Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Great Wolf Lodge - Poconos Mountains: Water Park Fun & MagiQuest

While I was at the Reviewer's Retreat conference session, there were fourteen slides, six pools, water fort, lazy river, and so much more for Brad and ER to explore!  550,000 gallons of water all make the Great Wolf Lodge one of America's largest water parks and you don't even need to bring your floatation vest.  These are provided along with towels and a large staff of alert life guards to watch over you.  We of course watch over ER like hawks but it's reassuring to see so many guards on duty as well.

The first thing you'll notice upon entering is Fort Mackenzie, a four-story tree house in the center of the water park.  Everywhere you walk there is water spraying and the best part, there are lots of ways to get your friends and family wet too!  The first afternoon I thought I'd walk up just to see and avoid any sprayers so I wouldn't have to shower before the first conference event.  Ha, ha, what was I thinking, I got drenched!

ER just loved the Totem Towers twin waterslides there.  They are three stories high and Brad thought he could go down with her, but when they got to the top they were told ER had to go by herself.  She can be a little bit of a scardy cat so he thought that was the end of that, but she was still game to go.  He put her on the slightly lower one and when they got to the bottom she immediately wanted to go again and not only that, but she wanted to be on the higher one.  She'd only slide down the higher one for the rest of the visit.
The other area ER headed to first was the shallow zero entry pool adjacent to Fort Mackenzie.  There are two small open slides there, similar to ones you'd typically find at a park and two longer open slides with some gentle twists.  Until she went on the Totem Towers, they were the only slides we thought ER would be brave enough to try.  You can see both of the longer kiddie slides in the video of Whooping Hallow below:
video
Next to this area is Slap Tail Pond, the pool ER spent most of her time at.  It also has zero entry and sprayers that come up from the floor, but the big draw for ER were the waves that got up to three feet.  She loved going out into the deep water and holding onto us while we bounced up and down in the water.  The waves crashing into the "shore" were also fun for her.  She sat in them as they rushed over her, giggling the whole time.  In between wave intervals she loved kicking and dog paddling around in the still water too. 
With so much fun in the Slap Tail Pond, she didn't really spend much time in the traditional pool but did go on Big Foot Pass, which is next to it, several times.  Brad had to get in and help her but moving between the floating "logs" and "lilly pads" was a big hit.  Watching the bigger kids try to walk across them, using the netting above for balance was entertaining.  Everyone always let out a big laugh when someone made a misstep and ended up landing in the water with a big splash.
Overall, we think the most the thing most popular with ER was the Crooked Creek.  We went on it several times and I think each time, we went around the whole lazy river four or five times at least.  It was a nice opportunity to sit and relax a bit after being so active other place in the park.  After awhile it got kind of boring for us with her, but it never got old for her.

Great Wolf Lodge has a nice guest policy.  You can begin using the facilities at one o'clock on the first day of your stay, even though check-in isn't until four.  Check out is at eleven in the morning, but you can continue to use the waterpark until closing.  There are lockers, showers, and changing rooms to use when you don't have a access to a room.  You will be able to really get your money's worth out of your stay by timing your arrival and departure well, one nice perk for guests as we all are looking to stretch our dollars more!
The water park is obviously the main attraction to Great Wolf Lodge but at the Poconos location, and select others, there are still plenty of things to do when you are water logged and need a break.  One thing you'll notice when you get there is that a lot of kids carrying, of all things...wands.  That's because they're all on quests that take them all around the lodge.  Brad thought it was a great idea because in theory it keeps the kids active, he kind of kidded to some taking the elevator up and down one floor that perhaps using the stairs would be more in keeping with a "quest".  I can only imagine the look he got for that! 

ER was all about it because she got a cool pink glittery wand with a unicorn topper.  Plus she did need something to keep her occupied in between pool visits.  She's a little young and needed help from Brad but it was a successful addition to our stay.  She talks about Magi-Quest as much as the water park.  Since Brad was the one doing it with her, he's a better person to give details on it. 
His review of Magi-Quest at the Great Wolf Lodge is on his blog, Sons of Twillight.  I don't mention his blog that much, because it's mainly about role playing games and there's not a lot of cross over between readership of our two blogs.  But since it can be an expensive addition to a stay, I thought anyone considering it might want to learn a little bit more as he describes it in depth.  He also did a great post about his entire Great Wolf Lodge experience, a nice from a Dad's perspective.

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Disclosure: While we did pay for lodging and food, our stay the the Great Wolf Lodge was part of a discounted conference package. Opinions and experiences related within are personal and unbiased.

4 Friends Said:

Jenny said...

Oh how fun!!

Ticia said...

ha ha haha, I'm probably one of the few who'd fit that crossover.

MaryAnne said...

Love Ticia's comment =)

This does look like a really fun place for a family to stay! I love water parks! =)

Tara said...

I like the faciities use policy. You don't hear of that often where you really get your monies worth during a stay and after your time is up!

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