When I was younger I used to love the “Hidden Pictures” puzzles in magazines. You know the ones—find the hidden apple, the hidden house, the hidden mouse. Probably the only good thing about going to the doctor as a child was having the chance to read Highlights magazine and its monthly puzzle.

That’s why I took great delight in learning that the gingerbread house at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City was not just a beautiful and delicious masterpiece—it is also a life size puzzle, complete with its own hidden pictures!

For two months, the team at the resort combined their baking skills with their production skills to build their gingerbread house. The ingredient list alone was huge—it took 1656 lbs. of confection sugar, 600 lbs. of sugar, 200 lbs. of popcorn and 300 lbs. of egg whites to create the unique structure. This year, the team also got special assistance from HGTV design expert Carter Oosterhouse. But even Carter got excited when the team told him that about the little game they added to their fairy tale-inspired home.

The “I Spy Gingerbread Rocks” were created and cleverly baked into the walls of the gingerbread house. Just seeing the house is not enough—guests are encouraged to seek and find each of the animals cleverly hidden in plain sight. And of course, the exterior of the house is not the only place to find unique, treat-based art. While dining inside, guests can also see artwork made from sugar crystals of Wiley the Wolf and friends, and  woodland creatures decorating a forest tree that lights up.

During my visit, I got in touch with my inner puzzle-loving child. List in hand, I looked for: a large turtle; two baby turtles, two wolves—one howling at the moon, a buffalo, the state of Michigan (complete with a candy heart denoting Traverse City); three gingerbread men, a foot, a bear, an elk, a fish, a snake, and a wolf pawprint. It was a fun challenge.

As I write this, I can visualize where each of these hidden creatures was located on the house. However, I must admit, I never did find the bear or the elk. So, to anyone making the trip to experience Snowland at the lodge in Michigan this month—I challenge you to find everything on the list. And then send me an email letting me know where that elk was hiding.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear—or so I’ve heard.  Sticking with our Snowland theme this month, we are giving you another downloadable activity to bring Snowland to your home.

So far we’ve helped you make your own miniature Great Wolf Lodge gingerbread house and taught you how to do the Reindeer Romp.  Now we will spread some Christmas cheer with the lyrics to the Snowland song and other holiday favorites.  

Just download the template here and start singing.  Remember, the louder you sing the more cheer you’ll bring.

18
Dec
2012

Life is busy. To survive in this world, someone has to work. Its a hard truth, but my husband is a wonderful man who works hard seven days a week so I can stay at home with our two small children, Isabel and Ronan.

As a mother, I'm still very busy myself. I do a lot of volunteering at my daughter's preschool, so I'm involved in her education. I help out in the classroom as well as sit on the Board of Directors. This means long hours away from my husband, because her preschool program with language and culture is important to me as well. Isabel was also attending public school at the same time as her preschool, so as a direct result, family time suffers.

As luck would have it, work slowed down for my husband over the summer and my daughter's preschool also invited us on a Board of Directors retreat at Great Wolf Lodge.

While I was in my meetings during the day, my husband got to spend some wonderful alone time with our children swimming, sliding and bonding. During a heart-to-heart chat, he got it out of my daughter that at her public school she was being bullied (just a boy who was mean because he liked her) and she was afraid to go back to school. We noticed she was throwing tntrums the whole summer with us and we were honestly at our wits end. My husband was clearly relieved to get the information out of our daughter and she seemed a lot happier telling someone.

The day went on and I joined them for our family time. Colouring t-shirts in the Cub Club, going down the big water slides, which Isabel was tall enough to ride this year, and an amazing dinner in the Camp Critter restaraunt, ending with Story Time in the main lobby. aAfterwards we heard the announcement for a family dance. Isabel has always loved dancing and she asked if we could go to the dance party.

With the weight off her shoulders, surrounded by people who loved her, all her friends and even a few of her preschool teachers, my girl finally started to relax and dance. Before the dance ended, we heard Katy Perry's "Fireworks". As the music started, Isabel got very excited. She started dancing like no one was watching and singing at the top of her lungs. It's almost as if the song woke something up inside of her, throwing up her arms and bursting like the firework that she is.  It is definitely a memory that I'm never going to forget. After the dance, she told me and her daddy that this was the best day of her life. Seeing my daughter come out of a funk that hung over her, thanks to some much needed family time, is something I thank Great Wolf Lodge for, and a lasting memory for myself, my husband and both of my children.

