Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

2021 Dutch Wonderland Opening Details!

Duke's Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland -

Dutch Wonderland is getting ready to open for the summer season and I'm excited to once again be partnering with them as a Royal Ambassador this year!  We're planning a visit for the first weekend in June, but the Lancaster, Pennsylvania amusement park opens to guests May 15.  Dutch Wonderland has long been a family favorite with plenty of choices for the youngest guests.  I have many fond memories of visiting as a child and have cherished the memories I've made with my own kids in recent years.

Check out 5 tips for having a Dutch Wonder-ful Day from our 2019 visit!

Dutch Wonderland COVID Safety

Safety is first and foremost on the minds of many families planning summer travel.  There are a few things to note about planning your visit to Dutch Wonderland this summer which align with COVID safety practices common among most theme parks across the country right now.  First, guests will need to pre-purchase tickets and make a park reservation.  This will help control capacity and make social distancing easier to manage.  Even though you'll spend the majority of your day outside at Dutch Wonderland, guests are required to wear a face mask (ages 2 and over) and practice social distancing.  You'll also find park employees masked up for the season.  If you're heading over to the water area, Duke's Lagoon (one of our favorites!), masks are not required in the water areas.  


A Disney Wish Come True - First Look at the Next Disney Cruise Line Ship

Setting sail in summer 2022, the Disney Wish will be a celebration of Disney’s rich legacy of enchanting storytelling that brings to life the fantastical worlds and beloved characters at the heart of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars adventures like never before. (Disney)

Disney Cruise Line has been leading the way in family cruising for years now and fans of the cruise line have been anxiously awaiting new additions to the small fleet of four ships.  Disney Cruise Line shared the first look at the next ship in the fleet, the Disney Wish, and it is AMAZING!  You can watch the entire 30+ minute preview on YouTube, but you can also grab my "CliffsNotes" version below.

What's New on the Disney Wish?

Guests will be immersed in “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” animated shorts aboard the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, AquaMouse. Complete with show scenes, lighting and special effects, and splashtacular surprises, this wild water ride is sure to delight everyone in the family as they zig, zag and zoom through 760 feet of winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks. (Disney)

First, let's talk about the pool deck.  You may recall from my guide to the pool deck on the Disney Dream, that Disney Cruise Line really goes above and beyond in providing family friendly spaces that are fun and beautful.  The Disney Wish will be adding an all new first-of-its-kind attraction at sea called AquaMouse.  This new experience will differ from the popular AquaDuck in that it's more than just a water coaster, it's a complete ride experience.  It kind of reminds me of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway in that it will feature Mickey and Minnie in a "shorts" story, but with a nautical twist.  I'm also thrilled to hear that they will have an infinity pool as part of the Quiet Cove area for adults only - it looks breathtaking!

Did you know that Disney Cruise Line is one of our favorite "adults only" vacations? Find out why!


5 Things You MUST Do on Oahu!

Chinaman's Hat (Mokoli'i) - Image

Hawaii has been home to many special memories for me and my husband.  We traveled to Oahu the first year we were dating and spent a week on the island, then returned three years later to honeymoon on Kauai and the Big Island.  Watching Finding 'Ohana on Netflix really made me miss those times in Hawaii - the beautiful landscape, rich culture, and yummy food!  In fact, the movie inspired me to jot down 5 must-do activities when visiting the island of Oahu.  All of these are kid-friendly, but if you're looking for some adult only time, you can certainly make them romantic outings as well!

Want to know more about the movie Finding 'Ohana?  Check out my review of the film and 20 of the BEST quotes from the movie.

Rent a Jeep

Clearly none of us are driving to Hawaii, so you have to figure out your transportation while on the island.  We prefer renting a car so we have complete freedom to explore at our own pace.  But, don't just rent any car. . .grab a Jeep!  Why?  Well, Hawaii has gorgeous weather of course which makes it ideal for top-down driving and the uninterrupted views are simply breathtaking.  A Jeep also allows you some off-roading capability.  Just be sure to respect the rules and signage in place!  Some areas are noted with dangerous terrain or private property signs.

Top 10 Posts of 2020

2020 was a crazy year - that goes without saying!  But, we had a lot of fun still here at Running on Pixie Dust and I'm excited to take a look back with you at my top 10 posts of the year.  From running to recipes, travel and family, there's a little something for everyone!

10.    Family Guide to Sesame Street Land at SeaWorld Orlando - Before COVID hit, we had the chance to visit Orlando in January and spent two days exploring SeaWorld with the kids.  This was the first time I had been to the park in 25 years and so much had changed.  We loved exploring Sesame Street Land with our boys!

9.    Holiday Gift Guide for Runners - I've been lucky this year to join the BibRave Pro Ambassador family and as such have had the chance to try out some amazing running gear.  I compiled a list of some of my favorites to share with you in a holiday gift guide which became a very popular post in Decemeber!

8.    Hersheypark Seasonal Events 2020 - If you've read my site over the past few years, you'll know that Hershey, PA is one of my favorite places to visit.  I was excited to share with my readers the awesome activities that took place in the fall and winter - Hersheypark in the Dark and Christmas Candylane.  These are annual favorites and we can't wait for next year to hopefully be back to normal so we can enjoy more time in the "Sweetest Place on Earth!"

