This past weekend Greg and I traveled to the Poconos for a stay at the @GreatWolfLodge during the #RevRet11 (Reviewers Retreat) hosted by the Double Duty Divas. This was such a great experience that I had to share it with all of you.
If you are looking for a place to take your family for a weekend or even a week you will want to check out one of the Great Wolf Lodges around the country. We stayed at the one in the Poconos Mountain in Pennsylvania but there are other locations that might be closer to you (and new ones opening all of the time).
Here is the current list as of May 2011:
- Charlotte-Concord, NC
- Cincinnati-Mason, OH
- Grand Mound, WA
- Grapevine, TX
- Kansas City, KS
- Niagara Falls, Canada
- Pocono Mountains, PA
- Sandusky, OH
- Traverse City, MI
- Williamsburg, VA
- Wisconsin Dells, WI
What is so different and special about the Great Wolf Lodge? Well, it’s not just a hotel where you go to stay while you visit attractions in the surrounding area. It is a complete destination in itself.
When you pull up to the lodge you know it will be different. You can see the huge indoor water slides jutting out from the outside of the building and you can’t believe those huge things could be inside of a hotel so you wonder what the heck is going on inside there – I must find out for myself.
Pull up to the front and you swear you are deep in a mountain because the lodge is so rustic and inviting.
As you walk in the door you are greeted with music and a lively atmosphere. Children, adults, and teens are walking, running, chatting, and laughing all over the place. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and lots of people are walking around in swim suits.
When I walked up to the registration desk I was greeted by a lovely lady who explained everything to me. She was so friendly and it made me feel welcome right away.
At 8 pm and other times during the day, the clock tower comes alive and there is a show for the kids and story hour. No matter where you are in the building, when the clock tower rings kids and adults flock to this area and the action begins. You will see kids glued to the characters and totally enthralled with excitement.
Just beyond the registration desk is the huge clock tower and to the left is a HUGE, I mean huge, fireplace with a stone hearth. The stones go all of the way to the ceiling. All around the fireplace are couches and tables where people were lounging or eating. To the left of the clock tower is the dining room called the the Loose Moose Cottage – more about that later.
Greg and I stayed in a standard suite but if you take a look there are so many other choices. Some suites – and they are all suites, not just rooms – have kitchenettes with microwaves, some have fire places, all have 2 beds, ample room to move around, a couch that pulled out for an extra bed, table with chairs, lots of lighting, and some even have several rooms in the one suites. Lots of room for families, no matter how many members you bring. There is even complimentary, wireless Internet access in every room.
One of the coolest things I have seen in awhile was the use of armbands to gain entrance into your room instead of room keys. This is ingenious! Now each person can wear an armband, that has a sensor on the back, hold it up to the door and the device reads the armband and let’s you in. You won’t have to remember to bring your key with you anymore. So convenient.
When it’s time to eat you have lots of choices. You can sit down to a meal in the dining room (buffet style) and eat to your heart’s content. Everytime we ate there the food was different. At breakfast we had eggs, bacon, toast, yogurt, grits, oatmeal, muffins, fresh fruit, pancakes, and so much more. At dinner there was beef, pork, chicken, 3 kinds of soup, potatoes, rice, fresh cooked pasta to order, and desserts galore. Kids will love it because there is a special section for them with potatoes in the shape of faces and fun cereal treats in the morning.
If you want something quick you can go downstairs and eat from Pizza Hut, the Bear Paw Sweets and Eats, get a quick dessert from Scoops or coffee or a Latte from Starbucks.
Kids of all ages will really enjoy participating in Magi Quest and Compass Quest. It does have an extra cost but the kids I saw were having a blast and it kept them occupied for hours on end. The Compass Quest reminds me of Harry Potter. Kids take a wand they purchase from the store on the second floor and go through an adventure that takes them throughout the building. Hallways leading to the suites have names and there are clues and interactivity that they have to perform at each stop.
There were so many other things to do but since we didn’t bring any of our grandkids and we were there for a conference we didn’t check them all out. There is a Cub Club for younger kids, National Geographic Kids, Race Zone, Northern Lights Arcade (which was HUGE and had Skeeball which I love), and gr8-space (for high tech kids, think Nintendo and Wii).
For adults there is a super nice workout room called Iron Horse, Elements Spa and Salon that is full service and offers pedicures, manicures, wraps, massages, and other pampering. And, if you want to check your email and didn’t bring your own computer they even have a computer room with 5 or 6 computers.
To top it all off is the magnificent indoor water park. This is not just a series of water slides, it is a complete water park, all indoors. When you walk in you can be overwhelmed. It is once again, HUGE, and you are greeted with a giant bucket of water perched high up that fills up with water. Watch out though, because when it fills up it spills over and creates an avalanche of cascading water.
There are all kinds of water activities throughout the water park, and water slides for very young children all of the way up to adults who want speed and excitement. There is a wave pool, and even places to get food inside of the water park. The water park is staffed with trained lifeguards too so you always have someone watching out for you and your kids.
Even though we didn’t bring our kids and grandkids it was super fun for us. We will definitely bring them in the future. This is a family place so don’t expect quiet. They do have a strict policy of no running or loud noise after 11 pm or before 7 am and everyone seemed to stick to that.
Definitely check out the Great Wolf Lodge the next time you are planning a family trip. This all inclusive family resort makes a perfect getaway whether you are just staying there or if you are also planning excursions in the area.