The holidays are the perfect time of year for families to spend time together in the kitchen. Christmas cookies, peppermint bark, maybe even fruitcake – all are treats that we love to make during this special time of year.

At Great Wolf Lodge, we have our own holiday season tradition - Snowland. Families can spend time with Santa, enjoy snow indoors each night and create new family traditions together. And just like being at home, yummy treats are a key part of the Snowland experience.

The center point of Snowland is not only beautiful – but also edible! For months, our culinary teams baked, created and decorated life-size gingerbread houses in the lobby of each Great Wolf Lodge.

Our guests can dine in these unique cottages. New this year, we partnered with the makers of PEEPS & COMPANY® and Just Born Quality Confections, the makers of PEEPS®, MIKE AND IKE® and HOT TAMALES®, to provide many of the edible treats that adorn the walls of each gingerbread house. The house at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains has over 1000 PEEPS® on it! (I know because I was able to help put all them on!)

To help bring some Snowland cheer into your home, here are two of our favorite holiday-inspired treats. From the Great Wolf Lodge family and the Just Born family, happy holidays!  

Great Wolf Howlin’ Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 2 QT Whole Milk
  • 1 QT Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
  • 4 Whole Star Anise
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 LB Sweetened Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate (chips, coins or small chunks; use the best quality Sweetened Chocolate)

Directions:

  1. Let the cinnamon and star anise soak in the milk cream mixture overnight. Add the sugar and place on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Strain the mixture and place back on the stove, add in the chocolate and whisk until fully blended. Makes 16 6 oz. servings.
  2. For an added treat – add a Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored PEEPS Chick

PEEPS Holiday Pops

Ingredients:

  • PEEPS® Peppermint Stars, and PEEPS® Trees
  • Equal number of paper straws or sticks
  • 12 oz. bag of chocolate candy melts
  • Sprinkles
  • Crushed candy canes

Directions:

  1. Remove PEEPS® Trees and PEEPS® Peppermint Stars from their packaging.
  2. Slowly slide PEEPS® on to each of your sticks or straws, stopping just before the straw pushes through the other end of the PEEP.
  3. Lay out baking sheet and line with wax paper.
  4. Melt chocolate coating according to the package directions and apply to PEEPS® shapes

5.    Coat shapes with sprinkles or crushed candy canes and let cool.

 

 

We are SO excited to announce our partnership with Highlights for Children. I loved Highlights Hidden Pictures Fun Books when I was a kid, and now all guests of Great Wolf Lodge have a chance to enjoy them! In each room at Great Wolf Lodge, guests will have the chance to keep their children busy with Highlights Hidden Pictures Fun Books – a great post waterpark activity.

Highlights created this Hidden Pictures activity for Great Wolf Lodge. Print it off and see how long it takes you and your kids to find all of the hidden pictures!

Is your family always looking for more ways to have fun together? Highlights offers some great family activities and Highlights news on their blog. You can also like Highlights for Children on Facebook for even more updates.

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

Your first vacation with your kids has to be something very special, something they will remember forever.

So after much consideration, we decided to visit Great Wolf Lodge in December: the only place I know of where you have snow in the lobby, Story Time in your jammies and a delightful, enormous bucket of water that dumps on your head and almost knocks you over. I know, it sounds perfect. It was!

We didn't tell our kids where we were going. I packed them in secret and we hopped in the car. The closer we got, I started humming the Great Wolf Lodge theme song. As we were pulling onto Great Wolf Lodge's street, I started singing "Going to the Lodge..." and the kids went nuts.

They were thrilled with the entire experience, and I was too. When it was time to leave, we decided that if we could, we would live at Great Wolf Lodge. We can't wait to go back!!

Victoria Keen
Fort Worth, TX
 

New England families will soon have something to howl about—we are excited to announce that Great Wolf Lodge has official begun construction in Massachusetts on a new resort.

