It’s always 84° at Sahara Sam’s Oasis, a 70,000 square foot indoor/outdoor family water park in New Jersey that’s open all year round. Find out about their new addition, read our review and grab a discount code!
Want to hear a sad story? When I was a kid, my neighbor invited me to go with her and her two boys to a water park. That morning, I sat on my porch in my bathing suit and towel, all excited— I’d never been to a water park; heck, I’d never been in a pool. And I kept on sitting there, for hours, because as it turned out her kids had come down with the chicken pox overnight and no one had thought to tell me.
Poor me, right? No worries; I’ve been to a couple of water parks since then. Most recently, my daughter Cass and I were gifted tickets to attend a bloggers’ night out at Sahara Sam’s Oasis in West Berlin, New Jersey (right next to Diggerland USA). My friend and her boys came along with us since my boys already had plans that night.
The traffic was horrendous— on the radio someone said it was one of the worst nights she’d ever seen, accidents everywhere— and so I missed out on most of the free play time before the blogging event started. I did get to snap off a couple of quick pictures though.
As always, she looks so pleased to have her picture taken.
Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park has a number of different kinds of water attractions in a relatively small space, which is ideal because kids of varying ages can all find something fun to do with a level of freedom: it’s not so big they’ll get lost. That said, if you scan Google reviews you’ll find that the number one complaint is the behavior of unsupervised kids. That’s not on Sahara Sam’s, that’s on us, parents! Make sure to discuss and model appropriate behavior beforehand and if you suspect your kid will forget their manners, team them up with an adult or older child.
The night we were there it wasn’t at all crowded— maybe because of the godawful traffic— and the kids were able to do a slide, walk back up, and come right back down. I suspect most off-season weeknights are less crowded, which makes Sahara Sam’s 365-day membership a really good deal! Let’s be real, any water park is going to be mobbed during the heat of the summer, and you’ll spend more time in lines than not. The cost of a membership (on sale right now for $59.99, normally $69.99) is less than the cost of two visits, and then you can take advantage of all those quieter days and nights. You also get discounts on food, merchandise and tickets for friends; it’s a nice bonus that parking is free.
Memberships are my favorite gifts to give and get, honestly. It’s great to have an already-paid-for place to go on the spur of the moment, where you can leave if it’s too crowded or the kids are cranky without guilt because you know you can just come back another time.
OK. Let’s talk about what all they have there at Sahara Sam’s:
- Congo Bongo: lazy river
- Tim-Buk-tu: water playground, with a huge bucket that fills slowly and then tips over
- Snake Eyes: tube slides, one or two person
- Nile Mile: body slide
- Mount Kilimanjaro: family slide (I think of these as “white river rafts”)
- Flow Rider: surfing simulator (I’m so sad I didn’t get to try this)
- indoor pool with Sam’s Slamdunker (basketball net) and Crocodile Flats (obstacle course)
- Lizard Lagoon indoor pool for little ones; Splish Splash is the outdoor version
- Rip N Roll outdoor wave pool
- Blue Lagoon Leisure Pool: outdoor traditional pool with lap lanes
- Sand Volleyball
- Arcade: fair warning, you have to walk through this to get to the entrance
- Warming Tub: not as hot as a hot tub; ages 18+
- Sam’s Lounge: indoor and outdoor bars with both traditional and tropical drinks
- Desert Palm Café: pizza, fries, chicken fingers, etc. Your normal kids’ fare.
AND, Memorial Day weekend Sahara Sam’s is unveiling another 10,000 square feet of fun: Tut’s Twister (side-by-side racing slides; 5 stories high and you go head first on a mat so these will be FAST) and The Mirage, an indoor leisure pool. The addition of Tut’s Twister will likely draw more of the bigger kids, cutting down on wait times in the other lines for slides.
There will be a summer kickoff party all Memorial Day weekend long, with a DJ, giveaways and games for the family.
I’m not going to go into details about allllll the attractions available. Suffice it to say that Cass actually posed for a photo with a smile on her face (my phone was out of room and didn’t take the picture, OF COURSE) and my friend’s son reported that it was the best night of his life. You can get all the details on the slides and whatnot on Sahara Sam’s attraction page.
Some hot tips for visiting Sahara Sam’s Oasis:
Bring a lunch!
You can’t bring food into the park, but you’re free to come and go (you have a wristband). Head out to the car to eat and save a bundle— like any other amusement park or touristy spot, the food cost is out of the budget for my family of five.
For those with food allergies
The menu is posted on the website, but Sahara Sam’s does make some exemptions for those who need to carry their own food/drink. You will need a note from your doctor stipulating the need.
The lockers are not huge and it’s a pain in the butt shifting things around to find your wallet or phone or whatever. Use a flexible bag and leave what you can at home or in the car.
Seating is provided
but everyone has to pay to get in, even if they’re not going in the water (exceptions: seniors 65+ and kids 2 and under are free).
Special Evenings at Sam’s, or S.E.A.S., are fun, judgment-free evenings for individuals with special needs to enjoy with their family and friends. Admission is at a significantly reduced rate and these nights are designed with the unique challenges of special needs individuals in mind. The next S.E.A.S. nights are after the busy season— October 7th and November 18th, 2016.
Diggerland USA, the construction themed park, holds similar S.A.N.D. nights (Special Abilities Night at Diggerland USA). The dates for those are June 3rd and September 9th.
On Saturday June 4th, Sahara Sam’s is holding a Special Needs Benefit they’re calling A Nautical Night Out: all inclusive evening benefiting Special Needs Safety Education. It includes a formal dinner, massive raffle and of course an evening in an indoor water park. More details on that here.
Sahara Sam’s Oasis is located at 535 North Route 73, West Berlin NJ 08091. A full day ticket costs $29.95 when you buy online in advance, $34.95 walk up. If you go after 3:30 pm, the ticket is $24.95 (online) or $26.95 (walk up). As I mentioned, a year-long membership is currently only $59.99.
Dads swim free on Father’s Day with one paid admission!
Sahara Sam’s has provided a discount just for Delaware To Do readers! Use the code DELTODO through the end of July when ordering tickets online to either Sahara Sam’s or Diggerland USA, and you’ll receive $23.95 admission. I’m told this is a discount deeper than any other they’ve released.
That’s it! Have fun!