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

It started like any other event in our life.. .I make a million efforts at researching a place for our family to go spend quality time together for a winter get away. Unlike other families, our trip is 100% based on where can I get a full kitchen to cook for my children in our room because of their food allergies to milk and soy.

Amazingly I stumbled across Great Wolf Lodge where they provide a microwave and sink in the suite.  I also found out that they actually have concerned and educated chefs who will accomodate my children's needs for their meals. This left us with the ability to go have an amazing time at their fabulous indoor water park and then go to the restaurant to enjoy hot prepared meals.

This is one in a million for us. We are not accustomed to this service and we had an incredible experience. My children were elated that they could not only swim at the best waterpark ever, but go eat like "normal" families without feeling like we are hiding in our rooms to eat.

Thank you a million times Great Wolf Lodge for the best mini vacation ever!!

Melinda Joseph
Zanesville, OH


 

26
May
2013

Here at Great Wolf Lodge we have a lot of amazing pack members and we love to recognize them whenever we can.

One such pack member is our Traverse City Kids Experience Coordinator, Doug Cook.

Doug was recently chosen by the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association as the 2013 Attractions Star of the Year. Hotels from all over the state of Michigan nominate their star employees for this award and we couldn’t be more thrilled to announce Doug’s accomplishment.

On April 15th, Doug traveled to Detroit for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism where Governor Snyder presented Doug with his award.

Congratulations, Doug!  Make sure you give him lots of high paws when you visit our Traverse City lodge. 

With the kick-off of our Wolf Your World Tour less than a week away, I wanted to introduce you to the awesome tour team.  Of course you know Sammy the Squirrel, Oliver Raccoon, Wiley and Violet the Wolf, Rachel Raccoon and Brinley Bear.  But they are only half of the team that will be traveling lodge-to-lodge this summer.  While the Great Wolf Kids Characters are being—well, kids—our human pack members will be following them around the country, howling as they go.  So of course, you should get to know them too!

On the left we have Kristen—she’s our Brand Marketing Manager.  You will see her at our Concord, Mason and Williamsburg lodges.  Be sure to give her lots of high paws, they’re her favorite.

Then there’s our social wolf—Emily (that’s me!).  I’m the Social Media Manager and love taking selfies with Sammy.  I’ll be running around the Pocono Mountains, Traverse City and Grand Mound.  

In the middle is Lynnsey—our Sr. Manager of Kids Experience.  The Great Wolf Kids Characters are her best friends and she knows everything there is to know about them.  Don’t believe me?  Ask her!  She’ll be at our Pocono Mountains, Grapevine and Sandusky lodges. 

Next to her is Susie—our Director of Communications.  You’ve seen all of her fun stories on our blog.  This summer you can find her at our Grapevine, Traverse City and Williamsburg lodges. 

All the way on the right next to Brinley is Colleen—she’s our Advertising & Partnerships Manager.  This summer she’ll be heading to Concord, Mason and Kansas City.  Whenever you see her, show her your Great Wolf Stomp.  She loves to “Stomp, Stomp, Clap, Clap, Howl”.

Throughout the summer you’ll see photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter from the tour team.  And don’t miss the blog posts about their adventures on the road.

See you this summer!

Summer is the absolute best time for road trips.  The sun, the open road, the breeze in your fur—it’s perfect.  So perfect that we decided to head out for our own summer road trip with the Wolf Your World Tour

How exactly does one wolf their world, you ask?  With Great Wolf Kids Characters and wolf ears, of course! 

Last year we introduced a new Great Wolf Kids Character to our lodges.  This year we decided to bring the whole pack—Wiley, Violet, Oliver and their friends Rachel Raccoon, Brinley Bear and Sammy the Squirrel.  All six characters will be hitting the road with our Tour Team spreading wolfie cheer wherever they go.  They will start in the Pocono Mountains and travel to every lodge until they end up in Grand Mound, WA.  Along the way, they will stop for TV and radio interviews, sightseeing and even some events outside of the lodge.  And for this summer only, guests of the lodge can catch Story Time with ALL SIX CHARACTERS!  (Sorry for the shouting, I’m just that excited). 

And here’s where it gets even better, they will be handing out more than 50,000 FREE pairs of wolf ears to everyone they meet.  Want to get your own pair of wolf ears?  Visit www.wolfyourworld.com to follow the tour and see where you can find the Tour Team in a town near you. 

