It's a blast
- Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 3.5
(Moderate drops and speed)
- Type: Uphill water coaster
When the first Master Blaster uphill water coaster debuted at Schlitterbahn water park in Texas, it was an instant success. Combining a water slide attraction with a roller coaster-like experience, the ride uses jets of water to propel rafts uphill; gravity takes care of the downhill sections. The Schlitterbahn folks, who also manufacture water park attractions for other parks, have been supplying Master Blasters for a number of other facilities.
The Kalahari, however, is one of the first indoor water parks to feature the water coaster. (H2Oasis, an indoor water park in Anchorage, Alaska--and you thought going to a water park in February in Wisconsin was weird--debuted its Master Blaster around the same time.)
A lift takes the rafts from the splash pool up to the loading station. Riders need to climb about five stories of stairs to board the ride. When the operator gives the OK sign, riders pile in, two to a raft. An overhead signal light turns green to indicate the track is clear, and the rafts plunge down the first hill.
What a rush
There's a brief butterflies-in-your-stomach sensation, and then the Master Blaster works its magic. After the momentum takes the rafts about halfway up an incline, a strong blast of water kicks them into high gear and shoots them into the next element of the ride. It's an odd sensation to accelerate uphill, and the rush of water adds to the thrills.
The nearly 600-foot long course snakes hither and yon in the rear half of the Kalahari's indoor park. Other water jets, placed strategically throughout the ride, keep things exciting. Most roller coasters lose some steam toward the latter part of the ride as the stored energy from the initial climb up the lift hill dissipates. But the jets' boosts help the Botswana Blast deliver decent speed and plenty of fun right through to the finish.
It's one thing to zip around an outdoor water park on a water coaster; replicating the thrills indoors is somewhat mind-boggling. The whole concept of indoor water parks is revolutionary, but the Kalahari takes it to the next level. Watching rafts filled with shrieking riders blast around the rafters of the immense facility, you have to tip your bathing cap to the Kalahari for its sheer audacity.