Thursday, June 14, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge

    On our recent trek up to Washington we spent two nights at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, just north of Centralia. I'd recently read about another family's fun filled visit to a Great Wolf Lodge in Texas, but didn't realize it was a chain. Then, while we were deciding what to do with our week away, a friend shared pictures of her family's time at the Great Wolf Lodge in Washington. When I learned there was one just a few hours from where we live, we thought it would be a great way to spend some time together. I had points from a credit card that paid for a lot of it, so it actually ended up costing us less than a regular hotel. 

    Before we left, I knew the kids would love it, but I didn't expect to be that impressed. I was pleasantly surprised though! It really was a special time, and there's something to be said for a place that's totally kid oriented. We've never done anything like this before, but now I can see why people do. Our family has been going through a pretty challenging time in the recent months, and this turned out to be a wonderful time of just being together, having fun, and rediscovering some lighthearted moments. It was a good reminder that when things are stressful, we need to make a point of having fun together! 

We didn't tell the kids where we were going prior to arriving at Great Wolf Lodge. We could see the water park from the freeway, so from the minute we pulled up they were super excited. I don't think they knew that such places exist! 
The water park was so, so much fun! There were lots of things for all ages: safe, shallow pools with small slides for the little ones all the way up to the "Howlin' Tornado" water slide that wasn't for the faint of heart. My favorite part was riding down the big watersides with Poppy and Peregrine and watching their faces, seeing huge smiles and hearing them laugh and scream in delight. 
Little Pearlie was pretty timid in the water park and wanted to be held by either Erik or me much of the time. (Can't complain about holding such a sweet little thing!) On our last day she got more bold and waded a little more on her own. 
Poppy enjoyed walking across the floating lily pads.
It was fun to watch Raphael grow more confident in the water over the days we were there. 
The highlight for Peregrine was playing Magiquest, an interactive game that took him all over the lodge. The wands have a computer chip in them that keeps track of their progress, opens treasure chests, activates clues, etc. At the very end of our time there he was able to fight the dragon, which was awfully exciting. 
Our room was complete with a "Kid Kabin", a small extra room with a bunk and a daybed, perfect for our three big kids. We loved having the separation of space and of course they loved having a place to settle in and call their own.
Poppy the little wolf pup looking out her "Kabin" window. 
Raphi got the little daybed, complete with some raccoons popping in the window. (If you're in a kabin, maybe they're rakkoons? Intentional misspelling drives me nuts. If only there were Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the pillows...) 
My very tired little Man-Cub smiling his picture "sile". I love this guy.
    The kids are still talking about our time at Great Wolf Lodge. It is, apparently, the best vacation we've ever had. Yep, better than climbing Mayan pyramids in Mexico, cooler than visiting the Grand Canyon, and more exciting than snorkeling in tropical waters. Who knew such fun was so close at hand? I hope we'll be able to return again someday. We'll remember it fondly for a long time as a very special and fun time for our family. 

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