Welcome to Cumberland, MD - A Great Place for Active Families!

During the summer of COVID, our family has been hanging closer to home like many others.  So rather than boarding planes and planning large vacations, we grabbed our bikes and headed to many of the great local destinations to get outside, stay active, and spend time together.  One of the places we spent a weekend was nearby Cumberland, MD.  At just about 2 hours from our door, it's a great distance for a quick getaway.  While we've passed through Cumberland before, we really hadn't taken the time to truly visit the area.  During our visits, we enjoyed good food, friendly hospitality, and many outdoors-y activities for our family.  

Where We Stayed:  Fairfield Inn and Suites - Cumberland

As many of you know, paying for a hotel room is something our family tries to avoid - and we've been fortunate to avoid that often over the years thanks to points accrued through travel and travel credit cards.  We had a small amount of Marriott points that had been hanging out there for a while, but it was the perfect amount to grab 2 nights at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Cumberland.  The hotel location was absolutely perfect for what we were looking for during our stay.  We were planning on biking the C&O Canal as part of my son's summer quest to complete both the C&O Canal Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage.  The hotel is quite literally on the C&O Canal Towpath - simply pedal your bike and roll out of the hotel parking lot!  But the location wasn't just great for cycling.  It was an easy walk to get around Cumberland and there are many great restaurants and entertainment options just outside the hotel in Canal Place.  The only caution to be aware of is that we happened to be there on nights that live bands were playing along the canal and at a nearby bar.  I don't know if this is always a concern in the summertime, or if the social distancing of COVID simply means more outdoor music this summer, but it was pretty noisy in our room until about 10PM.  It didn't stop our littles from falling asleep, but was very noticeable to us.

Fairfield Inn & Suites - Cumberland, MD

Besides the location, we were also really pleased with the hotel's COVID policies and features.  Fairfield Inn and Suites offers a free, hot breakfast each day.  During COVID, instead of the breakfast line being self-serve, they had hotel staff that would take your order, make your plate, then hand it off to you.  It's buffet breakfast food - not the best, but certainly good enough to get you out the door.  Waffles and/or oatmeal are always my go-to meals in these situations.  There is also an indoor pool and hot tub that was a great place to spend the afternoon.  During COVID, guests have to sign up for a time slot and no more than 6 people can be in the area during any one time spot.  Our family of 4 had the place to ourselves for our 90 minutes and enjoyed the chance to relax and unwind.  The hotel rooms are pretty standard - 2 queen beds for us, TV, nice bathroom.  Everything was clean and well maintained!

Want to know more about traveling during COVID?  Check out this post!

Where to Eat in Cumberland

We've been in Cumberland several times over the summer - sometimes just passing through and sometimes for an overnight.  With the time we spent in this Western MD city, we've quickly found some favorite places to visit for a meal while in town.  Here are a few of our favorites:

  • The Crabby Pig - Located right in Canal Place, this restaurant has ample outdoor seating (so important for COVID), live music, a casual atmosphere, kid-approved kid's menu, and yummy food.  This is a good place to sit and unwind after a long day on the trails!
  • Charis Winery - We really enjoy trying local wineries when we travel and were happy to find this little gem.  Also located in Canal Place, it was convenient to our hotel and had lots of outdoor seating as well.  The owner served us on both of our visits and was wonderful to talk to about how his winery started and the development of his wines.  Bonus points if you're traveling with kids - they have delicious lemonade made locally served in glass bottles.  My boys felt very grown up drinking their "fancy" drinks while mom and dad had a tasting.  
Charis Winery

  • Puccini Restaurant - Located right off of I-68, Puccini is a great find just a few miles outside of Cumberland.  As a vegetarian, I was happy to find a Beyond Meat Burger on the menu.  The wood-fired pizzas here were a big hit at our table as well.  Like the others, the easy location and several decks of outdoor seating made this a great choice.
  • Dig Deep Brewing Co. - This brewery was directly next to our hotel which made it very convenient.  While we didn't try any of their beverages while visiting, we did enjoy some of their entertainment.  They have live music on the weekends and also feature food trucks as they don't have their own menu.  I grabbed Thai food from the CVC food truck the weekend we were there and it was very good!

What To Do Around Cumberland, MD

When I think of traveling to Cumberland, I immediately think of getting outside.  Downtown is where the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Trails meet.  These trails are popular for bikers, hikers, and runners and it was these trails that brought us to Cumberland this summer.  Everything is well-marked and well-maintained in town with these trails.  There's also a train between Frostburg and Cumberland that you can take your bike on normally.  The train wasn't running this summer due to COVID, but we'll be back to check that out when they're up and running again!

Want to know more about biking the Great Allegheny Passage? Check this out!

Visiting the Paw Paw Tunnel

There is also plenty of outdoor space to enjoy at nearby Rocky Gap State Park.  One of our favorite places to see was the Paw Paw Tunnel located on the C&O Canal.  It was so dark in there we really needed our flashlights!  There are so many beautiful natural areas to explore, you won't be disappointed.  


3 Questions and Answers About the National Parks Junior Ranger Program

Check out our National Parks Service Junior Ranger Program at Fort Necessity!

