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

 

When you think of what goes into a great resort stay, what comes to mind? At Great Wolf Lodge, so many things create memorable guest experiences – fun waterpark adventures, Cub Club activities, MagiQuest challenges and more. With all of these “active” aspects to your resort getaway, it’s easy to forget the quiet parts that are just as important. 

When families stay at Great Wolf Lodge, we want them to feel at home. Kids are encouraged to attend Story Time in their pajamas, parents wander the halls in bathing suits and flip flops; everyone is relaxed and happy.

This year, we invested $4.8 million in the Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells and the Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky. This investment is in you, our guest, and has been completely focused on making you feel at home. We took great care to identify areas where we could exceed your expectations and continue to improve. While these additions may not sound as thrilling as a new waterslide, to moms like me, they go a long way when I’m thinking about where to tuck my son in while on vacation.

Both resorts started small and spread out. Brand new carpet and curtains help enhance each family suite’s comfortable feel. New in-room appliances, including 32” flat screen TV’s, refrigerators and microwaves are all sleek and fresh. New sleeper sofas provide restful sleep and brand new mattresses and bed linens have been added to each family suite, so that you feel as though you are in your own own bed. (Not to be outdone, Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine has also upgraded its bedding by adding new pillow top mattresses to each family suite.)

These new additions are just the beginning for our Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky resorts. Both resorts are receiving new carpet property-wide in all public areas and a new paint scheme in the lobbies. Many of these changes can already be seen. I visited the Sandusky resort recently, and the soft green color, along with the new plush carpet in the lobby really helped me get in “vacation mode” within moments of entering the resort.

These additions do not mean that we didn’t also increase the fun at Great Wolf Lodge. The resort in Sandusky has added Scooops Kid Spa, complete with ice cream flavored manicures and pedicures. Already a guest favorite, Scooops is the perfect addition to the Sandusky resort. Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells continues to be one of the most unique places to play MagiQuest and the resort added Topper Powers, complete with new challenges – and rewards – for all players.

At Great Wolf Lodge, we are constantly working to ensure that no matter which of our resorts you visit, you receive exceptional service, in a safe, comfortable, fun environment. Plan your active daytime adventures and leave the restful nights to us.

"Creating family traditions, one family at a time."  That is the mission of Great Wolf Lodge.  And this is a story of a recent opportunity I had to work alongside our Ambassadors of Fun at the Pocono Mountains Lodge to make that mission come true via a pallette of face paint in our Grand Lobby. 

Great Wolf Lodge - Grapevine, TXI’d like to preface this story with the facts:  I prepared myself for this.  I studied face painting.  I practiced face painting.  I allowed another person to paint my face into a wolf and I wore a brightly colored shirt to help make myself look fun.  I bought the really nice supplies.  And most importantly, I prepared my little marketing script, “Hi, welcome to Great Wolf Lodge!  What can I paint for you today?  Would you like a paw or a wolf?”  Readers, you should know that I was destined for success.

Until the first kid – the VERY FIRST KID – in line stared back at me and said “I want my face to look like an exploding volcano.”

It was approximately right THERE that the line was drawn between education and experience.  I practically had a whole college degree in my pocket for face painting and there I was, unprepared for an exploding volcano. 

Next kid:  I want a piranha.  Me:  Suuuure, like you want me to paint a piranha on your cheek?  [big cheesy smile] Kid: NO, I want my whole face to look like I’m a piranha.  [Very seriously] I want to BE a piranha.  Me: [blank stare].

Clearly at this point, I was in trouble.  I could have spent the rest of the day explaining to these kids why their choices were not quite “on brand” or how volcanoes and piranhas were not really icons of safety (especially near a waterpark).  But instead, I sat there, lamely, staring back at them wondering “Is this what happens to every corporate employee that tries – with every good intention – to re-insert themselves into the front lines, on the floor of their brand?!”

Someone randomly snaps a photo of my impending failure and I become alert.  I realize at that moment that my job is not to deliver a “perfect” scenario found on paper; my duty is to deliver happiness.  Memories.  An experience.  My duty is to turn this kid into a piranha!

