Great Wolf Lodge Splash MobWhat do you get when you bring together 380 cheerleaders, Wiley the Wolf and a huge waterpark? A HOWLIN’ good time! Last week at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas we presented our first-ever Splash Mob to the surprise and delight of our guests.

This year we knew we wanted to create something that would take place in one of our waterparks. We wanted an event that was memorable and captured just how fun Great Wolf Lodge is for summer travel, but would also show us in a unique light.  

It quickly dawned on us that we also had an amazing opportunity to highlight one of our larger groups of resort guests – the Universal Cheerleader Association (UCA) summer camp attendees. Each year, several of our properties host week-long cheer camps. The attendees work hard on their stunts, routines and cheers, and also enjoy all that Great Wolf Lodge has to offer.

The more our Splash Mob concept evolved, the more we knew the perfect partner was UCA. Months of emails, conference calls and planning led us to August 6, when we met the cheerleaders for the first time and told them WHAT they would be doing a mere two days later.

Our Splash Mob was our way of celebrating the summer games in London. We reached out to Dallas-area resident, Carrie Garten, a former member of the US National Synchronized Swimming Team and invited her provide input for the event. Carrie taught the cheerleaders a few signature arm moves and fan kicks from synchronized swimming that were easy to coordinate into the routine. 

On Wednesday, August 8, I woke up excited and ready to share the Splash Mob with the world. Our UCA staff partners, Adam Slutka and Jamie Graham, and their camp attendees were going to bring our little idea to life.

I can’t describe how it felt to see the camp attendees wearing Splash Mob t-shirts and our Great Wolf Lodge wolf ears and tails. When the music started, the energy level at the pool soared. First a few cheerleaders started their routine. Then a few more hopped into the pool. Suddenly, they were cartwheeling out of the cabanas – and soon our entire pool and pool deck – was filled with cheer. My favorite moment was seeing Wiley the Wolf join in – he knew the routine and danced with everyone.

Bet you wish you were there, too, right? Check out our video, and you’ll feel like you were:

Long ago I was given the advice, find what you love to do, and do it. That way, “going to work” won’t feel like work – but instead it will be something you enjoy. Standing on a balcony, watching 380 cheerleaders, a dancing wolf and excited resort guests, was definitely a “work event” that reminded me I love what I do. And I’m proud to do it for Great Wolf Lodge!

Wiley Golfing

While August is one a popular time to visit Great Wolf Lodge, it also means “back to school”. Kindergarten, grade school, high school and college - all of the above. This fall, 11 students are heading to college with a little bit of help from our dedicated Great Wolf Lodge Pack.

When I joined the Great Wolf Resorts team, I was excited to learn more about our Great Wolf Resorts Scholarship Program. Two years ago our CEO, Kim Schaefer, took part in the CBS prime-time show “Undercover Boss”. During her time visiting our resorts, and filming segments for the show, she met Pack Members who worked at Great Wolf Lodge while attending college. Upon returning home, she shared her desire to find a way to help with the cost of tuition. From that desire, we created the scholarship program.

Last fall we held our first ever fundraising golf outing – and then we shared the news of the scholarship with the Pack Members working at our resorts, corporate offices and the reservations center.

Flash forward to today and our inaugural class of scholarship recipients has been chosen! We are awarding $48,000 to 11 deserving Great Wolf Lodge Pack Members to put toward their college education for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. To apply for a scholarship, interested Pack Members submitted a letter of recommendation, an application and a personal essay for consideration.

Great Wolf Lodge Scholarship

I’m so excited to share that Pack Members from four Great Wolf Lodge resorts, located in Concord, N.C.; Grapevine, TX; Sandusky, OH and Traverse City, MI; as well as our reservations office in Madison, WI, make up the first group of scholarship recipients. 

