Top Articles of 2023: 1.38 Million SF Waterpark/Resort Breaks Ground Less Than 75 Miles From DC

As 2023 winds down, we wanted to share with you some of the most-read articles of 2023. This article was originally published on December 2, 2023.

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, home to America’s Largest Indoor Waterparks, broke ground in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — its fifth resort — on Friday, October 20, 2023. The location is less than 75 miles south of DC and approximately 80 miles south of central Montgomery County, MD.

The Spotsylvania County Kalahari Resort location will offer 907 guest rooms and suites, a 175,000- square-foot indoor waterpark (admission to the waterpark is included for all registered overnight guests) featuring thrilling waterslides, dedicated children’s areas, a massive wave pool and surfing simulator, ten acres of seasonal outdoor pools, a 90,0000-square-foot Tom Foolerys Adventure Park, featuring thrill rides, a ropes course, climbing walls, arcade games and more.

The ceremony in October marked the beginning of the construction of the 1.38 million-square-foot resort, estimated to open its doors to the public in 2026. The site will also include 12 on-site food & beverage outlets, including buffet and quick-bite options and four signature dining experiences. A video preview is available below.

Full press release below: “Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is a welcome addition to Virginia’s ever-growing travel and tourism industry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Tourism development is essential to building our economy and positioning the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination. The opening of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions will attract more visitors and businesses to Virginia, which will generate hospitality jobs and create a significant economic impact for the region.” Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is privately owned and operated by the Nelson Family and is renowned for its award-winning indoor waterparks, awe-inspiring family entertainment centers, beautifully appointed rooms and suites, best-in-class culinary experiences and beyond-expectations convention centers.

“Our family could not be prouder to call Spotsylvania County, Virginia home to our fifth Kalahari resort,” said Todd Nelson, owner and founder of Kalahari Resorts. “County and Commonwealth officials and the Virginia people have been incredibly welcoming and supportive in helping us to make Kalahari Resort’s fifth location a reality in this beautiful state.”

Years in the making, the groundbreaking marked a monumental step forward in the highly anticipated project that will contribute significantly to the Commonwealth’s economy, creating numerous jobs in the region.

“The new Kalahari Resort in Thornburg not only signifies a considerable investment of over $900 million in the county by the Nelson family, but also positively impacts our community in other ways,” said Berkeley Supervisor Kevin Marshall, Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors. “This is a direct investment in Spotsylvania that will generate jobs during construction, create over 1,400 full- and part-time permanent positions ranging from entry to executive level, and stimulate economic growth through increased tax revenue, which keeps taxes low while providing access to safe, family fun for our community, as well as visitors.

Spotsylvania County, known for its natural beauty and historical significance, with convenient access off I-95, and short drives from Washington D.C., Richmond, Baltimore, and many other large East Coast cities, was thoughtfully selected as the site for the new Kalahari Resorts location. “We have always loved Virginia,” Nelson explained. “We can’t wait to share the Kalahari experience with the people here.”
The resort will be nestled amidst picturesque landscapes and will provide guests an authentically African-themed experience. With a wide range of amenities and attractions, including over 150,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, the resort aims to become a premier destination in the region.

Marshall continued, “The Nelson family has a proven track record of being an excellent community partner, and we look forward to working with them through the construction and execution phases of the project, and for many years to come.”
For more information, including images and b-roll from the groundbreaking event, Kalahari Resorts, the Nelson Family and Kalahari’s Spotsylvania County location, please visit the Kalahari Resorts media site at For questions specific to the development, please visit the FAQ on the Spotsylvania County website at

About Kalahari Resorts and Conventions: Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, Sandusky, Ohio, the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, Round Rock, Texas, and opening soon in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, deliver a beyond-expectations waterpark resort and conference experience all under one roof. The authentically African-themed Kalahari Resorts, privately owned by the Nelson family, are home to America’s Largest Indoor Waterparks. Todd and Shari Nelson, the founders of Kalahari Resorts, were honored with an induction into the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame in 2023. All Kalahari Resorts feature well-appointed guest rooms and suites, the full-service Spa Kalahari, a fun-filled family entertainment center, on-site signature restaurants, unique retail shops and a state-of-the-art convention center. For more information, members of the media are encouraged to visit


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