If you have been to any of our lodges over the last few months you may have received a Boogie Wipes Plush at one our weekend dance parties, or an in-room sample of Boogie Wipes Gentle Saline Wipes.

Didn’t have a chance to make it to the lodge? You can still partake in the benefits of this partnership.  Great Wolf Lodge® and Boogie Wipes® have teamed up to bring you a family getaway this summer! You and your family can enter for a chance to win a 2-night stay at any of the Great Wolf Lodge locations, plus a $150 gift card to use during your stay.  Entering is easy at boogiewipes.com.  Saturday, May 31st is the last day to enter, so hurry!

Boogie Wipes, part of Little Busy Bodies, Inc. are the first ever saline nose wipes and were developed to help kids’ sore, red, runny noses.

To learn more about this great sweepstakes and Boogie Wipes visit boogiewipes.com. 

What do you get when you simultaneously bring together hundreds of families across three time zones under the glow of a full moon? An event that is truly something to HOWL about!

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, our ten Great Wolf Lodge resorts across the United States offered a unique challenge to our guests: come together for the chance to set a new world record for the most people howling at the same time.

Earlier this year, we read about a record attempt in St. Cloud, Minn where students from St. Cloud State University gathered together to set a record for most people howling. Their event attracted 296 people.

Howling is a fun tradition at Great Wolf Lodge resorts. Guests stomp, clap and howl alongside Wiley the Wolf and his cast of lovable characters every day. It is a part of the Great Wolf Lodge experience.

Each October the resorts also all celebrate Howl-O-Ween, complete with trick or treating through the lodges, Monster Bash dance parties and more. After reading about that record attempt in Minnesota, we knew we could not only beat that record – but also set a new one that would REALLY have everyone howling!

When planning a world record attempt, in order to “beat” the existing record, you must re-create the same circumstances as the original. For us, that meant bringing everyone together in one spot, outside and having them howl for 60 seconds. The full moon provided the perfect setting across the country for everyone.

Of course, we still had to put our own unique Great Wolf Lodge flair on our record attempt: as a special surprise, we gave everyone who took part a limited edition set of bright orange wolf ears to wear while howling at the moon!

At exactly 8:45 p.m. EST our resorts counted everyone down and the howling began. 4,341 people of all ages howled for one minute! I’m sure wolves in the wild all paused and perked their ears at that time, wondering just what was inspiring so much howling that night!

Were you at one of our resorts? Curious how many people howled alongside you? Check out our totals below. And next time you see a full moon, take a moment to howl, Great Wolf Lodge-style!

Great Wolf Lodge Concord, NC – 605

Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains, PA – 615

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, WA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City, MI – 381

Great Wolf Lodge   Kansas City, KA – 346

Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells, WI – 261

Great Wolf Lodge Mason, OH – 492

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, OH – 478

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, TX  - 339

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. The sky is bluer, the birds start chirping and tulips bloom in the front yard. 

To really get into spring, I reached out to our talented team of chefs and asked them to share their favorite treats for spring parties and family get-togethers. Their answers truly are delicious and something that someone with very little baking ability, like me, can do!

So—if you have not yet figured out what to bring to your next springtime celebration, here are two great ideas:  

Fruit Pizza

Executive Chef Lymont Stoutingberg from the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City told me about this treat. Who doesn’t love eating fresh fruit in the spring? And of course, pizza is a year-round staple!

During a recent segment on WDAF-KC TV, Chef Lymont shared his recipe for the treat:

  1. Start with one package sugar cookie dough.
  2. Prepare the following toppings:
  • 8 ounces soft cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 ounces condensed milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 4 kiwi peeled, sliced
  • 2 large orange, sectioned
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 6 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Flatten cookie dough onto a 6-inch pizza pan.
  3. Bake until firm to touch, about 11 to 15 minutes. Cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar.
  5. Spread the baked cookie with the cream cheese mixture and decorate with sliced fruit.
  6. Top the pizza with remaining berries and chocolate mixture.
  7. Slice and serve immediately.

