GREAT Wolf Vacation

Talon, Atlas and me about to enjoy a breakfast buffet.
Talon, Atlas and me about to enjoy a breakfast buffet.

Last weekend, my family and I went on a vacation to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. We had wanted to go for a few years, but weren’t financially able to until now. For anyone who doesn’t know, it costs a small fortune to stay for three nights. We ended up spending nearly $2,000 (including the room) after it was all said an done. Granted we did splurge because it was my daughter’s birthday, and we added a night to our stay, it could have been much cheaper.

BUT! It was worth every penny. I had a ton of fun and bonded with my daughter more than ever before!

I took off early on Friday and picked up our daughter from school to get ready and leave as soon as we possibly could, but, like most of our scheduled departures, we didn’t leave until a few hours after we intended. Most of that was due to our son who decided to have a fussy morning. Unfortunately, we left just in time to hit all the major rush hour hot-spots.

Talon still smiling after a long day of traveling.
Talon still smiling after a long day of traveling.

We arrived about five hours later, tired and exhausted, but relieved. My wife wanted to hang out in the room and recuperate, but my daughter and I were way too excited to stay. We immediately started exploring and checking out all the different activities.

We stopped by the kid’s store to buy my daughter a “thanks for traveling five hours with a fussy infant next to you and not complaining once” present. I talked to the clerk and ended up buying a Paw Pass (one of three kids packages), which I highly recommend. It includes a wand/topper for MagiQuest, a stuffed animal, and a few other little goodies.

We left the shop after redeeming her stuffed animal and immediately made our way to the MagiQuest shop, or what I call the “fitness supply center”. I’d heard about this live-action adventure game and was almost as excited as my daughter.

Now, before we go on, I feel like I must issue a disclaimer. The guy in the MagiQuest shop described the adventure as a ten-mile scavenger hunt. Right. Sounds like a lot of work, but I saw plenty of parents running around with their kids on this “journey”.  The few things I failed to notice were: A) the amount of children without parents far outweighed the rest, B) the parents that were present looked like zombies, and C) the shop clerk had mentioned stairs.

That’s right. Stairs. To a non-marathoner such as myself, ten miles is daunting enough; however, add on the fact that roughly 4-5 miles of it is stair-climbing, it instantly becomes an Iron Man Triathlon to me. Of course, I didn’t figure this out until we were already into our third quest. So get your running shoes on and stretch, because you won’t need a gym when you’re done.

Unless you’re one of those people.

With that said, I must say that all the exercise I was shocking my body with had very little affect on the amount of fun I was having. My daughter and I were feeding our inner nerds until we couldn’t take any more. We knew we had about three days to complete all the quests, so we took our time and enjoyed it.

Talon getting a new quest at one of the trees.
Talon getting a new quest at one of the trees.

We finished the entire list of quests and adventures by the end of day two. We couldn’t get enough, so, like two kids with change at a candy shop, we bought the second set of quests (ShadowQuest). Exhausted, but motivated, we once again found ourselves pointing our wands and lighting up quest items. Talon and I had mutually agreed to use only elevators by this point.

We did the entire MagiQuest and ShadowQuest by the time we checked out, plus a couple miles for general confusion and misdirection. Next time we go, we’re going to attempt Compass Quest, the next add-on.

A tip for any first-time Magis: if you get a wand, the toppers are an extra $14-$18. They can help you immensely on your quests, and they look pretty cool too. The “special” ones at our GWL were only a few dollars more, but digitally added 4 random toppers to the account. We got the GWL wolf, which gave us a topper that allowed us to instantly defeat the Silver Dragon (which is surprisingly difficult, considering it’s a game aimed at younger children).

We didn’t just go on quests the whole time, though.

Me holding Atlas before we took him to his first swimming pool.
Me holding Atlas before we took him to his first swimming pool.

My wife’s favorite place to hang out with our daughter was the water park. I went with them on the first day of our stay to check it out and see my son experience his first time in a swimming pool. My wife put him in the water up to his waist (it was only a foot deep). It surprised him at first, but he quickly adjusted to it. I think it was like a bath to him.

I had fun, but not nearly as much fun as they did. When I was there, my daughter and I checked out a couple of the smaller water slides. They were both essentially the same, but we still enjoyed them quite a bit.

After we tried the two slides, it was my turn to hang out with our son, so I switched with my wife and didn’t see them for about an hour. Atlas fell asleep in my arms after about fifteen minutes, so I walked around and watched people enjoy the water and get splashed with the massive bucket of water.

Maybe it was the pool water, or maybe it was Atlas asleep in my arms, but I soon found myself getting tired. I walked over to our table and took a little nap until Eva and Talon were done.

The rest of the trip involved little things like glow-in-the-dark golf, trick-or-treating, story time and arcade games. We all agreed that four days was a lot of fun, but we were ready to be home again. Now I’m going to work every weekend I can, so we can go back as soon as possible.

Compass Quest is calling.

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