Kalahari Resorts & Convention Center team members and executives, along with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, gathered with 250 supporters to break ground on the new African-themed waterpark and convention center, the Nelson family's third resort.
Members of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, along with Pa. Governor Tom Corbett, break ground on the company's newest property site in the Pocono Mountains. Scheduled to open in 2015, this property will be Kalahari's third resort and first in the East Coast. From Left: Mary Bonte-Spath, Shari Nelson, Todd Nelson, State Representative Mario Scavello, PA Governor Tom Corbett, Morris Baily and Steve Pine
Scheduled to open in 2015, Kalahari Resorts Pocono Mountains is a $230 million, 150-acre complex in Monroe County at Pocono Manor. The ground breaking begins phase one of the resort project, which will include: 457 luxury guest rooms and suites, a 100,000-square-foot indoor waterpark and seasonal outdoor waterpark, a 65,000-square-foot convention center, a 30,000-square-foot family entertainment center and 6,000 square feet of retail space. The resort will also feature three full-service restaurants and will offer something for everyone, including a high-end steak and seafood option, a gourmet buffet, a cozy lounge and snack areas.
"Kalahari is thrilled to bring our authentic African resort experience to the East Coast," says Todd Nelson, owner and president of Kalahari Resorts. "As the Pocono Mountains property begins construction, we look forward to contributing to the local economy and sharing our beyond expectations approach to hospitality with area vacation goers, conference attendees and local guests throughout the Pocono region."
The Pocono Mountains resort marks the company's first foray into the East Coast market and third Kalahari Resorts & Convention Center, joining successful properties in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Sandusky, Ohio. Since its conception, Kalahari Resorts has acted as a unique, family-owned and operated business, which is evident in the company's overall family oriented business plan and its day-to-day operations.
"We are pleased to welcome this new project to the Poconos. Tourism is our state's second largest industry providing good, stable jobs for many Pennsylvanians and this project will add to that success," said Governor Corbett at the groundbreaking ceremony.
When Phase I is complete the Pocono Mountains resort will offer convention and meeting goers flexible space ranging from 9,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet alongside extraordinary function areas throughout the indoor and outdoor waterparks and family entertainment center. Other signature amenities include Spa Kalahari and Salon, daily kid's activity programs, and plenty of indoor and outdoor adventures for the entire family to enjoy. Additional recreation and entertainment options are expected to include black light mini golf, arcade games, horseback riding, archery, fishing, sledding and more.
Phase II will add another 100,000 square feet of indoor waterpark space, 400 more guest rooms and suites and expand the outdoor waterpark to a total of 3-5 acres. The project is expected to create more than 1,500 new jobs upon completion and will help boost the Poconos Mountains $2.1 billion tourism industry.
"The Pocono Mountains welcomes the addition of Kalahari Resorts to its' already existing tourism landscape of attractions and accommodations," said Carl Wilgus, president/CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. "Their proposed resort, waterpark and convention center, combined with their history of demonstrated quality management and customer service excellence, will make them a welcomed addition and asset to the Pocono Mountains tourism product. Furthermore, the family-owned Kalahari Resort joins the long history and tradition of the family-owned and operated businesses in the Pocono Mountains, branding the region as a destination of choice for family vacations."
Privately owned by the Nelson family, Kalahari Resorts authentic African theme and décor was inspired by the family's love of the continent's land and culture. This is brought to life through the resorts art, furniture, handicrafts and artifacts providing guests with a unique "worlds away" experience. The first resort was built in the Wisconsin Dells in 2000 and features an "all-under-one-roof" concept bringing together a wide array of exciting water rides and attractions, fanciful games and indoor entertainment, outdoor activities, and best-in-class meeting and exhibit facilities. In 2005, Nelson took his waterpark resort and convention center concept to Sandusky, Ohio, and the resort quickly became one of the region's most popular tourism and business travel destinations.
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