Beyond Dorothy' wildest dreams, prepare to be dazzled in Kansas City, Kansas, the fabled land of Oz, with a stay at Great Wolf Lodge.
As “there’s no place like home,” you may want to make your homebase at this Great Wolf Lodge (800/608-WOLF (9653), the perfect-for-families blend of a wilderness retreat with the comfort of a four-star hotel. Capturing the atmosphere and adventure of the Northwoods, there are 281 family-sized suites that will work for a small family or groups of six.
Seven suite layouts provide various solutions to family togetherness, ranging from open plans with shared bedrooms to areas divided for privacy. Three themed suites, KidCabin, KidKamp, and Wolf Den, add to the fun. Each offers an in-suite private area for younger kids to experience a bunkhouse, a camping getaway or even sleeping in a wolf den. To further the adventure, bunk beds make kids feel like they’re in their very own suite. Most of the suites open onto sizeable decks or patios and include at least one 27″ TV, a full size bath, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. Cribs and rollaways are available.
The Lodge’s comfortable Grand Lobby with overstuffed furniture and tables and chairs, serves as the resorts’ “living room” where families and friends gather to play. The animated Great Clock Tower features an eight-minute “Rhythm of Nature” show three times daily, that keeps the little ones wide-eyed with wonder. Gathering at the base of the Clock Tower, they’re enchanted by the singing moose, owl, turtle, beaver, brown bear and trees.
After the 8 o’clock show, it’s storytime by the fireplace, which often looks like a pajama party, as the little ones wind down after an exhausting fun-filled day of play
Bear Track Landing, the lodge’s four story, 84°F/29°C indoor waterpark, is clearly the hallmark attraction, offering a total of eight waterslides including three kiddie slides. At the center, Fort Mackenzie, a four-story treehouse waterfort is interconnected with suspension bridges, cargo nets, web crawls and more then 60 guest activated water effects. Every few minutes, a 1,000-gallon bucket at the top of the 48-foot-tall structure fills with water, tips down and douses the entire fort and everyone gathered at the bottom.
Five pools also add to the indoor fun, and Cub Paw Pool beckons the youngest of thrill seekers with its zero-depth entry and kiddies interactive play toys, including a bucket dump factory, shootings jets and more. More than 45 lifeguards, all nationally certified, oversee the resort’s waterpark safety. Children under 48″ and inexperienced swimmers are encouraged to wear Coast Guard-approved life vests that are available free of charge.
Kids love to take a break in Cub Club, the resort’s activity room led by Great Wolf Lodge’s Ambassador of Fun and mascots including Biko the Bear, Yellow Feather and Wiley the Wolf. For the older kids there’s an incredible indoor arcade and ticket redemption center for fun prizes.
Great Wolf Lodge’s family restaurant Camp Critter Grill, set amidst a “forest” of maple and oak trees, has the feel of a real camping retreat. There are private dining tents with canopy overlays and wooden picnic style tables and benches. The campsite is filled with friendly critters including a bear, opossum, squirrels and some mischievous raccoons. The menu highlights salads, sandwiches, and homestyle entrees with names like Wolf Bites, Field & Greens and Timberger and Fries. The Kid’s Camp Critter Collection offers Peanut Butter and Jelly Pinweels, Macaroni and Cheese and Mini Corn Dogs. Fun desserts include Bears in a Blizzard and Bears in the Mud. The table top S’mores and Pudgie Pies, both camping favorites, are brought to your table in traditional cast iron pans. For a lighter snack there’s the Bear Claw CafÃ©, Spirit Island Snack Shop and Pizza Hut Express.
Although baby sitting services are not provided through the resort, the front desk may be able to assist you in finding a childcare provider. Washers and dryers are open 24 hours, 7 days a week for a nominal fee.
Great Wolf Lodge is located in Village West at 10401 Cabela Drive, Kansas City, KS 66111. Fees run $$ to $$$ according to the season.
Dinosaurs in the Neighborhood
Located near the base of the smokestack at the Legends at Village West Shopping Center (1843 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, KS 66111), is a prehistoric family adventure with great food and unique entertainment.
At T-REX (913/334-8888), a fun destination restaurant, would-be paleontologists can practice their skills in the Paleo Zone’s Discovery Dig, a large excavation pit with replicas of fossil bones waiting to be uncovered. The Matrix Blaster lets kids of all ages “blast” dirt away to reveal treasures within. Young dinosaur fans will especially enjoy the chance to take home their own personal dinosaur with Build-A-Dino, with a variety of outfits and accessories from which to choose.
Several different dining rooms each have their own theme and animatronic dinosaurs. Some of the menu offerings include the Triassic Tortellini, Bronto Burgers, Chicken Caesarsaurus, Mes-o-Bones (baby back ribs), a Supersaurus appetizer sampler, and delicious desserts including Chocolate Extinction, Dino-Mite Chocolate Cake and S’mores-asaurus.
Photos by Mel Greenberg
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