Schlitterbahn Kansas City

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Kansas City was a water park that opened on July 15, 2009 in Kansas City, Kansas. It was announced in September 2005 by Schlitterbahn Waterparks. The 370-acre (1.5 km2), $750 million development included a nearly 40-acre (160,000 m2) waterpark, which is Schlitterbahn's fourth waterpark and its first outside Texas.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Kansas City
Schlitterbahn Kansas City logo.svg
LocationKansas City, Kansas, United States
Coordinates39°07′15″N 94°48′15″W / 39.12083°N 94.80417°W / 39.12083; -94.80417Coordinates: 39°07′15″N 94°48′15″W / 39.12083°N 94.80417°W / 39.12083; -94.80417
OpenedJuly 15, 2009 (2009-07-15)
ClosedSeptember 3, 2018 (2018-09-03)
Area370 acres (1.5 km2)
Pools2 pools
Water slides14 water slides
Children's areas2 children's areas
Aerial photo of Schlitterbahn Kansas City in September 2018

Groundbreaking took place September 18, 2007 on the land formerly occupied by the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds and the Unified Government courthouse annex, across Interstate 435 from the Kansas Speedway and Village West.


Phase 1 included the opening of 12 water attractions, 3 restaurants, and 2 shops. Of those attractions, three were purchased from the former Geauga Lake amusement park in Ohio.[1] Phase 2, named Schlitterbahn Vacation Village Resort was originally planned to include over 1,000 hotel rooms, a Scheels sporting goods store, and a Riverwalk area consisting of shops and restaurants on 300 acres surrounding the water park. Those plans were stalled and eventually abandoned due to the ongoing Great Recession.[2] An expansion of the water park opened on April 30, 2011, with six new attractions.

Verrückt and accidentEdit

In November 2012, Schlitterbahn Waterpark announced plans for the world's tallest and fastest water slide, Verrückt.[3] Designed by Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry, Verrückt was a three-person raft slide with an uphill section. The initial drop was a 17-story plunge with a five-story uphill section. At 168 feet 7 inches (51.38 m),[4] the starting point was taller than Niagara Falls[5] and reached a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h). It opened on July 10, 2014, after multiple delays.[6]

On August 7, 2016, Caleb Schwab, the 10-year-old son of Kansas state representative Scott Schwab, died while riding Verrückt. The death occurred when the raft he was in went airborne at the lower bump and struck a metal support of the netting, decapitating him.[7][8] The other two passengers, both women, were injured in the incident — one suffered a broken jaw, while the other suffered a facial bone fracture and needed stitches.[9] In the immediate aftermath, the park was closed pending an inspection.[7][10] Although the park reopened three days later, the ride remained closed.[9][11][12]

An investigation found that the boy, who weighed 74 pounds (34 kg), had been allowed to sit in the front of the raft, rather than between the two women accompanying him — one weighed 275 pounds (125 kg), while the other weighed 197 pounds (89 kg).[13] This led to an uneven weight distribution that contributed to the raft going airborne, despite the cumulative weight of 546 pounds (248 kg), less than the maximum recommended weight of 550 pounds (250 kg).[13] Engineers who inspected the ride also commented that the ride's netting, used in areas where riders travel up to 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), "posed its own hazard because a rider moving at high speeds could easily lose a limb if they hit it".[14] Their findings revealed that the use of the metal brace and netting system in the design,[15] along with the use of hook and loop straps to restrain the riders,[16] went against guidelines set by ASTM F-24 Committee on Amusement Ride and Devices.[17] According to the guidelines, Verrückt should have incorporated the use of a rigid over-the-shoulder restraint for riders,[16] and an upstop mechanism to prevent the rafts from going airborne.[18]


In 2018, the last operating season of the park, four attractions remained closed throughout the season after an audit by regulators found that each did not comply with the Kansas Amusement Ride Act.[19]

Demolition of Verrückt began on November 1, 2018. The park did not open for the 2019 season.

On June 13, 2019 Cedar Fair agreed to buy Schlitterbahn's two parks in New Braunfels and Galveston for a price of $261 million. Additionally, Cedar Fair had the option for up to 120 days to buy the Kansas City location "for an additional $6 million".[20] Cedar Fair did not pursue purchasing the property within those 120 days and the park remained standing but not operating.

