Waves of Change
● By Julieta Hernandez
By: Julieta Hernandez Photos Courtesy of: Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi
The moment my car crossed over the JKF Memorial Cosway, I could see the tallest points of The Waves Resort of Corpus Christi, featuring Schlitterbahn Waterpark, in the distance. As I found my way through a spacious cabin-styled foyer that led into EATS, the resort’s year-round eatery, I was eager to be introduced to the coolest parts of what is to become the re-birthed resort by my guides, spokesperson Lisa Marie Barocas and General Manager Stephanie Pickett. Distant sounds of drills running, hammers knocking, and machinery operating told me the staff was working around the clock for their approaching grand (re)opening date.
Following the process of complete renovations that has kept the team’s hands full, the revamped resort is ready to open its gates and unveil the newest phenomenon to the Coastal Bend. Remodeling to more than just a water park, the revival and new cycle of the beloved attraction means that travelers, tourists, and locals alike can expect a whole new experience, all at once.
“Like many other properties in the Coastal Bend, our building and rides were compromised by Hurricane Harvey,” said Barocas. “Under new ownership, a decision was made: to make this property the best it can be for folks to enjoy.”
And so, the process of allowing this gem to truly come to life began.
More than $8 million was invested in the project of re-doing the resort into a fresh experience. This includes new carpet and paint jobs, re-homing vibrant tropical landscaping, creating the diverse new menu of EATS (I shamelessly tried the Ahi Tuna Poke, and it changed my life), comfortable chillaxing areas, and a first-of-its-kind gaming lounge.
Currently, Waves Resort of Corpus Christi, featuring Schlitterbahn Waterpark, is the largest resort on The Island, and a new bucket-list attraction along the Texas Coast.
It begins with the park’s massive centerpiece: a 42-foot dive-in theater (yes, you read that right), which is the “largest outdoor movie screen on The Island,” according to Barocas. With a viewing space that huge, accompanied by the massive surround-sound system that echoes up to the third- and fourth-floor balcony seating, watching new and classic movies is a breeze.
The pools are filling, the umbrellas are being lifted, and the anticipation is high: the water park is getting ready for the long-awaited summertime, and so is the staff. According to Barocas, 100 test rides are required before the park can open. These have been completed by lifeguards, and staff, as part of their prep work.
However, the resort doesn’t stop where you might expect. Inside attractions appeal to another audience of summer vacationers. Pickett and Barocas excitedly introduced me to what is to become the new Video Gaming Lounge and Esports Training Facility, with a controller and high-grade gaming chair set up for any willing guest of any skill level. Equipped with 30 high-end PC gaming rigs, X-Box, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch console setups, and a full VR (virtual reality) arcade, it’s a whole different type of fun waiting for guests.
On the same floor, the resort will feature two challenging new escape rooms. The Stolen Relic, an Indiana Jones-themed adventure, and The Terminal, a New York subway system escape, will both fit nicely into a family vacation for a thrilling bonding experience.
We then traveled to the fourth-floor balcony area. When Pickett and Barocas pointed out the view of the park from here, they were right about one thing: It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset. On this property, guests can even savor a view of the sky from the heated pool areas, or the pool bar. There truly is no shortage of beauty to behold.
“We want a very inviting space,” said Pickett, as we walked back to EATS. The layout of the resort, garnished with solid polished woods, bright colors, tropical greenery, and smiling faces, has a familial vibe. The home-like atmosphere allows you to feel as though you truly belong where you are.
“What I envision here, and what we’re training our staff to do, is that everybody who steps into this property is a VIP,” continued Pickett. “Everybody is important that comes through here. People come here to get away from whatever is going on in the real world, and they come here to get away from that, and to relax.”
A highlight of Corpus Christi rests on the shoulder of the city, giving visitors a welcome introduction to the Coastal Bend. “We’re also trying to promote what to do in Corpus while you’re here,” Pickett continued. “We have so many wonderful things in the city beyond all the things we have here, and we’re trying help to the local community prosper from the promotion of this property, and what we have to offer.”
With the doors set to open just in time for the boom of summer, there is one thing we know for certain: The Waves Resort of Corpus Christi, featuring Schlitterbahn Waterpark, is ready to give you the experience of a lifetime.