Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg, Virginia

We just spent a fun filled weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. This was out first visit to this hotel, which boasts a large indoor water park as its main attraction. We checked in on Saturday afternoon around 2:00pm. Check in officially is 4:00, but if your room is ready you can go ahead and check in early.

The hotel has several options for rooms and suites to accommodate families of all sizes. We were a group of nine and had reserved a Grizzly Suite. The suite consisted of two separate bedrooms, one with two queen beds and the other with one queen bed. There was a living area with a sleeper sofa and two full bathrooms. One bathroom had a large walk in shower and the other a whirlpool tub with shower. There were three TVs, an electric fireplace, and a snack area with a microwave and a mini fridge. The suite was very clean and comfortable and our group of nine,(four adults and five children) fit nicely.

The indoor water park is the hotel's main attraction. Living in Florida, we are used to spectacular water parks and I was a little unsure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, as were the kids. There were water slides to suit everyone, as well as a wave pool, swimming pool, toddler area, and a large water play structure. There were also two large hot tubs, one for families and one for guests over 21. There are private cabanas available for rent on a first come basis. We chose to just park our stuff at one of the many tables and chairs scattered throughout the water park area. Towels are provided by the hotel and there was a large, clean shower and dressing area. No outside food may be brought into the water park. There is a snack bar type restaurant located just inside the doors that boasts fare such as hot dogs, corn dogs, hamburgers, nachos, and french fries. The prices were a little high, but not out of line with theme parks or hotels anywhere else. Our group of nine managed to eat lunch for just under $70. This included make your own slushies for all the kids.

In addition to the water park, the hotel offers many activities for children. The Cub Club is an area where kids of all ages can go to enjoy crafts and games. There are daily free crafts as well as more involved crafts that range in price from $3 - $15. N and A were perfectly happy with the free crafts offered. The Cub Club also hosts daily coloring contests and bingo games for the kids. Three times daily there is an animated show about nature under the lodge's Great Clock Tower. Following the evening show there is story time in front of the huge lobby fireplace. Of course, no hotel geared toward kids would be complete without an arcade and the Great Wolf is no exception. The Northern Lights Arcade is a typical arcade, full of noise, lights, and cheesy prizes. The kids loved it, though we imposed a limit on how much money they could waste in there. For adults, the hotel also has a large fitness room and a day spa. We did not make use of either of those facilities.

The lodge has dining options, but they were on the pricey side. We opted instead to get dinner one night from a local grocery store deli and from a local BBQ place the second night.

All in all, the Great Wolf Lodge is a great place for a family getaway. The staff was friendly and helpful, the hotel was impeccably clean, and there were activities for everyone. We'd definitely consider visiting again, either in Williamsburg or at one of Great Wolf's other locations. You can read more about the Great Wolf Lodge and what they have to offer at their website:

Monday, January 12, 2009

RockBand Hell

My children are the proud owners of a Wii. I didn't buy the Wii. It was a gift from their very generous great aunt. We've had the Wii for a year now and along the way have acquired several games for it, including Guitar hero and Wii Fit. This year, J and N received gift cards to Gamestop. They also received a duplicate Star Wars game and took it to exchange it. To my not so everlasting delight, they exchanged it for RockBand. Just the game, because they did not have near enough to cover the cost of the set. And the box said it was compatible with their Guitar Hero guitar. Okay fine. Then J discovered he had enough to buy just the drums. Great! Terrific! We now have daily RockBand sessions with both drum and guitar in the living room. Why the living room instead of a playroom or family room? Because our house is small. Very small. The sound of the drumsticks tapping is now permanently seared into my brain. Along with their endless renditions of Eye of the Tiger. Seriously, I'm over RockBand. If they ever get the microphone I may run screaming into the night.