Our summer of social distanced travel found us sticking closer to home on road trips and diving deeper into things we could explore outside and keep to ourselves.  Throughout our adventures, we had a chance to do several of the National Parks Junior Ranger Programs this summer with our boys.  While these weren't are first Junior Ranger programs we've completed, I gained a new appreciation for how great these activities are for kids.  Here are 3 simple questions and answers about the programs to help you learn a little more.

How does the National Park Service Junior Ranger program work?

Listening and learning from a park ranger at the Flight 93 Memorial

Many national parks locations participate in this program which is free, educational, and fun.  I say "many," but the truth is I haven't been to a national park yet that doesn't have the program - I just hesitate to say "all" because I don't know that to be fact.  It's easy to find!  When you enter the visitor's center of any national park, see one of the rangers and ask about participating in the Junior Ranger program.  They'll be happy to provide you with an activity pack and a pencil to use to complete.  Make sure you visit the visitor's center first though because there are a number of activities in the book and you'll want to have it with you before you start exploring the national park that you're in.  Most of the books have a target number of activities to complete so that you have some flexibility as a family in what you're seeing that day and the age of your children.  When you're finished, bring the book back to the ranger and you get to participate in a cool ceremony where you receive a National Park Service badge unique to the site and get sworn in as an official Junior Ranger.

What ages are appropriate for the National Park Service Junior Ranger program?

This question is going to depend a lot on your own kids and the specific site you are visiting.  Last summer, we did the Junior Ranger program at Assateague National Seashore in Maryland when my boys were 4 and 7.   My 4 year old did just fine following along with the matching and picture activities since they were all animals, sea creatures, and familiar items.  However, this summer at 5 he struggled a bit at Fort Necessity and the Flight 93 Memorial as the content was less familiar. He was still able to successfully complete his requirements - just with more adult help.  My oldest at 8 is a perfect age to complete these tasks and they will easily continue to both challenge and engage him for years to come.  I would not recommend the program for kids younger than kindergarten and see middle school as probably the upper end of an age that will engage without finding the format too young for them.

Looking for more historic fun? Check out my family guide to FREE activities in Washington, D.C.!

What do you get when you complete the National Park Service Junior Ranger program?

Being sworn in as a Junior Ranger at Fort Necessity

At the completion of your activities, young rangers take their completed guides to a ranger for review and then a swearing in ceremony as the newest National Park Service Junior Ranger.  Your youngsters will walk away with a cool badge and the book they've completed.  We've also received certificates, but that hasn't happened all the time.  The swearing in ceremony is super cool.  The kids pledge to take what they've learned that day and continue to protect and celebrate America's national parks.  And that is perhaps the most important thing that your kids "get" out of this experience.  Completing the activities as you visit these historic sites keeps kids engaged and focuses them on content that is appropriate for their age.  

Where to learn more. . .

Ready to embark on your National Park Service Junior Ranger adventures?  You can learn more by visiting the National Park Service website.  While there, you'll even see some online Junior Ranger activities you can complete along with virtual tours during this time of COVID restrictions and limited travel.  With many kids engaging in virtual learning this fall, it's also a great place to find educational resources for your kids!  

Go Wild! - Planning Your Visit to The Maryland Zoo

Visiting The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

"The zoo is an amazing place to be." 

My son looked up with a big smile on his face and said those words during our visit to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  There is always something special about visiting a zoo.  I don't care if it's your first visit or your hundredth - new animals, a new angle, a special feeding - each visit can feel unique.  My family and I headed to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in the beginning of July.  It wasn't our first visit, but it was a great experience all around.  Let's take a look inside the zoo and see how some things may be different during your visit in 2020 thanks to coronavirus precautions.

What to Pack for Your Visit to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

If you're like me, I always pack a backpack for my kiddos whenever we ever travel regardless of how short or how long the day might be.  At the Maryland Zoo you are welcome to bring in your own food and drinks so we take advantage of that convenience to pack water and a snack.  I don't like to pack a big lunch and have to carry a cooler around so if we're visiting over a meal, I typically plan to grab food there though.  Don't forget to pack LOTS of water in the summer.  It gets hot out there as you're walking around all day.  We also bring sunscreen to reapply during our visit.  Lastly, you may want to consider bringing a stroller, even if your child doesn't alway use one anymore.  My youngest is 5 and can handle hikes and such without it, but The Maryland Zoo features a good bit of walking and some decent sized hills.  On a hot day, and particularly on this visit where he had a broken collarbone, the stroller was a lifesaver.

Our Favorite Animal Exhibits at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

There's a lot to see and love at The Maryland Zoo, but below are our top 5 animal exhibits that you won't want to miss.  We spent roughly 3 hours at the zoo and had a chance to pretty much see everything that was open right now.  
  • Giraffes - The viewing for them is almost 360 as you walk the path on the African Journey so don't worry if they're not in a great spot for you when you first approach their area.  I bet you'll get a good look as you walk around!