Blooming Cupcake Bouquet

Cupcakes are definitely the “in” dessert right now. From TV's Cupcake Wars to cupcake bakeries popping up around town, what was once a dessert staple is now the treat to be reckoned with. Chefs Russ Meeks and Amie Hanrahan shared with me how they take a simple cupcake and create a signature centerpiece that is as beautiful as it is delicious.

While I leave the actual cupcake recipe up to you, here are the steps to create your beautiful bunch of floral-inspired treats!

  1. Prepare the following items:                    
  • 7 large cupcakes              
  • 4 cups butter cream icing                                            
  • 4 pastry bags                                                                     
  • 4 decorating tip (1M)                                                    
  • Food coloring – your choice for as many colors as you want to use                          
  • 14 toothpicks (2 per cupcake)                                                                   
  • 1 vase or flower pot
  • ½ of a floral or regular Styrofoam ball that fits in vase or flower pot
  • Green tissue paper or decorative leaves              
  1. Steps to create your bouquet:
  • Using two sheets of green tissue paper, fill vase/flower pot, and leave the corners sticking out. If using a glass or clear vase, take 1/3 piece of tissue paper, roll into a loose ball and place gently into bottom of the vase.                                                    
  • Place the 1/2 foam ball on the top of tissue paper.                                                          
  • Using toothpicks push 2 together around the half foam call and leave about 3/4 in. of the toothpick sticking up. The toothpicks will secure the cupcakes to the ball.                                                     
  1. Decorate the Cupcakes:
  • Using food coloring, create your desired icing colors.
  • Using the pastry bags and tips fill each bag with icing. Use one color per bag.
  • Begin piping icing on your cupcakes in a circular motion starting in the center, and work your way out using even pressure. Decorate until you have the desired color scheme and look.
  1. Create your display:
  • Arrange your cupcakes around the Styrofoam ball as you would a real flower bouquet.  (Be sure to push cupcakes far enough onto toothpicks so they are secure on the ball)
  • Using the tissue that is sticking out around the ball, and your decorative leaves, fill in any gaps to give your arrangement a finished look.                     
  1. Take photos, share your yummy treats on Pinterest, and don’t forget to tell everyone Great Wolf Lodge inspired you!                    

 

 

 

14
Mar
2013

Last fall we launched a nationwide search inviting moms and dads to join our 2013 Ask-A-Mom panel—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  After reading every submission and watching every video (there were a lot) we’ve finally made our selection. 

Here they are folks, our new Ask-A-Moms (and Dads)!

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts introducing you to each of our panelists.  In the meantime, head over to askamom.greatwolf.com to ask them a question.

Miss Kansas Teen USA All of our resort teams are committed to their communities, and they do many “unsung” things, not because they have to, but because it’s what’s right. From donations of waterpark passes, to providing raffle prizes and more, these gestures are a part of doing business. But sometimes, the chance to do something remarkable happens. And that is when I think our resorts shine like no other. Such an example comes from the team in Kansas City.  

Toward the end of 2012, the resort was contacted by the Kansas-based organization Elves of Christmas Present, which works to do good things for children with cancer. Great Wolf Lodge was asked to help create a princess birthday party for a six year old girl. Her real birthday was not until May, but little Elvia was so sick, her party was scheduled for December, because she was not going to recover from her illness. This would be a last birthday party.

This news did not stop our Pack Members, but rather inspired them. In less than one week, they planned a birthday party worthy of a royal family. While you may not normally associate Great Wolf Lodge with all things “princess”—with the help of Violet the Wolf, a truly dedicated team and some luck—for just one day, the resort became a castle. 

Violet opened Scooops Kid Spa just for Elvia and her mom so they could enjoy manicures and pedicures together. Once their spa time was complete, Violet had another surprise for Elvia, presenting her with a princess dress and shoes to wear to her special event.