Name: angel meawasige
City: hamilton
State: ontario
Email: angel_girl_exj96@hotmail.com
Lodge: Niagara Falls, ON

 

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. Amidst the parties, gift-giving, family traditions and overall feeling of goodwill, I also love the decorating. As soon as Thanksgiving ends, I get in touch with my inner Martha Stewart and pull out boxes and bins filled with holiday decorations. My snowman collection alone could take over the entire house. The house twinkles with lights, our Christmas tree, candles, garland, stockings and oh yes, those snowmen. (Did I mention many of them also sing?) I just love how our house transforms into a wintery home that’s cozy and filled with seasonal cheer.

The Great Wolf Lodge resorts REALLY get into the spirit of the holiday season. From the gingerbread houses that take more than two months to complete, to the hanging of lights, displays, icicles and snowflakes to trees, trees and more trees. Each December, the resorts take on an entirely new persona. They glow from within.

During a recent visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains, I watched the lobby transform into a winter dreamland! And while the Grand Lobby and its amazing décor delight our guests, I think the parade of trees make Snowland at that resort something special. 

As you wander through the resort, you’ll spot seven trees that have their own individual personality.  During my stay, I asked Kids Experience Manager Terri Klee about the unique trees. She told me they are part of an annual tradition where resort departments design and decorate their own tree.  

This year, seven departments decorated trees around lodge. The Administration offices, Aquatics, Guest Services, Kids Experience, Food & Beverage, Housekeeping and Retail/spa departments were all given a tree to design any way they wished. Some trees reflect the departments themselves—the Aquatics tree is adorned with Band-Aid packs and rubber ducks dressed like lifeguards. The Food & Beverage team created a tree about pet rescue, complete with pet-themed ornaments, plush cats and dogs and even a few biscuits.

As I mentioned, I love snowmen, so that tree, created by Guest Services and Kids Experience, made me smile. The most unusual and “out of the box” tree definitely goes to the Administration department, as they created a tree out of water bottles. (It’s also fully recyclable.)

The Pack Member tree contest is an annual event, now in its seventh year. Throughout the month of December, guests can take a walk through the trees and vote for their favorite. The tree with the most votes earns a pizza party for the entire team that created it.

If you visit the Poconos Mountains this month, take a moment to look at the trees. They’re sure to give you something to howl about.

It was February of 2010 and my 4 year old son, husband and I were enjoying a wonderful staycation at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. Considering it was during school and during the week there were not a lot of visitors there. We had much of the Cub Club, waterpark and arcade to ourselves and it was awesome! (Like, "can't wipe the smiles off our faces so worn out we had the best sleep of our lives" awesome).

We were enjoying the amazingly perfect hot tub in the indoor waterpark when the snow started to fall outside. I mean big, white fluffy snowflakes. This is a rare occasion in Texas as it does occasionally snow, but usually it's a mix of sleet and snow that melts when it hits the ground. Texans sometimes get 3 hours to take full advantage of sledding and building snowmen that last maybe 1 night before going to snowman heaven (at least that's what we tell our son). But on this day we watched the snow pile up to 6 1/2 inches outside of the lodge.

So, we pulled every stitch of clothing we had together to bundle ourselves. This was a feat because at Great Wolf Lodge we lounge in our pj's, bathing suits and flip flops. We were able to get plastic wrap from the kitchen staff to wrap our feet and legs for "waterproofing". We looked mismatched to say the least.

That year we had so much fun building a snowman, even getting into a friendly snowball fight with the other staycationers in front of Great Wolf Lodge, that we opted to stay another night = ) It's not like we had chains for our tires to drive home in Texas snow!!


Name: Susie Johnson
City: Forney
State: Texas
Email: susieqwho4@aol.com
Lodge: Grapevine, TX

 

Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge

You’ve done our famous “Stomp, Stomp, Clap, Clap, Howl” before, but have you ever done the Reindeer Romp?  Now is your chance. 