  • Penguins - These were our FAVORITES!  They are so cute waddling around and there always seems to be zoo staff hanging around to answer questions so we got to know a lot about them.  They also do feedings twice a day where you can hear a more formal presentation from zoo staff.  Don't forget to go inside their exhibit where you can get some pretty cool underwater viewing!
  • Polar Bear - I think we were so happy to watch him playing because it was such a hot day and we were jealous of his swim time in his polar bear pool!  He looked so chill and like he was having such a great time.

  • Chimpanzee Forest - I've always enjoyed monkey exhibits at zoos, but this particular visit was even more special as their were two babies in the exhibit.  Watching them play was totally adorable.  And I really felt like I related to the parents who looked exhausted and like they were just trying to take a rest but the little ones kept pulling on their hands, arms, and feet.  Mom life, am I right???
  • Elephants - There is nothing quite as majestic as an elephant!  These guys are huge and they have a huge area to roam at the zoo meaning you have a number of places to view them.  One of our favorite things is to grab an ICEE at the Oasis and watch the elephants below!

Health and Safety at The Maryland Zoo during Coronavirus

Our summer fun plans look very different this summer due to coronavirus and many travel destinations are working hard to adjust their protocols to safely reopen.  As we are making choices about where to go and what to do, outside venues are really important to us which makes the zoo a perfect place to visit.  Here's a quick summary of some of the safety protocols in place at The Maryland Zoo.  For the most up-to-date information, please visit their website at

Staying in a hotel this summer? Check out what it's like to stay in a hotel during coronavirus.

  • Timed Entry - All guests, whether members or not, need to reserve a timed entry to the zoo.  Plan to arrive at your assigned time.  If you're early, they have a place outside of the main gates where you can wait while social distancing.  This system worked well.  Our entry time was 1:00 and we arrived at 12:59 so we were able to go right in.  It did what it was designed to do as there was no wait at the ticket booth to enter and crowds were light for a summer day.  All tickets also need to be either printed at home or displayed on your smartphone for easy, no contact scanning.
  • Masks - Masks are not required everywhere in the zoo.  When you are exploring outdoors and social distancing can be maintained, you don't have to wear a mask.  "Mask Zones" are clearly marked and include tight spaces, indoor areas, bathrooms, and places that a line form.  In those zones, all guests 9 and over are required to wear masks.  We opted to wear ours even at some of the outdoor exhibits that didn't require them if their were other families nearby and, even though it wasn't required, we opted to bring them for both of our children as did most families we saw.  To help with social distancing, the zoo has instituted a one-way traffic flow.  There were employees helping to point guests in the right direction and answer questions along the way.
  • Increased Cleaning / Sanitation - You'll be happy to know that zoo staff is EVERYWHERE cleaning.  I was really impressed by the friendliness and hard work of the whole staff during our visit.  High touch surfaces in particular were wiped down frequently.  There is also hand sanitizer throughout the entire zoo with easy-to-locate signs.  

  • Temporary Closures - There are some activities at the zoo that are not currently available including the carousel, train, climbing features, playground, certain programming, and some food locations.  While my kids asked about a few of these that they remembered from our previous visits, these closures didn't dampen our fun.  Not everything is cancelled though!  We were really excited to catch the penguin feeding which happens twice a day.  One of the biggest closures to note is that the shuttle is not running from the entrance to Zoo Central.  Getting to the zoo won't be a problem, but you will have a big hill to climb to the exit.  
Overall, throughout our visit we had a great time and felt safe exploring The Maryland Zoo.  I would definitely recommend heading outside, seeing some animals, and having fun with some furry friends!  

Thank you to The Maryland Zoo for hosting my visit so I could share these updates!


What It's Like To Stay In A Hotel During Coronavirus

This past weekend we did something we hadn't done in months. . .stayed in a hotel.  As you know, my family loves to travel and we are always on the go having new adventures.  But coronavirus has sidelined us, as well as everyone else, from our "normal." So for Father's Day we decided that we were going to load up the bikes and head on a quick road trip up to Jim Thorpe, PA in the Pocono Mountains for some trail riding.  Along with that road trip, would be our first hotel stay in the era of coronavirus.  Long story short, travel fans can rejoice that while hotel stays are different thanks to COVID, they are still doable in my opinion.

Where did we stay?

Readers of my website will know that we are a Hilton family thanks to their great loyalty program and the amount of Hilton points we accumulate.  We used our points to stay at the Hampton Inn-Lehighton for two nights.  This hotel is just a few miles outside of downtown Jim Thorpe and provides a convenient location for cyclists and families that may want to check out the Lehigh Gorge Trail, part of the much larger D&L Trail.  The hotel staff could not have more friendly!  They were accommodating even before we arrived, talking us through some questions we had about the area and bike storage in the days leading up to our visit.  The room was a nice size to accommodate our family of four and there was easy access to the highway.

Hotel Cleanliness During Coronavirus

Top on everyone's list of concerns right now is keeping this clean and sanitized wherever you go, so traveling to a hotel can feel like a big decision.  You'll be happy to know that we were really pleased with the efforts of Hilton as a brand and this Hampton Inn location in particular.  When we arrived, the check-in area was blocked with sheeting so that germs could not pass back and forth.  Even with the barrier in place, employees wore masks and guests were required to wear masks in the lobby area.  The employee who checked us in was warm and welcoming.  She explained that with concerns about transmitting germs, they have currently opted guests out of daily housekeeping - that way once you enter your cleaned and sanitized room, no one but your family will be in there until you check out.  I really liked that option.  Now, if you're someone who isn't worried about having someone enter your room and you really like a "freshen up" each day - you could opt in to housekeeping, but you need to request it and alert the front desk.  If you have an extended stay and would just like fresh towels on different days, you can also call and request them from the front desk and they will be delivered outside your door in a sealed package.

