Towards the end of April, the family went down to the Olympia area and stayed the night at the Great Wolf Lodge. Just by the name itself, you would think that it's just some glorified motel with a petting zoo populated with various types of wolves. But it's claim to fame is, not the wolf theme (and no, there wasn't a petting zoo) but it's indoor waterpark. Yup, inside the hotel (and sticking out its backside, viewable from the freeway) is a big waterpark, complete with waterslides, wave pool, kiddie pool for the little ones and a giant fort in the middle of the waterpark that gets every 10 minutes with 1000 gallons of water. Folks in the fort don't seem to care about the 1000 gallons of water falling upon them; in fact, they looked like they were looking forward to it. More information at:
In any case, the family went down there and stayed the night at this Great Wolf Lodge. What's really great about the hotel is that it had it's grand opening sometime in early April so it still has that new hotel look, feel and musty smell to it. Everything was clean and the hotel staff was cordial and attentive. We were able to check in early (Friday morning) and was able to get access to the waterpark right away. The Great Wolf Lodge has a great hotel room key/entry pass into the waterpark system. They use an RFID embedded wristband that all of the hotel guests must have in their body in order to enter the waterpark. The RFID wristband is only your entrance into the waterpark, but your entrance to your hotel room as well. No more keys or cards to carry around; just use your wristband. Want to pay for your meal or snack or something from one of the gift shops? Just flash your wristband and it gets charged to your room. It's a pretty nifty system and saves you the hassle of carrying around your hotel keycard AND wallet with you when entering the wave pool.
Emily and Ally had a good time. Both of them were at first somewhat cautious about entering the water but once their bodies got adjusted to the slightly heated water and got used to the fact that they were wearing life jackets (provided by the hotel), they were able to fit right in and have a good time splashing around. They're still afraid of the water slides but I don't blame them. Even some of the kiddie water slide looked pretty steep. I'm sure once they get older, they'll enjoy all of the good stuff the waterpark has to offer.
Aside from the waterpark, there's an arcade with some video games and ticket based games (kind of like the ones you find a Chuck E. Cheese), along with a kid's activity room (which costs money) and a older kid's activity room which had karaoke and Rock Band set up (this also cost money). But aside from that, there wasn't anything else to do at the hotel. And there's virtually nothing around the area where the hotel is, save the Dairy Queen and McDonald's/Shell gas station hybrid (I guess "fill'er up" takes on a new meaning here).
Overall, a good time had by all. A good one day getaway with the family and it wasn't that far from our home (only 1.5 hours). I'm sure we'll go again as the kids get older. Make sure to check out the website for more information. It's a chain so there seems to be spread out across the country. Have you been one of these indoor waterpark/hotel dealies before?