While you’re there, you can also sign up for our Wolf Your World Summer Sweepstakes.  This is your chance to win the Ultimate Great Wolf Lodge getaway—a two-night stay for up to 25 (yes 25!) people and a banquet dinner at the lodge of your choice.  Told you it was the ultimate. 

If that isn’t enough, you can also join the conversation on social media. 

Post your favorite Great Wolf Lodge pics on Instagram and tag them with #WolfYourWorld.  Tweet with the tour team @GreatWolfLodge, don’t forget the #WolfYourWorld hashtag.  And then there are our weekly Wolf Your World photo contests on our Facebook page.  Each week we will announce a different theme, like “Wear Your Wolf Ears Playing Outside”.  Just take a pic that matches the theme and upload to our Wolf Your World Facebook app.  You could win a $50 Great Wolf Lodge prize pack.

We some serious summer fun ahead with lots of chances to interact with us and win some awesome prizes.   I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited.

16
May
2013

My wife and my son love the Great Wolf Lodge so much that we have been there three times already. Being afraid of the water due to my inability to swim, I didn't enjoy my previous stays to the max.

However, it all changed this time when we visited the lodge earlier this month. My son asked me to get into several sections of the waterpark. Playing basketball and floating around in tubes finally made me relax enough that I bought a waterproof camera from the lodge's shop and when the roll was developed, this photograph of my aqua boy made me happy. As a family, we always have a good time at the Great Wolf Lodge and this photograph is a witness to that.

Kashif Javaid
Williamsburg, VA

 

A popular vacation destination’s blog recently asked, “How old were you the first time you visited us?” I found myself smiling and thinking of two answers. First I answered for myself; I was 11. Then I found myself answering about the first time I took my son; he was six weeks old.

The blog’s question got me thinking about the vacations we take first as children, as adults and as parents. Vacation comes in different forms. It can be a road trip touring national parks. It can be time relaxing on a warm sandy beach. It can be an annual reunion with family. Vacation can be a multi-week excursion or a weekend getaway. There is no right or wrong answer. All that matters is that you are spending precious moments together with those who mean the most. 

When people learn I work for Great Wolf Lodge, they often ask, “How old should kids be before they visit?”  Friends will tell me they are waiting for their child to be the “perfect age” before they take a family vacation.

Before I became a mom, I thought that way, too. I was practical; why spend money on a vacation a baby will not remember? Why lug all the baby's gear the entire time? How would I enjoy such a vacation?

But as they say, a child changes everything. And I no longer look at family vacation as a milestone to aspire to. Instead, I look forward to visiting new places with our son, on new experiences we can do together and I focus on the joy we find in these special outings. Even if he doesn't remember them all yet - my husband and I do.

Aiden was eight months old when he visited his first Great Wolf Lodge. Our stay was brief – just one night. But, during that time, I heard a first new laugh, we learned he loves the wave pool just as much as the older kids, and we saw that he has no fear of smiling wolves! (He literally dove out of my husband’s arms into Wiley’s waiting paws.)

While at the resort, we met other families with little ones. One family was visiting with their four children – and their youngest was six months old. No one talked about lugging diaper bags or rearranging nap schedules or struggling to pop open the stroller. Instead, they talked about how their toddlers giggled in the kiddie pools, delighted at the singing animals during Story Time and best of all, how the entire family cuddled together during their special getaway to Great Wolf Lodge.  

If there is one thing I have learned as a mom, it’s that I don’t have to worry about planning the perfect vacation, waiting for the perfect age or going at the perfect time. All I need to focus on is the time we’ll spend together. And isn’t that truly what vacation is all about?   

 

It happens to the best of us.  You wake up at Great Wolf Lodge, walk outside of your super suite door…and can’t remember which way to the Grand Lobby (which is near the coffee, which you need…and near the waterpark, which your kids need).  What to do?!

Turns out, all you need to do is follow the light!  The lamp light that is.  Notice the cute little woodland animal themed lights lining the hallways of the lodge? (Check the photo.)  Well, they can point you in the right direction.  The nose of each of those critters is installed to point directly towards the Grand Lobby.  That’s right—the animals face the lobby!

You can test me on this.  Follow their noses to the Grand Lobby (or waterpark, or other center of the lodge) and then continue to the stretch of hallway on the other side.  See that?  Their noses switched direction, pointing back towards the lobby as well.  Brilliant!

