Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How to earn my loyalty...

When I go on vacation with young children, there are several issues that come into play in choosing the destination. Some of the obvious factors are location and distance from home, cost of resorts and activities nearby, and the good old "Is it fun?" factor.

But there is another issue that is often assumed but rarely checked prior to arriving at your resort:


And when you're going to a waterpark hotel, with dozens of slides, pools, and water features, the possibilities for dangerous nooks and crannies are endless. Anyone that personally knows me, will know that I am a water lover who respects its power. My children are never allowed in even the tiny wading pool without me. So, to allow my 9 year old a bit of freedom at Great Wolf Lodge this weekend, speaks wonders for my faith in their safety protocols.

Let's take a gander at a few of their lifeguards, shall we?
Here you have a walker. One of the things I love about the lifeguards at Great Wolf is their continuous movement. When you have only stationary guards, you miss those tiny spots where a child could be stuck in a current. Walking, scanning, walking, checking... (It was hard to get a good picture because they kept on moving around!)Here is the walking guard's second post, once relieved by another guard. They switch shifts and locations regularly, so as not to allow complacency or boredom. So, you have your walkers and standers....
..And then you have the ones that hover. The hovering/walking guards were found most frequently by the wave pool. Again, you can't get a great picture because they won't interact with anyone for anything other than a needed emergency. I appreciated their diligence many a time in the wave pool. Especially with 3 kids to keep track of!
The more traditional sitting locations were found by the water basketball courts and atop the slides. (It's good to know that they get a chance to get off their feet!)

The best part is that their system seems to really work! When Corinne was on the toddler slides, and got sucked under by the back current, I ran to her side and scooped her up only to find the lifeguard bumping into my back and making sure she was ok. When Corinne scraped her knee on the cement steps and was crying by the side of the pool, the lifeguard was immediately upon us to check her out and see that there wasn't anything seriously wrong. When she saw that we just needed a band-aid, she continued on her diligent scanning of her post but radioed for someone to help us. Within moments, 2 workers were smiling sympathetically and offering their services. (I'd like to send a huge thank-you to them, for making me feel safe. And for making my daughter feel better...)

It is because of their attention to the safety details, along with the price, location, and other features available (on-site ball play area, breakfast buffet, restaurant, animatronic musical show, spa...) that we continue to happily return to Great Wolf Lodge.

I'd like to send out a huge thank-you for the opportunity to go back! I've also commented on The Chicago Moms Blog with a post on how to be a little greener on vacation.

Before you click over to continue reading my brilliant prose (you will, won't you?), you can appease yourself with my own personal idea of eye candy...
My men....

Deer Park. Corinne was in HEAVEN. She could have happily pitched a tent in the middle of the deer sanctuary and spent the rest of her weekend there.
Gentle, gentle creatures. If you ever make it to Deer Park (one of the Dells' original attractions) I highly recommend buying the deer crackers at the front desk. Less of a mess than the corn feed in little cups...

"Daddy, can you carry me?"
My Root and Sprout bag was serving its purpose as a pool bag, yet again! Did you know that the September issue is out? Did you read my articles yet? Did you? Did you? Huh?!?
My biggest fish...

My middle fish after some ink (AIRBRUSHED, of course.)
All of the tattoos you can imagine and she chose a lizard. Gotta love that girl!

They really were ALL having fun, but Corinne wanted to go back on the body slides instead of standing still for a picture. Can you imagine the nerve of her mother?!?

Sharing ice cream at Riverview Park. We love getting the night pass wristbands. Everyone has unlimited rides of go-karts and kiddie rides. Very carnival type atmosphere without the carnival prices.

Wiley's Woods: for the kids or the dads? This is a question I ask myself every year as Patrick always seems to find other grown men to engage in a brutal war. Granted, he used the kids as suppliers of balls for ammo... So I guess it can still be considered a family affair, right?

Think someone was tired and ready to go home?
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