Summer is a time of adventure. Every year, parents across the U.S. pack up their cars. They cram the kids, games, snacks, the dog, and anything else they can fit, into the family car to take trips across the country; sightseeing and experiencing adventure along the way. Some families travel to state and national parks, while others are thrill seekers – chasing theme and water parks across the country.

What all of these families have in common are the memories they make together along the way. We see these memories every day. Families take pictures of their adventures at Great Wolf Lodge and share them with us on social media. We enjoy seeing their photos of journeys soaring down Mountain Edge Raceway, getting soaked by the Tipping Bucket, wielding wands on their quests to become Master Magi’s, and enjoying family time along the way. These memories are kept forever, whether they are storied in photo albums and smart phones or in their hearts.

Family memories made during summer trips are special, and we believe they should be cherished. That’s why this summer we’re challenging you to document the family fun. We want you to take pictures of all the fun things your family does together; whether at Great Wolf Lodge or elsewhere, we want to see how you spend your summer, and give you the chance to spend part of it with us.

Take pictures of it all. Document the fun times, because having pictorial reminders of the adventures will provide a lifetime of reminders as to why the summer of 2015 was the best summer yet. Then, choose your best photo and post it to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter using #GWLMakeMySummer for the chance to win a two-night stay at the Great Wolf Lodge of your choice (U.S. properties only).

We’re excited to see all of the fun times had, and we thank you in advance for sharing your family adventures with us. Have a blast this summer! We hope to see you at the lodge soon.

Sweepstakes Details:

Post a photo of a summer activity to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #GWLMakeMySummer between July 1, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. and July 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. to enter the sweepstakes. The winner will receive a voucher for a two-night stay in a family suite at the Great Wolf Lodge of his or her choice (U.S. properties only). Official Rules: http://gwld.gs/1R4yD4I

I recently went on quite the adventure. I was hangin’ at Great Wolf Lodge, minding my own business, when Waymb the Woodchuck was up to no good. He was causing trouble all over the resort and it was my job to find him! Luckily, with the help of Wiley and the other Great Wolf Kids characters, I was able to track down Waymb and officially join the Clubhouse Crew. Seriously, I have a photo to prove it!

OK, so maybe this isn’t exactly how it happened – but as part of our new Clubhouse Crew adventure, guests can work “hand-in-paw” with their very own Great Wolf Kids character to join the rest of the Crew in an adventure that takes place throughout the resort. Your Clubhouse Crew experience starts at the Creation Station. After bringing your favorite Great Wolf Kids character to life, Wiley informs you that Woodchuck Waymb is creating mischief and it’s up to you to find him. Wiley instructs you to visit different stops around the resort to see where Waymb has been causing trouble. At each stop, you must solve puzzles or complete different activities to receive your next “clue” from a different Great Wolf Kids character. 

With a number of checkpoints, the Clubhouse Crew adventure is a great way to explore the resort while completing your “mission.” Sammy the Squirrel even takes a photo of you and your Great Wolf Kids character. The photo is instantly emailed to you and is the perfect souvenir. 

For the many guests, young and old, who love the Great Wolf Kids characters, this is the newest experience our resorts offer to have fun with your favorite Great Wolf friend during your stay. There’s no limit to how many times you can play the Clubhouse Crew; once you complete the adventure, you can do it over and over throughout your stay.

The Clubhouse Crew experience is opening at many Great Wolf Lodge resorts this spring. It has already opened at Great Wolf Lodge resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Pocono Mountains, New England, Grapevine, Williamsburg, and Grand Mound. Guests will also be able to play the game this summer in Concord, Mason, Kansas City, and Traverse City. 

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer activities. Families across America will pack up their cars and take the first trips of the season. Some trips will be annual traditions and others are to new ​destinations and experiences.

While many families equate summer travel with camping, families who prefer hotels have avoided the activity. However, the new trend of glamping, or “glamorous camping,” has been adopted by many hospitality brands as a way to bring the experience of the great outdoors, indoors.

At Great Wolf Lodge, glamping is not new at all. In fact, we are the leaders of the hotel pack! We like to think we started the trend in 1997, long before the name glamping was created.

Families visiting Great Wolf Lodge resorts have made memories glamping in our KidKabins, KidKamps, and Wolf Dens. Millions of children have slumbered in themed suites, dreaming of the adventures they took while playing in the waterpark and dueling MagiQuest dragons. They made one of a kind memories together while glamping “fort-style” in their suite.

As the summer travel season begins, we want to see how your kids glamp at home. We know that your children love to build forts by gathering every available blanket, pillow, flashlight, and even the family pet to build unique structures and tents, often right in your living room. Now – we want to see them!

Beginning May 23 through June 6, we invite your family to show us your best household fort. It can be indoors or outdoors and it should celebrate your children’s wildest fort-building dreams. Grab all the blankets and pillows you can find and spend quality time together with your family as you build your fort and glamp in your home. Share a photo with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #GWLFort2Win and your family could win a one-night stay at the U.S-based Great Wolf Lodge resort of your choice. Let us help you glamp, Great Wolf-style.

