When I accepted my first job (many) years ago, a friend told me my career would take me to “new heights.” This week, that prediction came true during a visit to Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine.

Earlier this year, Great Wolf Resorts added an all-new and unique guest experience to four resorts: the Howlers Peak Ropes Course. With an indoor version debuting in New England, and three outdoor courses added to the Pocono Mountains, Grapevine and Grand Mound respectively, these attractions took fun to an entirely new level. This week, I got to try the multi-level balancing experience myself.

My first thought when I saw the ropes course was focused solely on its height. It is tall. Rising 50 feet into the sky, Howlers Peak is four levels of fun. Zip lines allow you to fly through the air from one side to the other, while strategically placed ropes, steps, and small wooded shapes, create pathways that require some concentration, some balance and a sense of adventure.

The highlight of Howlers Peak is the “quick jump” or as I jokingly called it, “the death drop.” It sounds simple enough, 45 feet above the ground, you step right off the platform and sail on down to the awaiting landing pad – complete with a signature Great Wolf Lodge paw. Friends and colleagues had told me the quick jump experience was a lot of fun and as I watched several people glide down, I decided I was next.

Happily, I zip lined toward that corner of the attraction. Then I balanced on a thin rope and “crab crawled” my way across to the platform. A pack member calmly adjusted my harness, told me what to do, checked in with his partner below, yelled, “Jumper!” and opened the gate. Bravely, I smiled, headed to the edge and….nothing. I couldn’t do it. I stood for about five minutes and could not find my courage. Apologetically, and with my proverbial tail between my legs, I unharnessed and zip lined away.

Internally, I negotiated with myself. I decided I didn’t need the quick jump; I could zipline, and balance, and walk and climb with the best of them. But my inner voice nagged and said, “This is not over.”

Suddenly, a movie reference popped in my head. I grew up crushing on Harrison Ford, and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” started playing in my mind. Remember the scene with Indy standing at the edge of the cave, with no path or bridge ahead of him and a huge abyss below? It was the “leap of faith” scene. If he took one step forward and believed he would be alright, he would. He just needed to move forward. (Spoiler alert – he took the step and a bridge magically appeared beneath his feet.)

I knew a bridge would not appear under my feet at the quick jump site, but I also knew that if four year old kids (YES!) could do it, I could, too.

So, with thoughts of Hollywood magic in my head, I went back up to the platform. Moments later, I took a bold step forward - ok, more like, slight stumble and ungraceful trip – and WHEEEEEEEE! A moment of flying, couple seconds of floating and a HOWL of delight. I did it! I conquered Howlers Peak.

Everyone clapped, a few cheered, and I promptly removed my harness. Check the box for another amazing, unexpected Great Wolf Lodge moment. And a quiet thank you to Indiana Jones.

It’s that time of year! The 48 Hour Sale is BACK and this time around, you can save up to 25% on your family’s next getaway. This sale only comes around a couple times each year and offers the best savings on one or multiple night stays at Great Wolf Lodge. If you’ve never taken part in one of our 48 Hour Sales, here are a couple tips to make your experience as simple as possible:

Once the sale is announced, the clock starts ticking. You’ll have 48 (or so) hours to book a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and take advantage of the savings.  To make sure you’re ready for every 48 Hour Sale, sign up for our ePack to receive deals and promotions straight to your inbox.  You’re probably familiar with the saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, in this case, ePack members are the birds and the 48 Hour Sale is the figurative worm. Members of our ePack are the first to be notified about the 48 Hour Sale. If you want to be among the first to receive deals and promotions, sign up here.

Do you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter? Following Great Wolf Lodge on social media is another easy way to stay in the know about upcoming deals. We post information about promotions on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. If you ever have any questions about the 48 Hour Sale (or any other promotion), social media is a great place to ask.  One of the most common questions we receive is, “Are you having a 48 Hour Sale anytime soon?” Although we can’t always share this information, as it would take the fun out of our “pop up” sale, here’s an insider tip: when we encourage you to sign up for our ePack, there’s usually a good reason for it!