 

All season long, we are bringing the fun of Snowland to you.  We’ve got photos from the lodges, YouTube videos from your favorite holiday movies and printable PDFs for you and your family to enjoy at home. 

We’ve already given you a template to build your very own Great Wolf Lodge gingerbread house.  Now we will teach you the Reindeer Romp.  Just print the PDF and follow along at home.  Be sure to take some videos and photos of your pack doing the Reindeer Romp and post them on our Facebook page

Stay tuned for more fun, interactive ways to enjoy Snowland in and out of the lodge.

I have been to Great Wolf Lodge in PA many times during different holidays and times throughout the year—Halloween, early spring and even Snowland. Out of all the different times I have come, my favorite has to be Snowland.

Every year I always come the week before Christmas. I love Snowland because I can swim while it is snowing outside and “inside”. All while staying nice and toasty warm in 84 degrees all year long. I love the extended Clock Tower Show and having it “snow” when the song "Let it Snow" rings through the lobby.  And of course, "Cause it’s snowing at the Great Wolf Lodge and all my friends are here” which is my favorite song of all.  Also, seeing the lodge all decorated for the holidays in the lobby and Christmas trees that were decorated by the different pack members. 

But my most favorite time I came to Great Wolf Lodge out of the at least 11times I've been there  was with my older brother who is in the US Army. The winter he came home after being deployed overseas, he came with us for the first time. Even though this was the first and only time he came with us we both enjoyed going on the 2 rider rides (when I come with my mom I can’t go on because I’m a single rider) and had a blast spending quality brother and sister bonding time.

We did every ride over and over, but the ride we enjoyed the most was the toilet bowl ride. We loved that ride because we went really fast, high in the bowl and spun around many times inside the bowl then flew out at the end. When I am on by myself I go two maybe three times, with my brother we got at least four or five times around.

That is why going with my brother is my favorite memory of Great Wolf Lodge.


Name: Alison
City: Doylestown
State: PA
Email: Tweetyali@comcast.net
Lodge: Pocono Mountains, PA

 

Carter Oosterhouse at Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City

This year, we were thrilled to partner with HGTV design expert, Carter Oosterhouse. Carter recently visited our resort in Traverse City, Michigan and assisted us with the life size gingerbread house. He also took a few moments to share his favorite seasonal decorating tips. 

The holidays are my favorite time of year, especially since I’m on the road so much. To make things even sweeter, this year I did something I’ve never done before—provided design insight and inspiration to a life-size gingerbread house at Great Wolf Lodge. Throughout the month of December, families can dine inside this edible creation—and similar gingerbread houses at each Great Wolf Lodge resort—for a $20 fee, which will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Life size gingerbread houses at Great Wolf Lodge are part of the resorts’ annual Snowland celebration. This year, when Great Wolf Lodge invited me to help bring something new to the gingerbread house project, I knew I could not say no. While in my hometown of Traverse City, I worked alongside the resort’s culinary team as we brought some of my fairy tale ideas to life. These included: icing icicles dripping from the roof, candy button wallpaper inside the house, “growing” poinsettias made of gingerbread for the window boxes and re-theming a traditional snow sled into a gingerbread sleigh to add candy curb appeal.

Families can visit the 11 Great Wolf Lodge resorts all this month to really get in the holiday spirit—and find inspiration to use at home for their own winter wonderlands.

While at the resort, I also worked with the team to take some of the big ideas from the gingerbread house and find inspiration to apply at home. We used some of the tasty materials from the gingerbread house to create a fun project at home—candy holiday photo frames.

We started with a simple wood frame found at your local craft store. Using favorite seasonal candies like red and green Pop Rocks, peppermints, cinnamon hearts and Nerds, the kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwestern Michigan and I got creative. We applied the candy to the frames using glue sticks. This great indoor project is something the entire family can get into and the finished project is a perfect treat to hold your holiday family photos all season long.