We’re excited to see your children’s ideas come to life. And who knows, your family could be our lucky winner for the chance to start a new summer travel tradition, with our pack at Great Wolf Lodge.

The contest:

Between May 23 and June 6, 2015, post a photo of your best homemade fort to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #GWLFort2Win. After the contest concludes, a panel of judges will choose one winning family to receive a complimentary one-night stay at any of our U.S. locations. Please see official rules for details.

May is National Water Safety Month. At Great Wolf Lodge, water safety is on our minds every single day. Each year more than one million families visit our resorts to make memories together. The waterparks provide hours and hours of fun. And that fun is closely watched by our dedicated and diligent aquatics teams. Our lifeguards keep a close eye on all of our guests, ready to assist at a moment’s notice if anyone needs an extra hand.

As the weather gets warmer, families start to plan vacations that involve swimming, boating and all kinds of water fun. This is also the time when we encourage families to take a moment to think about staying safe while enjoying such activities.

In honor of National Water Safety month, we asked our talented team of Great Wolf Lodge Aquatics Directors to share their thoughts about water safety. Each of them was asked to share one important tip about how to safely enjoy the water.

“The tip I always I tell my friends and family is they should never take a lifejacket off their child until they are certain they are done with all water activities. Wearing a lifejacket can mean the difference between life or death.” 

- Keenan Weiss, Grapevine

“Knowing how to swim is very important. Parents should put their children in lessons as soon as possible. Learning how to swim at an early age, and wearing a lifejacket around water can truly be a lifesaver.”  

- Adrianne Newman, Wisconsin Dells

"My most important tip is that you should stay calm when in the water and master the simple skill of treading water. While knowing how to swim may come naturally to many, it can be tough for those who might be afraid of the water. Knowing how to tread water can make all the difference.”  

- Brett Garrett, Kansas City

“No one should ever swim alone. Period. Parents should participate with their children while they are in water and everyone should remember that even the most experienced swimmers may need unexpected help.”

- Justin Yacob, Sandusky 

“It is important to understand the dangers of COLD water! I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have a lot of glacial and snow runoff. Even in the summer, bodies of water can be as low as 40 degrees. Cold water constricts the body’s blood vessels, causing a person to have trouble breathing. Before you jump in the water, be sure to check the temperature to ensure it is safe you to enter.  

- Cory Wynn, Grand Mound

“Parents should ALWAYS be with their children. Children often think they are better swimmers than they really are.  It only takes a second or two before a child can find themselves in water over their head and slip below the surface.”  

- Jason Arthur, Mason  

“Lifeguarding is a shared responsibility. Lifeguards do their absolute best to ensure the safety of all of their guests however parents know their child’s swimming abilities. Parents should always keep their children within arm’s length at all times.”  

- Adam Jones, Pocono Mountains

“Research has shown that struggling swimmers cannot stay above the water surface for more than ten seconds and can be difficult to recognize. They rarely call for help or splash at the surface. When enjoying water activities with your friends and family, continually verify that each swimmer can comfortably keep his or her head above the water. If someone’s head is below the water, even if they appear to be playing, that individual may actually need assistance. If you are not sure, notify a lifeguard right away.”  

- Nick Licastro, Concord

“The most effective way for parents to watch their children is not from the pool deck; rather they should be in the water within arm’s reach of their child. This is by far the safest and much more fun way for both parent and child.”  

- Charlie Mullaney, Williamsburg

 

 

 

There’s no doubt that the classic grilled cheese sandwich is a favorite amongst most families. With a warm, gooey center and perfectly golden buttered bread, there’s simply nothing not to like about a simple grilled cheese. In order to properly honor this delectable delight this Sunday for National Grilled Cheese Day, we’re sharing our Grilled Cheese Shooters recipe.

The Grilled Cheese Shooters’ appetizer-sized portion makes it perfect for sharing with the whole family. With warm, crisp, buttered bread filled with melty cheese and the perfect amount of tomato soup for dipping, we’re sure it will give you something to howl about.

Great Wolf Grilled Cheese Shooters

You’ll need:

  • 2 slices of white bread, crust cut off to square the slices
  • Butter, melted and warm
  • 2 slices of American cheese
  • 4 oz. Campbell's Healthy Choice Tomato Soup (hot)

Directions:

  1. Evenly butter both slices of white bread with butter and place on a flat top grill, butter side down.
  2. Place 1 slice of American cheese on each slice of bread for 1 minute, or until evenly browned and the cheese is melted.
  3. Remove bread from flat top grill and place slices together, cheese side together.
  4. Cut finished sandwich from upper left corner to lower right and then cut the opposite way upper right to lower left, creating 4 perfectly shaped triangles. 
  5. Using the hot tomato soup, fill 4 shot glasses about ¾ of the way.
  6. Place 1 sandwich triangle on top of each to the shot glasses. The flat side of the triangle should be up, with the tip of the triangle just touching the soup.
  7. Place each on a rectangular plate in a straight line. Serve immediately.

