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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Father's Day Surprise: Great Wolf Lodge

As a surprise Father's day gift Trisha and the kids took me to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound (Centralia), WA.

We had a full 2 days of fun.
The water park is not open to the general public but only to guests of the hotel. The hotel is huge and set up to be very much like a theme park a la Disneyland which it comes close to emulating.
The rooms are nice but not rooms have a view of anything more than a parking lot :-)
The lodge has this magic wand/exploration thing that I would propose should just be part of the room fee with kids. Currently it is an extra charge that would not really be noticed if it was just rolled into the room rate.

We got in for $190 which meant a room and full access to the water park for our family. We had plenty of space staying in the Family suite.
You can use the water park from 1pm on the day of your check-in to close on the day of your check out. So for us we got 2 days of use. This was about the right amount for our family.

Leah loved the water slides and Trisha and I liked the Howlin' Tornado. Cole not so much. Unfortunately Leah was not tall enough for the tornado as you need to be at least 45 inches.
Both Cole and Leah loved the wave pool in standard and chaotic mode. The video shows chaotic :-)

The one thing the water park is really missing is some outdoor access.
We are a beach family. We spend weeks each year parked at the ocean enjoying the surf, sand and sun. No sand or sun at Great Wolf.
And we really missed the sun: being able to easily warm up and dry off makes a beach day.
Being wet for more than 5 hours gets old and for us the water bordered on being cold. The hot tub was nice but could have used a few more degrees of heat for me :-)

If we go again, I think breaking up the water time into shorter segments might be better. This is harder once you have checked out of your room on the day of departure as you really have no where to go.

We hit the breakfast buffet on Monday morning and I would recommend this as a great way to carb up for the day.
Lots of different food choices that will match anyone's needs and tastes.

Fun activity to do as a treat maybe once a year.

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