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will give families more than 100,000 square feet of entertainment and lodging space to enjoy together—all under one roof. The centerpiece of the resort will be the indoor waterpark—the largest in the state with more than 68,000 square feet of fun for the whole family.

Of course it will have some signature Great Wolf Lodge water rides like the Howlin’ Tornado, Slap Tail Pond wave pool and everyone's favorite—Fort Mackenzie with its 1,000 gallon tipping bucket.

Just like all of our lodges, Great Wolf Lodge - New England will feature guest suites that provide the perfect place for families to relax after a day of waterpark fun. Families can choose from several suite styles, like the popular kid-themed Wolf Den and KidCabin suites.  The resort will also debut never-before-seen suite styles—the Majestic KidCabin and the Grizzly Wolf Dens.

The Majestic KidCabin will sleep 11 people and will have two bathrooms, a separate king bedroom, two queen beds and a themed cabin for kids, complete with a daybed and a set of bunk beds. The Grizzly Wolf Den will sleep ten people, have two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room area and themed kids Wolf Den, complete with bunk beds. Two awesome new additions to our line up of comfy suites.

You can also find a ton of other activities throughout the lodge that are perfect for kids of all ages, like:

  • The brand’s first and only indoor dry play area—over 16,000 square feet of entertainment complete with a multi-level ropes course and indoor miniature golf
  • MagiQuest
  • Scooops Kid Spa
  • Ten Paw Alley mini bowling
  • The Great Clock Tower Show and evening Story Time

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will also feature several restaurant options like our new Lodge Wood Fired Grill restaurant and bar, Bear Paw Sweets & Eats, Hungry as a Wolf and a Dunkin’ Donuts®.

As always, the indoor water park is exclusive to resort guests and waterpark passes are included with each suite—a great value and the perfect place to spend time together as a family.

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will be our twelfth resort. Located off Route 2, 45 minutes from Boston—Great Wolf Lodge - New England is expected to open in late spring 2014. 

To stay up to date on all the building progress, visit www.greatwolf.com/NewEngland, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

This summer we had a blast traveling across the country for our Wolf Your World tour.  We introduced new Great Wolf Kids characters, spread wolfie cheer and handed out tens of thousands of wolf ears.  As part of the summer fun, we had Facebook photo contests and of course—our sweepstakes to give away a two-night stay for up to 25 people plus a banquet dinner.  Well, the contests and sweepstakes have finally ended and we are excited to announce the winners.

First off, our Wolf Your World photo contest winners.  We got a ton of great submissions each week and are excited to show you the winners: 

Meredith Burrell of McKinney, Texas for Wolf Ears on a Road Trip

Miranda Nau from Danielsville, PA for Wolf Ears on a Pet

Sarah Toler of Lumberton, TX for Wolf Ears and a Summer Treat

Andrea Evansen from Graham, WA for Wolf Ears Playing a Sport

Barbara Austin from Emporia, KS for Wolf Ears and a Hobby

And Michelle Messana from Smithtown, NY for Wolf Ears Playing Outside

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for—the winner of our biggest sweepstakes, staying at the Great Wolf Lodge of her choice with 24 of her closest friends and family.  

(Drum roll please)

Jodi Northey of Burlington, Ontario!

Congratulations, and thank you to everybody who entered and followed our tour all summer long.  LIKE us on Facebook and stay tuned for more contests and sweepstakes.

Happy birthday to one of the happiest bears in the Northwoods—our friend Brinley bear!  

If you haven't had the chance to meet Brinley yet, let me introduce you.  Brinley is one of our Great Wolf Kids Characters, who recently traveled across the country as part of our Wolf Your World tour.  He is a sweetheart and loves to laugh and play all day—he is a SUPERB Hide & Seek player.

And while his favorite food might be honey, he won't turn down a good ice cream sandwich from Bear Paw!

His favorite season is spring, he just loves taking hikes in the Northwoods with his friends on a lovely spring afternoon.

Now that Brinley is back from touring North America with his friends, you can spot him at our Sandusky, OH; Niagara Falls, ON and Concord, NC lodges.  Or you can check out his favorite games and activities on www.greatwolfkids.com.