The entire company is proud of the more than 100 applicants and 11 recipients of this year’s scholarship. A great Howl of congratulations is extended to the following Pack Members as they pursue their higher education goals this fall:

Pack Member Great Wolf Lodge resort College Attending
Elena Aleman Central Reservations Office, WI  Edgewood College
Kristina McNeill   Central Reservations Office, WI Edgewood College
Virginia Lytton Concord, NC Univ. of NC at Chapel Hill
Stephanie Walton Concord, NC Univ. of NC at Greensboro
Kelly Swanson Concord, NC Univ. of NC at Chapel Hill
Alexander DeRossi Grapevine, TX Texas Tech University
Kedric Rose Grapevine, TX University of Texas at Arlington
Mackenzie Keegan Sandusky, OH University of Toledo
Stephanie Hollis Sandusky, OH Terra Community College
Natalie Radocy Sandusky, OH Lorain County Community College
Erin Kuhn Traverse City, MI Grand Valley State University
 
We are already looking ahead and planning for of our next class of scholarship winners. The 2nd Annual Great Wolf Resorts Scholarship Golf Outing will take place next month here in Wisconsin – and I just know we’ll raise even more money to assist our Pack Members’ with their education.

 

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

Chef Greg Nicolaou Traverse CityChef Greg Nicolaou just celebrated his sixth anniversary at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI. this past March. He takes great pride in the success of the lodge and looks forward to the opportunity to mentor rising chefs. With over 18 years of culinary experience, Chef Nicolaou has a wide breadth of knowledge and expertise.

Chef Nicolaou served as the the founding President of the Northwestern Michigan Chef’s Association, and also voted Chef of the Year by his peers. As the Leader of the Pack in 2010, Chef Nicolaou has a contagious passion for cooking and creating unique family moments at each of his restaurants.

Great Wolf Lodge – How have you made menu items at the Great Wolf Lodge healthier options for guests?

Chef Nicolaou  I think that braising foods is something I’ve done throughout my career, and can be done with a variety of meat cuts.  Braising can be made very healthy by using very little fat, starch, and bringing fresh vegetables and herbs to the center of the plate.

GWL  Have you created a unique dish only found at Great Wolf Lodge?

Chef Nicolaou  We do a couple of very authentic Greek dishes at the Lodge. They have been very well received by the guests.  These dishes range from a pita sandwich made with marinated lamb sirloin, and imported feta cheese to a marinated double semi-boneless chicken breast baked and served with stewed green beans and fresh rice pilaf.

GWL  What is your biggest passion in in general?

Chef Nicolaou  I really enjoy cooking items that my wife, family, and friends. We harvest from our gardens, fields, wetlands and woods in the area and find it very rewarding.  The opportunity to create unique cuisine from local bounty of our Northern Michigan foods is very fulfilling.

GWL  What would you like to tell an aspiring chef?

Chef Nicolaou  I tell young and aspiring culinarians they should absolutely love high temperature, high pressure, and excitement of working in a constantly changing environment.  I try and let them know that educating themselves and training staff never ends.  Also, I try and let them know that their chosen profession is both physically and mentally very demanding, and to go in with their eyes wide open.

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

Chef Nicolaou  Several things actually, first off I’d say the families and kids so wide-eyed with excitement. We have a very professional culinary team and everyone works together. The management from the top down seems genuinely and sincerely concerned about the education, safety and training of all staff.

07
Aug
2012

This past June we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC while I attended the Reviewer's Retreat Conference. The kids were very excited about our stay and from the time we drove up everyone was so friendly and welcoming. It was like we were in a totally different world. With both kids having food allergies, traveling is always hard. But the lodge helped ease the worries of a food allergy mom. Both kids got special "I have food allergy" bracelets to alert staff of their allergies and the chefs and servers were very knowledgeable and attentive.

My oldest loved that he could explore the lodge on his own and not have to have his little sister tag along everywhere. His favorite was the MagiQuest game, and he played it as much as he could.