 

 

It’s cold outside… it’s snowy… and the groundhog has officially predicted six more weeks of winter.  We’re tired of the bitter cold, and we know you are, too, so we’re showing our appreciation for our loyal social media fans and followers by warming you up this FeBRRRuary with a cup of Howlin’ Hot Chocolate.

All of our social media fans and followers that visit Great Wolf Lodge during the month of FeBRRRuary can redeem a complimentary Howlin’ Hot Chocolate from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats (US) or Bear Claw Café (Canada). Just how do you redeem your complimentary Howlin’ Hot Chocolate? You need to prove that you’re a fan, of course!

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Become a fan of Great Wolf Lodge on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.
  2. Find this image: 
  3. Visit Great Wolf Lodge and show the social media post mentioned above to a pack member in Bear Paw or Bear Claw.

In just seconds (or however long it takes you to drive to Great Wolf Lodge), a delicious Howlin’ Hot Chocolate can be yours! Oh, and we should mention that this isn’t just any old hot chocolate…it’s our uber secret recipe for the best hot chocolate (in our humble opinion).

Unfortunately, we can’t change the weather, but hopefully this little bit of scrumptious chocolately goodness will ease the winter weather blues, even if just for a moment.

Promotion is valid now through February 28, 2015. Please limit one Howlin’ Hot Chocolate per person per family.

Ask any child under the age of ten and they will tell you no party is complete without balloons. They’ll also tell you vacation is more fun with balloon animals. Every day, our Kids Experience teams at each Great Wolf Lodge resorts create cute animals and figures out of colorful balloons. This month, in celebration of  Howl-O-Ween, the Kids Experience team in Traverse City decided they wanted to show off balloon art in a new way.

Halloween has its own cast of character and creatures: jack o’lanterns, ghosts, bats, witches, vampires and skeletons to name a few. And anyone who has ever seen the Skeleton Dance from 1929’s Silly Symphonies knows, skeletons can be fun and silly. The Traverse City team thought of something else that skeletons are great for: really cool balloon structures. To help bring this idea to life, they reached out to Magic Galaxy Entertainment from Euclid, Ohio and challenged them to create a friendly skeleton to fill the entire Grand Lobby.

With Howl-O-Ween beginning on October 9, work on the enormous skeleton began at 9:58 a.m. on Monday, October 6. Think that balloon-twisting experts never break a balloon? Not true. A mere ten minutes later, the first balloon popped!

As the skeleton came to life, excitement filled the lodge. Guest families stopped to watch in wonder as balloon after balloon was connected and twisted into place. It was like watching  the Macy’s Day Parade come together in many, many pieces. 2,104 pieces to be exact; that is how many balloons were needed to bring the skeleton to life.

It took a full 72 hours to build the skeleton, right in the Grand Lobby. Next, the team brought in a large lift to assist in (carefully) raising him high above the floor for a true bird’s eye view of guests as they arrived. “Standing” at 69 feet tall and stretching more than 24 feet across, Traverse City’s skeleton was the true centerpiece for Howl-O-Ween all this month. And tonight we’re sure he’ll be moving and shaking with guests during the Monster Bash Dance Party – just like one of those dancing skeletons that so inspired his creation.

It’s that time of year! The 48 Hour Sale is BACK and this time around, you can save up to 25% on your family’s next getaway. This sale only comes around a couple times each year and offers the best savings on one or multiple night stays at Great Wolf Lodge. If you’ve never taken part in one of our 48 Hour Sales, here are a couple tips to make your experience as simple as possible:

Once the sale is announced, the clock starts ticking. You’ll have 48 (or so) hours to book a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and take advantage of the savings.  To make sure you’re ready for every 48 Hour Sale, sign up for our ePack to receive deals and promotions straight to your inbox.  You’re probably familiar with the saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, in this case, ePack members are the birds and the 48 Hour Sale is the figurative worm. Members of our ePack are the first to be notified about the 48 Hour Sale. If you want to be among the first to receive deals and promotions, sign up here.

Do you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter? Following Great Wolf Lodge on social media is another easy way to stay in the know about upcoming deals. We post information about promotions on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. If you ever have any questions about the 48 Hour Sale (or any other promotion), social media is a great place to ask.  One of the most common questions we receive is, “Are you having a 48 Hour Sale anytime soon?” Although we can’t always share this information, as it would take the fun out of our “pop up” sale, here’s an insider tip: when we encourage you to sign up for our ePack, there’s usually a good reason for it!

Our 48 Hour Sale is a deal that you definitely don’t want to miss out on. Have you ever wanted to visit Great Wolf Lodge during Howl-o-Ween? This is your chance! The 48 Hour sale can save your family up to 25% on stays now through October 31st. Want to learn more? To view the details for your lodge, visit greatwolf.com/48hour.

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.