While at the lodge, I was also asked about my favorite tips to help make your home ready for the holidays. Here are a few ideas to help create your personal winter wonderland:

  • When decorating your Christmas tree, use clear lights and ornaments adorned in white and silver alongside glass icicles, to create a snowy, outdoor feel.  Don’t forget to use spray snow or flocking before you light and decorate the tree!
  • In the dining room, lay a white tablecloth across the table and add a centerpiece of red and silver ornaments or pine cones sprinkled with silver glitter. Include subtle light with candles atop a festive table runner. Adding a dimmer switch in the room—and throughout the entire house—will really set the mood at dinnertime with your loved ones, and help enhance your home’s seasonal lighting.
  • Spread cheer throughout the house by introducing new seasonal colors with throw pillows or blankets. Red, green and silver accents will give your home an updated holiday feel without breaking the bank.
  • Decorate the windows with spray frost and place a flameless candle in each window to shimmer on the snow at night.
  • To put the finishing touches on your holiday home both inside and out, take the decorating outside by lining the driveway with white lights and hanging icicle lights from the rooftop.

Happy Holidays, 

Carter

 

05
Dec
2012

Great Wolf Lodge is all about family traditions.  And there are so many traditions that surround the holiday season.  Whatever you celebrate, traditions abound. 

Growing up, everything about the holidays was the same, year after year.  Same cookies.  Same decorations.  We even watch the same movie on Christmas Eve.  But my favorite of all the traditions is the letter to Santa. 

Each year we would break out the craft supplies and end up with impressive creations that only a child can make.  Once complete, we set them by the fireplace and waited for Santa’s magic to carry them up the chimney to the North Pole. 

A curious little tradition that led me to Santa Claus’ impressive Wikipedia page.  According to Wikipedia, kids in Britain actually burn their letters in the fireplace so that the wind can whisk them off to the North Pole.  In Mexico, some children even send them via balloon.  So many ways to send one man a letter.

During Snowland, Great Wolf Lodge offers more than just the fun of an indoor waterpark resort, we also make it easy for little ones to get their letters to Kris Kringle.  At our writing depots, children can write a note to Santa on a special postcard and slip it into the official mailbox located in the lobby.  Santa will even write back if you include your name and address. 

This year, we decided to share our postcards for everybody to use.  Just click to download, and start writing.  

What are you asking for this year?

I love the holidays.  I love the sights, the sounds, the smells—I love it all.  Most of all, I love the baking.  With Pinterest now in our lives it’s incredibly easy to find fun, new recipes (thank you Pinterest).  But I’m a traditionalist.  I want my holidays to taste exactly like they did in my childhood.  So every year I make one of my mom’s recipes and one from my mother-in-law.  Usually it’s the old stand-by—the sugar cookie—but this year I’m going to tackle my very first gingerbread house

Since I’m a gingerbread novice, I did a lot of researching.  How do I make the best gingerbread ever?  How do I make sure it’s going to hold up?  And not taste like cardboard?  How do I find a template for my gingerbread masterpiece?  With all these questions swirling in my head, I almost gave up.  Then I thought of the gingerbread house specialists, our Food & Beverage team.  Of course!  They do this every year.  They bake and prepare for weeks and create the biggest, prettiest gingerbread houses I’ve ever seen.  That's the gingerbread house I want to build. 

It all starts with a good template.  And since I wanted mine to look just like a Great Wolf Lodge gingerbread house, why not use the same design.  Our Food & Beverage team was nice enough to help me with a template, and of course I couldn’t keep it to myself.  So if you are stuck on where to start with your own gingerbread houses, I’ve got just the thing.  Download your very own Great Wolf Lodge inspired gingerbread house template here.  And when you’re done, share a photo of your masterpiece on our Facebook page.    

Now I just need to figure out how to decorate mine.  I think I know where I might be able to get some inspiration.  

And yes, that's HGTV's Carter Oosterhouse helping decorate our life-size gingerbread house in Traverse City. More on him in a future post.

