There is something to be said about the excitement of watching your little ones experiencing something magical for the first time. You are young, your children give you a fresh new outlook on being playful and even a new outlook on life in general. Everything you take them to; museums, amusement parks, even just a playground is fun for not only them, but you as well. It’s like you are allowed to be a kid again, well, a big kid with responsibilities, but a kid none the less.
I remember the first time my husband and I took our little guys, maybe 3 and 4 years old, for a weekend adventure to the Poconos to visit the new craze in hotels; The Indoor Water Park, Great Wolf Lodge. As soon as you drive into the lot the experience begins. The lodge is built to resemble the authentic lodges out west and has carvings of wolves all over the building. You step inside the lobby and you are greeted with a huge stone fireplace, more wood carvings and an atmosphere built right out of a childhood fantasy. And the rooms! The rooms and suites match this childhood dream perfectly. Some rooms are basic, but most of them have little log cabins, tent themed areas or a wolves den built into them where the kids can sleep in their own little fort. It’s almost like getting a little bit of the Disney experience for just a few days.
Of course, what everyone comes to GWL for is the indoor water park. It, too, is themed with forests and wild animals carved into the walls, slides and pool areas. It’s perfect for families with little ones as well as older kids who like the more adventurous slides. And it even has an adult only hot tub for when mom or dad need a quiet break.
The GWL in the Poconos (and many others) also has an interactive game throughout the hotel, so when your kids get waterlogged they can take a break, but still not agitate you with boredom in the room. Wands are bought at a little store at the hotel, your quest is chosen and off you go on an adventure around the hotel to talking trees, stars that light up in the ceiling, wall carvings that move and then finally ends in a fight with a dragon. It’s awesome….when you are young and have little ones brimming with bright eyes and smiles.
This is where this post changes…. We recently found an old gift card we had been given to “the Lodge” ten or so years ago. One nice thing is they never expire. However, our family dynamic has changed a bit since we had visited the Great Wolf. We are now a family of 6; 3 of which are teenage boys. Our youngest is an 8 year old girl, so I was very excited to take her to this magical place.
We drove into the lot. Yep, still the same. Carved wolves and all. We entered the lobby and again, same ambiance. My daughter loved it. My sons-not so much. They were surrounded by parents in their beginnings with loads of toddlers and elementary age kids running around with wolves ears, pointing wands with the occasional scream of laughter or tears from exhaustion. Pure chaos.
My husband checks us in and we decide to change into our suits and hit the water right away. My husband and the boys grab my daughter and they introduce her to all the fun that is Great Wolf Lodge; the wave pool, the slides, the huge bucket that dumps. Everything! I, immediately, head to the lazy river as I’m much more of a “take it easy” type of guest.
As I’m laying there in my tube floating down the man-made waterway, I look around at all the young families. The happiness in their faces, the joy of experiencing this as a child along side their own little ones and it makes me a little sad. I’m old. My kids are old and soon instead of being grumpy while hanging out with us, they won’t be hanging out with us at all. My oldest will be going off to college in a year and a half and then the second will follow the year after. And then they will be off to their own lives getting to experience this kind of thing for the first time with their kids…. and maybe they will even drag me along so I can once more experience it through the eyes of my grandchildren and maybe even turn me back into a kid once again, at least for a few days.
So, should you take your kids to an Indoor Water Park Hotel? Is it worth it?
Well, with all the extras, it can really add up to be an expensive little weekend, but YES! You should! Become a kid again! Enjoy your little ones while they are young and you aren’t too tired from life to hop on that tube and slide down that slide. The memories you will make will last a lifetime! And memories are what makes life worth living! And who knows? Maybe it will become a tradition for generations to come!