Friday, July 20, 2018

Great Wolf Lodge

We live rural, and it takes us about 30 minutes to an hour to get anywhere worth going.  Longer if we're looking for somewhere "big" to go.  We were going to visit one of the small/local water parks about an hour from our house, but at the last minute decided that a weekend trip to Great Wolf Lodge was in order.  We were in much need of some family time away.  

We've had littles for so long, that this was the first time we were prepared to do a water park without an extra adult with us, so this was our first time visiting Great Wolf.  It's about a 3 hour drive for us, which is the perfect amount of time to drive straight through, or take nothing more than nothing more than potty break. It was a relatively quick and painless trip.  We went to the one in Cincinnati/Mason, and also made a side trip to the Loveland Castle, because it just sounded neat!

There really is a wildlife, lodge, woodsy feel to the whole place.  There's lots of "stuff" to look at.  They gave the kids wolf ears when we checked in, which some of my kids appreciated, and some just kindly tucked away.  There's supposed to be some type of clock tower show here, but we never made it down for that.  



We got one of the Kid Cabins.  The bunk beds and twin bed were inside a "cabin" with cute details.  (We really did have a lot of geese and ducks outside our window - we were on the first floor, and they would peck our door and beg for food.)



Even though their little cabin was enclosed, it didn't have a door, and it had two little windows, so it didn't feel claustrophobic in there.


There's a lot to do in the resort.  We made it to the arcade the first night, but that was all we did.



They also have child-size bowling, glow in the dark mini golf, MagiQuest, one of those "make your own stuffed animal" stores . . . a handful of restaurants and souvenir type stores too.  They also had tons of statues and "things" to keep my 3 year old busy while we waited for food.  I'd ask her to count the sprinkles, and she'd ask me to take everyone's pictures!  {If you're looking to save money, skip the restaurants and eat outside of the lodge; most are priced like other amusement park/attraction restaurants.}


Yes, my 11 year old has reached the stage of being too cool for pictures.

They also had a list of free activities that would have appealed to my younger kids - balloon animals, face painting, dance parties, story time - but we somehow kept missing those.  Maybe next time!

We spent most of our time at the waterpark, since that was the purpose of our trip.  We spent two nights, which meant we could do a lot of short plays at the park.  Eloise still needs a nap most days, so we found a couple hours of play was perfect for us  Then we'd go back to the room, grab a bite to eat, rest...then play some more!  However, I do think one night would have been enough for a "quick" getaway, because it gets you nearly two full days of play.  You can use the waterpark as early as 1 PM (they have changing rooms and lockers in the waterpark if your room is not ready, as check-in was 4:00 p.m. I believe, but we preregistered online and our room was actually ready) and you could continue to use the facilities after you check out, until close.  You only need more nights if you're going to do all the extra activities or go to King's Island next door or otherwise be in and out of the resort a lot. 


The waterpark really does have things for the whole family!  There were several slides, a wave pool, tree house, lazy river, hot tubs, an outdoor pool and some pools designed for "play" for kids.  The tree house play structure has medium slides, water coming up from the ground and sprinkling from above, hanging buckets you fill and dump, water shooting gadget thingies.  You like those technical names, don't you?  It was just a fun place for the kids to play and experiment with water.  The kiddie area was shallow water with different size slides for toddlers.  There were a few things we could do together (pools, tree house, lazy river), but sometimes we split up so the boys could do more slides and the girls could hang out in the kiddie area.  


This girl is a goofball!




There were lifeguards everywhere.  I do mean everywhere.  They provide towels and lifejackets, and there were plenty of chairs and tables around the whole waterpark.  There was sometimes a short line for slides, but it never felt busy, even though it was the middle of summer.  I was kind of surprised at how relaxed and enjoyable it was throughout the water park.

Daddy decided to get some more group pictures.  I had just taken a shower, but Elliott actually smiled for us, so here you go.  




On the way out, Eloise wanted us to take their picture one more time.  She just doesn't always cooperate!



Overall, it is a fun place, and we would definitely go back.  The best part is that most of it is indoors and out of the sun, but it also means it's open year round so we can go off season and get better rates next time.

I think this was our first field trip of the next school year.  Yes, I count "fun" stuff as field trips.  This trip in particular included geography (the drive-we crossed state lines, and they pay attention to the maps and road signs and such), Physical Education and water safety, and some basic science through water play for the Kindergartner.  I will share our trip to the Loveland Castle soon, which tied in perfectly with Emory's history from last year!




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