Despite all the measures that were in place, we still brought our own Clorox wipes and wiped down high touch surfaces like the vanity area, dresser, nightstand, desk, etc. before be began unpacking and settling in.  I will also say that every time we were in the lobby, we saw employees wiping surfaces and cleaning.  It's easy to see that Hilton is taking the precautions seriously and we felt good about how clean everything was being kept.

Hotel Amenities During Coronavirus

Something worth noting as you decide whether or not to travel is that some of your typical hotel amenities may not be operating or may be different than what you're used to seeing.  In our case towards the end of June, the indoor pool, fitness center, and business center were all closed.  The commons area also featured socially distanced seating which means less seats available.  We went down to the lobby to eat delivery our first night and were the only ones there and both mornings we ate breakfast in our rooms so we never felt crowded or like seating was an issue during our stay.

One of the biggest changes worth noting is modified breakfast service.  Hotels that typically offer breakfast to guests may have some modifications in place.  Usually, Hampton Inn offers continental options and a daily hot option to guests on a buffet.  This trip, we found the experience to be different - which we expected and is completely understandable.  They had three types of cereal in individually wrapped bowls, a few types of pre-packaged muffins, one hot option individually wrapped in a warmer, and then fruit, yogurt, juices, and milk in a small refrigerator.  Coffee and hot tea were also available with coffee cups individually wrapped in plastic and stirrer / sweeteners also offered in one prepackaged set.  We anticipated that options may be limited so we took advantage of the fact that we were driving and brought some items with us - the kids' favorite cereals, protein bars, and protein shakes.  We grabbed drinks from the lobby each morning, but otherwise ate breakfast in our room.

While these experiences were in one hotel, I have a feeling that you could expect similar realities wherever you travel.  My best advice, call your specific hotel and ask questions ahead of your arrival so you know what to expect!  Happy Travels!


Great Things from Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge - Niagara Falls

Last summer we enjoyed our first visit to Great Wolf Lodge and had an incredible 3 night stay at the Niagara Falls location.  We were hoping to go back this spring, but you know a global pandemic kind of threw a wrench in those plans.  Fortunately for our family (and yours!) Great Wolf Lodge is offering some great family fun to have at home. . .and a great way to support our frontline heroes during this difficult time.

Great Wolf Lodge at Home

Like many other family travel destinations, Great Wolf Lodge is providing a number of family fun activities you can do at home.  Whether you're looking for something educational or something fun, there is a little bit of everything on their website.  Below are a few of my favorites:
  • The Bouncy Egg - Take a look at this cool science experiment with your kids.  Who knew you could make an egg bounce?
  • Yoga Tails - My kids need a physical outlet AND a chance to calm their busy minds.  This at home version of the popular Yoga Tails offered at Great Wolf Lodge locations does both!
  • Outdoor Scavenger Hunt - Now that the weather is turning warmer, we're spending even more time outside.  Take a look at this quick and easy backyard scavenger hunt you can do with you kids!
You can find the complete list of activities HERE on their website.  And don't forget to check back often or sign up for their emails as new additions are coming to this page often.

Support Our Frontline Heroes

In honor of National Nurse's Month, Great Wolf Lodge is offering a pretty amazing deal.  Book a stay from May 11 - May 17 and you can save up to 50% off your future stay (stay 7/6/20-10/29/20), but that's not the best part.  For every room booked during this promotion, Great Wolf Lodge will donate a FREE night to a registered nurse.  What a great way to say "thanks" while also planning some family fun to use in the future.  If you want to learn more about their commitment to guests as they re-open this summer, you can find their Paw Pledge HERE.  

Want to Know More About Visiting Great Wolf Lodge

5 Things We Loved About Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls

Should You Buy a Paw Pass at Great Wolf Lodge?


Family Guide to Sesame Street Land at SeaWorld Orlando

Bert and Ernie
SeaWorld Orlando has been a popular family destination in Central Florida for many years now, but the recent addition of Sesame Street Land gives young families even more to love.  This new land opened in Summer 2019 and adds so much fun for little ones when visiting SeaWorld.  Before our visit, I had a lot of questions and I want to share answers to some of those questions that may be on your mind too as you plan your visit!

What is in Sesame Street Land?

A lot!! In this relatively small corner of the park, you'll find 6 rides - all perfectly sized for pint sized visitors, a playground area, a splash pad, shopping, interactive displays, food trucks, character greetings, and a parade.  See. . .it's a lot!  At the time of our visit, my boys were 4 and 7 which was perfect for visiting.  Throughout most of the rest of SeaWorld, my youngest was too little for almost all of the rides, but here he could do everything.  His favorite was the Cookie Drop.  My oldest is still a little shy when it comes to roller coasters, but the Grover themed roller coaster here had him all smiles - he rode it 3 times in a row!  The interactive displays are all very well done too.  You can actually walk along Sesame Street ringing doorbells, knocking on Oscar's trashcan, racing bicycles, and building monsters.


