For Christmas this year the kids were gifted a very large amount of money for a trip from Oma and uncle Chris. Uncle Alexander joined in and gave each one of them some spending money. We were able to get a great deal for the Great Wolf Lodge and decided to go there for 3 days and two nights. The kids were very excited and after watching YouTube videos to show them exactly where they were going, they got even more excited. They even got to skip some schooldays so that the rates were a bit better. It was a very exhilarating day when we finally left on our adventure. We had packed up special treats from Costco for breakfast and lunches that we usually don't spend money on. Nathan had been begging me for Danishes that we had bought for two whole days. He could not wait for our first breakfast. As part of our deal, the hotel gave us $30 credit every day. We figured we could get pizza from that for dinner.
Our room was wonderful and very comfortable. Here the kids wanted to do a little trick photo on a separator wall in the room. Bet you thought it was two separate photos! :-) The girls had one bed, David and I the other and then Nathan had the pull-out couch all to himself.
Another treat. A while ago my mom sent these cute toiletry bags for the kids with matching magic cloths. We hadn't been on a trip since they were gifted, so the kids haven't used them. I had some sample tubes of lotion and small toothpastes and other goodies that I packed in their bags along with their regular toiletries. The kids were quite thrilled to open these "gifts" again and explore all their contents.
The hotel was decorated all throughout. This fellow was such a decoration. Isabelle was quite taken by him and stopped EVERY single time we passed him, even if other people were using the adjacent machine or visiting him.
The hotel has a wonderful story time at night. Most kids show up in pajamas as they watch the animated dolls tell a story. Afterwards a hotel employee and a mascot also read a story.
When story time is over, the kids can visit with the mascot. The older two realize by now that this is a photo op. Isabelle obviously is still taken by meeting people-sized animals in clothes.
The kids chose to spend some of their money from uncle Sandersche on a game called MagiQuest. They purchased a wand and one game pass that they shared. Dad would take them for hours (when Isabelle had to sleep) all over the hotel where they had to solve clues, find items and help all sorts of forest folk. The hotel has all floors decorated and special rooms dedicated to this game. There are pictures and talking animals all throughout the lodge. When you point the wand at them, treasure chests open, books read, trees show videos of people in the game, dragons awake, animals start to talk and/or move, etc. Abigail was the one who was totally hooked on the game. As soon as we got up in the morning, she begged to play it again.
After tagging along with the big kids on the second day of MagiQuest, Isabelle got a little bored. So we took her to a coloring area where she thoughtfully colored a raccoon.
The best part of the lodge? The gigantic indoor swimming area. Isabelle spent most of the first day in the kiddy area. On the second day, we took her along to the bigger pools so all of us could be together. Here Dave is getting her used to swimming in the jacket. She is finally not freaking out and on this picture is waving. It is funny, she totally trusted Dave but when I took her, she would grab on to me and hold on for dear life.
We actually remembered to take pictures of the kids together this time. Unfortunately the lighting inside the pool was very dark.
Dave is jumping up behind the kids for this photo. They didn't even notice until they saw the photo...
The lodge even had their own TV show where animals teach about our responsibility toward the environment. As you can see from Abby's face, very captivating stuff. Nathan is just happy to snuggle with Isabelle, which she doesn't do very often these days. He soaked up the opportunity.
The kids were allowed to spend uncle Sandersche's money on anything they wanted. Isabelle of course bought the one mama and baby set of animals she found. Unfortunately Copper got a hold of mama wolf three days after we got home. She is missing an eye now. It is a dog-eat-wolf world.
We also gave them each $10 for the hotel's arcade. Abby figured she'd be best of spending some of her game money on guaranteed candy.
Isabelle fell in love with this ice-cream truck. She spent almost all her money here. The truck also makes sounds if you press buttons but she just sat quietly in it. One time she played with the steering wheel.
Nathan loved this motorcycle game. Hint: Don't ever ride on a motorcycle with him when he is driving! He's a terrible driver.
Second night at story time. This time, Isabelle did not want to leave her furry friend. We had to pull her away as she kept turning around and waving at him.
Abigail bought herself a pink wolf, oh, sorry, a pink cat. She is insistent that it is a cat. So it is.
On our last day, we finished our first stage of MagiQuest, defeated the dragon with a family effort, and then spent several hours swimming. Abby was the most sad to leave. It was just really nice to spend time with the kids without any of the distractions of home.