It was the dead of winter and I was suffering waterpark depravation. What to do? There were two options. Fly to a warm weather destination with an outdoor waterpark, or drive to an indoor waterpark.
Driving meant I didn’t have to overpay for what should be a cheap flight, take my shoes off in the airport, suffer flight delays or endure those onboard who, as the plane lands and taxis to the terminal, phone to tell their friends waiting in the terminal that their flight has arrived. Isn’t that why God invented arrival boards?
I decided to head to the Great Wolf Lodge Poconos in Pennsylvania. Because of its proximity to the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, this is the most heavily attended lodge in the Great Wolf chain. But I went during the week, and the facility was not full. Great Wolf Lodge is a themed 401-room hotel with amenities, lots of amenities, including a massive indoor heated waterpark. It’s the perfect destination for families with young children looking for a few days’ escape. I had no young children, just moi.
My Great Wolf Lodge adventure began in the 84°F (29°C) waterpark. I splashed the day away in over 79,000 sq ft (7,339 sq m) of water-packed excitement, including some jaw-dropping slides. I floated along the lazy river, but avoided the zero-depth entry areas for little ones.
During my visit I discovered a new second-favourite waterpark element. The lodge is filled with ProSlide attractions, including a Tantrum Alley. I had never been on one before. It begins with a high speed in-run into an enclosed funnel, followed by a dark slide before another funnel and a final splashdown. I’m a fairly jaded thrill-seeker, so when I dropped sharply into the first funnel and nearly flipped, it pulled a scream from my throat. I don’t do that, but I did on the Tantrum Alley, twice. My first-favourite waterpark element is, of course, the hot tub. Pig heaven.
Outside the waterpark, the fun continued, at least for the kids. They could play MagiQuest, an attraction that has been rolled out to several other Great Wolf destinations. The interactive treasure hunt game allows guests to fight goblins, slay dragons and interact with magical creatures. Using a magic wand as a wireless controller, visitors move throughout the hotel’s four floors finding clues and hints to solve problems and earn points.
Kids can get an ice cream-themed manicure in Scooops Kid Spa before gathering their family in the Grand Lobby for nightly fireside Story Time, the perfect ending to a Great Wolf day. For me, the perfect ending was a visit to the lounge for an adult beverage, a cold one. The bartender asks, “Would you like your Shirley Temple with or without a cherry?” It had been a long day.