Tuesday, April 27, 2010

All The Water Slide Fun, None Of The Sand in Your Suit

I love swimming. I love water slides. I love spending an afternoon drifting on an inner tube. Naturally you'd think I spend my summers at the pool and save all my pennies for winter trips to Florida, right?

Wrong. Why?

Because I hate sand. I hate greasy sunblock. And I hate the sun, or rather, it hates me.

And honestly, why would I need to travel south when we have a better option right here in Ohio that lets me swim year round free of sand and sunburns? If I feel a need to escape for a waterpark weekend, I only need to drive south to Cincinnati to spend a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge - King's Island.

I've been to Great Wolf before - Aaron and I went there for our anniversary two years ago. I remember how a warm indoor waterpark looked pretty good when we were trapped there by the great blizzard of '08:

We didn't take advantage of the outdoor balcony in '08, obviously.

Still, if you're going to be snowed in, what better place than an indoor waterpark resort, right?

Last month my family was invited to spend a night at Great Wolf Lodge for the grand opening of their new waterslide, The Triple Twist. (Along with a few other bloggers, including two of my favorite locals, Moosh in Indy and Momo Fali.) To celebrate, the Lodge left the Triple Twist waterslide open all night long for the great Slide-a-thon, attempting to break the world record for longest distance traveled on waterslides over a 24-hr period. OK, I'll admit I wasn't a 3am slider, but I had to deal with kids who woke up at 6am, so I feel justified in my decision.

This was our first time taking the girls, so I wasn't sure how they'd react. We were staying in a "Wolf Den" room - it had a queen bed for Aaron and I, and then a little brightly-painted enclosed room inside the room, which housed a set of bunk beds and a TV. The girls immediately ran for their little room. "Look, we have our own TV!" Cordy cheered. "I want the top bunk!" They still talk about their little den and how they miss it.

 This is what our room looked like - the bunk beds are inside the little room.

But the room is minor compared to all of the other exciting things to do at Great Wolf Lodge. First, there's the obvious gigantic indoor waterpark, complete with several waterslides, water activity areas for the kids, a wave pool and a lazy river. Cordy and Mira enjoyed the wave pool, and Cordy liked going down the kiddie waterslides. I got the chance to break away from the family pack to enjoy some of the bigger waterslides, and really felt like a kid again as I grabbed my inner tube and ran up the stairs to go down again and again.

Each night, the Lodge offers up a story time for the kids. We got the girls into pajamas and took them up to the story time. They enjoyed listening to the story with the other kids, and then Cordy asked to have a photo of her with the bear in the lobby.

The Lodge also has a kids club area where kids can do camp crafts (with adult supervision), and next to that is a gigantic arcade. There are also plenty of food options, from sit-down dining to a quick snack of yummy homemade fudge. If you have some time away from the kids, take advantage of the on-site spa - or bring your daughters along for their own kiddi mani/pedi. Older kids (and adults) will love the Magi Quest game the runs throughout the Lodge - watch out for small wizards waving wands!

With the current economy, vacations to Florida or the Bahamas are simply out of the question. We'd rather get more vacation for our money by staying close to home, and Great Wolf Lodge is an excellent option to get away from it all without going that far. The rooms are comfortable and fun, the waterpark is simply amazing, and even one night at the Lodge can leave you feeling recharged, with great family memories to cherish. (And a lot of begging from the children of "When can we go back?")

If you're looking for a local family getaway on those rainy spring days (or any kind of bad Ohio weather days), I highly recommend Great Wolf Lodge - King's Island. With or without kids, you won't be disappointed.

Full disclosure: I was provided with a one-night complementary stay at Great Wolf Lodge for the opening of their new Triple Twist waterslide. A positive review was neither promised nor expected for this stay, but after our experience, I couldn't find a bad thing to say!

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