted to open no later than 2017.
A lawsuit between Fort Lauderdale and nearby Rapids Water Park has delayed the project. On March 29, 2017 federal U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez ruled against the City of Fort Lauderdale in the case stating they "did not follow their own charter" in awarding the property lease to Schlitterbahn without conducting a competitive bid process and declared the lease "invalid, null and void."