Disneyland Tickets - Beat the Price Increase!

In case you missed it, tickets for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort increased overnight and those who have been thinking about planning a vacation may now be second guessing themselves.

But, have no fear - my friends at Get Away Today are here to save your vacation budgets!  For a limited time you can buy your Disneyland tickets at the old prices.  That's right. . .get your tickets by February 20th and you can beat the price increase.  That's up to a $75 savings PER TICKET.  Let's break it down:


The Pirate's League on Disney Cruise Line

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me. . .

Each Disney Cruise Line vacation in the Bahamas and Caribbean features a special Pirates in the Caribbean night where scalawags of all ages are invited to party aboard the ship.  For this special night, the usual Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the ship also transforms into The Pirate's League.  We had done this experience twice before in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, but not on one of our cruise vacations yet.  On our recent trip, we decided to make reservations for the whole family - yes, that's right - all 4 of us!

Before we start, let's go over some basic information you need to know.  This experience can be booked online in your cruise planning section on the Disney Cruise Line website.  We didn't have a problem getting a reservation and there were still some available even on Pirate Night itself, but for the best times and to ensure your reservation, I recommend doing it when your window opens if you're interested.  You can always cancel or change your reservation if needed closer to the time.  The cost is $44.95 (as of January 2020) for a variety of makeover options - 3 piratey options that are more for the boys (Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard, and Captain Hook) and 2 options for the ladies (Empress and Redd).  For an additional fee you can also purchase a costume, but I recommend bringing one from home to save on cash.  Money Saving Tip - Check your local stores in the days following Halloween for deep discounts on costumes and accessories.  You also want to carefully pick your time during the day to schedule your makeover.  We chose to do ours at 4:45 because that allowed us all day in port to enjoy the beach and pool, but still have the whole evening to enjoy our new looks.

When you arrive, you'll check in at the front desk and roll the dice to find out your new pirate name.  After confirming your pirate selection, the buccaneers in your family will be whisked away to your chair for your swashbuckling makeover.  The makeover is quick - roughly 15 minutes - but the memories will last much longer.  The cast members entertain both the person getting the makeover and the family with jokes, stories, and songs.  At the end of the makeover, the newest pirate takes the pirate oath and officially becomes part of the league.

While it may be obvious that kids will have fun at The Pirate's League, the bigger question may be if adults can have fun there too.  Unlike the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, adults are welcome to participate.  The makeovers are the same as the ones offered for kids.  I didn't find my makeover to be overly impressive from the actual make-up side of things (could have been much bolder in my honest opinion), but I had just as much fun as my kids.  In my opinion, I think the male makeovers pack a bit more punch and thought my husband made quite the impressive pirate.

After you leave The Pirate's League, you will have a night to remember.  We used the remainder of the time before dinner to meet a few pirate characters including Pirate Mickey and Captain Jack Sparrow.  We then enjoyed our pirate themed dinner inside Animator's Palate.  Our night then continued with Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean Night Deck Party and the fireworks at sea later on in the evening.

Dressing up for Pirate Night makes the night even more fun for the whole family and I'm so glad we made the decision to book The Pirate's League on the Disney Dream.  Would we book it again?  I think I would definitely consider booking it again for our boys - at $44.95 I feel like it was well worth the price.  It's much more reasonable than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a fun way for the boys to  get in on the excitement.  Be sure to check it out on your next Disney Cruise Line vacation!  Ahoy mateys!

Kennedy Space Center For Kids

Kids are often captivated by the idea of visiting faraway places and space travel is about as faraway as it gets!  If your kids are anything like mine, dressing as astronauts and learning about space are favorite activities of theirs so when we planned our cruise vacation out of Port Canaveral we knew we had to plan a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  My husband and I had visited Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the past, but seeing it through the eyes of our children was even more enjoyable.  Here are a few must-do activities when you visit:

KSC Bus Tour - Included in your admission to KSC is a bus tour which takes you "behind the gates" and gets you closer to launch areas.  From the bus, you'll see the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where rockets and shuttles are assembled prior to space travel.  The building is so large it will hold more than 250 BILLION ping pong balls (that was a favorite fact of my son's that he's still telling everyone!).  You can also see the crawler that transports assembled space vehicles to the launchpads and get as close as possible to the launch areas.  The 20 minute bus tour ends at the Saturn V/Apollo Center where you take a step back to the beginnings of NASA and relive the excitement of JFK's challenge to go to the moon and the success of Apollo 11.  Here you can even touch a piece of the moon!  You also can experience the launch from the perspective of the control room and feel the excitement as countdown to liftoff happens.  When you're finished exploring the center, you board a bus back to the main visitor complex.  No worries - busses run continuously so you can stay for as long as you want.