My youngest had a blast at the waterpark. But the best moment for us was when she met Violet for the first time. It was just one of those moments in life that you will remember forever. It was also a big accomplishment for a shy little 3 yr old.

Thank you Great Wolf for making our trip worry free and fun. We'll be back, the kids are already trying to convince us to go back to the lodge instead of going to Disney for vacation in February.

Name: Cara Jouglard
City: Metairie
State: La
Email: cara@peanutsareevil.com
Lodge: Charlotte/Concord, NC

 

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

Executive Chef Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, OhioAs the Executive Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio, Chef Greg Kaufman has been a part of the pack since 2001. Chef Kaufman has also helped open numerous Great Wolf Lodge resorts and train new Food and Beverage pack members in the kitchens.

With degrees from Bowling Green State University and the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Chef Kaufman enjoys creating delicious food for families at the resort.

GWL  What inspires you most?

Chef Kaufman  My inspiration would have to be presentation.  I like trying new ideas for plating and presentation.  I look for thing to have a “wow” factor before they leave the kitchen.

GWL  What would you like to tell someone who wants to become a chef?

Chef Kaufman  If it is your dream then follow it whatever it is.  This profession takes a lot of dedication and patience to get ahead.  If it is your passion then the time will fly by and always remember that you can learn something from everyone no matter how talented you or they are.  Every day is different; no two days are the same in this profession.

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

Chef Kaufman – With so many properties there is always someone to reach out to for brainstorming on a variety of topics.  Having so many chefs in so many different regions makes this job entertaining and enjoyable.

GWL – What is your favorite tool in the kitchen?

Chef Kaufman - My favorite kitchen gadget is a simple one - a high heat rubber spatula.  It’s simple and never melts.  You can leave it in a hot pot or skillet and don't have to worry about it burning.  Personally everyone should have one, and they'll never have to buy another one again because they are so great.

So the first time I ever set foot in the Great Wolf Lodge was down in Williamsburg, VA.  My mom took my sister and me for a few days during our break from school.  I was almost 6 and couldn’t understand why my mom was taking us to a waterpark in the middle of the winter. 

Coloring at Cub ClubOnce I saw the waterpark I was so excited.  This was back before Williamsburg did the addition, so the Lodge was small.  We stayed in a family suite—which is a standard room.  I remember playing for hours in Fort Mackenzie. My sister, who was 14 at the time, wasn’t as excited as I was.  But being my big sis she went with me on all the slides—at least the ones I was tall enough to go on—and she loved them.  I colored my first Great Wolf Lodge t-shirt at this Cub Club, the Cub Clubs have gotten so much bigger since then.  

It was at the Lodge in Williamsburg that we realized that there were Lodges all over the country.  It was there I challenged my mom to go to all of the Lodges.  Little did I know she would take me up on it.

Trying the Wolf Rider Wipeout

So flash forward a couple of years later and the Lodge in Williamsburg has become one of my favorites.  Why?  When they did the addition they added the Wolf Rider Wipeout (the ride that simulates surfing).  It is not as easy as it seems.  One visit my friend came with us and my mom allowed us to take the group lesson after the waterpark closes.  Cool to be in the waterpark after it has closed. We had one-on-one instruction and learned a few tricks, mostly how to hold on. My friend Eric discovered that it is pretty funny watching others on the  Wolf Rider—especially when people wipe out.  

The trip that Eric went with us we stayed in a Majestic Bear Suite.  In this suite there are actually bedrooms.  My mom had her own room with a Jacuzzi bathtub and us boys shared the second bedroom.  We still had the living room with the sofa and fireplace.  Eric said this was the suite that his family got when they went with another family—plenty of room for every one. 

Ask A Mom Son

RJ H.

RJ is the son of our Ask A Mom Panelist, Leslie H.  Like his mom, he has visited all 11 Great Wolf Lodges. Stay tuned for more from RJ and his mom Leslie.

