Monthly Archives: January 2020

Great Wolf Lodge

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We finally did it . . . we went to Great Wolf Lodge!  I had heard about it for years and my kids had begged to go.  We didn’t do the “full experience” in that we were there for less than 24 hours, but I think I got enough of an idea about it to give you some insight in case you are thinking about a trip  with the family.  We were headed to my in-laws outside of the Metroplex, so we booked a night at the Lodge.  We pulled the kids out of school early and arrived around 5:30pm.  We left in the early afternoon of the next day.

First, when you drive up during the Christmas season it is impressive.  The giant statues outside and the Christmas lights created a great first experience.  Registration was quick and simple for us.  After checking in, we headed to our room.  We got one of the rooms that had a bed for parents and bunk beds for kids.  After settling in we went for dinner.  I thought we were going to the car to grab a cheap dinner, but I was alone in that sentiment.  Everyone wanted to eat on-site.  We found a dinner buffet that had something for everyone.  The food was alright.  It was the quality of an above average buffet, but it cost $70 for two adults and two kids.  It was good, but it wasn’t $70 good.

After dinner we walked around the Lodge.  We were definitely “first-timers.”  Everyone, kids and parents, were in pajamas.  We did not get the “pajamas memo.”  Some people were gathering for story time in the lobby, others were enjoying dessert, and there were quite a few preparing for a quest.  All around the facility there are places where you can wave a magic wand and complete actions from your quest.  A wand will cost about $20 and each thirty-minute quest will cost about $15.

The next morning, we hit the water park, which was the main reason we came.  It is 80,000 square feet of wave pool, lazy rivers, and slides.  It was very crowded, but we found some chairs in the back.  To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed at first.  We tried out the wave pool and it was not very deep at all.  The lazy river was small, and it is not a calm and relaxing float.  You are going to go under waterfalls or be hit by children shooting water cannons at you.  Once we got to the slides the experience got better.  The slides are all tube slides and there are two that are for a large group of people with big tubes.  The slides were the highlight of the morning.

One of the interesting things was I found myself having a difficult time breathing inside the water park.  At one point, the kids wanted to do some things on their own, so Amanda and I went to the hot tubs.  When I got in the hot tubs, I had a coughing fit and had to get out.  I could barely breathe.  Once I calmed down, I went back in only to have the coughing fit start again.  Several weeks after we went, a friend told me that he got chlorine poisoning there and he had a hard time breathing.  I’m still alive so it apparently wasn’t life-threatening 😊

Overall, we had an enjoyable time, but we probably did this a little too late.  Our nine-year-old was on the upper end of who Great Wolf Lodge is designed for.  Our thirteen-year-old was too old, although she did enjoy the slides.  If you’ve got younger kids, this could be a fun excursion for the family, but it is not cheap.  Start saving for the experience now if you want to do it.

If you’ve been to Great Wolf Lodge, leave your comments below so that people can get perspectives that are different from mine.

Here is a blog from someone else that might help you save some money, too.

Photography

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One way to find a day with your kids that they are guaranteed to love is to build a date around one of the things they are passionate about or something that they are exploring.  Our oldest has been interested in photography for a long time.  She has asked for cameras for Christmas, explored some of the high-end cameras at secondhand camera stores, and I’ve asked some friends who love photography to take her out and give her some tips.  To this day, she’ll be the first person to ask to take the family pictures during the holidays.

One afternoon we decided to go out and take photos together.  Well, I mean we didn’t take them together in that we were posing for pictures . . . we both took pictures of things to make our own portfolio.  We didn’t have any special equipment, just our phones.

We drove over to an area in our town called Blue Hole.  It is an area of the San Gabriel River where it is deep enough to swim.  When the water is high it is very beautiful.  The picture at the top of the blog is an actual picture of Blue Hole.  We stopped and took pictures of flowers, the river, the waterfall, and anything we could find that looked beautiful through the lens of the camera.

When we finished, we looked at each other’s photos, and I’ll admit, she did a pretty good job!  There was a lot of excitement upon returning home, too.  The first thing she wanted to do was show her mom all her photos.

We got to spend time together, enjoy God’s creation, and be outside.  It was a date that didn’t have to cost anything, although I’m pretty sure we grabbed sno cones before and she thinks we went to “our spot” for dinner.

Let me tell you how much of a memory this day was for my daughter.  I asked her about it as I was typing up this blog to make sure I didn’t leave anything out.  We did this date a couple of years ago so I thought I might be a bit foggy on the details.  I asked her, “What do you remember about our photography date?”  Without missing a beat, she said, “I’ve still got the pictures.  Do you want to see them?”