(Kalahari Resort)

A theme park, water park and 1.5 million square feet to social distance in, oh my!

Kalahari Resort in Round Rock officially opened today, declaring itself the biggest indoor water park in the world, right here in the Lone Star State.


The resort, located on 3001 Kalahari Blvd., features over 900 hotel rooms, five restaurants, retail locations, a convention center, a safari-themed 223,000-square-foot indoor water park—the largest in the world; and three acres of outdoor pool space.

This is Kalahari Resorts & Conventions fourth location and first in Texas with the others located in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The new $350 million facility created more than 700 jobs and is set to welcome upwards of a million guests in the coming year.

While the resort can normally house up to 8,000 guests, the resort will not book more than 3,000 at a time during the pandemic. Guests are required to wear masks while not in the pool.

Health officials have stated that while there isn't evidence COVID-19 spreads through recreational water, there is always potential when people gather. For extra precautions, only 500 people will be allowed in the water park at any time and social distancing guidelines will be observed on all rides. For extra protection, the CDC has a page specifically dedicated to water park safety.

Kalahari Resorts seek to combine a safari adventure and indoor water parks all in one place. With spas, restaurants, themed environments, convention centers and more on deck, Kalahari provides fun for the whole family. In addition to the fun, Kalahari shares the beauty of Africa with care by supporting African artists and artisans and sponsoring the Mandela Poster Project. So far, Kalahari has spent $5.5 million on African-local products.

The challenge for all of us this Thanksgiving is letting go of what we've lost in this tough year and treasure what we still have.

We at Austonia are thankful for you. Since we launched our site in April, we've done our best to connect you to Austin, with stories ranging from the important to the delightfully superficial. Your response has been strong and we are grateful.

At this time of thanks, we have a variety of stories for you. Laura Figi writes about "a greener holiday," food trends, and Friday shopping. Emma Freer writes about a nearby annual Native American heritage celebration. And Roberto Ontiveros brings us a thoughtful piece that looks at the human toll of Austin's gentrification—the often painful flip side to having shiny new bars, restaurants, and apartments—in this case it's displacement of the Black community on East 11th Street. Finally, we ask you how you're celebrating the holiday this year.

Our best to you and your loved ones!

—The Austonia Team

You can now buy earrings designed by UT students at Kendra Scott

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