Translating into 'slippery road' in German, Schlitterbahn was first opened by the Henry family in 1979. The park originally held just 4 waterslides starting from the iconic German-style tower, which was patterned from the famous Bergrfried Gaurd Tower in Braunfels, Germany.
Schlitterbahn Water Park holds 2 main locations today, one in New Braunfels, Texas, and the other in Galveston, Texas.
Both parks hold a German-themed heritage, sprawling natural settings to enjoy a day in the water, and several fun rides and slides to enjoy.
While they hold so many things in common, there are also several differences to these parks, from the size of each park, the amount of rides and attractions offered, lodging options, and more.
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is the 'World's Best and Biggest Waterpark', holding 4 parks in one. It has been voted the #1 Waterpark in the World for 22 years now, holding 51 attractions scattered over 70 acres.
Schlitterbahn Galveston is a much smaller, still much loved, 26-acre waterpark oasis that holds both indoor and outdoor areas. There are 33 total attractions within this park.
Check out the maps for a quick overview of each park. NOTE: Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is broken up into two main parks: Schlitterbahn East and Schlitterbahn West/Original Schlitterbahn.
Rides and Slides
Both Schlitterbahn parks have an exceptional selection of rides, slides, and attractions to choose from, with Schlitterbahn New Braunfels holding 51 attractions in a highly spaced out area. Schlitterbahn Galveston holds 33 thrill rides and attractions, though the park is much more compact.
Remember, before delving into the specific rides that Schlitterbahn that there are 2 main sections to the New Braunfels park; Schlitterbahn East and Schlitterbahn West/Original Schlitterbahn. East holds 3 parks in one, including Tubenbach, Surfenburg, and Blastenhoff. The Galveston location also holds 3 parks, including Wasserfest, Surfenburg, and Blastenhoff.
Here are a few ride highlights from each park:
- Boogie Bahn - Beloved surf in place technology originated here.
- Downhill Racer - An original park feature that is great for the kiddos.
- The Dragon's Revenge - Credited as the first uphill water coaster.
- The Master Blaster - Award-winning 6-story drop ride starting at the top of the tower.
- The Falls - Longest tubing adventure available, combining 3 different river systems into one.
- MASSIV - Credited as the word's tallest water coaster.
- Boogie Bahn - Same beloved surf in place ride as New Braunfels park.
- Infinity Racers - Known as the world’s tallest and longest pair of mat racers.
- Torrent Tidal Wave River - Wave pool located inside Wasserfest, the 70,000 square foot indoor waterpark.
- Soaring Eagle - Zipline that allows you to glide 100 feet in the air at 30 mph on a double gondola.
Both parks offer typically the same choices, though Schlitterbahn New Braunfels holds quite a few more options overall. Both parks offer the BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) option, which we highly recommend for larger groups looking to save some money. Just note that glass containers are not allowed.
New Braunfels: Enjoy classic Texas BBQ, a signature 1/2 pound chili cheese dog, the mouthwatering Bahn Burger, and tons of unique funnel cake options at the eateries in this park, plus of course, some German dishes. There are 25 eateries in all at this park.
Galveston: Smoked BBQ, made from scratch pizza, healthy salad options, and, you guessed it, more funnel cake options await at the 18 eatery options within the Galveston park.
While both set in the state of Texas and both holding a German theme throughout the parks, the actual natural setting of the parks is quite different.
New Braunfels: The New Braunfels Schlitterbahn park is located on the banks of the Comal River in New Braunfels, the river aiding in supplying water to the park daily. The park is more naturally landscaped around the river, with oak and cypress trees lining the paths and native flowers popping up around every corner. This park has more natural hills throughout as well.
Galveston: This park is more commercial in the traditional sense, meaning it holds more concrete and cement than natural landscaping. Don't let this deter you from the park, it is gorgeous in its own way and is still abound with Texas natural charm throughout.
The New Braunfels water park holds The Resort at Schlitterbahn, an over 50-year-old resort sitting on the banks of the Comal River. The style is considered to be 'Texas Hill Country' style, the lodge holding vacation homes, hotel rooms, Tree Hauses and lofts, and condo-style lodging.
While there are several local hotels near Schlitterbahn Galveston, there are no actual Schlitterbahn brand resort options.