While it’s beginning to get a bit blustery outside, it’s cozier than ever inside Great Wolf Lodge.  Millions of twinkling lights are on their way into the Grand Lobby, holiday trees are going up and up and up, the fire is roaring, and Wiley and Violet are matching up their mittens for a great season.  AND GUESS WHAT ELSE?  New character trading cards are on the way!  Ahh!  I LOVE these things!  (I mean, just LOOK at how many I’ve collected!)

Wiley the Wolf and Brinley Bear both have new collectibles in our “Winter Edition” character trading cards.  With fun facts on the back and cool new images on the front, they provide oh-so-many fun ways to play.

But WHAT do you DO with character trading cards, you ask?  Well, let me TELL you.

  1. Collect them.  Character trading cards on not sold in gift shops.  You can ONLY get them from a character at Great Wolf Lodge.  And meeting characters is super fun all by itself.  Give a high paw, take a pic, and collect a card. 
  2. Stare at them.  Maybe I’m just obsessed, but these are the cutest little fellers I have ever seen.  Love to review the cards with the kids on the couch after Story Time (a nightly occurrence in my house) and point out their eyes and ears and mouth and nose…head, shoulders, knees and toes.
  3. Learn with them.  Fun to play learning games with your preschool kids, nephews, granddaughters when you add color identification, pattern making or card matching to the mix.
  4. Engage with your kids. My favorite.  Each character trading card offers a short stack of fun facts on the back side, like the characters' favorite colors, activities, foods and seasons.  Enjoy reviewing these with the kids, asking what their fun facts are.  When is their birthday?  My husband also enjoys making up stories about the characters at bedtime.  The kids each get to choose a character and a few other fun facts and Mr. J goes to work making up all sorts of fun stories about these friends—from “Wiley’s first haircut” to "how Violet and Rachel used their manners at the dinner table”.  Super fun.

Do get your hands on these fun new—and might I mention FREE—collectible cards next time you’re in the Northwoods.  And when you see him, give Wiley a high-paw for me!

My favorite memory from Great Wolf Lodge has to be the first time we visited. There were two specific events during that time that stuck in my head.

The first was when we arrived; I brought my son and his best friend for his birthday weekend. They were really excited when we got there, they were running around looking at everything in the lobby and touching everything they could. Our room was on the second floor, we grabbed our bags and walked up to the second floor. When we got up there we passed the window into the waterpark and all I heard was “WHOA” really loud from both the kids. They were so excited to get in there and play, they were almost ready to change in the hall. I couldn’t open the door to the room fast enough.

The thing that stuck in my head is the look on their faces the first time they saw it, they were so excited, amazed and anxious to have fun. They didn’t want to leave. We spent hours in the waterpark that first day. We almost missed dinner because it is hard to keep track of time when you are having that much fun.

The second thing I remember from that trip was when I was in the lazy river with my son, there are buckets that fill up and dump on you as you are going along. At one point I turned around and saw this man behind me starting to relax in his tube, he finally laid back and got comfy.  As soon as he leaned back a huge bucket dumped right in his face. It startled him so much that he jumped backwards out of his tube. I guess he didn’t know the buckets were there. It was such great timing that the second he relaxed the bucket tipped over. It was so funny. The kids couldn’t stop laughing.

Our entire weekend both the kids always had a smile on their face and never stopped laughing. I love how everyone there tries so hard to do anything they can to make the kids happy.


Name: theresa mccarroll
Email: thmccarroll@yahoo.ca
Lodge: Niagara Falls, ON

 

Earlier this summer we began to write about the many new attractions that were being added to our Great Wolf Lodge resorts. With each story, we’d say to each other, “That sounds fun!” or “Can’t wait to try that!”

During a recent visit to Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, I got to try one of these new additions and play Oliver’s Time Challenge. Twice!

Located on Main Street on level one at the resort, Oliver’s Time Challenge is an interactive competition. It was first described to me as a life size version of the Milton & Bradley game, SIMON®. Remember that one? It had four color buttons that lit up, causing you to hit them quickly so they would turn off. Well, the resort definitely has a unique spin on that classic game!

Picture yourself running around, hitting lit buttons as fast as you can. Imagine you are competing against someone while you tap each button. And pretend you really, really want to win!