Don't forget to leave a comment with your birthday wishes for our special little bear cub.

Only WE Can Save the Sky Lights, Magi!

Calling all Magi—the moment that you all have been waiting for has finally come! ShadowQuest is officially open at Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells and is set to open at six more Great Wolf Lodge resorts this fall.

We kicked off ShadowQuest’s World Premiere with an extra special Grand Opening Event at Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells last week. The night was filled with pixies, yetis and (most importantly) Magi.

After walking the green carpet (our unique take on a traditional red carpet), the Magi and their families had a chance to take pictures with the ShadowQuest characters—Lumina, Ivan and Malaki.

With wands and guide books in hand, families were welcomed by Master Magi herself, Kim Schaefer, CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., and given a very special message from Lumina, leader of the light pixies. Once the Magis' mission was made known to them, they set off on their quest to save the light from the evil yeti Malaki.

To keep the Magi nourished on their quest, a special ShadowQuest-themed menu was prepared for the event. My favorite? The dark chocolate noodle spiders and red velvet cake eyeball pops… they were far more delicious than they were scary!

I had been counting down the days to the ShadowQuest Grand Opening, and it was definitely everything that I had thought it would be (and more)! It was so exciting to see families feverishly working together to conquer this new quest. It was even more exciting to know that these families were among the first to experience this brand new adventure, and their excitement and passion were seen and shared by all.

In addition to playing ShadowQuest at Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells, it will also open this fall at six other Great Wolf Lodge locations: Grand MoundPoconosWilliamsburgGrapevineMason and Concord. The official dates of the Grand Opening weekends are still to be determined, so be sure to stay tuned to find out exact dates.

Another great thing about ShadowQuest: current Magi can use their same wands to play this new, live-action adventure game. ShadowQuest uses the same technology as its predecessor, MagiQuest, so even though you can only play one game at a time, you can still use your favorite wand for both!

To learn more about ShadowQuest and how you can play, visit greatwolf.com/shadowquest

Last winter, I went to Great Wolf Lodge. I had lots of fun at the indoor water park. One of my favorite things to do was go to Fort Mackenzie because I loved the twisting and turning slides. The tipping bucket that splashed down tons of water was fun because the anticipation of water falling was exciting. The Alberta Falls was a ride that my father and I enjoyed many times together. At first I was a little scared to go down the tube ride by myself so my father joined me on my first ride. I loved the splishing, splashing, twisting and turning. We kept on going on Albert Falls until my dad said he needed to take a rest from climbing the steps. It is a ride that I will continue to take with my dad on our next visit. I didn’t like the mountain edge raceway because the mat wasn’t as comfortable as a tube. The Slap Tail Pond was one of my favorites because I loved floating on the huge waves.

At first I thought MagiQuest would be boring because I thought it was for younger kids. Once I tried Magiquest I found it to be interesting and fun. I liked the scavenger hunting with my pink MagiQuest wand. The running around on the different floors made it more exciting because more than one floor to explore. My next visit I will surely bring my wand to play again.

For our next visit we will be staying in a KidCabin Suite. This is so exciting because I get my own little cabin inside the room. I get to camp out while my parents sleep outside the cabin. I have never been in a KidCabin Suite before and I hope it will be fun.

Our last visit I did enjoy the Story Time, but towards the end of the story I went to play Magiquest and I still was able to listen to the story.  We didn’t have time on our visit to play in the arcade, but I might try to get it in on our next visit.

We didn’t bring our camera on our first visit because my parents didn’t want to ruin the camera. We will be bringing the camera this time because there are many places to store the camera when they are done using it. Since we didn’t have a picture of our first visit, I asked my mom to take a picture of the two items on my list to take on our next visit. In the picture is my bunny and my pink MagiQuest wand.

Jessica Frank
Elon, NC

 

If you’ve been to Great Wolf Lodge before, you’ve seen them—dozens of children wielding magic wands in the hope of becoming a Master Magi and defeating the dragon. 