 

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

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

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

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

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

GWL: How did you remain so calm?

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

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

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

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

Jeremy Wuitschick visits Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Executive Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas CityAs the Executive Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, Chef Stoutingberg opened the resort in Charlotte/Concord as the Executive Sous Chef before moving to the Sunflower State of Kansas.

Chef Stoutingberg has been working in resort kitchens since 1991. His passion for the culinary field comes through in every dish he creates for families at Great Wolf Lodge.

GWL  What is your all-time favorite food?

Chef Stoutingberg – My favorite item are the crab cakes on our menu in Camp Critter. They are served as an appetizer with our signature red pepper aioli and corn salsa (recipe below).

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

Chef Stoutingberg  The family friendly atmosphere where the entire family can enjoy a meal while the kids can still interact with Magi Quest be entertained by Wiley and friends and even splash in the water while mom and dad enjoy their meal..

GWL – Please share any career achievements/highlights or awards that you have earned as a chef either prior to or during your time with Great Wolf.

Chef Stoutingberg  I’ve had the honor to prepared and served meals for many notable dignitaries and events in my years as a chef. Some of them include the Queen of England, Presidents Clinton and George Bush, opening event of USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier and the opening of Great Wolf Lodge in Concord.

 

Broiled Crab Cakes 

with Red Pepper Aioli and Corn Salsa

Ingredients:

Crab Cakes Red Pepper Aioli Corn Salsa
  • 1 C mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat
  • ¼ C breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ C roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry
  • ¼ C mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of lime juice
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 fresh ears of corn
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tsp chopped red onion
  • 3 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

To make the crab cakes:

  1. Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, cilantro, lemon juice, Old Bay, bread crumbs and egg.
  2. Gently fold in the crabmeat.
  3. Form four crab cakes, spray skillet with pan spray, lightly cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Top with Red Pepper Aioli and serve with Corn Salsa (recipes below).

To make the aioli:

  1. Finely chop the garlic in the food processor. Add the peppers and blend until almost smooth.
  2. Blend in the mayonnaise, and lime juice with the machine running, blend in the oil.
  3. Season the aioli, to taste, with salt, cayenne and pepper. 

To make the corn salsa:

  1. Grill jalapeno skin-side down, until charred but still firm, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly; finely chop.
  2. Roast corn in 350 degree oven for 8 minutes, after cooling cut kernels of husk.
  3. Mix with rest of ingredients jalapeno, cilantro and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lime juice, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt.

As a new mom, I love the insight, parenting tips and ideas I get from blogsand I especially love to work with bloggers. After attending the Reviewer’s Retreat at Great Wolf Lodge Concord, PA-based mom-blogger, Gina Badalaty, wrote about her children’s dining experience on her blog, Mom-Blog.com. I asked her to share her story with you. 

Gina Badalaty blogs about parenting, raising children with disabilities and advocating for special needs families at Mom-Blog.com.  She lives in PA with her husband and 2 beautiful daughters, and a cat that thinks he's a dog. 

Enjoy, 

Susie

 

Tips for Traveling with Kids with Allergies

Gina's daughter enjoying a meal at Great Wolf LodgeMy children have allergies.  Specifically, their diets need to be gluten- and casein-free, which means they can’t have dairy or any kind of wheat products.  When we travel, we have to be careful not just to avoid glutens, but also to make sure the food they eat is not cross-contaminated. They can’t even eat something that has been on the same grill as food filled with glutens.

Going on vacation can be challenging! As you can imagine, this means that vacationing takes extra work on our part, so our favorite trips are to resorts that help make this easier. Great Wolf Lodge is a place we really enjoy. The resort’s chef will personally talk with you and discuss your needs for a gluten-free menu. My kids love that at Great Wolf Lodge they can eat food they love, and we are happy that everything can be made to their health requirements. Our meals are even cooked separately!

