Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Great Wolf Lodge 2011

Last week we had a mini-vacation to Great Wolf Lodge. It was a very inexpensive trip, as we sat through a time-share presentation last year to 'earn' our two night stay there. It is a place we have wanted to visit for quite some time, as everyone who goes there just raves about how wonderful it is. We had put it off until now because it's kind of expensive, and we thought it might not be all it's cracked up to be. Turns out we were wrong, and this place is amazing!

We're already planning next year's winter getaway here. Jon, Kelly, Jordan and Matthew came with us, and we had a really fun time together!

I really wanted a picture under the sign, but we put it off until we were leaving. Then there was quite a bit of traffic around that area and Sam was worried about the kids. He raised his voice in telling them to be careful as they were getting out of the car, and Bridget started crying. So it didn't turn out quite like I planned, but it's still a captured moment. ;)
Thankfully, Great Wolf provides handy little luggage carts in the parking lot. We would have had to take MANY trips in and out without these. (There really is a luggage cart underneath all that stuff, even though you can't see it!) I called ahead to check on the room, and someone on the phone informed me that there would be no table and chairs in the room. That turned out to be wrong, but it worked well that we brought our own table and chairs along (as you'll see later). Besides that, often places that claim to accommodate a family of five only provide four chairs. I like for everyone to have a seat!We took a few minutes to get settled in our rooms, and headed right on down to the water park. They keep the indoor water park heated to 84 degrees. It feels a little warm until you first get wet, then it feels a little chilly. We finally all got used to the temperature and found it quite comfortable, but Bridget found it to be a little cold the first day. Thankfully the hotel provides lots and lots of warm, dry towels.
We spent the entire afternoon swimming in the lazy river and wave pool, going down crazy water slides, climbing around in the enormous tree fort and making new friends (Henry).

We eventually headed back to our rooms to dry off and we went out for dinner that evening. After a not-so-great experience at Steak and Shake, the manager decided to treat us all to dinner. That was an unexpected blessing!

Then we went back to the hotel to change into pajamas. Great Wolf provides an entertaining bedtime show/story, so the kids got all ready for bed and we headed to the lobby.
The scene is really incredible, with talking trees, animals and puppets. There is a song and story, and half way through it started snowing inside! It was so fun, and the kids were so surprised by all of it. The boys loved every minute of it. Even now, days after our trip, Jonah is still singing the wolf song (There's nothing to be scared of here! The wolf's out on the prowl, just listen for his howl....hooooooooowl!).
Bridget was a little too surprised. She sought the comfort of her Daddy's shoulders to watch the story after the tree started talking. She was pretty nervous about all that, but she didn't mind watching from a distance. It was past her usual bedtime at that point too, so I ended up taking her back up to the room for bed before it was all over.
Thankfully our room was right next to Jon and Kelly's room. After the bedtime story, we put all the kids to bed and played cards together awhile.
Breakfast was enjoyed right in our room. The little chairs we brought for the kids fit just perfectly at the coffee table in the room. Sam pulled it over in front of the tv and turned on a cartoon for them to watch while they ate. I don't think they had ever done that before and they thought it was the coolest thing ever!
The next day was filled with more time at the water park. Jon and Kelly had to check out early, but they just moved their things over to our room. (The great thing about Great Wolf is that you are welcome to use the water park until 9pm on the day that you check out!) We fixed macaroni and cheese in the microwave and ate lunch in the room, then made room for all the kids to lie down and have naps. They were all exhausted, so it worked out well. :)

What did we do, while five little children napped in our hotel room? Why, we played cards, of course! This is where the folding table and chairs we brought along became so useful! We set them up in the hallway just outside of our room, grabbed a few snacks, and we were all set. We got a few strange looks from the housekeeping crew, but nobody said anything to us.
Post-nap snacks on the couch were followed by more swimming.
That evening, we got dried off and dressed and headed to Arby's for dinner with Jon and Kelly. We finished off the evening with ice cream treats from Sonic (which we took back into Arby's because it was too windy and cold to eat them outside!), and then said goodbye to Jon and Kelly.
They headed back that evening, and we went back to the hotel for another night. We skipped the bedtime story in the lobby, as everyone was pretty tired...all that swimming wore us all out! The next morning we checked out of the hotel, swam for a few more hours and then headed home. We could have stayed all day and used the water park, but by that time we were done swimming. At least Sam and I were done. The kids probably wouldn't have minded swimming for another week straight!

We had so much fun at Great Wolf! They have a game called Magicquest (which is interactive and is played all throughout the hotel) which we chose not to play this time. Next time we might join in though, as it looked like it would be worth our time to try.

We were so blessed to have this time away from home in such a great place. It was good for our family, and so fun to have Jon and Kelly along with us. What a joy!


Beth said...

All I have to say is that y'all are some HARD CORE card players. The end.

Heidi Jo said...

oh my, i have so many things to say.

-first, i've heard great things about this lodge too! so glad you had fun.

-i have NEVER seen anyone bring a card table and chairs to a hotel. not sure what to say about that, other than, i'd have to leave a few kids behind to get them in!

-SO WISH we had some card playing friends like you guys to hang out with. that would be our weekend activity!

-the kids are so adorable.

-i love the picture of bridget on sam's shoulders, she's squeezing the life out of him!


- Kailene said...

Wow, Lisa! That sounds like an awesome weekend! I've heard about Great Wolf Lodge from some of the kids at Grace when I worked there... Fun!

(PS - Thank you for your comment on my blog! It is so encouraging to know that you are praying for me.)

Jennifer said...

so much fun....I've heard it was freezing and wasn't worth taking a little one b/c it would be miserable...thanks for making it sound more appealing!!

Andrea said...

Sounds like you guys had a great weekend!

I can't wait to go and check it out!

I've never thought about bringing chairs & a table to a hotel