This fall, we are calling upon these Magi for a new quest—they must help us save the vanishing light in our new interactive adventure ShadowQuest.

Over the past few nights, the Sky Lights have been mysteriously vanishing from the night sky.  The Light Pixies are desperate for answers.  Their leader, Lumina, has been working tirelessly to identify the mysterious threat to the Sky Lights—and to her people. 

Lumina and the sky lights need help from the Magi.

Utilizing the same magic wands, the Magi must venture through the resort in search of crystals, artifacts and magical lands to battle the evil yeti Malakai. 

To help Lumina and the Light Pixies, join the quest this fall at these locations:

Wisconsin Dells
Grapevine
Poconos
Williamsburg
Concord
Mason
Grand Mound

This summer has been an exciting one for all of us at Great Wolf Lodge, and being part of the Wolf Your World team has truly been a high point. I love visiting our resorts and the Tour has been the perfect way to not only visit our amazing properties, but also get into the communities and areas surrounding them. I have personally had the opportunity to visit zoos, museums, children’s hospitals and so much more.

When we were preparing to visit Grapevine, Texas we looked at area tourist attractions for possible Tour stops. We spent time at the Fort Worth Stockyards and got up close and personal with some Texas longhorns, visited the historic Grapevine Railroad and then took Wiley the Wolf to an iconic place in TV pop culture, Southfork Ranch.

Yes, you read that right—Southfork Ranch. The home of fictional TV family the Ewing’s. The family may have been fictional, but the place is real. And whether you grew watching Dallas each Friday night on CBS, or have just discovered the recent reboot on TNT, you know that Southfork Ranch was, and still is, the center of just about every episode.   

For over 30 years, visitors to Dallas have also made trips to Southfork, to see the ranch and the home that seemed larger than life on their TV sets. The original show filmed there on location, and today the new cast also films on the property.

Tours of the mansion are offered daily. You can take a peek into Lucy Ewing’s bedroom, see Jock Ewing’s living room, imagine having breakfast in Miss Ellie’s kitchen and gaze out at the cattle as they graze on the sprawling lawn.

To be honest—I was giddy with excitement. And while Wiley is a young wolf, and didn’t really know much about the show, he was excited, too. Together with Wiley, we had the chance to go out onto the balcony that overlooks the ranch, and wander the entire house. We surprised a group that was on tour—handed out ears and hugs - and learned all about the mansion itself. Wiley did not get to get too close to the cattle, but we were able to visit with a couple of the ranch’s horses, and stand under the white “Southfork Ranch” archway. We closed our quick visit in true Great Wolf Lodge style—with a few stomps, claps and a HOWL.

Great Wolf Lodge is still a relatively new destination in Texas. What a fun opportunity we had to bring a part of our experience to such a unique tourist attraction. I bet even J.R. Ewing would have smiled.

 

08
Aug
2013

Summertime is winding down, which is the perfect time to visit your favorite indoor water park (Great Wolf Lodge) before kids head back to school.  Earlier this summer we announced our Wolf Your World tour and our new Great Wolf Kids characters.  The tour is over, but there are still some exciting new ways you can enjoy the Great Wolf Kids characters!

New Characters to Meet and Greet!  This summer we welcomed our three newest members of the pack: Rachel Raccoon, Brinley Bear and Sammy the Squirrel.  All summer long they toured North America to meet their littlest friends both at the lodge and out at community appearances.  Rachel is Oliver Raccoon’s oldest sister and has been having tons of fun at dance parties this summer. Brinley Bear, small guy that he is, has been known to start a little random game of Peek-A-Boo.  And Sammy has been taking pics of every fun landmark, new friend and tons of selfies all summer long.  Now that the tour is over, each lodge will be getting one of these new friends to stay with Wiley, Violet and Oliver.  So even if you missed the tour, you can still hang out with one of our new friends.