Oliver’s Time Challenge is a three minute experience that I think everyone should try. It can be played with two people, or an entire family. My trip to Williamsburg was for a photo and video shoot and Oliver’s Time Challenge was on the list. After looking at it and being told how it worked, we decided the best way to truly understand it was play it. Afterall, it was for was research, right? Sure – research!

My colleague, Kristen, took one side of the square room, and I took the other.  Next thing I knew, the buzzer went off and we were both dashing around hitting blinking buttons as quickly as possible. Some were up high, some down low – and yes, for a few, I was too slow.

Kristen and I are each slightly competitive, so we took the experience seriously. We played hard.  We dashed from one side of the room to the next, chasing the blinking lights and joking we just might be a little out of shape!

Almost too quickly, the final round started – multiple lights all lit up at once. It was like WHAC-A-MOLE® in the speed zone! When the game ended, we both found ourselves laughing – and gasping – from the three minute experience.

Later in the day, we invited several young guests to play, too. Remembering how much running around we did – and how fast it all went – we encouraged them to play in teams. Inevitably, the kids chose to play “boys vs. girls” first. Then “adults vs. kids” and soon it was, “We really, really just want to play one more time.”

Next time you are Williamsburg, check out Oliver’s Time Challenge. If you’re looking forward to some friendly family competition or you want to help your kids burn off the day’s last little bit of energy – this is the experience for you. Who knows, you just might find me there, waiting for someone to play against.

In September, we hosted our Back to School Contest.  After reading through all the great entries we received, we have our winners!  Congratulations to our Second Place winner, Lori Zeaman. 

Our greatest Great Wolf Lodge memory is yet to come! We've heard so much about Great Wolf and in a few short weeks we are going to experience everything first hand.  Here are the great memories we expect to make:

We're going to get soaked for sure, no doubt, a trip to Great Wolf that's what it's about.

Fort McKenzie the Barrel Drop, and Hydro Plunge non-stop.

We'll grab a bite in the Campe Critter Grille then ask who wants to go to the Slap Tail Pond..."I will, I will".

Totem Towers a definite must, while we shout "Coyote Canyon or Bust".

You'd think we'd be sleepy, but not at all, we head to Ten Paw Alley—I remembered to pack my ball.

The Loose Moose Cottage is a tasty buffet, don't worry Howl at the Moon Mini Golf, we're on our way!

After a restful night in our Wolf Den Suite, we're ready for something from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats.

The girls have mani-pedis in the Scoops Spa while the boys outwit dragons, lairs and all.

Story Time was amazing in our jammies at night, cozy by the fireplace—it just felt right!

The Wolf Walk is great first thing in the morn—the animals of Northwood sure blew their horn.

The Great Clock Tower Show was simple yet neat, every hour on the hour, it did not skip a beat.

Compass Quest was challenging for all 4 of us, we worked as a team, a definite MUST.

Our favorite memory of Great Wolf Lodge, you see, was all that there was for them and for me.

It wasn't just friendly for kids or for teens, it was friendly for all of those in between.

We played with the kids like we were kids too. We had fun every second and you will too!

So, back to the water to play once again, until our magical memory comes to an end!

Name: lori ann zeaman
City: warminster
State: pa
Email: luv1204@gmail.com
Lodge: Pocono Mountains, PA

 

Angie Brown General Manager Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VAWe are excited to celebrate the recent promotion of Angie Brown to General Manager of the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. As a long-time Pack Member, Angie truly understands what it means to create family traditions, one family at a time.

“Throughout my life, and since joining Great Wolf Lodge over a decade ago, I’ve had the opportunity to be influenced by, and work with, many great and amazing leaders,” Angie said. “The leaders that have impacted me the most are individuals that had a passion for three primary and essential elements of hospitality: their employees, their guests and the product or Brand that one represents.   This is the culture that I try to live by every day of my life and I hope to build enhance with the team here at our resort in Williamsburg.”

Brown held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility and industry expertise in her career with Great Wolf Resorts, which began in 1999. She has worked as Rooms Division Director for Great Wolf Lodge – Traverse City, MI; Assistant General Manager for Great Wolf Lodge – Grapevine, Texas and most recently, as the General Manager at Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Angie is excited to now be living and working in the Old Dominion.