Just a little something new for you today…you're welcome.

As Communications Director for Great Wolf Resorts, I’m proud to serve as point of contact between our company and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Since 2009, we have partnered with this national charity, coordinating events through our resorts to help BBBS in its mission to provide mentors for children in the community. My favorite part of working with BBBS is when I have the chance to actually take part in one of these events.

All month long, BBBS agencies across the country are holding the annual Bowl for Kids’ sake national bowling fundraiser. And, nationwide, our resort teams are taking part. On May 2, the Corporate Team and the Customer Contact Center Team from Great Wolf Resorts all joined together for a howlingly good time!

With a super hero theme this year, our offices got creative with everything from their team name, to the friendly (yet competitive) weekly fundraisers around the office to the costumes worn at the event. (Yes! Costumes!) We spent the month of April getting ready for the Bowl for Kids’ Sake evening. Bake sales, an in-office pancake breakfast and a weekly ice cream social helped everyone get in the spirit to raise money. (Too bad we also didn’t think to practice a few frames.)

Once again, we had a great time! Combined our twelve teams raised $8,782 for BBBS; a new fundraising record!

The event in Madison is just the beginning. The Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells will be taking part in their local Bowl For Kids’ Sake event later this month. The Great Wolf Lodge Mason had a great time and earned more for their local BBBS agency than last year. Throughout the country, our resorts are bowling alongside local businesses in a united goal to help Big Brothers Big Sisters.

While Bowl for Kids’ Sake is the signature event for our pack members, there are many ways our guests help, too. The Big Splash is the annual program each resort hosts, selling a limited number of waterpark passes to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. Our waterparks are exclusive to resort guests, but on select days each year, the public can enjoy the water thrills by purchasing a Big Splash pass. If you live near the Great Wolf Lodge Kansas City, Big Splash passes are on sale through May 23, and tickets are still available. The Great Wolf Lodge Concord is on its way to another successful year; its Big Splash tickets have already sold you!

Looking ahead, we have a new event that will take place at all of our lodges during Howl-O-Ween and once again, families will have the opportunity to dine in our life size gingerbread houses during the month of December as part of our Snowland festivities. Both activities will benefit BBBS.

In 2012, we raised over $275,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Only from the generous gifts of time, talent and resources from our pack members and guests were we able to reach this amazing total. We look forward to reaching a new goal in 2013. And I’m looking forward to bowling again next spring.

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Today, meet Chris Lewis for our Traverse City lodge—father of two girls blogging about the trials and tribulations of living (and surviving) in a Divadom on a daily basis. 

As a father I am always looking for experiences that will leave lasting memories in the minds of my daughters. Whether this is small day-to-day events, or big scale vacations—all are things that I work hard on so that they can look back on their childhood with fondness. What I love about Great Wolf Lodge is that it provides families of all income brackets the opportunity to get away on either a mini or extended vacation that will leave lasting memories. Whether you enjoy water and spending time in the waterpark, racing down waterslides and having tons of water dump on top of your head or you want to go on a magical journey battling dragons and hanging out with fairies, there is so much to do at Great Wolf. On top of all of this, Great Wolf employees are so down-to-earth and friendly and are there to make the experience magical, at least the ones that I have met have.

These are some of the larger scale things that stand out in why we love Great Wolf Lodge. I have to go further though and say that it is more than this—it is the smaller moments with the characters that make my children smile. It is the family oriented menu at the restaurant. It is seeing all of the kids coming together for a bedtime story or a morning trek which both educates and entertains. It is all of these things that make this resort special and one that I have constantly shared with all of my friends.

The final thing that I love about this resort is that for me, they are close enough that I can drive, but far enough away that it makes my whole family feel that we are getting away from home to a fun location.

So for me—a dad that makes it my aim in life to be present and engaged with my daughters—this resort, and its staff go out of their way to make it easy for me to bring something special and magical into their lives (outside of what I already provide at home). Also, the absolute joy shown on their faces when we arrive at Great wolf is simply priceless.

If you have children, you can probably relate to how attached they become to a particular toy. It is the one item they need to take to bed, that accompanies them to school, the special friend that goes on family vacation. In our house, that toy is “Blue Bear.” Often we find ourselves rechecking the diaper bag, the car and our steps to ensure we have not lost Blue Bear, so we won’t have a heartbroken toddler. 

