Will Levith (Saratoga Living)… Everybody spill a little Uncommon Grounds on the curb. The Capital Region has just made it through a second summer season sans Water Slide World (#RIP). Sure, there are other fun waterparks in Upstate New York, including Hurricane Harbor at the Great Escape in Lake George and Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Old Forge, but none has an advertising jingle quite as catchy (or tricky to decipher) as Water Slide World’s—or is still open for the season. That list also includes Saratoga Springs’ own Peerless Pool, which closed for the season on September 2, and the Victoria Pool, which will only be open one last weekend, September 14-15 (i.e. this weekend!), before boarding up for the winter as well.
I know what you’re going to say: I missed the Great Escape’s Lodge in Lake George, which is a fantastic, all-weather option, with an indoor waterpark and a variety of amenities. But it’s just a 30-minute ride up the Northway from Saratoga, and that doesn’t really strike me as that big of an, er, escape. However, there’s a relatively new option available, a little farther afield—that has Capital Region ties and some rather mammoth bragging rights. Two-and-a-half hours southwest of Saratoga in the Catskills region sits the 1600-acre Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark in Monticello, NY, which officially opened its doors on April 19, and as saratoga living reported in our March/April Design Issue, was designed and built, soup to nuts, by Cohoes-based waterpark design firm Aquatic Development Group (ADG). (For locals unfamiliar with ADG, it’s a family run business that has been building state-of-the-art waterparks, both indoors and outdoors, around the world, since the ’60s.)
So what does the Kartrite offer Saratoga thrill-seekers willing to drive a bit farther for a splish-splashing good time? First off, an 80,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, the largest in New York State, that’s what. Featuring an average indoor temperature of 84 degrees—that’s two degrees balmier than the Great Escape Lodge’s indoor waterpark—the Kartrite’s enclosed waterpark includes more than 10 waterslides and adventures, such as ADG’s signature FlowRider wave pool, where surfers can bring their waxed-down surfboards in the dead of winter for never-ending lineups; the Nor’easter, a cheekily named waterslide that zips you and your friends down in a two- or four-seat tube; and the almighty Krakken, a monstrous, speedy waterslide that features hair-raising dips and drops that can be enjoyed either by one’s lonesome or with a buddy.
But the indoor waterpark is only a fraction of your next fun-filled family outing or bachelorette weekend. Whereas at many waterparks across the country, you know you’re going to have a blast but get a solid B-minus all-around experience, at the Kartrite, you get a little slice of the luxe life everywhere you turn and A’s across the board. Positioned 16 feet above the ground on a boomerang-shaped mezzanine are 15 deluxe cabanas ($249-$399 per day), with their own hotel-room-like amenities such as a 32-inch HD televisions for maximum vegetation, a mini-fridge filled with snacks/drinks and table service, among other perks. The resort itself comes armed with three types of suite, two-bedroom and three-bedroom room options—plus a massive, 1820-square-foot, three-bedroom Grand Corner suite, perfect for the family from Cheaper by the Dozen, a family reunion, wedding party or baller getaway with the guys (sorry, no tigers allowed). The resort also includes the Sweat fitness center, which has all the free weights and machines the athlete-on-vacation inside you craves; the Chill Spa, which offers a range of amenities including facials, body treatments and massages; Playopolis, a massive arcade, stocked with more than 100 arcade games; the Scrapeskyer (not a misprint), an LED-lit rock-climbing wall; a kid-friendly rope obstacle course and zipline; four-lane miniature bowling alley; VR experience; XD theater for cooperative gaming; and a Laser Tag arena (just like the one they had in Saratoga in the ’80s—but actually open). Did I mention the Kartrite’s got eight bars and restaurants, including the Surfside Grille, which overlooks the indoor waterpark?
If you’re worried that you’ll be hoofing it all the way downstate this fall or winter, only to find that you’re the only person at the Kartrite, think again. “We hit record numbers in the month of August, with the resort selling out most days, and the waterpark maxed out at full capacity, which is approximately 1500 guests a day,” says David Kohlasch, general manager of the Kartrite. Kohlasch says he’s also expecting maxed-out weekends during the upcoming winter months.
The Kartrite’s indoor waterpark is open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm—and if you happen to be staying at the resort, too, you could be there at 8:59am to get some early slides in. In terms of rates, the resort is on a low and high season schedule, so when school’s out for the summer, expect higher rates. (Obviously, that doesn’t apply for right now.) Low season rates start at $249 a night, while high season rates clock in at $449 per night. Do note that there’s an additional $35 resort fee per night per suite, but this includes a number of amenities such as parking, daily in-room coffee and bottled water, access to Wi-Fi, towels for the waterpark and self-service washers and dryers. Oh, and you don’t have to stay at the resort to enjoy that behemoth indoor waterpark. For day visitors, waterpark passes range from $59-$99 (a special Splash Pass can be purchased online). And if you’re the budget-conscious type, the resort offers a number of package deals throughout the year—and even hosts weddings (just imagine catching saying “I do” in your bathing suit and catching your significant other as he or she shoots out of a waterslide).
Now, if you catch yourself humming the Water Slide World theme song, it’s OK; just picture yourself doing everything those kids did in the ad, inside, while all of your friends are shoveling their driveways. I really love the way that feels.