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 the Wolf Your World Tour continues to travel across the country, we have written about all the great things that Wiley the Wolf and friends have been able to do outside of our resorts. During our Tour stop at the Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City we got to have a great deal of fun inside the resort, too.

This summer has been a BIG one for the resort. Guests visiting our Michigan property this year will see and experience something new all throughout the property. Each suite in the resort has been updated and enhanced. New televisions were added, brand new sleeper sofas installed and all beds were replaced with our brand new mattress exclusive, the Cabin Comfort Collection. Sure—we know our guests don’t spent that much time in their suites, but there truly is nothing like a big, comfortable bed after a full day of water play!

Resort favorite, Scooops Kid Spa, has expanded, too. The ice cream-themed spa has been so popular, it is now almost double in size! Down the hall just a bit, a brand-new attraction has opened as well. Newly added to several resorts last year, Ten Paw Alley bowling is now open in Traverse City. Complete with balls that are perfect for little hands, the six lane alley and its “no rental shoes allowed” policy has been bringing smiles with every strike!

The most exciting addition is the River Canyon Run and the Wolf Your World Tour was on hand to celebrate its dedication. The new water attraction gives families a quick taste of what it’s like to try whitewater rafting! The River Canyon Run takes parties of three people at a time sliding and winding down a long indoor tunnel that stretches outside the resort and then back in, culminating in a final splash. The 330 foot long attraction even features a 32 foot vertical drop!

Wiley the Wolf and his friends could not actually enjoy the thrilling new addition, they did cut the ribbon and give a round of "paws applause" - and a few howls - as our first family, the Schmitt’s from Plymouth, Michigan splashed down!  

We also celebrated the resort’s newest dining option – the opening of Traverse City’s ONLY Dunkin’ Donuts® location! Resorts guests and local families alike are all now enjoying their morning with “America’s Favorite Coffee”, breakfast and bakery sandwiches, donuts, and my personal favorite, Munchkins®!

Haven’t made your summer plans yet? If a trip to Michigan is in your future—plan to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City—and take in all that’s new!

Once again, Great Wolf Lodge is taking part in the international event, the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. We are excited and honored to help share the importance of water safety with our guests in such a fun and large way. Today, Scott Newland, aquatics director at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, shares his thoughts about swim instruction for your family.

Focus on swim instruction and water safety has been around for a long time. In the early 1900’s “Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow”, dedicated his life to the prevention of drowning. Longfellow presented a plan to “Waterproof America” to the American National Red Cross, and pioneered the concept for swimming and water safety training that is still taught today at thousands of facilities. Longfellow’s slogan was “Every American a swimmer, and every swimmer a lifesaver!”

It is so important to teach children to swim. If you’re like most people, you don’t have thirty minutes, twice a week to practice swimming and water safety skills with your children in a supervised aquatic facility. That is where formal swimming lessons come in.

Most facilities teach from similar curricula, and incorporate safety skills as an integral part of each lesson and class level. From teaching the back float to keep yourself afloat until you feel rested enough to swim to safety, to practicing breath control with ‘bobs’, to preventing the aspirating of water while swimming, to the six fundamental swimming strokes to help you swim in any water conditions, the goal of swimming lessons is to stay safe while in the water.

While safety is the primary benefit, it’s certainly not the only benefit of swimming lessons. Water activities are fun ways to stay active and healthy, and are a fantastic catalyst for creating family memories. Water aerobics work muscles and provide excellent support for joints so exercise is more comfortable and effective. Competitive swimming is an intense sport that can help develop discipline while promoting a solid work ethic, and lifeguarding and aquatics is a rewarding career.  

I’ve been asked many times when a child should begin formal swimming instruction. Generally it is recommended that children are at least six months old and have good head control. Exposing your children to supervised and well-maintained aquatic environments early on helps reduce anxiety about swimming. The training provided by a professional and experienced instructor will make an invaluable difference in your child’s ability and comfort level in the water. Everyone learns at a different rate, so rushing children can cause them to feel overwhelmed. Just the opposite, keeping them at the same level too long can cause them to become bored and lose interest.