Our 48 Hour Sale is a deal that you definitely don’t want to miss out on. Have you ever wanted to visit Great Wolf Lodge during Howl-o-Ween? This is your chance! The 48 Hour sale can save your family up to 25% on stays now through October 31st. Want to learn more? To view the details for your lodge, visit greatwolf.com/48hour.

If you have been to any of our lodges over the last few months you may have received a Boogie Wipes Plush at one our weekend dance parties, or an in-room sample of Boogie Wipes Gentle Saline Wipes.

Didn’t have a chance to make it to the lodge? You can still partake in the benefits of this partnership.  Great Wolf Lodge® and Boogie Wipes® have teamed up to bring you a family getaway this summer! You and your family can enter for a chance to win a 2-night stay at any of the Great Wolf Lodge locations, plus a $150 gift card to use during your stay.  Entering is easy at boogiewipes.com.  Saturday, May 31st is the last day to enter, so hurry!

Boogie Wipes, part of Little Busy Bodies, Inc. are the first ever saline nose wipes and were developed to help kids’ sore, red, runny noses.

To learn more about this great sweepstakes and Boogie Wipes visit boogiewipes.com. 

In late 2013 we were excited to debut a brand new dining option at the Great Wolf Lodge resorts in Mason, Ohio and Grapevine, Texas. As we get ready to open new locations at our other resorts we took a few moments to speak with Chef Chris Hammond, Corporate Director of Food and Beverage for Great Wolf Resorts to learn more about the Lodge Wood Fired Grill.

Where did the idea for the Lodge Wood Fired Grill come from?

Every day we strive to exceed our guests’ expectations and dining is one of those areas that we focus a great deal of attention on. About a year ago we partnered with a consulting agency to help rebrand our current food variety and look at new outlets and options. This included also taking a “discovery tour” which entailed visiting and trying many restaurants to look at trends, ideas, menus and atmosphere.

We decided to begin with our Great Wolf Lodge properties in Mason and Grapevine.  We worked with the consulting team to develop on a brand new menu, which took over three months to develop. We had the culinary teams at each resort create their own drink menus to incorporate many local favorites, such as draft beer, to provide authentic regional taste.

From there, we reviewed and sampled every dish, as well as conducted a professional photo shoot and food stylist of each item. Hard to believe but it took three days, 34 hours and 1500 pictures to get the photos you see on the menu today!

Then the real fun began! We spent two weeks full training our teams – both the culinary team and the serving so they could accurately – and deliciously – describe each menu item to our guests. We were so excited to officially open the first two Lodge Wood Fired Grill restaurants last November!

How is the Lodge Wood Fired Grill different from the other dining options at Great Wolf Lodge?

The Lodge Wood Fired Grill is the only a la carte restaurant at the resort. But even more important, this restaurant has an identity, it has a soul, and everything has a purpose. From the fresh ingredients to the local beers and crafted cocktails, everything was inspired to give our guests a dining experience that they have not previously had at Great Wolf Lodge.

Are there plans to open a Lodge Wood Fired Grill in any of the other Great Wolf Lodge resorts?

We are excited to continue to add this restaurant to the Great Wolf Lodge family. It will open this year at our resorts in Grand Mound, Washington; Concord, North Carolina and our newest resort, Great Wolf Lodge New England in Massachusetts.

What is your favorite item on the menu? Are there any guest favorites?

That is such a tough question to answer as I spent so much time on this project, especially with the food. The spaghetti with lobster and shrimp is an amazing “wow” and so is the shrimp and farro salad. Come to think of it, I love the artichoke too, oh and the hummus, and the BBQ Platter….

 

Want to learn more about one of Chef Chris’ Lodge Wood Fired Grill favorites? He has shared the recipe below!

What do you get when you simultaneously bring together hundreds of families across three time zones under the glow of a full moon? An event that is truly something to HOWL about!

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, our ten Great Wolf Lodge resorts across the United States offered a unique challenge to our guests: come together for the chance to set a new world record for the most people howling at the same time.

Earlier this year, we read about a record attempt in St. Cloud, Minn where students from St. Cloud State University gathered together to set a record for most people howling. Their event attracted 296 people.

Howling is a fun tradition at Great Wolf Lodge resorts. Guests stomp, clap and howl alongside Wiley the Wolf and his cast of lovable characters every day. It is a part of the Great Wolf Lodge experience.

