Schlitterbahn New Braunfels offers special needs families an opportunity to enjoy the park on Waterpark Wednesdays. For three years we’ve partnered with local special needs support groups (this year it’s the Oakwood Baptist Church, Arc of the Hill Country and Endless Possibilities for Special Stars) who help select families to take part in the program every Wednesday at the Bahn.
We sat down with Endless Possibilities for Special Stars (EEPS) President Sally Waldner to learn more about how special Waterpark Wednesdays are to these families.
Just a Little Time to Make Someone Smile
Coming to Schlitterbahn on a regular day is not as accessible for people with limited abilities. Wednesdays are the least crowded days during the week, so that is the perfect day to give our special needs families VIP access to the World’s Best Waterpark.
Sally Waldner from EEPS explained that these families only need a little bit of time in the park to have a fantastic day. Being out in the Texas heat all day can be a major workout. Just a couple hours is enough time to put a smile on someone’s face.
“You don’t want them to miss it,” said Waldner. “All the smiles are incredible, and you can’t replace that. It’s therapeutic and healthy for them.”
The families who participate in Waterpark Wednesdays most likely couldn’t come to Schlitterbahn – either due to cost or other limitations. Organizations like EEPS make this an opportunity to educate their members that it is important to get out their special needs family members out of the house and be active in celebrating life’s greatest moments.
Not only does this event encourage families to adventure out, but it also gives them the chance to educate the community on how these individuals are just like everyone else. Waterpark Wednesdays is a time where Schlitterbahn encourages people to embrace all individuals of all abilities in an environment where everyone can enjoy the same kind of fun.
Stories from Special Schlitter-Stars
Kevin is a member of the EEPS group who travels in a wheelchair on a daily basis. This mobility restriction is not a problem for him on Waterpark Wednesday. There are some places in the park that are easily accessible for someone in a wheelchair, like the Torrent River entrance in the Blastenhoff waterpark.
This zero entry pool is the perfect way to bring the brightest smile to Kevin’s face. It looked like he had just eaten candy, experiencing the best time ever. On one recent visit not only was the Torrent River entrance perfect spot for Kevin to have the time of his life, a group of lifeguards made his day even better. That day they helped Kevin around the park, carrying him to his favorite rides with a great attitude towards helping a friend out.
Another friend from EEPS, Joanie, loves coming to Schlitterbahn on Waterpark Wednesdays. She tells us that her favorite ride is Dragon’s Revenge. All of the spooky sounds and dark spots are the best parts; she loves seeing the dragon too! While she isn’t riding Dragon’s Revenge over and over again, Joanie likes to catch a few waves on the Boogie Bahn, showing all the boys who’s boss. #GirlPower
She wrote Schlitterbahn a thank you letter to express her gratitude for having a day like Waterpark Wednesday for her and her friend at EEPS. Take a look at the message below:
I am really thankful for Schlitterbahn, so that I get to have a wonderful, fun day with all of my friends with ALL DIFFERENT LEVELS of ABILITIES! And together we can have the time of our lives! I LOVE YOU SCHLITTERBAHN!! SPLISH-SPLASH!!!
Spending the Best Days at Schlitterbahn
Waterpark Wednesdays are so important to the Schlitterbahn season because it brings together all levels of abilities in the special needs community. EEPS hosts 340 families in their organization and this partnership with Schlitterbahn provides an opportunity for affordable waterpark fun to those who need it the most.
Schlitterbahn’s Corporate Director of Communications, Winter Prosapio, is very proud to have organized Waterpark Wednesday for the last three years and understands how it truly helps families in need.
“We want everyone to enjoy the park and wanted to find a way to lend a hand,” said Prosapio. “We understand the expense, mobility challenges, isolation, and everything that can be part of special needs families daily lives. Our hope has been to do a little something so they can make great memories together.”
There’s nowhere else in the world like Schlitterbahn and we believe that families who enjoy Waterpark Wednesdays feel the same way. It’s all the small things: swimming, pizza, and Kevin’s favorite – Dippin’ Dots. Waterpark Wednesdays brings so much joy to so many people who live every day to its fullest. Schlitterbahn plans to continue this program for years to come and share smiles with all of our Waterpark Wednesday fans. #BahnLove