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Schlitterbahn to sell two Texas water parks for $261M

Original Austin-area location is one of them

People in swimming pool with tiki-like background structure
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston
CJ TravelTips courtesy of Creative Commons license

A deal to sell two Schlitterbahn water parks will include the original location of the Texas-based chain, the Austin Business Journal reported Thursday. Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Company has agreed to purchase the iconic New Braunfels Schlitterbahn, as well as its Galveston park, for $261 million.

The original New Braunfels location, sited on the Comal River about 50 miles south of Austin, opened in 1979. It quickly became a popular stop on Texas road trips as well as offering Central Texas locals “the hottest, coolest time in Texas,” according its TV ad jingle (almost as legendary as the park itself).

Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, founded and owned by the Henry family and based in New Braunfels, expanded its original location over the next two decades. It opened a park on Texas’s South Padre Island in 2001, another in Galveston, Texas, in 2006, and a fourth in Kansas City, Kansas, in 2009.

After a child was killed on a ride at the Kansas City Schlitterbahn in 2016, the Journal reported, the company faced litigation and widespread negative publicity. The ride at that park was demolished, and the park didn’t open for the 2019 summer season.

Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi, which opened in 2015, was sold through bankruptcy court lst year. Diamond Beach Holdings took over its operation and is rebranding and renovating the development.

The deal with Cedar Fair would include the right to acquire Schlitterbahn’s Kansas City water park in the future for an additional $6 million. If it goes through, the Henry family will own only the South Padre park, which will be rebranded.

Cedar Fair operates a variety of amusement venues, such as California’s Knott’s Berry Farm in California, according to a Thursday Austin American-Statesman story. ABJ reported that the company’s 14 parks—located in 10 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario—had almost 26 million guests and generated $1.35 billion in net revenue last year.