by Cathy Barbarossa
If hopping on a plane or taking a long road trip seems like anything but fun to you, opting for a local vacation might be your ticket!
I love that Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario is family-friendly, a decent drive (if you live near the Golden Horseshoe region), and you don’t have to worry about brushing your teeth with bottled water.
Of course, with every vacation, there are pros and cons. So, I’ve whipped up this list on why it’s a great destination vacation (and why it’s not).
What makes the Great Wolf Lodge so great?
1. You can bank on a weather-proof vacation. Rain or shine, it doesn’t matter since the water park is indoors. Plus, if you go in the summer, the outdoor poolside creates the illusion you’re at a real resort (without the pina coladas – boooo).
2. Most girls get a kick out of pedicures. After a day of looking at your wrinkled fingers and toes from all the water fun, nothing beats a scented ice cream themed pedicure and manicure to make you feel new again. Your teens (and teens at heart) will think you’re the coolest mom ever for treating them to a spa day!
3. Can’t get your kid out of the bathtub? Magnify that feeling 30X for them. There’s everything from water roller coasters, slides, a giant splash pad, rafts, inner tubes, and lots and lots of pools. It beats rubber duckies, that’s for sure!
4. The basic rooms are spacious and clean. Plus, every room includes a mini fridge as their standard at NO extra charge. So, you can rest assured that your baby bottles and bite-sized snacks are chilling while you’re chillin’.
5. Location, location, location. You’re a pretty close drive to Niagara Falls so you can easily change up the scene. Go on, take that cheezy honeymoon you’ve always wanted… with your kids.
What makes the Great Wolf Lodge NOT so great?
1. It can be pretty pricey! Make sure you check out discounts online before you book. I also brought some of my own cereal, milk, cold cuts, bread and drinks to get through snack time and quick meals. Yes, cheap is chic.
2. Bring your own Pack ‘n Play if you need a crib. I asked for one from the front lobby and the one I got was so dirty, it should have been called “Puke and Play.” Nasty!
3. It’s pretty limiting if you have a toddler under the age of two. There was one lame excuse they called water basketball with six children crying over one ball. No water toys + No small splash pad areas = Not a lot of fun for mom.
4. The bedtime storytime in the lobby will put you to sleep. Kids were asked to wear their pjs to the lobby. Cute, right? Well, not when you watch them sitting on a DIRTY carpet on the floor and then slip into bed in the same pjs. Secondly, a lady reading a story with one employee dressed in a king costume doing nothing is very once upon a time.
5. Look out for big buckets of water overtop. Although the kids get all excited watching people get zonked by a random bucket of water splashing on their heads, I did not feel it was the safest thing for young toddlers/babies to try to catch their breath after swallowing unexpected water. There were no warning signs, so if you don’t know this when you first arrive, walk with your head up and mouth closed. (A good trick to keep the kids quiet, btw).
In a nutshell, by the end of your trip, if you don’t feel this was the best compromise for your hot ticket to the Caribbean (and it’s not), then simply utter the words, “Non hablo ingles” to your kids if they ever suggest going again.
In my opinion though, if you’re looking for the kid in YOU to come out than this is “the” place to be. I definitely think it’s a must for every family to try at least once. And believe me, your kids will thank you. Happy splashing!
Photos: Great Wolf Lodge Niagara
Cathy Barbarossa is a freelance writer and proud mom and wife. Although writing about food is her niche, her new passion includes providing inspirational tips, tricks and tales dedicated to the unsung heroes who bring life to life: Moms.