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Virtual reality meets waterslide at Kalahari

Kalahari Resort in Pocono Manor in partnership with Ballast Technologies Inc., has added a new attraction to its 222,000 square foot water park - a one-of-a-kind virtual reality waterslide that happens to be the only one in the United States.

The Anaconda virtual reality waterslide offers the choice of three very different experiences.

If you are brave, you can battle a medieval dragon, but if you are not into dragons and castles, you have the choice of flying through outer space chasing an alien. If careening through outer space is not your choice, the third scenario takes you on a jungle safari to run with wild animals.

If you want to try all three experiences, it is simply a matter of donning the special goggles to change the scenario for a new adventure.

Providing experiences

“I was always interested in trying to find ways to provide experiences for people. There was 3D, but I knew there was a way to find a better experience,” said Stephan Greenwood, the 35-year-old creator of the virtual reality slide.

In July of 2017 Greenwood, founded Ballast Technologies Inc., the world’s first company to offer aquatic virtual reality.

The company under Greenwood’s direction created the first aquatic virtual reality snorkeling experience. Kalahari was the first resort in the country to offer the snorkeling experience.

“I knew if we could do snorkeling, there was a way to create a waterslide that offered more than just a ride down the slide,” he said.

Greenwood had created virtual reality waterslides in other countries, so when Kalahari approached him about creating a slide for them, he was ecstatic, even though it meant moving from San Francisco to Germany for two years to build a similar slide for Kalahari.

The beauty of the virtual software for the experience can be designed to almost any experience, so there is constantly new scenarios for the slides, according to Greenwood.

When asked how much revenue Kalahari will gain by having the slide, he replied, “I can only tell you that the resorts in other countries that have the slide have increased their profits from $250,000 to $300,000.”

Kalahari also offers waterslides, a wave pool with a simulator for surfing, mermaid lessons, as well as indoor and outdoor spas.

An all-day unlimited pass for the virtual experience is $14.99.

To choose your experience, you scan your goggles over one of the three pictures on the board.
The view from where your Virtual Reality ride on the Anaconda begins. You are four stories high. AMY LEAP/TIMES NEWS
One of the lifeguards at the top of the slide gives a demonstration on how to safely go down the Virtual Reality slide.