Each October the resorts also all celebrate Howl-O-Ween, complete with trick or treating through the lodges, Monster Bash dance parties and more. After reading about that record attempt in Minnesota, we knew we could not only beat that record – but also set a new one that would REALLY have everyone howling!

When planning a world record attempt, in order to “beat” the existing record, you must re-create the same circumstances as the original. For us, that meant bringing everyone together in one spot, outside and having them howl for 60 seconds. The full moon provided the perfect setting across the country for everyone.

Of course, we still had to put our own unique Great Wolf Lodge flair on our record attempt: as a special surprise, we gave everyone who took part a limited edition set of bright orange wolf ears to wear while howling at the moon!

At exactly 8:45 p.m. EST our resorts counted everyone down and the howling began. 4,341 people of all ages howled for one minute! I’m sure wolves in the wild all paused and perked their ears at that time, wondering just what was inspiring so much howling that night!

Were you at one of our resorts? Curious how many people howled alongside you? Check out our totals below. And next time you see a full moon, take a moment to howl, Great Wolf Lodge-style!

Great Wolf Lodge Concord, NC – 605

Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains, PA – 615

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, WA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City, MI – 381

Great Wolf Lodge   Kansas City, KA – 346

Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells, WI – 261

Great Wolf Lodge Mason, OH – 492

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, OH – 478

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, TX  - 339

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. The sky is bluer, the birds start chirping and tulips bloom in the front yard. 

To really get into spring, I reached out to our talented team of chefs and asked them to share their favorite treats for spring parties and family get-togethers. Their answers truly are delicious and something that someone with very little baking ability, like me, can do!

So—if you have not yet figured out what to bring to your next springtime celebration, here are two great ideas:  

Fruit Pizza

Executive Chef Lymont Stoutingberg from the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City told me about this treat. Who doesn’t love eating fresh fruit in the spring? And of course, pizza is a year-round staple!

During a recent segment on WDAF-KC TV, Chef Lymont shared his recipe for the treat:

  1. Start with one package sugar cookie dough.
  2. Prepare the following toppings:
  • 8 ounces soft cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 ounces condensed milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 4 kiwi peeled, sliced
  • 2 large orange, sectioned
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 6 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Flatten cookie dough onto a 6-inch pizza pan.
  3. Bake until firm to touch, about 11 to 15 minutes. Cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar.
  5. Spread the baked cookie with the cream cheese mixture and decorate with sliced fruit.
  6. Top the pizza with remaining berries and chocolate mixture.
  7. Slice and serve immediately.

Blooming Cupcake Bouquet

Cupcakes are definitely the “in” dessert right now. From TV's Cupcake Wars to cupcake bakeries popping up around town, what was once a dessert staple is now the treat to be reckoned with. Chefs Russ Meeks and Amie Hanrahan shared with me how they take a simple cupcake and create a signature centerpiece that is as beautiful as it is delicious.

While I leave the actual cupcake recipe up to you, here are the steps to create your beautiful bunch of floral-inspired treats!

  1. Prepare the following items:                    
  • 7 large cupcakes              
  • 4 cups butter cream icing                                            
  • 4 pastry bags                                                                     
  • 4 decorating tip (1M)                                                    
  • Food coloring – your choice for as many colors as you want to use                          
  • 14 toothpicks (2 per cupcake)                                                                   
  • 1 vase or flower pot
  • ½ of a floral or regular Styrofoam ball that fits in vase or flower pot
  • Green tissue paper or decorative leaves              
  1. Steps to create your bouquet:
  • Using two sheets of green tissue paper, fill vase/flower pot, and leave the corners sticking out. If using a glass or clear vase, take 1/3 piece of tissue paper, roll into a loose ball and place gently into bottom of the vase.                                                    
  • Place the 1/2 foam ball on the top of tissue paper.                                                          
  • Using toothpicks push 2 together around the half foam call and leave about 3/4 in. of the toothpick sticking up. The toothpicks will secure the cupcakes to the ball.                                                     
  1. Decorate the Cupcakes:
  • Using food coloring, create your desired icing colors.
  • Using the pastry bags and tips fill each bag with icing. Use one color per bag.
  • Begin piping icing on your cupcakes in a circular motion starting in the center, and work your way out using even pressure. Decorate until you have the desired color scheme and look.
  1. Create your display:
  • Arrange your cupcakes around the Styrofoam ball as you would a real flower bouquet.  (Be sure to push cupcakes far enough onto toothpicks so they are secure on the ball)
  • Using the tissue that is sticking out around the ball, and your decorative leaves, fill in any gaps to give your arrangement a finished look.                     
  1. Take photos, share your yummy treats on Pinterest, and don’t forget to tell everyone Great Wolf Lodge inspired you!                    