My paint brush flies into some yellow, followed by green an orange.  I smear some white around.  I make something that looks like fins on his cheeks.  Giant lips.  Sharp teeth.  I ask him to growl a little (piranhas seem mean enough to make that sound).  Bam.  This kid is a full-fledged fish face!

I muster all of the confidence I can and flash another one of my award-winning smiles before handing him the mirror to check my work.  Although I wouldn’t have minded him seeming really excited about my artwork,  I’m pretty thrilled that he doesn’t pout, cry or run to mom after seeing what I just did to his face.  Relief.

Great Wolf Lodge - Grapevine, TX

My bonus of joy came later that night as I was daring myself down the ultimate collection of indoor waterpark slides:  The Double-Barrel Drop™, River Canyon Run™ and Hydro Plunge™.  As I was circling back around to the stairs for another ride, wouldn’t you guess it – four hours later – here comes my piranha around the corner!  With every opportunity to wash his face off, he has somehow succeeded in protecting his face paint for hours – he liked it!

And suddenly I’m able to enjoy the rest of the evening in a new way, knowing that I’ve actually done the only thing I’ve ever been asked to do:  make time for our guests, just one family at a time.

Summer is officially upon us.  That means lots of family time—BBQs, picnics, tee ball games, pool time.  And then everybody’s favorite, the family vacation. 

I don’t know about you, but my summer filled up fast this year.  So fast that my summer to-do list is packed to the brim—and I know I’m not alone.  In honor of crazy summer schedules everywhere, we’ve put together our very own Great Wolf Lodge Summer Bucket List.  Each Wednesday for ten weeks we will post our Top 10 Summer Bucket List on our Facebook page.  Our lists will include fun items that you and your family can do together to maximize family fun this summer.  That’s 100 ideas for a summer’s worth of fun.

Great Wolf Lodge Summer Bucket List Week 1

But it doesn’t stop there, we’ve got a Summer Bucket List tab on our Facebook page where you can post your own must-do items.  Is there one activity that you and your family have to do this summer?  Some place that you and your family have to visit or the summer wouldn’t be complete?  Add it on our Summer Bucket List tab and just click “Create topic”. 

You can also vote on topics posted by us and other fans.  Did someone post an idea that you love?  Click “love it”.  Every vote and every topic will earn you points.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a fun contest announcement, so start posting and voting to earn those points.

What’s on your Summer Bucket List

19
Jun
2012

Great Wolf Lodge Mason, OHWe were not going to take a vacation this year, then sadly my daughter went through something no child should ever deal with. We decided we needed to get out of town and get everyones minds off it.

We have gone to other waterparks and had an okay time. I have heard so much about Great Wolf Lodge, we thought we would add that on to a long vacation. The kids had no idea we were leaving or where we were going. Everyone was amazed, including the parents, as we pulled up to the hotel. It is beautiful on the outside as well as the lobby.

We had an excellent time! The wave machine was awesome, the water coaster was too cool! My kids had such a great time and even made new friends while we were there. Before we even left, my boyfriend and I were already making plans to come back next year and spend our entire family vacation there. Thank you so much for a great time and great memories!

Name: Cassandra Shuff
City: Auburn
State: Indiana
Email: cassandrashuff@gmail.com
Lodge: Cincinnati/Mason, OH

Scott Newland, Aquatics Supervisor

 

Today, all Great Wolf Lodge resorts took part in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. The event took place simultaneously at waterparks, community pools and aquatics facilities worldwide to help demonstrate the importance of teaching children to swim.

We had a great time with the children who took part in the swim lesson at our Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City. Teaching swimming lessons has been a fun part of my career for the past eight years. Swimming instruction provides the fundamental aquatic skills necessary to help keep yousafe in, on and around the water. It is beneficial to participants six months and older.

Sometimes though, as a parent, the waters can be a bit murky when trying to determine the best instruction for your children. In honor of the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, here are a few things I encourage parents to keep in mind when seeking the best swim lessons for their children:

 

Consider the facility:

  • Is there a variety of depths ranging from very shallow (on stairs or sloped entries), to water deep enough for full swimming practice?
  • Is the water temperature appropriate? Young children get cold quickly, and their attention span could be significantly affected.
  • What type of programming does the facility offer? Will swim lessons have a designated area, or are there other activities such as lap swimming or water aerobics taking place in the same area?

