Get Away: Stave Off Winter Blues at an African-Themed Resort
Plus Maryland's new casino and the American Revolution Museum
Kalahari resort in the Poconos will become the largest indoor waterpark in the country after an expansion this spring. Photo courtesy of Kalahari Resort
Take the Kids
Stave off the winter blues with an African-themed swim-and-slide adventure. The designers of the 457-room Kalahari resort, which opened in 2015, brought the spirit of Africa to the Poconos through piped-in Cape Town music, morning brew made from Rwandan coffee beans, a gift shop full of original crafts, and waterslides named after places in Africa.
Whirl through the vortex-shaped Tanzanian Twister waterslide, or try surfing on FlowRider. Tiko’s Watering Hole has tamer, toddler-friendly slides. The indoor/outdoor whirlpool is ideal for a hot soak on a cold day. All are part of the 100,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, topped with a retractable roof.
The one- to three-bedroom guest rooms and suites accommodate families of all sizes. Some have bunk beds, others have sofa sleepers. Kalahari’s offerings will expand this spring, when the second phase opens and the resort becomes the largest indoor waterpark in the country (220,000 square feet). The second phase will also increase the number of guest rooms and suites to 977.
Rates begin at $249 and include waterpark admission. Day passes without an overnight stay are available from $45.
250 Kalahari Blvd., Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania; 570-580-6000; www.kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania
A rendering of MGM National Harbor’s theater, which opened along with the hotel and casino in December. Photo courtesy of MGM National Harbor
Eat, Play, Win
At Maryland’s new $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor casino and hotel, you can bet on a weekend filled with fine food, good entertainment and—if you’re lucky—big winnings. Opened in December, the region’s first luxury gaming resort overlooks the Potomac River in Oxon Hill and has 308 guest rooms and suites and a 125,000-square-foot casino. The more than a dozen culinary offerings include Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, the first joint venture for brother chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio; a seafood restaurant from chef José Andrés called Fish; Pappas Crab Shack (on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list); and Bellagio Pâtisserie, a European-inspired pastry shop with a 26-foot-tall chocolate fountain.
The resort’s 3,000-seat Theater at MGM National Harbor will host an array of entertainment, from concerts and comedy acts to Ultimate Fighting Club events and boxing matches. Stand-up comics Jim Gaffigan (Jan. 6 and 7) and Sebastian Maniscalco (Feb. 12) will be among the first comedians to headline. Additional draws include a spa, a conservatory with seasonal botanical displays, and an art collection that features “Portal,” a sculpted iron archway designed by Bob Dylan. A heated outdoor infinity-edge pool is scheduled to open this spring.
Standard guest rooms are about 400 square feet, include floor-to-ceiling windows and start at $399 per night.
7100 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill; 844-646-6847, mgmnationalharbor.com
Visitors of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown can see what life was like for soldiers and explore indoor exhibits. Photos courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Experience the American Revolution
If you’re an American history buff (or a Hamilton: An American Musical fan), you can learn more about our Founding Fathers and the many people who paved the path for our liberties at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. An investment of roughly $50 million transformed the site of the former Yorktown Victory Center into a new 80,000-square-foot museum. Start with the introductory film Liberty Fever, which debuted in October and tells the story of the Revolution from the perspectives of patriots, loyalists, women, soldiers, American Indians and African-Americans.
The 22,000-square-foot permanent exhibition includes a 4-D theater that immerses you in “The Siege of Yorktown,” complete with wind, smoke and the sound of cannon fire. About 500 artifacts are on exhibit, including a “Brown Bess” British infantry musket dated 1741 and a coronation portrait of King George III.
In the outdoor living-history areas, costumed interpreters share the story of what life was like for Revolutionary War soldiers and farmers in a re-created Continental Army encampment that features soldier tents, an artillery demonstration area and a Revolution-era farm. Admission is $12; $7 ages 6-12.
200 Water St., Yorktown, Virginia; 757-253-4838; www.historyisfun.org