We’ve learned a lot along the way. Here are a few of my top tips for traveling families whose children have special diet restrictions and food allergies:

Do your homework beforehand.
There are dozens of apps that tell you where the gluten-free restaurants are, but it’s up to you to do your own due diligence.  We once went to a park that advertised itself as being dairy- and gluten-free, and when we got there, we discovered that was not the case. Spend time on your destination’s website. Call the resort or attraction. We were pleasantly surprised by how accommodating and helpful the staff at Great Wolf Lodge was—it made our vacation less stressful!

Buy fresh produce along the way.
My children eat tons of fruit and vegetables because they are naturally allergen-free and will do in a pinch!  We try to buy organic, and during family road trips, when we drive by a local farm stand, we make a stop.Gluten Free Meatballs and Mac

Take advantage of resort amenities.
At Great Wolf Lodge, each suite has a refrigerator and a microwave. We often travel with our own snacks and this is a great way for us to keep fruit fresh during our stay. Gluten-free bagels are easy to carry and eat in the car, as well as serve as late-night snacks!  

Talk to the staff.
It is always a good idea to talk to the chef. Many restaurants and resorts, like Great Wolf Lodge, invite you to talk to the chef specifically about your family’s dietary needs and allergies.  You can share your family’s needs and he or she can detail what steps they can take to prepare food that best suits your child.

When our family thinks of Great Wolf Lodge we think of it as a place to visit in the Fall or Winter (we have visited during both). But this year our children convinced us that it might be a fun place to visit in the summer too.

I must admit that peeking through the waterpark doors during the cold days of winter, did tease my curiosity as to what it would be like to swim outside and be at the Great Wolf Lodge.

So this summer we decided to test it out. We booked a room and the countdown began. The countdown was just as fun in the summer as the winter, so I had a feeling the visit would be, too!

We packed up our van and our family of five headed to Great Wolf Lodge, Pocono Mountains. After checking in, I guess you probably know the first place we went to- the outdoor pool! My five year old daughter could not wait to take her first slide on the mini frog slide. She had waved to that froggy since she was two years old from indoors, so none of us were surprised when she gave it a big hug and kiss before sliding!

My sons went right for the basketball zone and although the inside was calling them to slide, slide, slide, something about the sunshine and the scent of the yummy burgers being barbecued and the sight of frozen drinks passing by from the Racoon Lagoon that kept them right where they were.

Although, my sons and hubby did do their share of indoor water slides, my daughter and I who are not big into water slides parked it outside by the pool for our three day jaunt! She loved splashing in the water geysers and other water fun activities. Not to mention the fantastic music for everyone to enjoy! No complaints from any of us, that's for sure! We absolutely loved Great Wolf Lodge Poconos in the Summer! It was surprisingly wonderful and refreshing to visit during the months when we could enjoy swimming in the pool that we just drive by in the winter.

My family liked it so much that they are ready to trade in our regular August getaway for an extra night's stay in August before the summer sun tucks itself away. That, of course, is still being decided upon, but is looking more probable the more we talk about all the fun we had this summer at Great Wolf Lodge Poconos!

Name: Diane Sullivan
City: Newark
State: NJ
Email: elgeorgia@aol.com
Lodge: Pocono Mountains, PA


 

I wanted to shared my favorite memory from my trip to the Sandusky, Ohio Great Wolf Lodge. I was about 14 years old. I went swimming at my aunt's house the week before we left, suspecting nothing . I had no clue we were even thinking about going until I got home from my aunt's and my sister told me we were going next week. She clicked on the Great Wolf Lodge website and I stood there for a minute until it finally clicked—we were returning to the Great Wolf Lodge for another trip!

I was so excited.

We had an amazing time from the moment we stepped into the lodge. I would have to say my favorite part of the trip was when we went to eat at the Gitchigoomie Grill and had an amazing waiter named Michael.  He was awesome! He kept us laughing and we had a great time because of him!  For instance, my sister was kind of bummed that it was our last day and wasn't in the best of moods.  He came over to our table and noticed we were Buckeye fans. After that everything became about football!  He made our last day at Great Wolf Lodge a memory that will last forever!  

