I LOVE spontaneous dates. Love them. It was 3pm on Sunday afternoon, and we were all lounging around the living room after a tantrum, a walk, and some lunch, and I looked over to my husband and said “If I were to plan a surprise for the family, would you be in for it?” He, likely assuming I meant for another day, said yes…
12 minutes later, we were booked for a night at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, and I was herding cats to get ready to leave the house within the next 20 minutes. Now, if your Mother comes running upstairs and yells “I don’t have time to explain!! Grab your costumes, a bathing suit and your toothbrush” you just do it. I wish I could have captured their faces as I yelled it. Confusion mixed with pure fear.
Note to self: yell more, I really get stuff done.
We usually can’t get further than 7 minutes in the car without being asked “Are we there yet?” so this hour drive was interesting. Thankfully, Nova knew we were off for some fun, and Luna goes with the flow. Every second of our experience with Great Wolf Lodge, from the moment we walked up to the front doors, to the moment we left, was magical. It was like that Disneyworld feel, without having to fly or wait in line ups, so it was the perfect short getaway for our family.
I could barely contain myself just watching the awe in these little eyeballs, and I try very hard not to get emotional with stuff like this, (Okay, I don’t try, I let it rip) because the experiences are the moments I’m so in love with. Being October, we experienced their Howl-O-Ween event, so the lobby (they call it their Grand Living Room) was decked out beautifully while adding a little kid-friendly spook to it. Everything is very “lodge-y” so it’s a little dim for lighting, but all a part of the awesomeness.
We quickly checked in (with the very friendly Adam (the vampire) – they all wear costumes for Howl-O-Ween) and ran to our rooms to get into our bathing suits, but the girls kept stopping along the way to check out the talking Forest Friends, the gift shop, and all the mini creatures who greeted us. Now, I have been to an indoor waterpark or two in my lifetime, but this one topped them all. EVERYTHING about the waterpark was squeal-worthy (I’m talking about me here) With two kids, four years apart in age, we were still able to do so much at the same time, even one of the huge waterslides which our 18 month old LOVED, and with our waterproof bracelets (also used as room keys – GENIUS) we could tap before we went down the slide and the camera would snap our pictures!
You will definitely want to check out all of the waterslides, pools, and water activities HERE because I spent more time in the water than I did taking pictures (family win)!
There’s one slide I forced Morgan to go on, strictly because I wanted a photo for this blog. This thing terrified me (and I can’t stop laughing at how terrified he looks as the floor drops from beneath him). YES – the FLOOR drops out and before your heart has a full attack, you’re at the bottom safely within about 6 seconds. I might have made a joke or two about him peeing himself out of sheer terror, but was reminded that I’m the one who does that (thank you Baby 1 and Baby 2).
Since we arrived around dinnertime, our first evening of waterparking was successful, but we were tuckered out, so we headed back to the room for a few snacks and a pizza from Northwoods Pizza Company (YUM/affordable/they sell wine), threw on our costumes and went back to the Grand Living Room for “Spooktacular Story Time” and Trick-or-Treating! Again, the waterworks in my own eyeballs started to kick in, but the girls kept busy, and entertained with everything their family event calendar offered, so I just sat back and snapped pics while storing some in my mental bank.
While we were there, we saw kids and adults running around with these awesome magical wands they had purchased at the gift shop so they could experience their MagiQuest journey. At first I thought they magically did your dishes, or the laundry, but apparently it’s a different type of magic (rude). They were able to open treasure boxes of jewels, receive hints on where to go next, while deciphering hidden messages along the way, meeting Pixies, battle an evil dragon and fight the Goblin King! (Or that’s what some 5 year old boy told me anyway, after giving me a disgusted “you DON’T KNOW what MagiQuest is?” look). The gift shop though, is a must visit. I didn’t find it overpriced which is always a nice treats for adults – (we cheered)
Though it’s a huge resort, everything is very centrally located, so we didn’t have any troubles getting around, even though we forgot our stroller (that happens when you plan a trip in 20 minutes). Between the 1st and 2nd floor you’ve got everything you need – lobby, gift shop, buffet restaurant, coffee shop, waterpark, pizza, the arcade, a mini bowling alley, and even the most adorable Scoops Spa for kids and adults. Though busy, it was never too much to handle. It seemed like all the kids were so well entertained that you didn’t hear any tantrums (except for the one my kid gifted us with) or screaming, except for the shrieks of pure joy (again, from me).
While poking around the Grand Living Room, we found out there are SO MANY annual celebrations at Great Wolf. Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a Birthday, Easter, Hallowe’en, or Christmas, the entire place is transformed to make sure that you too can create beautiful memories together. While planning an overnight in such a short period of time doesn’t always flow so smoothly, Great Wolf Lodge was the PERFECT mini getaway to recharge our batteries and get reacquainted with each other to have some fun.
Life can definitely get busy, and though this was also a busy getaway, it brought us a brand new bank of memories and moments to last a lifetime. We will be back, and next time we’ll plan ahead and book a themed suite because they are “SOOO SUITE” (#momjoke).