New Character Trading Cards!  For a limited time only (summertime) you can collect 5 new summer edition trading cards, featuring Wiley, Violet, Oliver, Rachel and Sammy. Be sure to watch for the new cards during your visit this summer.

Also new on the trading card front: Project Green Wolf edition, featuring Wiley the Wolf.  This summer Great Wolf Lodge has teamed up with Suave to offer fun ideas for saving waterlook for the fun checklist during your stay.  Complete it and score yourself a free Project Green Wolf trading card!

New Character Store: Introducing the Great Wolf Kids Store!  A character store. For kids.  This is almost too good to be true.  Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Concord, Poconos, Mason, Grand Mound all now feature a free standing store full of fun souvenirs for kids and character fanatics.  We’re talking character jewelry, character dishware, character t-shirts, pillows, stuffiesyou name it. And ALL of the other lodge locations?  Check out the main gift shop to find your character goodies.  For those who can't wait for their next trip to the lodge, get your shop on at our new online store: shop.greatwolf.com.  That way, you can arrive at the lodge in style—head to toe in your favorite character gear.

 

If you could bring any Great Wolf Kids character home with you, who would it be?  Comment below to tell us.

As the Wolf Your World Tour continues to travel across the country, we have written about all the great things that Wiley the Wolf and friends have been able to do outside of our resorts. During our Tour stop at the Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City we got to have a great deal of fun inside the resort, too.

This summer has been a BIG one for the resort. Guests visiting our Michigan property this year will see and experience something new all throughout the property. Each suite in the resort has been updated and enhanced. New televisions were added, brand new sleeper sofas installed and all beds were replaced with our brand new mattress exclusive, the Cabin Comfort Collection. Sure—we know our guests don’t spent that much time in their suites, but there truly is nothing like a big, comfortable bed after a full day of water play!

Resort favorite, Scooops Kid Spa, has expanded, too. The ice cream-themed spa has been so popular, it is now almost double in size! Down the hall just a bit, a brand-new attraction has opened as well. Newly added to several resorts last year, Ten Paw Alley bowling is now open in Traverse City. Complete with balls that are perfect for little hands, the six lane alley and its “no rental shoes allowed” policy has been bringing smiles with every strike!

The most exciting addition is the River Canyon Run and the Wolf Your World Tour was on hand to celebrate its dedication. The new water attraction gives families a quick taste of what it’s like to try whitewater rafting! The River Canyon Run takes parties of three people at a time sliding and winding down a long indoor tunnel that stretches outside the resort and then back in, culminating in a final splash. The 330 foot long attraction even features a 32 foot vertical drop!

Wiley the Wolf and his friends could not actually enjoy the thrilling new addition, they did cut the ribbon and give a round of "paws applause" - and a few howls - as our first family, the Schmitt’s from Plymouth, Michigan splashed down!  

We also celebrated the resort’s newest dining option – the opening of Traverse City’s ONLY Dunkin’ Donuts® location! Resorts guests and local families alike are all now enjoying their morning with “America’s Favorite Coffee”, breakfast and bakery sandwiches, donuts, and my personal favorite, Munchkins®!

Haven’t made your summer plans yet? If a trip to Michigan is in your future—plan to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City—and take in all that’s new!

It's National Ice Cream month, and over here at Great Wolf Lodge there are so many ways to enjoy this delightful treat.  In case any cravings occur on your upcoming trip, we wanted to make sure you knew right where to find your fix!

Ice Cream Cones in Bear Paw Sweets & Eats:

Best time to enjoy:  We love a scoop (or 2…maybe 3) to share during or after Story Time.  Yummy cones are available in Bear Paw, which is located not too far from the Grand Lobby—and that’s right where you want to be at 8:00 p.m. every night.

Our favorite part:  The cone.  It’s by far one of the most delicious ways to be eco-friendly on vacation (no dish, no trash—BOOM).

Availability:  All Great Wolf Lodge locations.

 

Ice Cream Pedicures at Scooops Kid Spa:

Best time to enjoy:  Choose your luxury by appointment at Scooops Kid Spa.

