Disclaimer: Dallas Single Mom and affiliates were provided complimentary tickets to experience Schlitterbahn Galveston Island with the help of US Family Guide. All opinions are 100% our own.
“Bye Daddy!” as Ashley slipped into her booster seat next to my Baby B. “Oh wait! I see boiled peanuts! “ I yelled as we made our way out of the Exxon and I kissed Dallas Single Dad goodbye leaving him to his own devices as his daughter was joining my girls and I for a road trip to Houston and then to Galveston Island to celebrate the beginning of summer. We are the modern blended family.
It was a girl’s trip that I was also taking my 5 year old and 9 year old to which included the Schlitterbahn Water Park on Galveston Island. We were gifted some awesome tickets through our partnership with US Family Guide and I didn’t want to waste any time on starting the fun. This was a first for Ashley as well as my own family since not only was this Ashley’s first Girl’s Trip but this was also my first blended family vacation. Welcome to the modern blended family vacation!
What is a modern blended family vacation?
Well traditionally speaking, the simple definition of a blended family, sometimes also called a step family is a family unit where one or both parents have children from a previous relationship, but they have combined to form a new family. The parents may or may not then have children with each other. Just add vacation to the end of it and there you have it. This time around I am taking his daughter and my two daughters – without Dallas Single Dad around. I have babysat Ashley before so this was a piece of cake but this time we are not in close proximity to dad and she has never experienced a girl’s vacation before so there’s always a first time for everything right?
Where did we stay on our vacation to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island? cont.
I opted not to stay on Galveston Island. Galveston Island is beautiful and there are many hotels I absolutely adore on the island, specifically the Hotel Galvez and the Tremont House. However I opted to stay in a suite with kitchenette on a good deal I got with Sonesta ES Suites near the Houston Galleria mall. Conveniently located to the shopping mall, Houston Uptown and grocery stores like HEB I really enjoyed this hotel and the girls did too. Since we were bringing our own food and drinks into the park, I definitely recommend buying grocery items at HEB in Houston and/or a Coleman 50-Quart Wheeled Cooler with Low-Profile Lid, Blue – Walmart.com at Walmart. I don’t know the pricing for things on Galveston Island but I found it to be very inexpensive to shop in Houston before heading in. The cooler was already packed with ice, food and drinks before we got into the park. Also remember to buy paper products, plastic table covers like the kind they have at party supplies sections (tape to hold it down), baby wipes and hand sanitizer to go.
A bit about Schlitterbahn Galveston Island
It’s the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark: Built in 2006, this waterpark is located on historical Galveston Island and has been voted as the World’s Best Indoor Waterpark for 8 straight years. This park features more than 33 attractions and a mile long Transportainment River system. To celebrate its 10 year anniversary, Galveston will be unveiling a new ride, which will be the world’s tallest water coaster – MASSIV!
Driving to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island
It was about a 45 minute drive (with no traffic) to make our way to Galveston Island on I45 around 8:30 AM so it wasn’t a bad drive. Since it was a busy holiday weekend you can normally expect heavy traffic as people make their way to the beach. One of the ways I stay sane heading to a waterpark was to get there early before it opens. In fact get there 30 minutes early. This was no exception. Buy your tickets in advance and get there early. I parked in their free parking lot (next to a light pole) so I could find my car easily and headed to the booth just outside of the park to pick up my wrist bands. Put them on before you head to the main entrance because when you make it up the ramp to the front gates it can get very crowded and chaotic so keep the little ones together. You can also write their name and phone number on the inside of their wrist bands in case they get separated.
The front security will also check coolers and backpacks so be ready by having those items open prior to getting to the gate. It’s another reason why a rolling cooler makes it easy. Teach the kids who the lifeguards and workers are based upon their uniforms so they know who to go to if they need help.
See More in the Vimeo below about Schlitterbahn Galveston Island
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Layout and Picnic Spot Setup – cont.
If I have to give advice on how I best slayed Schlitterbahn Galveston Island it was all about where I set up my base of operations. Have you heard the saying “Location, Location, Location!” Location means everything and it truly depends on the ages of your kids, the ages of the people in your party and the proximity to things you want to do. I chose to set up my base of operations near a picnic table in the enclosed Wasserfest. It’s a covered area of the park (also open in the winter) that includes an enclosed kid’s play splash area as well as an adult swim up bar and many other amenities.
It was close enough to the rented lockers, the bathroom, a concession stand with BBQ and a few water slides. We picked a picnic table way in the corner and that was our base of operations. The best part was it was a covered area so no direct sunlight and shade. It was also easy access to the Wasserfest Kid’s splash area for Baby B and Ashley and close enough to the rohr! water slide for my oldest child. I honestly feel like I struck gold. I still rented a locker behind the wave pool for wallets, cellphones and valuables.
