Play It Cool

Ways to Stay Cool This Summer: Waterpark Wars

Which park reigns supreme, brand-spanking-new Typhoon Texas in Katy, or 10-year-old Schlitterbahn in Galveston?

By Ellie Sharp July 25, 2016 Published in the July 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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The lines, the slides, the parking, the rides—we waded through them for you, Houston. Which park reigns supreme, brand-spanking-new Typhoon Texas in Katy, or 10-year-old Schlitterbahn in Galveston?

Typhoon Texas

555 Katy Fort Bend Rd., Katy,

Rides: 30
Memorial Day week- end to Labor Day weekend
Texas cred: owned and developed by three Texas A&M grads; Hill Country-themed décor, rides and food
Main attraction: the Texas Twister, which uses water jets to propel a raft of six people up a Lone Star Flag–painted wall
Best for kids: Gully Washer, with 100 spray areas and seven slides
Best for teens: Slide Boarding, with laser guns and targets in a darkened tunnel
Best for speed-seekers: Lone Star Racer, which pits you against your friends on a face-first water track
Best ride for thrill-seekers: Gunslinger, with a 70-foot freefall drop
Picnics in the park: discouraged (no outside food or drink allowed)
Best food: barbecue from Ruffino Meats in Bryan, Texas-shaped and -sized funnel cakes, and taquería- style tacos
Best booze: none; it's not sold on site
Chance of getting your wallet wet: low, with a sMART Lynq wristband that works both for park admission and in-park purchases
Lines: long, unless you spring for Fast Access RFID wristbands allowing you to skip to the front (though there is a limited number of wristbands sold each day)
Life vests: free, and in three sizes
Shade: wanting, especially on hot concrete paths that will toast your tootsies
Cabanas: eight-person cabanas range between $175 to $275 depending on location
After-hours entertain-ment: a stage overlooking the wave pool offers events such as live bands, Splash Cinema Thursdays and Friday Night Slides
Traffic: terrible, but it’s the Katy Freeway, so what did you expect?
Not included: locker deposit return fee ($10–$20 per locker)
Day pass: $39.99–$44.99
Season pass: $119.99
Discounts: for military and seniors

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Schlitterbahn Galveston Island

2109 Lockheed St., Galveston,

Rides: 33
every month of the year
Texas cred: the third Lone Star location of the original Schlitterbahn that first opened in New Braunfels in 1979
Main attraction: MASSIV, with four uphill blasts along a slide the length of 2.5 football fields
Best for kids: Treasure Island Kids Pool, with toddler-size pirate ship
Best for teens: Screaming Serpents, with rave-like fog and light effects
Best for speed-seekers: Rohr!, which reaches speeds of 30 mph
Best ride for thrill-seekers: Cliffhanger, 81-foot freefall drop
Picnics in the park: encouraged (no alcohol or glass containers allowed)
Best food: barbecue nachos, red-velvet funnel cakes, chicken-bacon- ranch pizza
Best booze: anything at the swim-up bar in the Wasserfest heated pool
Chance of getting your wallet wet: low, with water- proof Splash Cash Cashless Wristbands you can pre-load with money and scan to purchase food and drink across the park
Lines: short, if you go on rainy days or off-season months
Life vests: free, as are tubes
Shade: plenty, especially in the covered section that stays open during inclement weather
Cabanas: $70 (private two- person Luxury Lounger) to $395 (eight-person River- bend Penthouse Cabanas) to $680 (24-person Grand Cabanas)
After-hours entertainment: whatever’s on HBO in your room; Stay & Play packages offer discounted tickets and rooms at a dozen nearby hotels
Traffic: terrible, but it’s the Gulf Freeway, so what did you expect?
Not included: Soaring Eagle Zip Line ($10 for single rider; $15 for two tandem riders)
Day pass: $50.99
Season pass: $144.99
Discounts: for children and seniors

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