Meet an Astronaut - One of the highlights of visiting KSC is the chance to interact with part of history. Beyond touching the moon, many days there are opportunities to interact with an astronaut as part of your visit.  We booked an additional experience while we were there called Dine with an Astronaut.  During the buffet lunch, we were able to hear from Astronaut Mike Baker about his time in space and the audience had the chance to ask questions.  My boys had a chance to each ask a question - one being how to do you become an astronaut and the other asked the ever popular "how do you go to the bathroom in space" question.  Following the lunch, each family was offered the chance to get a picture with him.  Later on in the day, he was also in the gift shop for an autograph signing.  This opportunity was free and open to everyone.  We went back to say hi again and had him autograph the NASA hats that the boys had with their spacesuits.

Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted - After learning about NASA's past, why not take a look at it's future?  There is much to see and do in this exhibit where kids can have hands on experiences learning about the next frontier in space travel - Mars.  There is a free stage program offered several times throughout the day which ignites young imaginations about what their generation may be doing in space in the years ahead.  You can also see what vehicles look like that have been and will be exploring Mars.

Atlantis Exhibit - By far, my favorite exhibit at Kennedy Space Center is the Space Shuttle Atlantis.  The tour opens up with a video history of the creation of the space shuttle program and ends with the big reveal of the actual Space Shuttle Atlantis in her final resting place at KSC.  Guests will marvel at this amazing shuttle, but that's only the beginning.  This has a TON of fun activities for kids to interact with during the visit.  They will have the opportunity to crawl through a play space shuttle, slide down a large slide, and play computer simulation games about docking and landing the space shuttle.  Also included here is the Shuttle Launch Experience.  This simulator ride gives guests the chance to feel what it would be like to "lift off" from Kennedy for your own mission to space.  My youngest was SO excited to do this, but he had to miss out as the minimum height is 44 inches.  However, my oldest and my husband had a great time and highly recommend this for everyone.

Still looking for more space adventures?  There are addition tours, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and other exhibit buildings to check out that we simply didn't have time to explore everything.  If you are short on time, make the Bus Tour and the Atlantis Exhibit your priorities - it's the best way to get the most out of your visit.  With so many hands on experiences, your little ones will feel completely at ease as they explore and learn about the wonders of space.  Whether your visiting Orlando, Cocoa Beach, or enjoying a cruise vacation out of Port Canaveral - don't miss visiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex during your Florida vacation!

My family and I received complimentary admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex so we could share our experience with you. 

Free in DC - Family Fun That Won't Cost You a Penny

Our family is on year two of what I hope will be a new tradition - the Christmas break staycation.  We are blessed to live in the Mid-Atlantic where there is a large number of destinations for families to enjoy.  So rather than spending a small fortune to fly somewhere and travel during the school break we have in December, our family has opted to keep it local but get away from it all and become tourists in our backyard.  Last year we spent one night in a hotel in Baltimore and took the boys on a tour of WBAL television station and then visited the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center in the Inner Harbor.  This year, we headed to our big city neighbor just to the south - Washington D.C.  It's the first time our boys visited the nation's capital and we spent three nights thanks to the Hilton points we have acquired downtown at the Embassy Suites.

My goal was to put together a three day itinerary of things to do in D.C. that required no admission charge.  That's right. . .zero, zip, zilch! If you have never traveled to D.C. before, you may be surprised to find that there is SOOOOO much to do for free that you can easily fill several days.  We had so much more that we could have done, but here's a quick summary of what we accomplished!  Keep in mind that my boys are 4 and 7 so that played into what we did and how much time we spent in each location.

U.S. Government Buildings

We began our trip with taking a peek into several locations that would show our kids where the work of our national government takes place.  Tours of the U.S. Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress are all available free of charge.  The White House is the most coveted tour and does require reservations through your Congressman so you will need to plan several weeks ahead and may need some flexibility on your day and time.  You can also reserve a U.S. Capitol tour through your Congressman (which we did), but we learned this wasn't really necessary as they have an amazing number of tours offered each day which you can secure a ticket for simply by walking into the U.S. Capitol Visitor's Center.  The tour does not take you to see the inside of the Senate and the House so if you want to see that you need to request gallery passes from your Congressman in addition to reserving a tour.  As far as the Supreme Court and Library of Congress, there are free self-guided tours throughout the day and also free guided tours at select times.  You are unable to reserve these ahead of time, but might be able to luck into one when you stop by.  We simply walked around the stunning Library of Congress building without a formal tour, but at the Supreme Court we did join a lecture inside the courtroom so we could see where the Court does their work.  Be sure to visit the children's area of the Library of Congress.  There are several activities just for kids as well as some quiet, cozy reading spaces and, of course, lots of books to snuggle up and share with your little ones.

Know Before You Go - Security at the U.S. Capitol is VERY tight.  No food or liquids (even bottles of water).  I always pack snacks and bottled water when going out for the day. . .and then promptly had to throw them away at our first stop.  Hoping to save you from the same mistake!

The National Mall

Lining the National Mall, you will find a host of Smithsonian Museums perfect for family visitors.  Lines can be long to go through security and enter so pack your patience for these free attractions.  One of my favorite museums, and the one we happened to visit on this particular trip, is the Air and Space Museum.  Take an in depth look at NASA, space, flight, and exploration in this hands on museum.  You can see some amazing things here - including having the ability to touch a legitimate moon rock and see the spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong when he walked on the moon.  There is so much for kids to see, do, and touch here including an entire kids play area where they learn the physics of flight and becoming a flight director in Houston during a mission to outer space.  If you're looking to upgrade your experience, there are several add-ons that come with a price tag including IMAX movies and audio tours.  Air and Space is not the only Smithsonian Museum available - there is really something for everyone ranging from art to Native American History to Natural History and everything in between.