That was the best trip ever because we got to spend time as a family and made amazing memories together.  I enjoyed it very much, thank you Great Wolf Lodge and Michael!

Name: Carrolyn Brown
City: Galion
State: Ohio
Email: Joy_102003@yahoo.com
Lodge: Sandusky, OH

 

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

Christian Massey is the Executive Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH.  Massey has been creating culinary creations for families in Mason since 2006.
 
Starting out as a culinary lead, Massey has held several different titles in the Mason food and beverage team. He worked his way up to Executive Chef at the resort and enjoys teaching others and helping to inspire their personal growth.
 
Great Wolf Lodge - What is your all-time favorite food?

Chef Christian – My favorite food would have to be ahi tartar with quail egg.

GWL - Now that's not something we serve at the Lodge. What have you created just for Great Wolf Lodge guests?

Chef Christian – There are so many to choose from.  To name two of my favorites:  cheesecake with lemon essence/zest and candied micro basil and fried portabella mushrooms with bruschetta.

GWL - Since you've been at Great Wolf Lodge, what have you brought to the dining experience?

Chef Christian - We have created upscale banquet menus for our meetings and events at the resort, as well as implemented our Food Allergy Training Program. Our guests have such different needs and we don't want them to have to worry about their dietary restrictions while on vacation.

GWL - What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Christian – I love to make people happy with food. When you see the expression on someone's face as they enjoy something you've made, it makes it all worth it.

GWL - What advice do you offer to someone who wants to become a chef?

Chef Christian – I tell young chefs to make sure they know what they’re getting into. Time, commitment to constantly learning new ideas and incorporating new concepts, and pushing people to be better at their jobs is a big part of being a chef.  I also think it is important that chefs know how to teach others and help inspire their personal growth.  

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

Chef Christian – Being Executive Chef at Great Wolf Lodge is a different type of work. I don’t just at a stove, but I interact with guests and group sales clients on a daily basis. I know that I have a chance to help each of our guests have an even better stay. Creating food is just the beginning.

Something new has come between me and the waterslides this year:  visits from live animals at Great Wolf Lodge.  Wooo-Weee! Can we pack any more fun into this place?  Apparently so.
 

Dallas Zoo visits the Grapevine Lodge  

It's activities like this that make me wish I could skype with an animal when I can't be in two places at once!  But if you are heading to the Grapevine lodge this summer, you have got to, got to, got to check out the live animal fun inside.  The Dallas Zoo will be bringing an up close and personal adventure through their outreach program, presenting 7-8 wild zoo animals right inside the Grand Lobby of Great Wolf Lodge!  What a paw-fect way to spend 45 minutes as you play through the day this summer.  Every Friday in July at 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Lobby.  Complimentary to all guests of Great Wolf Lodge - Grapevine.  Great big lodge.  Great big zoo.

 

Rockin' A Ranch Petting Zoo visits the Charlotte/Concord Lodge  
Petting zoo, petting zoo...yeah, I know what you parents are thinking "I can see a petting zoo anywhere".  I'm here to tell you - no you can't, and neither can your kids.  I've lived in Wisconsin for let's just say "a whole lot of years" and wouldn't you know it, I pet a real live dairy cow for the first time at Great Wolf Lodge (Wisconsin Dells) when I was 24 years old.   That's not even allowed in Bucky Badger's rule book!  But - wow! - there is just something super about being chilled out on vacation and getting to hang out with animals.  Take some time with your wolf pups this summer at a petting zoo.  Visit the Charlotte/Concord Lodge on July 4, August 12 and September 2 for pony rides, "kids" that say mmmaaaaaahhhh! and other farm animals, and enjoy the exotic animals too.  You'll never know what will be there to greet you, but in the past they've hosted African crested porcupines (Google these!  so cute!), giant bunnies, tortoises, chickens, bison, water buffalo, alpacas and more.  Be sure to stop back and let us know which critters your kids liked most!

