Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another Water Park Weekend

This year, instead of going to French Lick, Indiana's water park, Big Splash Adventure, we decided to put out a bit more money and try out Ohio's Great Wolf Lodge. We were supposed to depart on Friday, as soon as the boys were home from school, and return Sunday evening. Alas, Friday brought more horrible winter weather and travel advisories. We called to tell them that we would not be leaving until Saturday morning. I was figuring we were out the money for our reserved Friday night, but Great Wolf Lodge graciously changed our reservation for us to Saturday night only. We were told we could access the water park as early as 1 p.m. on Saturday and stay through the entire hours of Sunday, after checking out of the room at 11.

Thus, we left on Saturday morning around 8:00. We were so grateful to have cleared roads to drive on (Friday would have been slow-going and nail-biting, no doubt). Still, we were horrified to come upon the scene of an accident. We must have arrived just moments after the impact because there were only a few cars deep stopped behind the accident and no police or rescue vehicles yet. One vehicle was smashed up on its side against a guard rail and looked like the whole top of the car had been dented in. I could not imagine that the occupants could have survived the state of that vehicle, but when we returned home I searched the Internet and could find no details of a fatal accident on that stretch of road on that day. As we drove by, I said a quick prayer for all involved.

When we arrived at Great Wolf Lodge, we were again thrilled to find that they were graciously allowing us into the room early, since no one had occupied it the night before. We had a fine lunch in the Grill (hamburgers all around, apart from John's veggie burger) and then headed into the water park. I was grateful for the fact that my boys are all older now and I can merely sit at a table and read while they run off and entertain themselves (no worries about drowning or getting lost). They did pull me in to ride one ride, where the whole family could fit on a giant inner tube. It was fun, even if I did get plastered with water at the bottom of the ride.

After a few hours of swimming, Trevor and Bryce came to the table to tell me, in Trevor's words, that they were "going up to the room for some big brother-little brother time." I am really proud of Bryce, since I'm sure he wasn't all that thrilled with the idea of giving up a weekend of his own plans to spend time with his younger brothers at a water park. He spent the entire time hanging out with his brothers and didn't complain once, despite obvious boredom by Sunday afternoon. We realize that this could be one of the last vacations we take as a whole family.

Our room was amazing. We secured a fireplace/loft room. Bryce was able to have the whole area up in the loft to himself, but he did hang out with the boys down in the lower room, watching TV.

The boys had great fun at the Arcade and then we brought pizza up to the room for dinner. The pizza was just fair. While I stayed in the room to read, the boys all returned to the water park for another hour of fun (although they said that the lines for the rides were ridiculously long because there was only one inner tube in use for one ride and the workers seemed to just be chatting for ten minutes between each passenger). All in all, I don't think they rode very many of the rides because it was just too crowded and the lines too long. They said the rides weren't that much better than the ones at the "pirate water park" (what we call the French Lick one). We also noted that unlike the pirate water park, where the breakfast buffet is included in the price of the room, the buffet there was quite expensive (especially since all Sean ate for his $9 fee was a biscuit, two slices of bacon, a strawberry and five grapes - groan).

I think our final consensus was that the greater expense just wasn't worth it. Sure, the room was more elaborate, the water park and facilities more spacious, and the rides a bit more intense, but the crowds were also more excessive and the price more expensive. For the additional money, the food wasn't really better than the food offered at the pirate water park. Perhaps, we just felt that way because we selected a popular weekend (a three-day weekend, due to President's Day, which our kids didn't have off because of all the recent snow days), but I doubt we'll head back to Great Wolf Lodge next year.

Still, we had a wonderful time together and made some great family memories. The boys all got along nicely (no great temper tantrums when one got a jackpot and the other didn't) and pooled their arcade tickets to purchase prizes equally between the two little guys. Bryce had a chance to beat the high score twice on the basketball arcade game (first shooting 77 points and then 79). The boys played several games of air hockey without dissolving into competitive angst. We enjoyed the lazy river and the wave pool together. I was able to read an entire book. Plus, the drive turned out to be nice both directions. All of this made for a great weekend.

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