Like any good story, there's so much more than meets the eye as the development and evolution of Acacia Hospitality unfolds. In 15 short years, owner Todd Nelson, with the help of his family, has grown his success from a pizza restaurant in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin to several properties that were named "The World's Coolest Indoor Water Parks" by Condé Nast Traveler in 2014. Yet, the desire to leverage our award-winning success and apply it to others, naturally created the management company of Acacia Hospitality.
Although self-made success stories are a dime a dozen today, there's something special about the family focus of Todd Nelson that bleeds into our management dynamic. Nelson grew up on a farm in Wisconsin Dells and worked a wide variety of jobs starting at the age of 15 - from serving as Wisconsin's youngest auctioneer, to working at a railroad company, to driving a beer truck, nothing was out of the question to help support his family.
A year out of high school, he married his high school sweetheart, Shari, and purchased a bar with his brother-in-law at the age of 20. Two years later, he bought the building across the parking lot, turning it into Pizza Pub, a still-popular Wisconsin Dells restaurant. As the Wisconsin Dells area began to develop into today's "Water Park Capital of the World," Nelson built the first Kalahari Resort in 2000, and the rest is history, with a second resort opened in 2005 in Sandusky, Ohio, and a third Kalahari opened in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania in 2015.
What's most notable about Acacia Hospitality's parent company is the family dynamic. The Nelsons, who will be celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary this year, helm Acacia's expanding empire with the help of their five children — Todd Jr., Travis, Natasha, and twin daughters Alissa and Ashley.
The Nelson's, combined with the expertise of Bill Otto and Mary Bonte-Spath, and a full, diverse team of experts, have created an unparalleled service for your needs. Join us under the cover of Acacia Hospitality.
- Provide an exceptional work environment that fosters teamwork and professional growth
- Apply the highest standards of excellence to everything we do
- Ensure a safe environment for our guests and associates
- Develop enthusiastically satisfied guests who in turn become brand ambassadors
- Contribute positively to our communities and environment
- Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success
At Acacia Hospitality, every detail of the guest experience is literally a labor of love, and as with many instances in life, things aren't always what they seem. Recently, Todd Nelson, owner of Acacia Hospitality's parent company, Kalahari Development, received a letter detailing a recent guest's experience in which the author was shocked to find that the man working a busy breakfast crowd with "a face covered in sweat, clearing tables and running around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to get out of the weeds," was in fact, the owner himself.
"One would assume that the owner of the Kalahari would be in a three-piece suit and in an air-conditioned office somewhere, instead, you [Todd Nelson], showed…you have a fire-driven passion for your company," reads the letter.
"Kalahari is a result of hard work and love and represents my family's dream come to life," says Nelson, "We aren’t content sitting on the sidelines. How are you supposed to lead if not by example?"