Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Great Wolf Lodge - The Code to Birthday Fun.

Let's say you've got a kid whose birthday is today. Let's say he's turning eight, and you live in Greensboro. The city with the famed reputation as "Greensboring". It's really only at times such as these the whole thing rings true. There's just not a lot to do here. We've done the Children's Museum into the ground, he's too old for Chuck E. Cheese, and taking him to Celebration Station says we, as parents, put the least amount of effort into his birthday as possible. To make the situation worse, he had seen all the movies playing locally, and our one idea: camping, got rained out. It was truly going to be a boring birthday for someone. That's when I looked up Great Wolf Lodge. It's in Charlotte (Concord) near the racetrack and is generally super expensive. Well it still was. We dropped $400 in total on the fun, but it was worth every dime. The room was $159 for us "Jesus home-schoolers." Normally it's $189, but Livvy happened to have the offer code: HOME, so we decided to go for it. Why they give homes-schoolers such a good offer, I have no idea?

Hunting dragons!
Another tip if you go for multiple days, just pay for one day and they'll offer you supplemental days at a lesser rate to "Extend your Stay" the following morning. We could have stayed another day for only $129 more.

First if you wondering whether it's worth it, let me tell you that this place exceeded every expectation. We had an absolutely amazing time. The kids just screamed and yelled "wow" for the first three hours. The indoor water park is amazing and no one made whale jokes when I showed up. Before we left, me and Shan "upgraded" our swimming suits. I'm not saying it was a pretty sight, but compared to our 80's, matching, (don't ask how that happened) bathing suits we stole off the old lady rack when we had nothing in Pennsylvania (during winter no less) a few years back, these suits were much better. Much more revealing too. (Ooh la, la) It's a lovely water park with about five different slides, a wave pool and a play and spray station. Only caveat was there was no lazy river. We played and played, then about died in the Fish-Bowl, the Howlin Tornado and the River Canyon Run. We didn't stop until our fingers were wrinkled and our lips were blue. When we finally got out of the pool just before 8 o'clock it was time to jump into our pajamas, go to the arcade, then meet down in the lobby of the lodge where a huge animatronic show takes place (the whole building itself is a set in a way) followed by a bed time story, and hugs goodnight from Wiley the Wolf. The kids loved it.

Afterwards we left for a late night dinner from Jack In the Box, which is down the street. Shan was super excited as she hadn't had Jack In the Box since we went to Carowinds last fall and it's one of her favorite indulgences from California. Of course if we didn't want to leave, the lodge has a restaurant, a pizza hut, a Dunkin Doughnuts, and a chocolatier with a creamery.

We got our fried tacos and headed back to the room. Tossed the kids into bed, and let them watch Doctor Who on the laptop. They were out like a light after that.

The next morning we woke up and went to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Awesome good. Once again we had wake-up hugs from Wiley the Wolf, who also had a pregnant woman by his side. We wondered if they were a couple. Then the kids wanted to do MagiQuest, a interactive adventure game where the kids take magic wands and have to search the entire lodge for clues to get rune stones. It's fantastic. You ride the elevators, search, run, and in the end you fight a dragon. It's really cool with animals, treasure chests, and animatronic projection special effects that are all activated by the children's wands. Very cool. Better yet, parents can hit the bar, sit on the leather sofas in front of the fire and watch the kids wear themselves out. It's not cheap, but when you really see what they've put into this hotel, it's hard to argue against it.

Alas, it was finally time to leave. We went down stairs to the chocolate Shop for candy apples, tiger butter, and truffles which we noshed on all the way back home. It's really expensive but in all honesty it was worth it. The kids have told me this was the best birthday ever. Chance described it as "perfect!" How could you argue with that? Further more, if you think about it, you'd pay $100 to get a family of four into a water park, which makes the room only $59 after using one of their offer codes. Sure you have your meals, and the toys, but it's not an unacceptable amount of money when you see how well this place is run. The kids feel safe, we felt safe letting them run amok. The water-park had four to five lifeguards on almost every attraction and they were diligent about their jobs and guest safety. There's also a teen area much like the "Admirals club" on my frequent flyer program, but just for them called "GR_8 Space Tech Center". They have Internet, movies, etc.

Rooms have free Internet, and ours had a flat screen, a fridge, safe, and so on. Do bring some conditioner if you have long hair as their shampoo is rubbish alone, but it's really an awesome oasis.

 A great idea that if only Greensboro had it, might mean we wouldn't have had to drive so far. Whoever invented it, is a genius. Genius I tell you.