“The hospitality of those who  live and work here, the culture, scenic landscapes, amazing history, the restaurants, shops and attractions—everything is extraordinary,” Angie has shared, “I still have so many areas in this region to visit and to learn about. I know that each day here I will find a new gem in the treasure chest that is known as the Historic Triangle!”    

Next time your family visits our Williamsburg resort, be sure to stop by and say hello to Angie. She is excited about her new role and continuing to ensure families like yours have a safe, memorable and fun time at Great Wolf Lodge.

06
Nov
2012

In September, we hosted our Back to School Contest.  After reading through all the great entries we received, we have our winners!  Congratulations to our Second Place winner, Leyla Stuckey. 

Our trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas was a chance to make the greatest memories ever.

So often the things we do are just for our son, but this was a chance for us—the parents—to get to be kids again too. We didn’t just watch our son having fun, we were there with him. Laughing as we splashed in the pool. Screaming as we rocketed down the Howlin’ Tornado. Splashing down at the bottom and looking at each other and saying, “Let’s do it again!”

The ride down Coyote Cannon was so scary, yet so exciting. It was the first time that any of us had done anything like that. It was a trip of many firsts for our whole family.

Together we roamed the halls, accepting quests and facing dragons while playing MagiQuest. We climbed the stairs, carrying our wands dutifully behind our son. We were the only parents who had wands and were playing along, and that was just fine by us. The look on my son’s face, when after several tries, he finally defeated the dragon, well, it was just awesome! He was so proud of himself for trying, and trying until he did it! 

There were so many things to do, we never had a dull moment.

At the end of a long, fun day, sitting down for a great meal overlooking the lobby and listening to the bedtime stories was a perfect end to the day.  We fell into our beds, exhausted, and sprung out of them the next morning, ready to do it all over again. I can’t even remember a time when my son has been so excited about anything we’ve ever done.

It was a priceless trip because of the memories we got to make together. Not just as bystanders watching my son do cool things, we got to do them with him this time!

So often we forget how much fun it can be to release the inner child, and Great Wolf Lodge gave us that chance again. It was an amazing experience that we talk about so very often. We can’t wait until we can make it back again!

Name: Leyla Stuckey
City: Shreveport
State: Louisiana
Email: Leylahoneybear@yahoo.com
Lodge: Grapevine, TX

 

In September, we hosted our Back to School Contest.  After reading through all the great entries we received, we have our winners!  Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner, Lawrence Sullivan. 

Let me start off by saying that every memory of Great Wolf Lodge is a special one. It's a place I can take my family and everyone is just happy! As a hard working Dad of 3, I can never get enough quality time with my wife and kids. One particular memory of mine that will always be special has to do with my 5 year old daughter and me. Since my daughter and wife are pretty much insepartable, sometimes it's tough to get a little time with her. It just so happened that it all changed at Great Wolf Lodge. While having a blast in the water park, my daughter announced she was done. My wife and sons were in no way ready to give up their water time, so I happily volunteered to take her where she wanted to go.

We left and got ready. Little did I know what was in store for me! She apparently had a whole plan mapped out! We played MagiQuest, stopped for ice cream and then, "Daddy, take me to the Cub Club". I did not know much about the Cub Club at that point, but I can say now that I am an expert! She led me down the hall and knew just where to go. We entered the Cub Club and I must admit had the time of my life! We played games, colored, watched a little bit of a movie, I had a private puppet show and then ended up on the rug playing legos. Now, my family may tell you this was no big deal, but for me it was priceless. I really did hate seeing that time come to an end.

I do have a secret. Although, I love the water park, I am really longing to hear the words, "Daddy, take me to the Cub Club" again. I will run, not walk! Great Wolf Lodge, thank you for the memories you have given this Dad and his daughter. You will never know what it means to me. You just can't get time back and the memories you make with your children are the ones that last a lifetime.

Name: Lawrence Sullivan
City:
State:
Email: sully703@yahoo.com
Lodge: Pocono Mountains, PA


 

In September, we hosted our Back to School Contest.  After reading through all the great entries we received, we have our winners!