On November 6, 2020 Homefield LLC signed an agreement with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas to fund the redevelopment of the former Schlitterbahn lot for $90 million into an amateur sports complex. Plans called for the total demolition of the remaining Schlitterbahn structures, which was to begin before July 2021.[21] The adjacent Wyandotte County Courthouse Annex building was demolished beginning in February 2021,[22] and the demolition of Schlitterbahn itself was completed before September.


  1. ^ Samavati, Shaheen (June 17, 2008). "Landmark Big Dipper attracts buyer for $5,000".
  2. ^ "Schlitterbahn water park's plans hurt by recession". The Hutchinson News. The Associated Press.
  3. ^ "World's tallest water coaster coming to Schlitterbahn Kansas City". Amusement Today. November 20, 2012. Archived from the original on July 27, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  4. ^ "All NEW Verrückt". Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts. Archived from the original on April 6, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "World's Tallest Waterside graphic". Archived from the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  6. ^ Eveld, Edward (July 9, 2014). "Schlitterbahn:First riders on Verrückt at Schlitterbahn love the 'rush' (with video)". The Kansas City Star. The McClatchy Company. Archived from the original on July 12, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Calvo, Amanda; Chan, Melissa (August 9, 2016). "What We Know About the Young Boy Decapitated on the World's Tallest Water Slide". Time. Archived from the original on January 3, 2017. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  8. ^ Raine, Naja (August 9, 2016). "Caleb Schwab, 10, Decapitated in Water Slide Accident, Police Confirm". People. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Graflage, Stephanie; Pulley, Mary (August 8, 2016). "KCK police release details about water park tragedy; pastor provides statement on 10-year-old boy killed". WDAF. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016.
  10. ^ Shapiro, Emily (August 9, 2016). "Kansas Waterpark to Reopen Wednesday After Boy's Death". ABC News.
  11. ^ Campbell, Matt; Cronkleton, Robert; Adler, Eric (August 7, 2016). "Son of Kansas lawmaker dies on Verrückt slide at Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kan". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  12. ^ Olen, Helaine (August 8, 2016). "A Boy Died on This Water Slide—in One of the Many States That Barely Ensure That Rides Are Safe". Slate. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016.
  13. ^ a b West, Tara. "Verruckt Waterslide Death Result Of Poor Weight Distribution? Experts Say Caleb Schwab Should Have Been In Center Seat". Insquistr. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Vockrodt, Steve; Canon, Scott; Bergen, Katy. "The making of Schlitterbahn's Verruckt water slide: Too much, too fast?". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017.
  15. ^ Vockrodt, Steve; Rizzo, Tony; Baurer, Laura; Rice, Glenn E. (March 23, 2018). "Schlitterbahn corporation, ex-manager indicted in Verruckt water slide death". Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on March 25, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  16. ^ a b "State of Kansas v. Tyler Austin Miles, Schlitterbahn Waterpark of Kansas City, Kansas". March 28, 2018. pp. 16–17. Archived from the original on March 26, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018. According to ASTM, hook-and-loop material should never be used as a safety device on an amusement ride. The correct restraint system for a ride like Verrückt would be a Class 5 restraint consisting of rigid overhead shoulder bars with a locking lap restraint.
  17. ^ "ASTM International". Archived from the original on March 26, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  18. ^ "State of Kansas v. Tyler Austin Miles, Schlitterbahn Waterpark of Kansas City, Kansas". March 28, 2018. p. 16. Archived from the original on March 26, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018. The rafts were designed and constructed without any "upstop" mechanisms to prevent rafts from going airborne. Upstop mechanisms have been used for decades and are common safety features in the amusement ride industry.
  19. ^ Vockrodt, Steve (July 10, 2018). "A month after Schlitterbahn's opening, four rides remain closed at the KCK water park". Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  20. ^ Evans, Matt. "Cedar Fair, parent company of Worlds of Fun, purchases Texas Schlitterbahn waterparks, with rights to KCK property". KMBC-9 News Staff. KMBC-9. Archived from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  21. ^ Friestad, Thomas (November 6, 2020). "Homefield, UG sign agreement to get $90M amateur sports resort built by 2022". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved May 25, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Dulle, Brian (February 23, 2021). "Buildings being demolished near KCK's Schlitterbahn water park site for new $330 million development project". WDAF-TV. Retrieved May 25, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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