If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you already know we spent a few days at Great Wolf Lodge last week. Great Wolf Lodge and camping are as fancy as we get for family vacations. Yes, we travel to New Zealand, but sadly, not as a family, and sadly, not in a long time thanks to the big, bad, virus.
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When I booked our room back in October, I wasn’t sure how many “kids” would be joining us. Between adults, jobs, and school, we have a constantly changing number of people sleeping here, eating here, going on family outings. I ended up booking the biggest room I could (sleeps up to eight) and figured we would work out the details as the time drew near. In the end, we only took four boys with us; Mordecai, Hezekiah, Tucker, and Apollo.
Fun Fact: Every rest stop north of Seattle has been closed since October 2021 due to “excessive trash, vandalism, and a staffing shortage.” Now, Great Wolf Lodge is a good 3-4 hour drive from our home depending on traffic. Since we don’t have any babies or small children, we managed the trip with just one stop. We knew the rest stops would be closed, so at about 2 pm we stopped at a Mcdonald’s to grab lunch and use the bathroom…but the joke was on us. Lunch for six was apparently not enough to earn us bathroom privileges. McDonald’s had their bathrooms shut down (thankyoucovid). The cashier was helpful enough to point to a nearby Starbucks and say, “I think their bathroom is open”.
Relaxing at Great Wolf Lodge???
This photo is a prime example of why I love Emma so much. She just hopped in her brother-in-laws bed and hung out with us. She is most definitely one of the family.
Chuck and I both agreed this is the first time a trip to Great Wolf Lodge has been relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, we love going there and have always had fun, but it was also a lot of work. This time? Our boys were 19, 17, 16, and 11. Everyone could swim and for the first time we didn’t need to watch kids like a hawk to make sure noone drowned, got lost, or kidnapped.
Really, Really Large Family Day at Great Wolf Lodge
Oof, that’s a lot of people…we only brought four kids and Jennifer and Paul only brought six (I think). Did I mention Enoch and Emma, and Emma’s family were there too? There are about 17 billion of us together…so we made sure to grab a photo…
Mini-Golf at Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mount, Washington
We did something new this year, which was play mini-golf. It was…disappointing to say the least. The website describes the experience like this:
“Bring your whole pack to play Howl at the Moon Glow Golf and enjoy an immersive blacklight experience that brings a nature-themed forest to vibrant life. Nine creatively designed holes will challenge and entertain players of all ages. A family favorite!”
Sounds cool, right? Well, here was our experience. The course is small and by small I don’t mean “mini-golf” small, I mean crammed into too small of a space small. We were only allowed to play mini-golf in groups of four. We were told (and the sign instructed us) that only one group could play at a time. I assumed this had something to do with covid precautions. But as soon as we started to play, it became apparent the rule was there because there is literally no space between each course/hole. Each section/grass/whatever you call it was touching the next.
That wasn’t the biggest issue, however.
For some reason, when I went to pay for the game, they were free because they were “out of real golf balls”. I’m not sure how or why…maybe they were disinfecting them? We were given little foam balls instead. No biggie, right? Until we stepped into the room. Turns out, our foam balls were nearly invisible under the blacklights. Mine had a small “x” hand-drawn on it which allowed me to see the ball if the “x” was pointed just right. Otherwise, it was a shot in the dark. Literally. Also, many of the holes were not visible.
Basically, we ended up hitting invisible balls (which it turns out, weren’t quite heavy enough to do the job and were bouncy) in a dark, cramped room with nearly invisible holes.
Now, granted, I was an adult and maybe this course was designed for little kids, but I honestly think anyone under the age of 8 would find this experience even more frustrating. Let’s just sum it up by saying, I am sure glad we didn’t pay $7 per person to play.
My grandson, Abel, is two-years-old and very into FaceTime. His vocabulary is growing and he can say Grandma, Apollo-lo, and my personal favorite, “oh yeah!”. He seems to have replaced the more common “yes” with this fun exclamation. His last phase of FaceTime involved him running off with the phone and talking nonstop like he was making a cute toddler sequel to The Blair Witch Project. Now his passion is trying out different filters. I captured the rare screenshot of Abel’s face in the photo above. Usually, when we FaceTime I end up looking at the ceiling, or if I’m really lucky, his forehead (much like Emma in the screenshot. I have no idea what she was doing).
Mordecai, our own sleeping beauty…Emma, Enoch, and Hezekiah. Not sure what they are doing, but don’t they look cute all piled in the bed together?
I brought a few games along and was able to introduce Jennifer, Emma’s mom, to Sushi Go! This game is a lot of fun…I need to do a full review of it, but suffice it to say, it’s a lot of fun and worth the money.
Enoch and Emma…the cutest newlyweds at the lodge.
Despite the lack of bathrooms on the I-5 and a dubious mini-golf experience, we loved our little getaway and can’t wait to go again next year. If you are looking for tips on making a family getaway to Great Wolf Lodge affordable, check out my post, Great Wolf Lodge Tips for Large Families.