 

 

 

14
Mar
2013

Last fall we launched a nationwide search inviting moms and dads to join our 2013 Ask-A-Mom panel—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  After reading every submission and watching every video (there were a lot) we’ve finally made our selection. 

Here they are folks, our new Ask-A-Moms (and Dads)!

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts introducing you to each of our panelists.  In the meantime, head over to askamom.greatwolf.com to ask them a question.

Did you just book your first trip to the lodge?  Curious about all of the slides that we have?  Or are you just missing your favorite and want to reminisce?

You can visit our website or YouTube channel and watch over 40 videos of your favorite slides.  Shot from a first-person angle, you can see what it’s like to ride the Niagara Rapids Run or slide down River Canyon Run.

Now that you’ve watched them all, which is your favorite?  Leave a comment and let us know.  Good luck choosing just one.

Are you making something special for your Valentine? I remember as a kid making big cards out of construction paper and working really hard to make the perfect heart shape and adding frills with doilies. There’s just something about a homemade gift that makes your heart smile.

This past week, our Pastry Chef Amie Hanrahan and her team at the Grand Mound Lodge baked some Valentine-inspired sweets for their guests. If you are waiting until the last minute and still looking for the perfect gift, I invite you to bake these Great Wolf Lodge-inspired Sugar Cookies on a Stick.

After reading the recipe and drooling over the photos, I went home and made some this weekend, too. With a little creativity of your own, you might just be on your way to joining the culinary team at your nearest Lodge!

 

Sugar Cookies-On-A-Stick

(Makes about 4 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter- softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 each large eggs
  • 48ct Popsicle sticks

Your choice of edible decorations (Icing, sprinkles, chocolate chips, candies)

Directions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Put dough into freezer for five minutes, to make inserting sticks easier. Pull dough from freezer. Insert a stick into the dough from the side. Make sure the dough on sticks has room to allow the cookies to spread without baking over other sticks.
  3. You can add sprinkles or chocolate chips to the raw dough, so they bake in, or wait until the cookies are baked and cool to add your decorations.
  4. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. After the cookies have cooled completely, you can apply frosting and attach edible decorations of your choice. Have Fun!!

 

During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them to you so you can learn a little more about what makes them howl in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.

Chef Kuan Yu is the very talented Sous Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. Since March 2005, Chef Yu has introduced his Asian-inspired talents to many families staying at the resort.

With degrees from the Japan Culinary Academy in Tokyo and a former instructor at Johnson & Wales University, Chef Yu not only create culinary works of art, but also mentors and encourages rising chefs to do the same.

Some of Chef Yu’s signature dishes at the resort include sushi and General Tso’s Chicken. His Asian flare even earned her the People’s Choice Award at the Taste of Williamsburg for three years in a row. As Sous Chef at Great Wolf Lodge, Chef Yu admires the family-centric approach the resort has towards meal time.

Great Wolf Lodge  What is your all-time favorite food?

Chef Kuan Yu – I love rice. It is especially good in my General Tso’s Chicken prepared just for Great Wolf Lodge. With my training in Asian-style cuisine, it is my favorite dish to prepare for families.

Great Wolf Lodge  What makes a meal at Great Wolf different from other places?

Chef Yu – Food at Great Wolf Lodge is prepared with love and passion. This is not something I’ve seen in previous kitchens. Not only is it a fun work environment, but I like to think our guests taste the difference our staff puts into food preparation each time they visit the Lodge.  

