It was the middle of winter - snow on the ground, below freezing temperatures, and dark for a needlessly long amount of time. And where were we? We were hanging out in bathing suits, coasting down a lazy river, being thrilled with crazy waterslides, and enjoying constant 84 degree weather. The best part about all of this? We were still in the Greater Philadelphia area (actually only about a half an hour from Center City)! We had discovered Sahara Sam's Oasis, an indoor waterpark in West Berlin, NJ, and we were loving it! Sahara Sam's opened in 2009, making it the very first free standing indoor waterpark in the state. 58,000 square feet of water and arcade fun, and it can be used year round thanks to its one-of-a-kind retractable roof (quite a bang for that membership buck!). Since it's beginning, Sahara Sam's has been committed to constantly improving on the family friendly experience that they offer, with the additions of expanded kitchen and party facilities, even more restrooms, the tallest free-standing ropes course in the world (now at Diggerland USA), and a new outdoor waterpark area finished in 2013.
Sahara Sam's is not just a business and entertainment center - they are also invested in the local community. In 2011, they launched the SAMBULANCE Educational Safety Program, a non-profit funded mostly by Sahara Sam's Oasis devoted to "the independence of individuals with special needs through educational programming and safety alliances". The SAMBULANCE Safety Squad travels to special needs schools and organizations to give complimentary, hands-on training and education about 9-1-1 emergency situations, first aid, and first responders. Sahara Sam's has since committed itself even further to the special needs community with the introduction of S.E.A.S. (Special Needs Events At Sam's). With limited tickets sold, reduced lighting and noise, and extra accommodations made (quiet rooms available, as well as zero depth and transfer lifts for easy entry to the waterpark fun), it's a great place for families and individuals with special needs to relax, have fun, and network - all for a greatly reduced price!
Sahara Sam's Oasis has something fun and exciting in every single section of its indoor waterpark. Most visitors are drawn directly into the fun and variety of Tim-Buk-Tu - an adventure play land with obstacles, slides, platforms, and plenty of water (look out for that giant bucket overhead!!). Other great play areas include Crocodile Flats (a floating cargo obstacle course), Sam's Slamdunker (an aquatic shoot out), and the Lizard Lagoon (a mini water world perfect for the littlest visitors). An easy trip around The Congo Bongo makes for a relaxing break whenever you need it.
As much fun as we had exploring the "tamer" sections of the waterpark, we were really looking forward to trying to out the thrill rides that we had heard so much about! Flow Rider (New Jersey's only indoor surfing simulator) was indeed a wild ride and a crazy challenge. We now understand why visitors sit nearby to enjoy watching the successes AND the total wipeouts of their fellow guests. The Nile Mile, an impressively fast 350ft body slide, is a LONG ride - with a full 50ft of runway needed at the end just to slow you down! Grab a tube and either go solo or in a double to disappear into the belly of the beast of Snake Eyes. And if that isn't enough people for a crazy ride, Mount Kilimanjaro can accommodate groups of 3 and 4 for a unique bonding experience. For an even more thrilling ride, make sure to visit sometime when it's dark out (those pitch black water tubes definitely had our adrenaline going when we were there!).
Sahara Sam's Oasis is the perfect place for birthday parties and group functions. Never having to worry about being rained out at a waterpark is a HUGE plus when setting the date for a party. Various packages are available to make the big day fun and memorable! We also love their hotel partnerships with "stay and place" discounts available at local places to spend the night. And if you're looking to make the most of your Sahara Sam's experience, then definitely check out their season pass. Unlike other waterparks, this is a year round return of fun on your investment. Other member benefits include discounts on food and party packages, discounted tickets for friends' admission and select Bring a Friend FREE days, and discounted pricing for special events.
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