Life has been a little hectic around here. With my third shift schedule, Aaron’s new job that has him out of town some days and working from home other days, and the crazy school bus schedules that our daughters endure, we often only have 1-2 hours at most during the evening where we are together as a family. Of course, most of the time I’m too busy to let it get to me, but then there are times I find myself missing my family and wishing we could spend more time together.
So this last weekend, we ran away. Or more precisely, we spent three days forgetting about homework and deadlines and schedules and instead focused on creating some memories at Great Wolf Lodge.
We’ve been to the Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati a few times and always look forward to going back. The indoor waterpark and resort is perfect for when you don’t have the time/money for a full vacation, but still want a mini-vacation atmosphere.
This year’s trip was yet again more awesome than the last. Shortly after we arrived, there was a knock at our door and we were presented with bottles of water and a complimentary bag of their caramel-chocolate popcorn as a thanks for being a repeat visitor. The popcorn was devoured before the weekend was over, but in that moment the kids were more focused on getting out of the room to play MagiQuest. (It’s kind of like a Harry Potter-type game for kids, with magic wands that do all kinds of neat things through the entire lodge.)
Saturday morning was our first visit to the waterpark, and I was surprised how much Cordy and Mira had matured since we were last there. Both were fairly scared of the water last year, requiring a lot of coaxing and gradual introduction to the wave pool and the itty-bitty water slides. (And a lot of anxiety involving any deep water.)
This year, life jackets securely on, Cordy went straight to the wave pool and ran right in, with Mira only a few steps behind her. They both tackled the intermediate water slides. (Cordy was too big for the little slides, and still unwilling to try the big ones.) They even practiced trying to swim, with Aaron and I just in reach. I was so impressed that Cordy could handle being in the water so well.
In fact, Cordy was a little too self-confident about her abilities. At one point, she disappeared from my view – it was really just a few seconds – and when I spotted her again she was about 20 feet from me in the deeper section of the wave pool, unable to touch the ground, flailing and calling for help. As I tried to get to her quickly, the lifeguard dove in and a teen boy who was less than an arm’s reach from her, well, reached out his arm and grabbed her with little effort. She wasn’t in any danger thanks to her life jacket, but it was good to know how quickly the staff reacts. (And that teen was the hero among his friends for “saving” her.)
Note to self: sign Cordy up for swimming lessons. And keep that life jacket on her for now.
But other than that one moment, the waterpark was perfect and we couldn’t have had more fun. (I have no photos of the waterpark – I know myself well enough to not take electronics around water.)
Aside from swimming, we played more MagiQuest.
And had plenty of snacks.
The kids got wolf ears with their lunches.
And enjoyed downtime in their own little “kid cabin” inside our room.
We were sad to leave Great Wolf Lodge on Sunday. Mira was weepy the rest of the day because she didn’t want to be back at home. Or maybe she was tired, since she barely slept the entire weekend. All I know is she slept eleven hours straight on Sunday night, and then still fell asleep in the car on the way to preschool Monday morning.
While it wasn’t a full-out vacation, it still wasn’t cheap for our budget, so we probably won’t be doing this again until next year. However, I think the memories we have from the weekend make it all worth the money. Well, all of the money except for the three pay-per-view PBS Kids episodes Cordy charged to the room by accident. Apparently the pay-per-view menu is just as easy to navigate on the remote control as our Tivo menu at home, only these episodes cost $3.99 a piece. Oops.
And now back to the daily grind.
Note: This is not a review post. We love Great Wolf Lodge and paid for the entire trip on our own. (You’re welcome to view my credit card bill if you’ll agree to help pay it.) Although if Great Wolf ever wants to invite us back to the lodge on their tab, we will have our swimsuits ready to go on short notice.