 

When on vacation, what is important to you? Comfortable rooms? Variety of activities? Value for your money? For me, food is high on the list. When we travel, I subscribe to the “there are no calories on vacation” mentality, so restaurants with good food and variety are important!

My family and I have been having fun discovering—and tasting—the many options for meals, snacks and even drinks by the pool at our Great Wolf Lodge resorts. This summer Great Wolf Lodge has added a number of new dining options to help make eating at the resort just as much fun as it is playing there.

In my opinion, nothing says vacation like a delicious pizza. I love pizza fresh from the oven and so do our guests. Our new Hungry As A Wolf pizza location at the Great Wolf Lodge Mason is quickly becoming a guest favorite. With choices like homemade pizza, bread sticks, salad and the “Wolf-It-Down” family meal, everyone in your pack will agree on this meal. You can pick it up and enjoy it poolside, or take it back to your room. Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains also has a Hungry As A Wolf takeout pizza window.

Vacation and buffet are two words that go hand in hand. And for guests staying at Great Wolf Lodge Concord, buffet also means value. At the Loose Moose Cottage in Concord, the breakfast buffet consists of Wiley Waffles, hash browns, bacon, muffins, cereal, fruit and my personal favorite, made-to-order omelets. Dinner features a carving station, salad bar, entrée specials and even a “kids only” buffet filled with healthy kid-friendly foods. And—we can’t forget to mention the Wiley Waffles are served at dinner, too! Wondering where “value” comes into play? Until September 3, Kids Eat Free at Great Wolf Lodge Concord. Children 10 and under can enjoy a free breakfast and dinner buffet, when accompanied by a paying adult.

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky also has a similar summer program in Lumber Jack’s Cook Shanty and the Gitchigoomie Grill. Families can receive one free child breakfast or dinner entree per regular priced adult entree purchased. What a great way to save money—and experience a sit-down meal together!

Have you ever eaten with a wolf? How about a raccoon? Now at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine you can. Each morning, guests can “Wake Up With Wiley and Friends” and enjoy a unique character breakfast in the Camp Critter Bar & Grill. Bring your camera because the experience includes tableside visits and autographs with Wiley, Violet and Oliver the Raccoon, and a complimentary 4x5 event photo and souvenir. Seating is limited for this fun-filled breakfast and reservations are recommended.

At Great Wolf Lodge, meals are the perfect time to come together and share highlights from your day in the waterpark, Cub Club activities and MagiQuest adventures. Happy dining!

 

 

 

As a mid size family we try to go every year, and we try to stay in a different room each time we go. We take my father, my husband's father (who is 80), my daughter (10), her friend (11) and my neice (16).

You get what you pay for and the Great wolf Lodge is just that—great!  And all of the people who work there are great too. The all-you-can-eat restaurant is OMG so good.  Plus MagiQuest is so well done, not cheap at all.  It was so good we had to tag team for the girls becasue we would have been so tired. 

Great rooms.  Great time.We will be back again and again.


Name: Sharon Browne
City: keswick
State: ont
Email: sbrowne1@rogers.com
Lodge: Niagara Falls, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Wolf Lodge Chocolate Peanut Butter Paws

(Yield: 8 “paws” or 1- 9x13 pan)

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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

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

 

To everyone at Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound,

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

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

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


Thanks again!

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

 

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

Nick Baker is the Executive Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. Chef Baker brought his “fresh” ideas to the resort in 2011.
 
Managing the Food and Beverage team in Grapevine keeps Chef Nick very busy, but he was happy to share his passion for cooking with us.

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

Chef Nick – My favorite all time food is seafood at its peak of freshness. I am extremely passionate about food. In my perfect world, I would have access to all the freshest ingredients possible so that I could create simple dishes that capture the essence of each item at its peak of freshness.