Our favorite part:  While our feet soak in the ice cream themed suds, we can’t resist taking an ice cream personality test.  Here—you can give it a try from home too!  Click here for a downloadable ice cream personality PDF.

Availability:  All Great Wolf Lodge locations.

 

Robofusion Ice Cream Experience: 

Best time to enjoy:  If the robot’s scoopin’, the kids start groupin’.  Any time is robot time.

Our favorite part:  There is nothing more entertaining than watching this robot make your ice cream for you!

Availability:  Most Great Wolf Lodge locations.

 

Dippin' Dots in the Waterpark:    

Best time to enjoy:  Before, after (but not during) any waterslide.  Why not every waterslide?  Tastes great with a side of nachos.

Our favorite part:  No matter how long you’ve been around to hear it, this is STILL the ice cream of the future.

Availability:  All Great Wolf Lodge locations.

 

Mammoth Sundae on the after-dinner table:

Best time to enjoy:  After dinner.  We’re talking about a GIANT 5-scoop build-your-OWN sundae… covered in assorted deliciousness!  Um, YEAH that’s right, this is for AFTER dinner!  (You’re welcome, Mom.)

Our favorite part:  It’s build-your-own.  We always get it just the way we like it.

Availability:  Most Great Wolf Lodge locations.

 

Give us the scoop, what's your favorite ice cream treat at Great Wolf Lodge?  Leave a comment below to vote for your fav.

Last month we announced our summer long Wolf Your World Tourtraveling lodge-to-lodge bringing the fun of Great Wolf Lodge to local communities.  As part of our local community visits, we've been spreading wolfie cheer at area children's hospitals.  Here to tell you about once of these visits is Kristen, our Brand Marketing Manager and Wolf Your World Tour Team member.

The 2nd stop on the Wolf Your World Tour was Charlotte/Concord.  We were very excited to be able to visit some important people as we began our week.  We kicked things off by sharing random acts of wolfiness with patients and staff at Levine Children’s Hospital and Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital.  Our friend, Wiley the Wolf, was able to bring smiles to these amazing children and their supportive staff.  

The staff at Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital were excited to put on their wolf ears and pose pictures with Wiley.

Wiley was happy to bring howls and high paws to this smiling patient at Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital.

We were ready to hand out more ears as we began our visit at Levine Children’s Hospital.

Wiley made so many new friends with the Levine Children’s Hospital staff including Rodney, the Nurse Manager.  

He also loved meeting these special patients and bringing wolfie cheer.  

It was a great way to kick off another Wolf Your World Tour week!

Once again, Great Wolf Lodge is taking part in the international event, the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. We are excited and honored to help share the importance of water safety with our guests in such a fun and large way. Today, Scott Newland, aquatics director at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, shares his thoughts about swim instruction for your family.

Focus on swim instruction and water safety has been around for a long time. In the early 1900’s “Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow”, dedicated his life to the prevention of drowning. Longfellow presented a plan to “Waterproof America” to the American National Red Cross, and pioneered the concept for swimming and water safety training that is still taught today at thousands of facilities. Longfellow’s slogan was “Every American a swimmer, and every swimmer a lifesaver!”

It is so important to teach children to swim. If you’re like most people, you don’t have thirty minutes, twice a week to practice swimming and water safety skills with your children in a supervised aquatic facility. That is where formal swimming lessons come in.

Most facilities teach from similar curricula, and incorporate safety skills as an integral part of each lesson and class level. From teaching the back float to keep yourself afloat until you feel rested enough to swim to safety, to practicing breath control with ‘bobs’, to preventing the aspirating of water while swimming, to the six fundamental swimming strokes to help you swim in any water conditions, the goal of swimming lessons is to stay safe while in the water.