Congratulations to our Grand Prize winner, Larry Sullivan with his story entitled “Daddy, Take Me to the Cub Club”.  Second Place goes to Leyla Stuckey with her story “Great Memories”.  Taking Third Place is Lori Zeaman with “Great Wolf Zeaman Style.” 

Stay tuned next week as we share their winning stories.  

Do you have a story of your favorite trip to Great Wolf Lodge?  Share it at http://blog.greatwolf.com/blog/landing-pages/share-your-story

 

This past weekend, Ryan Potter from Nickelodeon's Supah Ninja's hosted a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters and celebrated Howl-O-Ween with guests at the Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati/Mason, Ohio. Here is more about the experience in Ryan's own words:

Ryan Potter at Great Wolf Lodge - Mason, OH

It was so great to be able to hang out at Great Wolf Lodge this weekend!  With my busy schedule filming Nickelodeon's Supah Ninjas, it's important for me to take time to give back to Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization has had such an important impact on my life. And, what better way than spending the day with Bigs, Littles and my fans at Great Wolf Lodge!

Big Brothers Big Sisters matched me with my Big Brother James more than nine years ago. It's safe to say that I would not be the person I am today without his guidance.  Growing up in a single-parent home was tough - for both me and my mom, since she was working to support us. James was always there as a mentor, role model and friend.

I never would have met James if it wasn't for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  To show the organization my appreciation, I am now officially a Big Brothers Big Sisters spokesperson. I was thrilled when they asked me to attend a fundraiser for the local Big Brothers Big Sisters' agency at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio this past weekend.

Ryan Potter, Wiley the Wolf and Violet the WolfAfter meeting some of the local matches and other fans at dinner, I had the opportunity to lead Story Time for all of the guests. It was great to have Wiley there to help me out. I think he was a little jealous I was stealing some of his limelight.

During the Monster Bash Dance Party, the resort held a raffle to raise even more money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Prizes even included a free night stay at Great Wolf Lodge.  After, Wiley even tried to show me up on the dance floor.

All of the Howl-O-Ween events at Great Wolf Lodge were so much fun and I was really happy to have the chance to help Big Brother Big Sisters. The evening raised close to $1000 and will help Big Brothers Big Sisters continue to make matches for kids, just like they did for me and James.

One of my favorite things about fall is not just the cooler weather, but all of the fun treats and sweets there are to enjoy. I think I’ve seen a pumpkin-flavored version of everything from coffee to cheesecake in just the past week.

But one of my favorite sweets this time of year is a caramel apple. There is just something about the combination of the fresh apples with caramel that make a simple treat a confectionary delight.

Our Great Wolf Lodge culinary team agrees with me and to really get in the spirit, they got in touch with their sweet and creative side! This week, the resorts all competed with each other and challenged their Pastry Chefs to create the coolest, most imaginative Halloween-themed caramel apples. We were blown away with the submissions.

From traditional candied apples covered in red coating to apples made to look like mummies, bats and pumpkins, the resort culinary teams pulled out all the stops. The pastry teams whipped up their best confections for guests to enjoy during our Howl-O-Ween festivities.

The winner of this year’s contest is the pastry team from the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound. Led by Pastry Chef Amie Solitis, the team created an array of not-so-scary and totally yummy treats!  

To the left is a photo of her mummy-inspired treats. From a caramel apple covered in white chocolate to chocolate dipped marshmallows, cupcakes and strawberries, the team covered every sweet concoction to make these “berry-scary” treats. Want to see the rest of the entries? Check out the photo album on our Facebook page to view the all of the delicious delights from this year’s competition.

Throughout the month of October, all of our resorts are hosting Howl-O-Ween, and new themed treats and a variety of confections can all be found in the Bear Paw Eats & Sweets. I look forward to seeing what is new and in store for everyone as well as enjoy all of the Howl-O-Ween activities this month. I think a caramel apple is the perfect treat to enjoy after visiting the Trick-or-Treat Trail or attending the Spooktacular Story Time at the lodge. What is your favorite Howl-O-Ween treat?