How long and how often are the lessons?

  • Swim lessons vary in length, from 15-30 minutes for younger childrento hour-long lessons for more advanced swimmers.
  • Swimming is a psychomotor skill, like throwing a ball; practice makes perfect! Lessons that meet once a week are sufficient to retain the skills being taught, but lessons that meet two or even three times a week have been shown to significantly improve retention.

What certifications and training do the instructors have?

  • The American Red Cross, YMCA, and Ellis and Associates are all common entities that certify swimming instructors. While some facilities modify swim programs to better fit the needs of their customers, the most important thing is to know that your instructor is adequately trained.

Know the swim lesson curriculum

  • Instructors should be well prepared for each lesson, and ensure that all of the class material is taught.
  • Programs that enroll by age and test the students on the first day will typically have classes that are more closely grouped by skill, and the “Level” of the swimmer is more of a tool for the instructor or a benchmark for the swimmer.
  • Everyone learns at different rates. Don’t be upset if multiple attempts are needed on some levels. Conversely, the instructor should be addressing the concerns that are keeping participants from progressing.

Is anxiety a concern?

  • By far the greatest barrier to learning how to swim is anxiety! Be sure you are not pushing your little swimmer too far, too soon. Talk with your instructor after every class, and make sure that you know what you can do to help your swimmer progress. 

Scott Newland
Aquatics Supervisor
Great Wolf Lodge - Traverse City

 

Great Wolf Lodge Cub ClubI have been going to Great Wolf Lodge for as long as I can remember.  My mom and I have been to all eleven of the Lodges. Some Lodges, like the Poconos, I have been to many times.  Others like, Kansas City, I have only been to once.  I am going to start my blog off by describing the 5 general areas of the lodge….I will get into more details and funny stories in my future posts.

The Waterpark

The waterpark is the main attraction—it’s why everyone goes to the Lodge.  The waterpark is a fun place to go any time of day.  There are (at most lodges) 4 regular tube slides and 2-3 big tube slides (which I recommend). The big slides have names like the Double Barrel Drop and the Howlin’ Tornado.  In addition, there is a kiddie area, a wave pool, 2 hot tubs, a giant water fort with 2 body slides and a recreational pool where you can play water basketball.  There is even a lazy river!  There is so much fun to be had in the waterpark!

gr8_space

gr8_space is a place where teens (like me) go to chill out and dry out.  There are snacks and drinks so that you don’t have to go back to your room.  Inside, there are 15 different TVs, one big screen, 3 Xboxes and 3 Wii's along with PS3's.  Countless computers are available to go online.  There are contests and dance parties.  You could spend hours there.

Northern Lights Arcade

The arcade is the last thing closed in the evening so you can stay there for a while.  With over 100 games to play, the fun never ends.  One token is one quarter.  There are games for ticket hunters and games just for fun.  The prizes are pretty cool too—hundreds to pick from (although I am not allowed to bring home anymore stuffed animals). So much to do, so little time.

The Food

I am now a teenage boy so food is important to me.  My mom always packs snacks but I have to tell you the food is pretty great.  The Loose Moose Cottage has a buffet for breakfast lunch and dinner, which leaves you with hundreds of food choices.  There are 2 big restaurants—Camp Critter and the Loose Moose, there are smaller places like Spirit Island and Pizza Hut Express. Yum!  Everything always sounds so good.  One time at lunch I had pork with BBQ sauce and it was truly amazing!

MagiQuest

MagiQuest

MagiQuest makes you feel like a powerful wizard. I, myself, have played this game for countless hours—it is so addicting and fun.  First, you have to do quests to earn runes.  When you collect all the runes you can move on to bigger quests like dragon slaying or Pixie helping.  You get to keep your wand so the next time you stay at a Great Wolf Lodge, you can pick up right where you left off.  I have played at all the Lodges where MagiQuest is offered.

So there is my overview of the Great Wolf Lodge….stay tuned for my fun adventures.

 

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.