In 1966 along a stretch of a tree-lined, spring-fed river in the Texas Hill Country, Bob and Billye Henry and their three children took over a small resort. Over the next fifty years they would combine hard work with and incredible imagination to create the World’s Best Waterpark and Resort right in New Braunfels, Texas!
Originally intending to just add a few slides to attract more guests for the resort, the Henry family quickly saw that more than resort guests were interested in their water slides. They decided to expand their vision and started building a large slide complex. The only problem was they needed a name. Determined to pay homage to the cultural heritage of the New Braunfels, they wanted some sort of German name. After some brainstorming, they settled on it Schlitterbahn, a made-up word combining the German word for slippery – Schlitter – with the German word for road – Bahn. The park opened in the summer of 1979.
Every year the Henry family reinvesting in the resort, adding more rooms, more slides, and more fun. By the 1990s, Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort had grown to more than 65 acres, hundreds of rooms, dozens of slides and kids’ water playgrounds and miles of inner-tube chutes.
“We take great pride in our unwavering commitment to developing new and innovative parks, rides and technologies while keeping the focus on our family-friendly amenities and values,” explained Gary Henry, Schlitterbahn’s president and CEO. “Not only have we created industry-firsts, such as the Boogie Bahn surf rides, Master Blaster uphill water slides, tidal wave rivers, Transportainment-based and convertible waterparks, but we’ve also continued to offer our world-class guest amenities including free parking, free use of tubes and the option to bring in picnic meals for free into all of our parks.”
Today, Schlitterbahn New Braunfels has been recognized as the World’s Best Waterpark, winning Amusement Today’s prestigious Golden Ticket Award every year since the award was started in 1997. Schlitterbahn has been featured in several Hollywood movies, dozens of national TV programs and countless publications around the world.
Of course, our fans have always longed to have their own Schlitterbahn in their back yard and in 2001 we opened on the southernmost tip of Texas at South Padre Island. Schlitterbahn South Padre introduced the world’s first Transportainment® river system along with a record-breaking collection of four Master Blaster uphill waterslides. There is no standing in line in South Padre, with Transportainment guests can float from attraction to attraction without ever having to get out of the water. The immediate success earned Transportainment the industry’s highest innovation awards.
Schlitterbahn South Padre underwent a huge expansion in 2012 with the addition of a new 221-room beachfront resort including family suites, great Gulf beaches, fantastic dining location options and unlimited use of both the resort’s indoor and outdoor waterparks.
In 2006 Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark opened, expanding the Transportainment concept to cover the entire park. In our Galveston park, there are fully interconnecting large rivers that result in a one mile-long river system! In 2016 the park became home to the World’s Tallest Water Coaster, MASSIV. This epic ride is a must-not-miss experience! Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark also features a convertible roof system, allowing it to operate nearly year-round! It’s been recognized as the World’s Best Indoor Waterpark since the award was established in 2007 by Amusement Today.
In 2010, Schlitterbahn opened Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. This Transportainment-based Waterpark includes more than a twenty rides, slides and attractions including the world’s longest tidal wave river, Storm Blaster – a Master Blaster waterslide, King Kaw rapids river, Cyclone and Twister head-first mat slides, Aqua Veyers™ and the Boogie Bahn surf ride to name a few.
In 2015, Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi Riverpark opened, featuring the most complex and entertaining river system yet. Coupled with a 90 room resort, this latest property is yet another popular family destination.
In 2016, Schlitterbahn founder, Bob Henry, lovingly known to so many as Mr. Bob, passed away. He left a legacy of hard work and a devoted family. His was, as his son Gary noted, a life well lived. His wife and fellow cofounder, Billye Henry, is who in 1966 discovered the small campground for sale in New Braunfels. Billye and Bob took over Landa Resort along with their three children, eventually growing it into a successful and beloved resort and waterpark. Miss Billye, as she was known to all, was a guiding force in the resort side of the business. She passed away in 2017.
By putting families first and providing them with unique water entertainment found nowhere else, the Henry family has made Schlitterbahn America’s First Family of Waterparks and Resorts, delivering not only world-class waterparks in five cities across the country, but a tremendous value for families and friends to build new memories every day.