If you’ve ever mulled a nearby indoor waterpark getaway for the family, it’s likely that the Camelback Resort, home of Aquatopia has been on your radar. (In addition to the massive enclosed waterworld, it also offers outdoor fun year round in the form of ski slopes and snowtubing in the winter, and ziplines and mountain coasters and more the rest of the year.) But this fall, Camelback is offering special Halloween-themed, hair-raising fun. We check it out — here’s our report!
The Camelback Basics
If you’re not familiar with Camelback Resort, one of the main draws is waterpark Aquatopia, which together, with the attached Arcadia Indoor Adventure Center offers 170,000 square-feet of indoor fun. The waterpark, which is maintained at a pleasant 84 degrees and features a transparent roof enabling sunbathing in any season, is home to 13 slides of varying intensities, and seven pools, including a huge wave pool, a lazy river, and indoor/outdoor spa whirlpool and a toddler’s pool. The whole operation is overseen by lifeguards, and they’re on the job and paying attention.
photo: via Camelback Facebook page
Chill or Thrill
Whether you’ve got little ones or bigger kids with a need for speed, there’s something for them here. A shallow play area with a tiny slide, swings and spots for water play is great for the youngest of visitors, and nearby play area is good for intermediate thrills, with fours slides — two small, two large — a rope course, basketball, and water guns.
High octane slides like the Himalayan (the region’s only head-first waterslide), Storm Chaser (an indoor water coaster) and the Venus Slydetrap (a thrilling group experience during which the ride’s raft hugs the side of a giant “Venus flytrap” mouth — and then descends into it). Those looking to give surfing or boogie boarding a try can do so at the “Bombora Flowrider”, which is a great way to try both activities in a controlled environment before taking to the real seas.
For adults looking to relax, the lazy river is nice, the warm whirlpool is a favorite, and hanging out on a beach chair (or in a rented cabana) by the wave pool is the ticket.
The view from the launch point of the Lights Out Zip Line.
Camelback’s Month-long Halloween Experience
Each fall the resort welcomes families both passing through as they leaf-peep in the Poconos, or those staying for a while, with Halloween fun. This year the resort is unveiling two new attractions as part of its “Monster Mountain” October offerings: the 4,500-foot Monster Coaster and the Lights Out Zip Line.
The Monster Coaster is the resort’s 4,500-foot steel track coaster, but done in the dark, with some spooky effects and characters positioned along the trail as you descend. We didn’t personally tackle this one, but did observe people riding the rails (sporting headlamps) and it looked really fun. (We have ridden it in daylight, and that was a blast.)
We did however, give the Lights Out Zip Line a try (our first ziplining experience was this summer at the Bronx Zoo’s new Treetop Adventure ) and highly recommend it for adventuresome types. The experience is doing Camelback’s “Double Barrel” 1000-foot zip lines — in the dark. Despite some trepidation on our parts, we loved it, and we saw a boy of maybe nine years old do it, too.
photo: Camelback Lodge
Frights & Fall Fun
In addition to the new outdoor adventures, Camelback has increased the size of its seasonal haunted house “Kartrite’s Kurse” by 50 percent, while also adding animatronics and lighting to the experience. This is obviously for older kids looking for a fun scare; for little ones, Camelback has Fall Fest activities like pumpkin painting, apple chucking and Halloween-themed crafts.
All the adventures are $10 per person, and you need to make a reservation to do them. This is easily accomplished thanks to a command center located just off the waterpark entrance.
Additional Diversions Indoors
Should you get rained out or the kids are still looking for action, Camelback has options. The Arcadia Adventure complex, located next to Aquatopia, activities such as an elevated climbing course ($9), laser tag ($8), a rock-climbing wall ($6), and mini golf ($6). There’s also a massive arcade on site — win tickets and redeem them for all kinds of merch in the nearby “store” — as well as the cutest mini bowling alley with tiny balls and lanes for kids.
Camelback also offers opportunities for fleeting and more lasting fun in the form of make-your-own-donut stations in the morning, create-your-own jewelry pop-ups (both for a small fee) as well as a balloon artist working at the beginning of the day with an impressive repertoire. (Snoopy riding a motorcycle anyone?)
Sleeping & Eating
The most convenient way to make the most of Camelback and all its offerings it to stay in the Lodge itself. (Kids can tire themselves out at the water park, and the bed is just a quick elevator ride away.) We stayed in a suite with a king bed and two sets of twin bunkbeds in a separate, nearby room that would make for an awesome clubhouse/home base for four kids.
Camelback can handle the biggest of groups, offering accommodations as big as three-bedroom suits.
Food options range from the unlimited buffet at Hemispheres to the cozy, relaxed dining room of Trail’s End, located, as the name indicates, at the base of the mountain. Food inside the waterpark is standard fare leaning towards the not-so-bathing-suit-friendly, but there are sandwiches and salads available as well. If you’ve always wanted the experience of sipping a pina coloda at a swim-up bar, you can do that here — although you can have a drink out of the water, too.
Camelback Resort Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Water Park
301 Resort Dr.
Have you been to Camelback in the fall? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
This trip was paid for in part by Camelback Lodge but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.