A few months ago, an email crossed my desk about a special little friend named “Duck Duck” who started at Great Wolf Lodge and became a child’s best friend. That story stuck with me, and after a recent incident at home involving Blue Bear, I was reminded of Duck Duck and the team at the resort in Kansas City. It’s timeless and will definitely bring a smile to your face.

Below is the email sent to us by the child’s grandmother:

“A couple of years ago, my husband and I took our kids and grandkids to the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City and had a wonderful time. We bought each of them an animal they could stuff themselves. My grandson, Gabe picked a penguin which he named, “Duck Duck.”  Gabe took Duck Duck EVERYWHERE – church, out to eat, outside to play, each night to bed; they truly became best friends.

Recently, Duck Duck went missing and Gabe was so upset. He told his Mommy that Duck Duck would also cry if he was not found. My son and daughter-in-law looked everywhere for Duck Duck and did not have any luck.

I called Great Wolf Lodge to see if I could possibly get a new penguin. I was disappointed to learn that stuffed animal was no longer sold at the resort. I told the retail manager, Allison Kaighen, the story of Duck Duck and she said she would contact the vendor to try to get another penguin.

Imagine our surprise one night when Gabe ran to his Mommy with Duck Duck in his arms.

“Duck Duck found me,” he said, “Duck Duck found me!”

I got a text from his Mommy with the picture of him holding his Duck Duck. Then I received a call from Allison herself. She had found the vendor and the ONE penguin they had left. Allison sent a special letter to Gabe and photos she had taken of Iceberg, the new penguin, having fun around Great Wolf Lodge.

I still can't believe that you can get such wonderful customer service these days. Allison went way above and beyond. Thank you so much for making Gabe and all of our lives so much brighter.
                                                                                                                                      Sherry Murry

(In case you are wondering – I reached out to Sherry while working on this blog entry. She confirmed Duck Duck, much to Gabe’s delight, has been found, but Iceberg, his new penguin, is a treasured Great Wolf Lodge friend.)

19
Apr
2013

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Meet Diana, our Sandusky, OH Ask-A-Mom.  She and her family have a passion for amusement parks and waterparks in Sandusky and go at least twice a month, especially in the summer months.

Whoever coined the phrase “relaxing vacation” definitely wasn’t a mom. No matter where the destination and no matter the duration of the trip, Mom always has to be on her toes to plan for the unexpected and be at the ready with kisses, wet wipes, crayons or whatever else might be needed at a moment’s notice. That’s why I love taking my family to Great Wolf Lodge. They too have tried to plan for everything, making my job as a mom that much easier, making it possible for me to kick back and relax.  They’ve thought of everything so I don’t have to. There’s the amazing water park, with water slides and pools for every age, even special areas for small toddlers. If the family needs a break from the water fun, there’s still so much to do—craft activities, arcade games, evening Story Time, and even a kid’s spa!  I also don’t have to worry about meals because they have lots of dining options and menus that are kid friendly. That means I don’t have to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our entire stay!

Great Wolf hasn’t forgotten about mom and dad either. Time in the whirlpool is just what we need after a day of fun with our busy toddler. And if we didn’t get enough of a workout throughout the day, there’s always the on-site fitness center. Call me crazy, but the room suites are one of my favorite things about Great Wolf Lodge. They have so many options to fit any size family. A must for our family is a separate living area so that the hubby and I don’t have to sit in the dark once it’s time for our son to go to bed. Of course the thrill of sleeping in a bunk bed in one of the themed suites is almost as exciting as the water park!

So while some moms thrive on stress during their vacations, I prefer to have a hassle-free, fun adventure at Great Wolf Lodge. Because I shouldn’t have to worry about my family having fun— that’s guaranteed at Great Wolf Lodge!

18
Apr
2013

Great Wolf Lodge - Traverse City recently celebrated the big 1-0 like anybody would celebrate such a milestone—with a giant birthday party. 

Festivities included a special birthday Story Time.

A Dance Party—some lifeguards even got in on the fun.

Gifts for Wiley the Wolf—gotta love the old “snake in the potato chips can” trick.

There was even a balloon drop.

The party was great, but the best part of all was celebrating the 21—yes TWENTY ONE—original pack members that are still working at the lodge today.

Congratulations everybody, here’s to 10 more GREAT years!