Proper Attire and Sun Safety at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island
Texas gets hot and not only does it get hot but the sun reflects off the concrete. Proper sunscreen is a requirement. I won’t get into the debate of which ones are the best etc. I am a single mom and I can say I was well supplied with sunscreen of all kinds and with the amount of reapplying we did that day at Schlitterbahn we basically used the entire tube. We stayed at Schlitterbahn from when it opened at 10 AM until about 5 PM so it was a very long day and we reapplied often. Attire should also be a consideration when at Schlitterbahn. Besides wearing your swimsuit wear very loose clothing. I had the girls wear just their swimsuit and shorts when we walked in. To avoid me carrying their belongings I made them responsible for their own stuff. The little ones wore their goggles around their necks, Swim or Water shoes, and other items were in their personal backpacks or bags including extra clothes. I wore flip flops and a sundress over my swimsuit. My saving grace was sunglasses with Croakies also known as eyewear retainers to keep my sunglasses from flying off or floating away. As far as extra clothes I folded and sealed them in plastic bags so they wouldn’t get accidentally wet. Wet clothes I could then keep in the extra plastic bags. I took an extra bag for all of the towels. Take advantage of the free kid’s life vests and kid’s tubes or you can bring your own if your little swimmer is not that adept at swimming. I had life vests for my kids.
Navigating Schlitterbahn Galveston Island – cont.
I highly suggest you study the map and layout of the waterpark before you get there via their website and check out the Schlitterbahn blog for some great tips. That’s where you decide on where your base of operations will be located at. For us we set up our base at the Wasserfest Kids Area and from there we navigated the rest of the park on our own. My older child got to venture to the bigger water slides while the younger two and I stayed primarily near all of the kid’s areas. Even if you bring your own food you are bound to purchase other food items like drinks, popcorn, and dippin dots as well as souvenirs. If that is the case Splash Cash or the cashless wristband will be useful for you as it is waterproof and easy to scan.
With older and younger kids I could always set up a base near each kid’s area where the older kids could always find me. We would venture as a group to each kid’s area by which my oldest could slide down the nearest water slides to that area. We basically divided up the park into quadrants and we managed to stay a few hours in each quadrant. We had lunch at our base of operations and the tail end of our day was there as well. There are way too many water attractions to list but Schlitterbahn’s website allows you to easily identify rides by age range, height and thrill level. Using this filter and checking out the map you can determine which rides you are likely to do the most and set up a base camp near there.
Our favorite water attractions included:
Elementary Aged – (My daughter is 9)
If you are really adventurous I would definitely try Massiv when it finally opens. Just in time for the park’s 10 year anniversary and it is the world’s tallest water coaster.
When it’s time to Say Goodbye to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island – cont.
Nobody ever talks about tips on leaving a place but I am going to offer up my best advice on leaving Schlitterbahn Galveston Island. Be mindful of when they close by checking their schedule online. We stopped swimming at 5 pm and it took long to get showered and changed because so many people were leaving at the same time. All I can say is be patient and carry your body wash to not only shower but to shampoo your hair. Get in and get out quickly.
Bathroom stalls at this time also get crowded because people are trying to change in the stalls. If the changing rooms get crowded I say use the plastic table cloth like a shower curtain in the restrooms and have each child or adult hold up each side so that your party can change without waiting in line or you can always wait to get home or back to your hotel to shower. I was born and raised in Hawaii so I am used to changing with my towel wrapped around me.
Leave your locker for last until it’s time to go and drop off the key to the locker return. We ended up moving our camp to where the lockers were located at the end of the day. Behind the Wave Lagoon where the Blizzard Bar is located is a covered area with picnic tables and lockers. Near there is a restroom with showers and changing areas. Not all restrooms have showers but this area had them which is why at the end of the day when it was time to go home we moved camp to this area but the lines were long for the showers. I would have liked to see more outside showers if you just want a quick rinse off and more changing areas for women. It took us awhile to get changed but we made the trek back out to the car. It was a holiday weekend so keep in mind getting back to Houston on I45 out of Galveston Island there was a lot of traffic so make sure you have gas. We left the park at around 7 pm and it took me two hours to get back to the hotel when it would normally take 45 minutes. Stay on the island if you are traveling or stay at hotels near Clear Lake and the Johnson Space Center area.
Other Last Minute Tips
Clean up your area and put trash in the proper receptacles and recyclables in the proper bins. I also opted to get waterproof disposable cameras rather than using my phone but I got a lot of snaps with my phone as well. When left without a tube ask a worker and they will let you know where you can get one or have one blown up for you. Remember the later you go in the day the harder tubes are going to come by. I have found making friends with the picnic tables around you really helps. People sometimes look out for each other and I let someone from another table sit at our table and when they were done with their tubes they let us use them.
At the end of the day we seriously slayed Schlitterbahn in Dallas Single Mom style and we had a wonderful girls’ vacation and truly brought Dallas to Galveston.
For more information and to pre-purchase tickets please also visit them online at Schlitterbahn.com or check out their Facebook page for current contests. We have discounts available via US Family Guide in my summer discount section just scroll down to Texas.
If you have any Schlitterbahn questions please feel free to comment below and/or let me know what is your favorite Schlitterbahn ride or tip that you would like to share?
Disclaimer: Promotional consideration was given in order to provide a product review and some links above may be affiliate links. All opinions presented are 100% my own. For more information, please read my disclosure page.