Great Wolf Lodge  What have you brought to Great Wolf Lodge during your time as a chef?

Chef Yu – Since starting at the Lodge, I have introduced the art of making sushi to the food and beverage team. This is such a popular dish with our guests and the quality of fresh seafood available here makes this a must-have for our menu – and for families to try.

Great Wolf Lodge  What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Yu – It is important to cook with love. Your feelings and emotion are exemplified in the final dish. It is important to share your love for cuisine with each guest who is dining in the restaurant. 

Great Wolf Lodge  What makes being a chef at Great Wolf Lodge so special?

Chef Yu – The emphasis on making a special memory for each family at that time is so important. To create the environment for them to spend quality time together is remarkable to observe.

During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them to you so you can learn a little more about what makes them howl in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.

Chef Tom Hanrahan Grand Mound, WAChef Tom Hanrahan’s passion for cooking began at the age of 14 and has continued to grow and increase with each step he has made in the profession. At the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA., Executive Chef Hanrahan leads the culinary team and delivers exceptional guest experience throughout the resort.

Chef Hanrahan has a passion for the Northwest and enjoys the opportunity travel to other Great Wolf Lodge locations to collaborate with his fellow chefs.

Great Wolf Lodge – Do you have a favorite recipe or culinary treat that you have created just for Great Wolf Lodge guests?

Chef Tom Hanrahan – One of my signature recipes for guests in Grand Mound is for Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder. We use local ingredients to make fresh chowder each day.

Great Wolf Lodge  What makes a meal at Great Wolf different from other places?

Chef Hanrahan  The ambiance, the fun and the exceptional food we provide is something families will be hard pressed to find other places. We engage the whole family in the dining experience to make it something enjoyable from beginning to end.

Great Wolf Lodge  What new programs have you brought to Great Wolf during your time as a chef?

Chef Hanrahan – One of my passions as a chef is healthy dining for all ages. From our restaurant menus and outlets like Bear Paw Eats & Sweets to our banquet and meetings menus, we continue to add healthy options for families to choose. Secondly, an increased awareness in our allergen training has been instrumental for the Food and Beverage Pack Members. We see it as an extension of our promise to deliver quality food to our all guests. 

Great Wolf Lodge  What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Hanrahan – One of the most inspiring things is training people from the ground up. It’s great to see people start as an aqua chef and make it to culinary management. Each step along the way you can see their growth and drive to succeed. It’s a great feeling to help others fulfill their dreams.

Great Wolf Lodge  What makes being a chef at Great Wolf Lodge so special?

Chef Hanrahan   The people that I work with on a daily basis make the difference.  There are so many inspiring people at my resort and throughout the company. To be able to share ideas and build that camaraderie is something unique to Great Wolf Lodge and the people who choose to work here.

 

Dungeness & Roasted Corn Chowder

 

Ingredients:

6 oz. Pancetta, ground
1 ¼ C Onions, small dice
1 ¼ C Celery, small dice
1 ¼ C Green peppers, small dice
1 ¼ C Red peppers, small dice
1 ¼ C Flour
48 oz Chicken stock
3 lb Whole cob corn char grilled and cut off cob
3 lb Potatoes, small dice

2 Bay leaves
25 oz Heavy cream, scalded
20 oz Milk, scalded
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
Worcestershire, to taste
8 oz Rock crab
8 oz Dungeness crab

Directions:

  1. Render the pancetta.  Sweat the onions, celery and peppers in the rendered pancetta.  Add the flour and cook to make a blond roux. 
  2. Add the chicken stock gradually, whipping to work out lumps. 
  3. Bring the soup to a simmer.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes. 
  4. Puree half of the corn and add it to the soup with the potatoes.  Add the whole corn kernels and bay leaf and simmer until the corn and potatoes are tender. 
  5. Combine the heavy cream and milk; add to the soup.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  6. Add both kinds of crab.  Adjust the seasoning with salt, white pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, to taste.

Earlier this year, 13-year-old Jeremy Wuitschick made headlines when he and fellow student, Johnny Wood, helped prevent an accident as their bus driver suffered a heart attack while driving. Jeremy got behind the wheel of the school bus and brought it to a safe stop while Johnny started to perform CPR on the driver. The story earned national attention for the two boys from Milton, Washington.  

