Indoor water parks can be a great weekend getaway when the chilly weather has the kids going stir crazy or any time you want a mini family vacation without the expense of getting on a plane. Great Wolf Lodge is a chain of popular indoor water park resorts that kids clamor for. We were recently invited to review the Great Wolf Lodge in Scranton, PA and even given a free ride courtesy of a test car from Chevy. Talk about gilding the lily.
Kids will obviously love Great Wolf Lodge for the over the top indoor water park and the wild MagiQuest adventure game that takes them running through the hotel looking for treasure. We've reviewed Great Wolf Lodge Resorts for families before, so I thought in this post I'd focus on some money (and sanity) saving tips to help make this kid-tacular retreat a more grown-up friendly vacation too.
Money Saving Tips:
Bring your own food: The food at the resort is expectedly expensive, but all of the rooms have mini fridges and microwaves so you can bring some food with you for cheaper, healthier options. There is also a deli near the turn-off to the resort. Compton's Pancake House, 10 minutes from the resort was also recommended.
Bring water bottles: If you want to avoid buying drinks in the water park.
Stay one night, play two: Your water park passes are good from 1pm on the day of arrival and till closing on the day of check out. Just bring a separate bag with your swim suits and stop by the front desk to get your park passes when you arrive. Change in the bathrooms in the lobby (they are cleaner than the ones in the water park).
Reuse your MagiQuest wand: MagiQuest is expensive but unavoidable. The kids love it and it keeps them occupied for a long time. If you ever revisit a Great Wolf Lodge resort or another place that offers MagiQuest, you can reuse your wand for a (smaller) re-up charge.
Look for deals: Great Wolf Lodge often has deals on their website and going mid-week is generally cheaper than over the weekend.
Sanity Saving Tips:
Eat outside the resort: Since food is not included, leaving for your meals can be a nice chance to add a little culinary adventure to your trip. We found a great Indian restaurant called Tandoor Palace in nearby Tannersville. The restaurant is in an elegant, old fashioned railroad dining car, the food was great, and most of the other patrons were Indian families—always a good sign.
Bring a bathrobe and flip flops: While the water park is quite warm, the walk back to your room can be chilly if you're all wet. I wished I had had a cozy robe for the trip.
Reduce noise: Great Wolf Lodge has quiet hours, but you may still hear kids racing through the halls on their MagiQuest adventures. Ask for a room toward the end of the hallways, away from the staircases, to avoid stampedes outside your door.
Make a side trip: The Scranton, PA Great Wolf Lodge is right in the Poconos and so there are a ton of other things to do if you've had enough of the water park. We stopped at Bushkill Falls on the way home to enjoy a short hike to admire the waterfalls.
Find out more or book a room at GreatWolf.com.
A word about the car:
I admit I was a little freaked out when Chevrolet offered to loan us a Chevy Cruze to test drive for the weekend. I'm not a car reviewer and wasn't sure what I would have to say. In the end, I was impressed with the way the car drove, it was very sporty and handled well. The best part for us though was the trunk space. For such a sporty, small car, the trunk is really big, making it a great city car. The only thing I didn't like was the built-in GPS system which spurted out directions at random times. But I suppose that's optional anyway. Hey, Chevrolet, any time you want to loan me a car for the weekend, I'm game. <