While Elvia enjoyed the spa, a private party room was decorated just for her, complete with a meal for her family, and an extra special surprise. 10 “real” princesses came to surprise Elvia during her party. It just so happened that the night before, Miss Kansas Teen USA took part in an event there at the resort. When asked if she would sign a photo that could be given to Elvia, she said that was not enough—and she made a special visit to the party with several of her pageant friends as a surprise. 

So, this special little girl, complete with sparkling finger nails and toes, and a beautiful white dress arrived at her own party and was greeted in ways that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. She was bestowed with “Princess Powers”—her own tiara, sash and scepter and throne—by real-life princesses who shared the true beauty of their hearts. 

Of course, the fun didn’t end there. After the luncheon party Princess Elvia and her family played in the waterpark. But those are just little extras. The story of how a Wolf Pack helped a Princess is all that really matters.

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.

Our family has an annual Christmas celebration that we call The Holiday Humdinger. The whole purpose of it is to get aunts, uncles and cousins all together for a couple of days of bonding and memory making! In total, there are 6 adults and 7 children that share in the fun.

For our 3rd annual HH, we decided to go to the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City. The youngest in the group of kids was 4, the oldest was 11. None of us had ever been to Great Wolf Lodge before, so we didn't know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised! What a great time we had!! Everyone was able to find something fun to do! There were even slides for the youngest set! The kids LOVED being able to ride down the slides with the adults. Talk about a bonding experience, try going down Alberta Falls with your uncle and he's scared the whole way down!!!

We had so much fun, we decided to go to Great Wolf Lodge for the 4th annual HH the next year in Grapevine, Texas. Of course, we made many new memories there also! A few of us will never forget our first ride down the Howlin' Tornado! Needless to say, plans are already being made for the big 5th annual Holiday Humdinger at Great Wolf Lodge!

Thanks for creating a place where young and old(er!) can join in and have fun together.


Name: Rachel Knight
City: Oklahoma City
State: OK
Email: raenae5@yahoo.com
Lodge: Grapevine, TX

 

Who doesn’t enjoy slaying dragons and collecting all the runes? I sure do, and I can’t wait to try out the latest addition to MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge...Topper Powers.

When magi select their wand in the store, they have the option of adding some pizzazz to their wand with a themed topper. This spring, guest at all the properties with MagiQuest will see their wand topper gain abilities that affect the game in a various fun ways.

For example, the topper on my wand - the Majestic Pink Gem and Crown - will now allow me to win the pixie adventure in one cast. Also, when I duel the red dragon, the topper will allow one resurrection when I’m out of healing mana. I don't know about you, but any help I can get with the red dragon is great!

Some of these powers even have a chance to recharge while playing the game while others are only a one time use. While the toppers vary a little from property to property, you can expect to see some combination of the following (with powers listed) –

  • Red Dragon & Dragon Gem – Power to one Silver Dragon with the fire burst
  • Majestic Pink Gem & Crown – One cast to win Pixie adventure & one resurrection when dueling the red dragon
  • Unicorn & Horn – cause Magic to spread through the realm
  • Trixter – spread the “power of laughter” through the kingdom – will give every screen a joke and tell which Magi brought this bit of laughter your way
  • Blue Claw – Xavier’s “draining” magic; steal mana from other Magi
  • Armillary – ability to get hints at select status stations through the Kingdom
  • Skull & Dark Stone – beat back the red dragon with a laughing skull of light

Locations with some variety of the toppers listed above include: Charlotte/Concord, Cincinnati/Mason, Grand Mound, Grapevine, Kansas City, Pocono Mountains, Traverse City, Williamsburg and Wisconsin Dells.

MagiQuest has always been a blast to play, and the addition of Topper Powers increases the ways you can interact with the experience. I can’t wait to go try out my new topper power at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge. How about you?