Jeremy Wuitschick visits Great Wolf Lodge Grand MoundAfter the incident, Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound invited the boys and their families to visit the resort and see how its lifeguards learn how to react when dealing with a stressful situation, like the one they experienced on their school bus. During Jeremy’s stay, he took part in the Junior Lifeguard Program. He learned about Great Wolf Lodge’s lifeguard training program and CPR basics. Jeremy received a personalized sweatshirt from Great Wolf Lodge and an “Honorary Lifeguard” certificate. He then had a great timing howling with waterpark guests.

During his stay, Jeremy told us about the situation on his school bus and shared his thoughts from the experience.  

Great Wolf Lodge: What was your first thought when you noticed something was wrong with your bus driver?

Jeremy Wuitschick: I thought, “This is so unusual.” I had never seen anything like that happen before.

GWL: How did you remain so calm?

JW: I didn’t know what to feel; my gut instinct took over and I just did what I did to help.

GWL: Were you surprised by all of the media attention you received?

JW: I was completely surprised! I had no idea our actions would get so much attention; we had no idea what to expect. I always dreamed about what it would be like to receive such attention but not during something tragic.

GWL: What has been the coolest thing to happen to you since the incident on your bus?

Jeremy Wuitschick visits Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound

JW: I got to visit New York City with my mom! We stayed across from Central Park. I actually thought it would be like (in the movie) Madagascar 3 but it was completely different. I enjoyed taking pictures of Lady Liberty and Rockefeller Center. 

GWL: Do you have any advice for other kids if they ever find themselves in a scary situation like you did?

JW: Expect everything. When something happens like that, expect everything because anything could happen.

GWL: As you got ready for your visit to Great Wolf Lodge, what were you most looking forward to?

JW: I couldn’t wait to see my mom go down the Howlin’ Tornado in the dark and scream. I also love the breakfast buffet in the Loose Moose Cottage! Give me bacon; bacon, bacon, bacon!

GWL: Has this experience made you think about what you want to be when you grow up?

JW: It would be fun to be a host on a show like “Top Gear” - driving cool cars and doing crazy stunts. But, if I were to be more logical about it, I’d say an accountant. I enjoy helping people and math.

 

During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them to you so you can learn a little more about what makes them howl in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.  

Amie Soltis is the Pastry Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. Soltis has created several signature items since joining the culinary team at the resort in 2008.

With 12 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Soltis passion for food began when she first baked for family and friends as a young girl.

I had the chance to talk to Amie about her passion for Great Wolf Lodge and baking picture perfect sweets.

Great Wolf Lodge - Do you have a recipe or culinary creation that you created just for Great Wolf Lodge?

Chef Amie - I have created several “signature items”. We try to incorporate our signature wolf paw into many of the treats for Bear Paw, my favorite is the Chocolate Peanut Butter Paws. (Editor’s note: Be sure to check out her favorite recipe at the bottom!)

GWL - What other treats have you created for the guests at Great Wolf Lodge?

Chef Amie – I love sweet treats. Our Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake on a stick, Homemade Paw-shaped Marshmallows, Wolfie Pies, and Paw Berries are just a few of the treats we make daily.

GWL - What makes being a chef at Great Wolf Lodge so special?

Chef Amie - I feel lucky to have the position I do at Great Wolf Lodge. It is my job to add "the cherry on top" to our guests' experience. My team and I create special moments for our guests on a daily basis through our delicious homemade treats, and custom birthday surprises. It is awesome to walk out to the Bear Paw and hear a child say, "Wow, look at the size of that Rice Krispie treat!" or "Oh my gosh -  cheesecake on a stick!" It immediately brings a smile to my face, because I know I have done my job.

Great Wolf Lodge Chocolate Peanut Butter Paws

(Yield: 8 “paws” or 1- 9x13 pan)

Ingredients:

1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
6 cups Crisped Rice Cereal
1 12oz bag Milk Chocolate Chips

Instructions:

  1. Mix corn syrup and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil for 1 minute ONLY
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth
  4. Add mixture to crisped rice and stir until evenly coated.
  5. Scoop mixture into paw shaped cookie cutter and flatten
  6. Melt chips in the microwave on low heat or over a double boiler
  7. Spoon paw details on each with the chocolate and allow to cool.

