SHERIDAN, Texas — KHOU 11 News viewer Kristen answered our call for hidden gems in the greater Houston area, suggesting we drive about 90 minutes west of Houston to Sheridan, Texas, to check out Splashway Waterpark & Campground.
"I love Splashway. My family’s been coming here for more than 10 years," said Ivy Frazier, a Katy mom who has season passes. "We love that it’s such, a family-oriented park. I can let my kids go, they feel completely safe here."
What was once a municipal park with a lazy river and a single slide has morphed into a massive attraction with more than a dozen heart-pumping slides.
"We like to say our vocation is everyone else’s vacation. And we like it," said Carl Blahuta.
His family has owned Splashway since 2006.
"We’ve added something every single year," Blahuta shared. "This year, we’re building four new slides."
The Texas Twist, Summit Plummet, Blueper Looper and The Patriot will be ready to ride by Memorial Day weekend, when the waterpark fully opens for summer.
RELATED: KHOU 11's Hidden Gems
"Everybody asks, ‘When are you going to stop?’ or ‘What’s next?’ and the answer to that is we don’t plan to stop as long as we continue to make you feel like family," said Blahuta. "I know it sounds cliché, but 'We Are Family is everything. It’s our motto. It’s incorporated in everything we do."
That, he explained, is why Splashway takes care training its staff, most of them teenagers from surrounding communities.
"We’ve been known to be considered the Chick-Fil-A or Buc-ee’s of waterparks," Blahuta said.
The motto was also top of mind when the park developed its menu of food options, which include burgers, BBQ, tacos and pizza.
"Everything is scratch-made," said Blahuta.
Over in the campground, The Hideaway restaurant opened a couple years ago.
"We offer home cooking, cold beer and live music," Blahuta said.
The families in the crowd might be staying in their own tent or RV, or they may be going back to a cabin, cottage or bunkhouse for the night.
RELATED: HIDDEN GEM: Memory Park
"Most of our fams come from the Gulf Coast region, Houston, of course," said Blahuta. "But it’s not unlikely for us to have guests from Louisiana and Dallas and as far west as El Paso."
At the campground, things really heat up once the temperature cools down. Kids who need to burn off some energy can hit one of the three playgrounds, one of which includes giant jumping pads, plus basketball and volleyball courts. But if it’s time to wind down, families can head over to the movie screen.
"It’s hard to find a place like ours where there’s a waterpark this size and a campground this size and vice versa," Blahuta said. "Here, it’s kind of the best of both worlds."
While the waterpark is open through the summer, the campground stays open year-round and offers events almost every weekend. Those range from BBQ cookoffs to wine festivals to car shows and more. Check out the special events calendar here.