Left to Right: Cindy Murray, Dawn McMichael, Nicole Stellard, Gabe Martin, Robert Blake III, Robin Ward, Sue Husted, Emily Emmott, Laura Neubauer, Jean Winowiecki, Tim Mikovitz, Charlette Kalbach, Angela Lawrence, Paul Schneider, Diane Chamberlain, Lori Elliott, Sandi Lindstrom

Not Pictured: Dawn Koszyk, Tami Leonard, Stuart Ashley, Ann Machelski

15
Apr
2013

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Meet Dave for our Pocono Mountains lodge—husband, father of two, runner with a PhD in neuroscience with a passion for travel.

Why does my family love Great Wolf Lodge? Wow, that’s a loaded question now, isn’t it?  Nevertheless, I’ll take a stab at it.  Things our family loves:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings.

Wait! Shoot, wrong list, sorry about that.  While we do love all those things mentioned above, this is the list I meant to include:

Spending time together.
Swimming and laughing.
Cookies, Brownies, ICE CREAM.

All of these things we can do at Great Wolf Lodge.  Yes, of course they are not exclusive to Great Wolf Lodge, but we relished them during our recent stay at the Sandusky, OH property, and the family memories created have produced a soft spot in our heart for the resort.

Admittedly, I am not an expert on Great Wolf Lodge, but in addition to Sandusky, OH, we have also visited the Niagara Falls, Ontario location.  That being said, as a Dad who likes to travel and is the family’s vacation planner, I do consider myself somewhat of an expert on family travel (at least our family travel).  We have journeyed extensively throughout the country—from New York City, to Walt Disney World, to California and many places in between.  And our stays at Great Wolf Lodge compare favorably to any other vacation, and have always allowed us to unwind and relax in a fun, safe environment.   

If I had to think of a favorite experience at Great Wolf Lodge, it has to be the water park itself.  Having access to a full water park, only steps away from our luxurious hotel suite, is heavenly.  The water was toasty warm (a definite plus for the cold water wimp in me) and we took advantage of every slide and water feature in the park.  And after playing for hours in the warm water, it was soooooo easy to fall asleep in our soft and cushy bed.

Why would I like to be selected for Great Wolf Lodge’s Ask-a-Mom (or Dad) Panel?  Mostly because I really enjoy sharing my travels and have a spot in my heart reserved for Great Wolf Lodge.

 

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Today, meet Naomi, our Kansas City Ask-A-Mom. A native of Oahu, Hawaii (jealous), she lived in Texas, Washington and Tennessee before landing in Wichita, Kansas.

We live in the middle of Kansas, in the middle of the country. It’s very flat and dry here, which is pretty much the opposite of where I grew up in the Windward Mountains of Oahu, Hawaii. Being landlocked is okay, for the most part, but the weather here is totally insane.

The skies here in the plains states are unbelievably gorgeous. Wide open and blue with nothing to interrupt the endless horizon, it’s easy to see why a song like “Home on the Range” was written. But the past two summers have been so hot and dusty that the kids haven’t even wanted to go outside. It’s like being inside of an oven for much of the year. Or, more accurately, like walking into a hairdryer since hot wind whips all around you. In the wintertime, the winds are icy cold and cut right through to your bones. For two or three weeks a year, intermittently, the weather is perfect here in Wichita. It’s kind of hard to plan family get-togethers when Mother Nature is always playing tricks on you.

One of the things my family loves most about Great Wolf Lodge is that the environment is controlled. Sure, it’s a three hour drive from Wichita, but once we get there it’s going to be a balmy 84º no matter what time of year it is—and no matter what kind of craziness is going on outside! Everything is under one family-focused, climate-controlled roof. We can spend our days in bathing suits, on fantastic quests or even getting pampered in the spa. My kids note that even bedtime is more fun at Great Wolf because they get to sleep in the Wolf Den. Anytime going to bed is less than a struggle, I am mightily impressed! Truth be told, they’re usually ready for sleep after packing all the Great Wolf Lodge fun into their day.  

I recently took a walk on the wolfie side, checking out all the fun souvenirs in the Buckhorn Exchange gift shop at Great Wolf Lodge – Williamsburg, VA.  Guess what I found?  Wolves, wolves and more wolves—check 'em out!

Wolves that love to snuggle…

Wolves that hold hands with buddies…

Wolves to frame your face…

Wolves to sip your sippy drinks with…

Wolves to howl at the moon with you…

Wolves to adorn your mantle…

Wolves to ward off intruders…

Wolves to hold all your other wolves…

What’s your favorite wolfie souvenir?