The First Waterless Water Park Is A Very Unique Destination In This Southern State

When the hot weather arrives, most young kids can't wait to get down to the nearest pool to splash about. While the water park is a great way to beat the heat, it can be a lot of work for parents, who need to ensure their children are safe in the water and constantly top up their sunscreen. If you happen to be in the Houston area, however, there is a place that takes both of these factors out of the equation: Slick City at the Katy Mills Mall.

The huge indoor action park opened in December 2023 to much fanfare as "the very first waterless water park in the state of Texas," offering a total of 11 slides for visitors to enjoy without the slightest risk of drowning or sunburn. However, you might want to wear pants and long-sleeved tops to avoid friction burns instead.

Cynics among us may quibble that a waterless water slide is just a slide, but there is more to it than that. Slick City Katy, which joins parks in Denver and St. Louis on the company's portfolio, features Slick Slides. The "Dry Slide Technology" is the brainchild of Gary Schmidt, an innovator who teamed up with the founder of Slick City, Bron Lansby, back in 2021. With the aid of a special mat, visitors can zip down the exciting range of slides, going airborne on some. It's just like going to a water park ... only without the water and sunshine.

What to expect at Slick City Houston

The slides at Slick City are very cool, and some truly evoke the spirit of regular, old watery water slides. The place itself is huge with 56,000 square feet of fun and activities, with slides tailored to suit everyone from young children to adult daredevils. For the little ones, there is Junior Jungle, an enclosed play area with a choice of slides, but the real action is the bigger slides, with names like Big Wave, Cowabunga, Python, and Megalaunch. Perhaps the attraction most similar to a water slide is the Royal Flush, which sends you shooting around the inside of a huge bowl before dropping through a hole in the middle. All the slides that send you airborne have soft mats to land on instead of pools.

The action park also has two air courts, which are bouncy sports arenas that enable you to launch yourself into the air and perform spectacular slam dunks. If basketball isn't your thing, the Freestyle Air Court is suitable for soccer, dodgeball, and just leaping around. Acrobat Alley is a similar deal but with trapeze and zip-line fun, and Barrel Roll is a modern version of a classic funhouse attraction. 

Founder Bron Lansby plans to go big with the idea, with 30 Slick City franchises planned for 2024 alone, with eight parks slated for unveiling by the end of the year. But will it rival the best water parks across the United States or the prettiest swimming holes in Texas for summer fun?

Things to consider before visiting Slick City

It's worth viewing the Slick City website before visiting because you will be required to sign a waiver. The safety section has a long list of do's and don'ts, including wearing the appropriate CitySocks, emptying your pockets, and not sliding without a mat. The CitySocks feel a little like a hidden cost, adding $4.99 to the admission fee, which ranges from $13.99 for Junior Tickets to $30.99 for the 120-minute Action Ticket. The standard admission for adults is $25.99 for a 90-minute session.  

More ominously, you are warned not to land on your head or neck and that you participate at your own risk. In other words, you're on your own if you get injured. One TikToker claimed that her son chipped a tooth because the staff didn't show him how to slide properly. The management response was allegedly: "You can't sue us because you signed a waiver." 

A disgruntled Google reviewer claimed that the park's staff weren't adhering to the rules, allowing more than one person to use the slides at the same time. Another one-star review appears to bear this out by claiming that two of their party were injured, one cutting a finger and another breaking an arm as another guest landed on top of him. Overall, the park has a 4.1 rating on Google, and the majority of visitors report having a great time without incident, but be aware of the potential dangers before booking tickets.