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SCHLITTERBAHN

SCHLITTERBAHN. Schlitterbahn is a waterpark and tourist attraction in New Braunfels. The park, which opened on August 2, 1979, originated when Bob and Billye Henry bought a resort motel, called Landa Resort, on the Comal River in the early 1970s. Tubing—floating down the river in large rubber inner tubes—has long been a popular way to beat the summer heat in Texas, and the Henrys decided to expand the motel's water recreation business. The first element in what they called Schlitterbahn ("slippery road" in German) was a sixty-foot structure modeled on one of the towers of the Solms Castle in Braunfels, Germany, and designed to reflect New Braunfels' German heritage. The tower featured four slides and a system to pump water from the Comal River. A year later the Henrys added a large spring-fed pool and an inner-tube chute. Over the next decade the Henrys added new features until their original forty-acre property was filled with rides, slides, waterways, and buildings. In 1991 they purchased a nearby twenty-five acre plot, known as Camp Warnecke, a longtime New Braunfels resort on the Comal River, on which they built two new sections of the park: Surfenburg, which featured the world's first continuous surfing wave (the Boogie Bahn) and the world's first uphill water coaster (the Dragon Blaster), and Blastenhoff. Schlitterbahn, which is open from late April until mid-September, has some 1,500 seasonal employees, and during its 2000 season attracted more than 900,000 visitors. The park has been featured on the NBC Today Show and on the Travel Channel. Its sister company NBGS International, based in New Braunfels, designs and builds rides for waterparks around the world. A second attraction with a Brazilian beach theme, Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark, opened on South Padre Island in May 2001. The Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, a thirty-acre facility, opened in the spring of 2006. By 2007 Schlitterbahn Waterparks planned to expand its business outside of Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Roger Nuhn, ed., The New Braunfels Sesquicentennial Minutes (New Braunfels: Sophienburg Museum and Archives, 1995). Schlitterbahn website (www.schlitterbahn.com), accessed June 12, 2007.

Martin Donell Kohout

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Martin Donell Kohout, "SCHLITTERBAHN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dus01), accessed September 17, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.