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

Chef Nick - Our veal meatloaf with amber beer onion demi glaze rocks!

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

Chef Nick - There is such a variety of foods to choose from at all levels. We really do have something for everyone.

GWL - What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Nick – I love watching the smiles and hearing the conversations while our guests are enjoying my food. Everyone always has a smile on their face whether it’s the guests or the employees. It’s obvious they are all happy to be here.

GWL - What advice do you offer to someone who wants to become a chef?

Chef Nick – My advice is to cook with passion. Whether it's boiling potatoes or creating an elaborate plate presentation, always take pride in what you're doing.

GWL - What is your favorite summer ingredient?

Chef Nick - Being from Texas, of course beef is at the top of my list for summer grilling!  Here’s a delicious way that I like to prepare beef on the grill:

  • Start with a Coulotte Steak. It is a versatile cut that can be easily grilled or roasted whole and carved.
  • Season it with roasted garlic, kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper and a good Spanish paprika. 
  • The beef will be very similar to brisket but can be cooked medium to medium rare.
  • Slice the beef thin and serve on a toasted baguette with chilled horseradish sauce. 
  • Add some skewered grilled seasonal vegetables and your favorite beverage. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

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

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse CityMeet Chef Thom Bennett. Chef Thom has served as the Dining Room Manager and Sous Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City since 2009.
 
Every day, Chef Thom uses best practices he has learned during his 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry to inspire his staff as they keep Great Wolf Lodge guests top of mind. Chef Thom recently told me a little about himself and shared a recipe favorite.
 

GWL - What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Thom - The art of it. I love to help bring out the creative side of young culinary people.

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

Chef Thom - There are too many to list. Cajun food, Southern cooking, Italian, French. I really like Middle Eastern food, too.

GWL - Do you have a favorite recipe or culinary treat you created just for Great Wolf Lodge?

Chef Thom - My two favorites are Wolf Berries and “Blueberries on a Stick” that are dipped in chocolate.

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

Chef Thom - Kids. It's fun to be here. There is always something happening for the kids.

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

Chef Thom - I like my work and the staff. They are talented and good people. Every day is different and that keeps my work interesting.

 

Chocolate Fondue

 

This is yummy and simple! Take dessert favorites like Rice Krispy treats, marshmallows, or cream puffs and dip into smooth, rich chocolate. Yum! Fruit such as strawberries, bananas, blueberries and pineapple are also great foods to dip. Love pastry? Use pieces of pound cake or even brownies. 

This recipe makes 1 ½ cups of ganache. (Ganache is a classic French preparation.) 

Ingredients:

12 ounces chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Optional - 3 tablespoons flavored liqueur

Instructions:

Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Microwave until it melts and pour in a bowl for dipping.

Tips for success:

  • Don’t serve the chocolate too hot. Chocolate will burn if left too long in a microwave – and you don’t want to burn your mouth!
  • Add flavor to your chocolate: almond, peppermint, or orange liqueur are a nice flair for this dessert.
  • Arrange the pieces for dipping around a platter and place the bowl of chocolate in the center. Use fondue forks for dipping.  Enjoy!

 

My son had to make this for his final project in Science class.

We spent two days making this and used a lot of hot glue. We made it from sticks, popsicle sticks, pine tree branches, clay and card board. It had to be made from recyclable products. The water slide is from an old garden hose.

We had a blast making this and have so many memories at the Great Wolf Lodge and now of making the Great Wolf. We have been several times and enjoy everything about it. I really like how kid friendly and clean it is. We always have such a good time there, I think that is why he chose this project.

It was worth 200 points and he got all 200 from the project. What an awesome grade!

Name: Amanda Polsley
City: gallipolis
State: ohio
Email: tristan514@yahoo.com
Lodge: Cincinnati/Mason, OH