Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio

We kicked off our February break with a trip to Ohio! Whoop, whoop! Why Ohio? Well, we were meeting college friends from hither and yon (okay: Madison, Wisconsin and Washington, DC), so we chose Great Wolf Lodge in Ohio because it was a family-friendly spot that we could all drive to within 7 or 8 hours.

We left on Friday–the original plan was to head out right after school, but we sensed a snow day was coming, so we thought we’d make it out by 10 am. And then there was so much freaking snow that we didn’t make it out until closer to 1 pm. Holy crap, you guys, that was so much snow! And like an idiot I’d told our neighbors that we’d clear their sidewalk since they were on vacation. Except those neighbors live five doors down for us on a corner, and with so freakin’ much snow and such high piles from the plow, it turned out to be a bigger job than usual. The snow was up to my shoulders on the corner after the snowplow came through! But, okay: I’m over it.

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We got home earlier tonight and are recovering from plenty of fun. Here’s a quick report.

The water park: it was fun for the kids, but I kept running into people who told me that other Great Wolf Lodges had water parks that were both larger and more magnificent. Including the one in the Poconos, which is conveniently located three hours away instead of eight, so if you’re not meeting our friends, that’s a better choice.

There were a couple of big tube slides, a toddler area, a basketball area, and other fun little features. The kids had an excellent time. Also, a hot tub with an adult-only section. So: yay.

They also had plenty of amusement-park-like fun, like this bizarre little animatronic set-up. They’d have shows and visits from the wolf character, and on Saturday night there was a kids’ dance party, which I was absolutely grooving out to until they switched from One Direction to The Hokey Pokey and totally lost me.

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There was also an arcade seemingly designed to give adults migraines. While debating how much money we should spend on their gaming cards, another mother assured me that “it took us forever” to spend $10. Apparently my daughters are just way better at blowing through cash than her kids. What can I say? They’re gifted.

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I also felt a little bit like rooms were booby-trapped with these bottles of water. We hadn’t been our room five minutes when I noticed M drinking some Dasani water. “Wait!” I caught her, “Where did that come from?” M shrugged. “It was just sitting on the table.” Ohhhhhhh. . . excellent. Just add that to our tab.

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The rooms were nice: two double beds and a half-wall separating a living area with a pull-out couch and a little table. A patio with a delightful view of the snowy parking lot. Rustic country decor similar to the Great Escape Lodge. Microwave and mini-fridge. Teensy little bathroom. I forgot to take a picture at the beginning, and then later the place was just too much of a mess to document it for the public.

A surprise hit was the MagiQuest activity: it’s basically a dragons-and-fairies scavenger hunt set up throughout the hotel. Our group of kids, ages 5 to 14, spent hours working on the various challenges. It was fun watching them work out their strategies, and it  was lovely having something beyond the water park for them to do when the grownups really just wanted to hang out and chat.

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Phew! It was an excellent weekend, and a great diversion from all the cold, cold, cold. A week someplace tropical would have been great, too, but honestly? On the day it was snowing, watching the flakes fall through the the huge windows made drinking a margarita in the humid heat of the water park seem extra cozy.

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