While safety is the primary benefit, it’s certainly not the only benefit of swimming lessons. Water activities are fun ways to stay active and healthy, and are a fantastic catalyst for creating family memories. Water aerobics work muscles and provide excellent support for joints so exercise is more comfortable and effective. Competitive swimming is an intense sport that can help develop discipline while promoting a solid work ethic, and lifeguarding and aquatics is a rewarding career.  

I’ve been asked many times when a child should begin formal swimming instruction. Generally it is recommended that children are at least six months old and have good head control. Exposing your children to supervised and well-maintained aquatic environments early on helps reduce anxiety about swimming. The training provided by a professional and experienced instructor will make an invaluable difference in your child’s ability and comfort level in the water. Everyone learns at a different rate, so rushing children can cause them to feel overwhelmed. Just the opposite, keeping them at the same level too long can cause them to become bored and lose interest.

I’m passionate about water. I have fun in it, and I work with it every day. With summer in full swing, I encourage you to dive in, splash about, have fun and make water safety part of your family’s culture!

Safely,

Scott

14
Jun
2013

"I broke my favorite mug, where can I get a new one?"

"My puppy ate my son's favorite stuffie, help!"

"My daughter wants a violet shirt for her birthday, can I buy one online?"

Ask and ye shall receive.  Introducing our new Great Wolf Lodge online store!

Great Wolf Lodge Online Store

Whether you're packing for your first Great Wolf Lodge adventure or forgot to get some souvenirs during your last visit—we've got you covered.  From t-shirts & sweatshirts for mom, dad and the kids to home decor items, you can find all sorts of Great Wolf gear here.  

So if you broke your favorite Great Wolf mug, lost your favorite stuffie or need the perfect gift for the Great Wolf Lodge fan in your life—you know where to go.

What will you get first?

Now that I'm back from the very first week of our Wolf Your World tour, I started downloading all the photos from our trip and came across these. He must have snagged my camera while I wasn't looking.  

Sneaky sneaky, little Wiley. 

 

Where's my inner tube? 

Loves: hiking, wolf walks and Philly

They were all out of peppermint.

Independence was born here

The merry go 'round is anything but square

I'm tired. Will somebody carry me back to the lodge?

Those were the words that came out of little Emily Sullivan's mouth when Violet walked through her front door.

As part of our Wolf Your World summer tour, we are surprising some of our biggest fans—in their homes!  Our first suprise of the tour was for our friends, the Sullivan family.  The best part of the surprise was that the two youngest Sullivans, Emily and Adam, had no idea we were coming.  Emily's all time favorite Great Wolf Kids character is Violet, so of course she wanted to come along.  

Once Emily got over the initial shock of having Violet in her living room, we could get down to business.  

First up—paw painting!  

Once the paws dried, we headed outside for some balloon twisting.

It really was an amazing day. Thank you so much to the Sullivan family for letting us come over for a play date. 

30
May
2013

We’ve done it.  We’ve hit the road

Just yesterday we kicked off our Wolf Your World Tour in Philadelphia, and kick it off we did.  We started our adventures with a field trip to The Franklin Institute.  And we weren’t alone.  There were THOUSANDS of school kids there (literally, thousands).  Of course, when we told Wiley that we were going on a field trip, he wanted to come and bring his friend Brinley along.  Boy, did they have an amazing time and learn some things along the way.

They started their day at the Changing Earth Exhibit.  Wiley just loved the huge satellite image globe (its Wiley sized!).

Wiley at The Franklin Institute

Then Wiley took a stroll through the Giant Heart (yes, you can walk through the human heart!).  This exhibit actually opened in 1954, wonder how many other wolves have walked through it.

The Giant Heart at The Franklin Institute

And of course, Brinley had to get a picture in front of the Ben Franklin National Memorial.

The tour team even got to see the construction of the new 53,000 square foot expansion happening at the Franklin Institute.  The centerpiece of the new space will be the “Your Brain” exhibit.  Definitely coming back and checking that out when it opens.

The Franklin Institute Expansion

A million high paws and thank you’ s to The Franklin Institute for having us and letting us spread some wolfie cheer.

The Franklin Institute