I’m passionate about water. I have fun in it, and I work with it every day. With summer in full swing, I encourage you to dive in, splash about, have fun and make water safety part of your family’s culture!

Safely,

Scott

26
May
2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18
Apr
2013

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

Festivities included a special birthday Story Time.

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

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

There was even a balloon drop.

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

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

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

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

Wolfie Waffle

Today is National Waffle Day, so we are dedicating our blog post to the most important meal of the day.

For many of us with small kids, the usual morning routine involves a bit of a…rush.  You are lucky to even sit down as a family and enjoy a bowl of cereal. Isn’t it great to wake up at Great Wolf Lodge and realize that you don’t really need to be anywhere—until about 9 a.m. when the waterpark opens.  That’s practically mid-afternoon for parents of preschoolers!   The perfect time to hangout together as a family, right inside the lodge where we celebrate National Waffle Day everyday. 

While waffles are available for breakfast at most of our lodges, our Traverse City, Pocono Mountains and Grapevine lodges offer a special treat—Wolfie Waffles!  Wolfie Waffles are a favorite of Oliver Raccoon, and your kids are sure to get a kick out of them too.  Each breakfast buffet hosts assorted toppings and sides for these delicious breakfast treats—from maple syrup to dollops of whip cream.  This breakfast is just plain yummy!  A side of fruit, bowl of yogurt and your favorite breakfast drink create the paw-fect pre-waterpark fuel for the family.

What breakfast treats do your kids enjoy on vacation?  Leave a comment and let us know.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Carter Oosterhouse at Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Holidays, 

Carter

 

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.

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!

 

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

 

Kristi Fox Director of Aquatics Great Wolf Lodge Traverse CityMay is National Water Safety Month, but as the Aquatics Director for the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Michigan, water safety is something I think about every day. I joined the Great Wolf Pack in 2004 as a lifeguard and together with the entire aquatics team, I have been focused on helping our guests have safe and fun experiences in our water park. One of my favorite activities is to watch our youngest guests take part in our Jr. Lifeguard and community swim lesson programs.

I often get questions about water safety. With summer fast approaching, here are a few tips I tell my friends and family as they plan visits to the local community pool, beach and even Great Wolf Lodge.

  • Never assume someone else is watching your child. Even with lifeguards nearby, you have the responsibility for your child. Besides, the best way to keep your child safe is to play right alongside them.
  • Never swim alone.  Always use the buddy system and be sure the area is well supervised by lifeguards before you or others in your group enter the water. 
  • Plan ahead. As a family, decide on a meeting place to go to if anyone gets separated.  Kids can take off in instant and crowded parks and beaches can make it difficult for little ones to find you.  An easy-to-spot location will help ease fears.
  • Stay hydrated.  Swimming and playing takes a lot of energy, especially during the hot summer months. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks and rest in a cool location.
  • Too much sun is no fun.  Be sure to limit your exposure during peak hours of 12pm-3pm and reapply waterproof/sweat proof sunscreen every 80 minutes.
  • Encourage your child to wear a life jacket. Many public pools and water parks, like Great Wolf Lodge, provide life jackets for your use, free of charge.
  • Before heading to the beach, pool or water park, avoid swimsuits that have ties, grommets or decorations that could get caught on something during water activities.
  • Skip the flip-flops. Look for sandals with a heel strap or a full-coverage, slip-on water shoe that will stay in place both in and out of the water.
  • Read all of the signs before going on a waterslide, pool or attraction. Make sure your child is tall enough. Always go down the water slide face up and feet first. If you have questions about an attraction, ask a lifeguard.
  • Take a CPR course. Knowing these skills can be important in any environment. This is a skill we all can benefit from – on land and around water.
  • If you see someone struggling in the water, call for help. Remember “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go!” Even professionally trained lifeguards don’t enter the water without having the proper flotation devices to keep themselves safe.

Summer is a the perfect time of year for water activities and all of us at Great Wolf Lodge look forward to welcoming you and your family for a safe and memorable visit!

Kristi Fox
Director of Aquatics
Great Wolf Lodge - Traverse City

 

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?