You can also press this mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan and drizzle with melted milk chocolate. Enjoy!

 

To everyone at Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound,

Thank you! What a FANTASTIC vacation spot! This was our first visit to Great Wolf Lodge, and I will tell you, we will be back! From the moment you pull into the parking lot, right to the moment you reluctantly drive away, it is truly amazing! Everything in this Great Wolf lodge is immaculate, lobby, stores, restrooms, pools, restaurants, rooms, everything! 

Our room was cleaned up everyday and we never saw or heard from any of the housekeeping staff (unike other hotels, banging on your door at 9am). It was like magic! From a parent's point of view, the magnetic bracelet is sheer brilliance, no need to carry cash or a room key. The restaurants were all very good and reasonably priced. When the pools closed, we headed off to the arcade. That was great for the kids and their Dad. The waterpark is just incredible! It's so warm in the waterpark that you just have to stay in the pools. We wanted to keep going again and again on all the slides. The lifeguards are impeccable! I have NEVER seen such attentive lifeguards in my life. Safety is definately not an issue here. We stayed at Great Wolf Lodge for 4 nights but still ran out of time. We didn't get to do the MagiQuest game, or go to the spa, so we'll just save that for next time. I could go on and on about how incredible this place is, but you really need to experience it for yourself, you will Not regret it!

I will tell you that my 3 children are "home-bodies" and even they begged to stay a few more days. You really need to check it out, we will be back!


Thanks again!

Name: Stacy
City: Lac La Biche
State: Alberta
Email: dymen379@mcsnet.ca
Lodge: Grand Mound, WA

 

Ask A Mom Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, Washington This photo is from one of our first trips to Great Wolf Lodge and it’s a favorite of mine, they have grown so much since I took this picture. 

As you exit off the highway and turn the corner, there is no mistaking where you are!  This is the time in our car when the screaming of excitement begins. At the entrance of the lodge stands two mammoth, beautiful sand sculptures of a mama wolf and her cubs, the other a lone wolf. 

My husband has a demanding job and gets very little time off, so when he is able to take a few days and enjoy a mini vacation with the family it is so nice to be able to escape and reconnect as a family. We live in Port Orchard and with the recent highway improvements it takes less than 2 hours for the fun to begin. 

We have 4 kids at home ranging from ages 9-16. There is plenty of fun and family entertainment for all and my favorite part of the trip is the wind down time in the evenings when we get dry clothes on and have a family dinner at Camp Critter Bar & Grille.  It has become a family tradition to watch Alpha and Omega the night before our trip to get into the Great Wolf spirit.

 

Ask A Mom Panelist

Grand Mound Lodge

Lani M.

Spring has sprung. The weather is getting nicer and all across the country swimming pools are opening, lakes are warming and plans are being made to head out and enjoy them. What better time to remind everyone that May is National Water Safety Month!

At Great Wolf Lodge, it is Water Safety Month all year long. Your safety is our top priority and everything we do is focused on providing you and your family a safe and memorable vacation. This begins with our lifeguard staff.

From day one, our lifeguards are put to the test. After a careful selection process and initial orientation, new lifeguards take part in at least 24 hours of lifeguarding instruction and testing. This covers everything from basic first aid and in-water rescue techniques to advanced first responder duties including CPR,use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) and supplemental oxygen use. Once the course is successfully completed, our lifeguards are licensed thru the International Lifeguard Training Program and ready to begin the next phase of their training. 

Next, new lifeguards are matched with a seasoned member of our waterpark team to begin “shadowing.” Here they begin to hone their on-deck skills and learn to scan the water, looking for guests that may need assistance. Once the lifeguard is ready to guard on their own, they areaudited by members of the management staff.  This includes professionalism, awareness, vigilance, appearance and most importantly, ability to scan their entire zone within the allotted time. 

