Saturday, September 27, 2008

Travel Log: Great Wolf Lodge

We've wanted to visit a Great Wolf Lodge ever since we first heard of their existence a few years ago. It's a hotel built around an indoor waterpark. I have an aversion to the sun and will spend like an hour putting on sun screen before going outdoors, so the idea of an INDOOR waterpark to me is just AWESOME.

There are several Great Wolf Lodges all across the midwest and eastern seaboard, so when we planned our trip across country, we wanted to be sure to visit at least ONE Great Wolf Lodge. Thursday night we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City.

Cue sound effect: Angelic choir singing hallelujah chorus.





Me and YB in the Green Waterslide

There were five big waterslides twisting and turning all over the park like a bowl of spaghetti. Three of them weren't suitable for the boys because they either (a) had pitch-black dark tunnels that freaked the boys out, or (b) weren't for innertubes and could only be ridden solo, or both.

YB and me coming out of the blue waterslide.

On two of the waterslides, the blue one and the green one, you could ride two-person innertubes down, and although there were tunnels, the plastic was translucent enough you could see the turns and the dips and know what was coming. These two were a blast and we rode them at least a dozen times.

Me and YB on the Green Waterslide

Me and YB on the Blue Waterslide

Unfortunately, I took ES on one of the slides with the dark tunnel the first time, and it kinda freaked him out, so he wouldn't go on any more slides for a while after that.

This was the yellow slide that scared ES.

After he saw YB go with me several times on the blue and the green slides, then he decided he would go with us. Thank goodness he did, because he liked it so much he ended up going by himself several times.

ES coming off the waterslide solo

We also took a liesurely ride on the lazy river and played in the little kid pool with the little kid slides, too.

Floating along the lazy river.

ES being a goofball in the lazy river.

Video along the lazy river.

I took several videos, and I know I keep promising to share videos with you, but I have limited time to post this and get to bed. I will upload the videos at some point and let you know when they're up on YouTube. Videos uploaded 10/12/2008. There are a couple more videos of the kiddie pool area on my YouTube channel.

It would have been fun to spend more than one night there. Unfortunately, they were booked Friday night because of a big event going on at the nearby racetrack.

We spent 3 hours at the waterpark on Friday morning then got cleaned up and had some lunch at Chipotle. [Cue sound effect: Angelic choir singing hallelujah chorus] Man I love Chipotle! I've really missed it a lot since we left Virginia last year.

Next, I have to give a shout out of thanks to FastNav for this recommendation. After lunch, we drove into Kansas City to visit the National World War I museum.


The monument was dedicated in like 1921 with several of the commanding generals from WWI present. I was afraid the museum inside was going to be pretty old and stuffy and boring for the kids. On the contrary, this was a really well laid out, very modern and interactive museum.

After we entered the doors, we walked across a glass bridge over 9,000 poppy flowers - one flower for every 1,000 people killed in World War I. (The photo doesn't really do it justice.)

After crossing the bridge, we entered a small movie theater and watched a 12-minute film about the events leading up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. The museum is set up in sort of an oval divided into quadrants. This theater was in the first quadrant.

We exited the theater going counter clockwise around the oval, and the second quadrant or section of the museum was all about 1914 to 1917, before the United States joined the war.

There were very high-tech, interactive displays like these light tables. You used light pens to touch things on the table to bring up videos or sound effects or flip pages for more information.

Then there were also lots of static displays of weapons and uniforms, maps and photographs.

I took this picture to use the camera flash to show and explain the rifle grooves in the barrel to the boys.

Next, we continued counter-clockwise into the third quadrant along a walkway over a life-size diorama of a battlefield with a huge (like 100 foot wide) screen in the back showing a second movie. This was a 15 minute movie about the reasons why the United States entered the war. Like the first movie, this was also very well done and held both my interest as well as the boys' interest.

YB in front of the WW I Monument

Finally, we walked counter-clockwise into the fourth quadrant of the museum that covers from 1917 to 1919 while the United States was involved in the war. By the time we got here though, we were pushing our time limit on making it to dinner with my aunt, so he quickly browsed as we walked through to the exit and got back on the road.

Kansas City

We made good time to my aunt's house, and she took us to an awesome local place called Heroes for dinner. I knew I was in the south again (or close enough to it) because I got to have fried ocra with my dinner. :-9

Old Drum
and the Warrensburg Courthouse

Along the way to and from dinner, we passed by the statue of Old Drum in front of the Warrensburg Courthouse. The term "man's best friend" originated here in a very eloquent eulogy and closing argument in a court case for one guy shooting his neighbor's dog, Old Drum.

That's it for tonight folks. More to follow on our visit to Whiteman AFB and our stop in St. Louis.


B. Jill said...

Holy cow you guys managed to fit in sooooo much! We, too, have wanted to hit the Lodge. The first one we ever viewed was in Niagra Falls on our last trip to the east coast over a year ago. Ethan has NOT forgotten the place, and reminds us each time our next trip to Maine comes up that we HAVE to figure out how to get there!!!!
Much love,

pdxboxer said...

Thanks to Dave and Jess, Danny and I get to take Jaydan (6) to the Great Wolf Lodge about and hour and a half North of Portland. He's gonna LOVE it. Thanks for the photos - they're inspiring. I think I'll schedule it today! Miss you all! Love, UJ