Looking for a kid-friendly indoor waterpark near NYC or Philadelphia? We just took a day trip to Sahara Sam's Indoor & Outdoor Waterpark in West Berlin, NJ and simply cannot recommend it enough. We received our tickets free in exchange for an honest review, but don't worry - I'm no sellout and always tell it like it is haha!! Be sure to watch our quick highlights video (below) and then keep reading for more details!!
Just a quick 90 minute drive from Brooklyn, Sahara Sam's couldn't be a more perfect kid-friendly day trip from NYC! They're open year-round with the indoor waterpark, arcade, and birthday parties, and the outdoor waterpark area opens in summer.
Bring your bathing suits and towels, no outside food or drinks, and pack smartly as you can fit a good amount of stuff in the large locker ($15), or possibly the small locker ($10) - they take credit card, don't worry. The lockers are good all day, you can go in and out of them as much as needed which is great if you're like me and want to take some quick photos or videos here and there and then keep your camera safe (and dry) in between, or grabbing your wallet as needed for lunch and snacks!
They do have complimentary life jackets for infants through 90 pounds, but you may want to bring your own if not arriving early - when we were leaving at 3pm they didn't have any available.
The food was standard kid-friendly amusement park type food - pizza, hot dogs, chicken fingers etc. We got the 16" pizza, about $16, which fed our family of 5. Great price, and delicious! The restaurant room does not require you to get dressed or wear shoes, which lets families keep their lunch break as quick and painless as possible haha! They also have a full bar within the water park room, and a large arcade, although you do have to be dressed with shoes to go in the latter.
Their Lizard Lagoon (baby & toddler area) has a wading / splash area, some small fountains, a double slide, and a wall around it that parents were all hanging out on. Very cute and all 3 of our kids spent a lot of time in there.
The Tim Buk Tu Adventure Playland in the center of the main room was awesome, with one of those HUGE buckets that dumps water every couple of minutes, a few small to medium sized slides, and various water play activities.
Their lazy river is GREAT!!! When we went early in the morning, there was no line and we could actually board our tubes in the zero entry part making it super easy for an adult to get on and load a child in your lap. Later in the afternoon it got really busy and actually made me a bit nervous doing it with our party of 5. Once you get a tube and get yourselves on it's nice to float around, but the getting on and off amidst all that chaos, with 3 little ones to worry about, it's really tough (unless the adults in your party outnumber the kids, then it's no problem)!
They have a bunch of large water slides, all minimum 42" to ride, which meant we had to take turns going with our 6 year old so that someone could stay behind with our 3 year old twins. But the slides were awesome - SO much fun!!!! Our favorite, we nicknamed the "Superman" slide but it's actually called Tut's Twisters and it's 2 slides where you go head-first tummy down on a mat, very unique and thrilling!!
The entire indoor waterpark was nice and balmy, 84 degrees year round! I was nervous about water temperature, as that can make or break a waterpark trip in my opinion. But the water was actually super nice, luke warm, not chilly at all (except for a separate room that held Tut's Twisters and a large pool - that room and the water were quite cool) - everything else, from the lazy river to the kiddy pool, were really nice temperatures! No shivering - phew!!
Tickets will run you about $30-40 per person (get a discount when purchasing in advance online) and if you plan to go at least twice in a year (you will, trust me) get the season's pass, which is a GREAT deal!! They're on sale now for $47.99 (regularly $84.99). Use code SSBUY3 to buy 3 or more and get them for $44.99 each
What do you think? Have you been to Sahara Sam's before? Do you have another amazing family-friendly day trip from NYC to recommend? Check out my massive list of the best getaways from NYC with kids here (many include links to my personal reviews and YouTube videos)!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!