In addition to our internal auditing program, Great Wolf Resorts partners with Jeff Ellis & Associates, an outside consulting firm specializing in aquatic risk management.  To keep our standards and practices at the highest levels possible, we do a number of drills and skills tests during hours of operation. Ellis & Associates also performs four unannounced operational audits per year at each resort, testing and spot-checking our guards in areas of professionalism, diligence in scanning techniques and rescue skills, as well as ability to manage an aquatic emergency. 

Lifeguard training never ends; each Great Wolf Lodge lifeguard attends a minimum of four hours of in-service training every month to help reinforce and refresh their skills. Lifeguarding is a physically and mentally challenging job, and our instructors provide informative, realistic, and fun sessions to keep our guards motivated and excited about their jobs at Great Wolf Lodge.

Parents are also an important part of water safety at Great Wolf Lodge. You can help our lifeguards when you bring your family to the resort. Make sure young children wear life vests, follow height restrictions on water slides and never leave your children alone in the water park. These are just a few of the ways you can help our lifeguards during your visit.

Guest safety is our top priority at Great Wolf Lodge. Our lifeguard team looks forward to providing your family with a safe, fun, memorable adventure in the water all this month – and throughout the rest of the year.

Great Wolf Lodge Regional Director of Aquatics

 

 

Cody Butcher
Regional Director of Aquatics
Great Wolf Lodge - Grand Mound

 

Who doesn’t enjoy slaying dragons and collecting all the runes? I sure do, and I can’t wait to try out the latest addition to MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge...Topper Powers.

When magi select their wand in the store, they have the option of adding some pizzazz to their wand with a themed topper. This spring, guest at all the properties with MagiQuest will see their wand topper gain abilities that affect the game in a various fun ways.

For example, the topper on my wand - the Majestic Pink Gem and Crown - will now allow me to win the pixie adventure in one cast. Also, when I duel the red dragon, the topper will allow one resurrection when I’m out of healing mana. I don't know about you, but any help I can get with the red dragon is great!

Some of these powers even have a chance to recharge while playing the game while others are only a one time use. While the toppers vary a little from property to property, you can expect to see some combination of the following (with powers listed) –

  • Red Dragon & Dragon Gem – Power to one Silver Dragon with the fire burst
  • Majestic Pink Gem & Crown – One cast to win Pixie adventure & one resurrection when dueling the red dragon
  • Unicorn & Horn – cause Magic to spread through the realm
  • Trixter – spread the “power of laughter” through the kingdom – will give every screen a joke and tell which Magi brought this bit of laughter your way
  • Blue Claw – Xavier’s “draining” magic; steal mana from other Magi
  • Armillary – ability to get hints at select status stations through the Kingdom
  • Skull & Dark Stone – beat back the red dragon with a laughing skull of light

Locations with some variety of the toppers listed above include: Charlotte/Concord, Cincinnati/Mason, Grand Mound, Grapevine, Kansas City, Pocono Mountains, Traverse City, Williamsburg and Wisconsin Dells.

MagiQuest has always been a blast to play, and the addition of Topper Powers increases the ways you can interact with the experience. I can’t wait to go try out my new topper power at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge. How about you?

Great Wolf Lifeguards Deserve a Howl!

At Great Wolf Lodge, the safety of our guests is our number one priority. Every day, families come to our resorts to play in our waterparks and make lasting memories. Our Great Wolf Pack Members are a key part to delivering these safe and fun experiences.

Great Wolf lifeguards are among our most visible Pack Members. It is their job to ensure that our guests are safe while they enjoy our indoor waterparks. To help in these efforts, Great Wolf works with Ellis & Associates, a third party consultant that specializes in aquatics safety. In addition to assisting with our training programs, Ellis & Associates conducts random audits of our guards at work, to ensure key practices and procedures are being used.

Each year, Ellis & Associates announces its list of “Golden Guards” – lifeguards around the country who epitomize what it means to be a great lifeguard. Leadership, knowledge, and teamwork are areas that the guards are rated on. This year ten Great Wolf Lodge lifeguards earned the honor.

Great Wolf Lodge sends a collective “Howl!” of congratulations to the following Pack Member guards who work each day to provide a safe, fun waterpark experience for our guests.

  

Nathan Hughes and Zyra Edwards from our Niagara Falls Lodge