As you work your way down the National Mall from the U.S. Capitol and past the Smithsonian Museums, you find the other great free attractions along the National Mall - a series of national monuments.  While there is nothing to really "do" at these, they are truly breathtaking to see in person.  Even my little guys LOVED spending hours walking D.C. and looking around at them.  Three not to miss (actually they're really hard to miss anyway. . .) are the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.  The size, scale, and grandeur of these will captivate your children.  While there are many other memorials of great importance along the way, for example the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, it's a bit harder for little kids to understand what they are looking at and the significance of that conflict.

Know Before You Go - D.C. is a very walkable city, but it's much bigger than you may realize if you plan on walking EVERYWHERE with your kids.  We decided to Uber from our hotel to our starting point in the morning, then walked away from museums to memorials throughout the day as we leisurely made our way back to our hotel.

The National Zoo

Another Smithsonian "museum" featured on the outskirts of D.C. is the National Zoo.  If you're staying downtown, you will definitely need to Uber or take the Metro up to the zoo as it's quite a walk from other D.C. area attractions - but well worth it!  Like everything else in the article, this zoo if FREE.  Lions, tigers, and panda bears - oh my!  The zoo is good sized and easily takes 2-3 hours to visit but can take much longer if you have animal lovers or want to extend your stay.  There are many great presentations by animal experts throughout the day that are worthwhile to check out.  Probably one of the highlights of your zoo visit will be seeing the Giant Pandas.  You can also find specific feeding times so you can be sure to see them up close in the Panda House.  My personal favorite though are the gorillas!

Don't forget to check out any special events that you might be able to catch while visiting.  We were there over the holiday break which meant that Zoolights was going on in the evenings.  This is again FREE - where else can you catch a day at the zoo and a holiday light exhibit without paying admission?

Know Before You Go - The zoo is surprisingly hilly!  Be prepared and consider bringing a stroller for older toddlers and preschoolers who may not typically need one anymore.  We were sure glad to have ours!

Has your family visited DC?  What have been the best finds for kids that you've seen along the way?

Celebrity Treatment in Burbank, California

The Geekly Retreat was my first visit to California and what a memorable experience it was! We had some amazing times during the retreat and it all took place in and around fabulous Burbank.  Visit Burbank was one of the sponsors of our retreat and they treated us well from beginning to end.  Let's take a look at some of the places we enjoyed while in town.

Safari Inn 

Feel like you've seen the Safari Inn before?  Well, you probably have!  This hotel has been used in a number of blockbuster Hollywood films and television shows.  I instantly recognized the Safari Inn from two of my favorite movies when we received details about our stay.  The first film I recognized the hotel from was Apollo 13.  Remember the scene on launch day when Lovell's wife is at the hotel and drops her ring in the drain?  Yep, the outside footage there is of the Safari Inn.  It may also look familiar from Incredibles 2 when the protection program for supers is dissolved and they are forced to figure out their next steps.  There are also many more Hollywood cameos for this famous location too.

Inside the room at Safari Inn
The hotel itself combines a classic feel with some modern upgrades. While the exterior probably hasn't changed much over the years, the rooms themselves have clearly been renovated in recent years, featuring a clean and contemporary color scheme.  The room we were in featured two double beds, a sink and vanity in a dressing area, and a separate bathroom.  There is no official closet in the room, but there is a rack that you can hang clothes on if you need to during your stay.  There is a restaurant "on-site" at the neighboring partner hotel, Olive's Bistro.  From there you can order room service or take the few steps to enjoy a meal in the restaurant.  Another great perk is the free Burbank shuttle.  You need to prearrange your time and destination, but you can get service to a number of area destinations including the airport.  You'll also find a small pool on property along the road and located right next to the parking lot.  To learn more about staying at the Safari Inn Burbank, check out their website here!

Urban Press Winery

Our first night in Burbank, The Geekly Retreat attendees were hosted at Urban Press Winery for drinks and dinner.  Our evening began in the lower level tasting room which featured a bar and high top tables.  The room was equal parts cozy with warm colors and wood tones as well as contemporary with high ceilings and grand statements like the wine bottle doorway.  After enjoying tastes downstairs, we moved up to a private area overlooking the lower level where tables were set up for us to enjoy a speaker dinner.  Lastly, we moved out to the patio.  I know I was in California which was much warmer than Maryland in November, but I wads still happy to find they had portable heaters out there as it was chilly that evening.  The seating outside was more dining tables which allowed us to sit in large groups, mingle, and enjoy conversation with one another.
Enjoying the wine tasting at Urban Press Winery

So on to the important stuff - what about the food and wine?  Well. . .it was all delicious!  My husband and I enjoy visiting wineries around the Mid-Atlantic and I was very excited to visit my first California winery.  The wines were a bit drier than what I'm used to on the East Coast, but that's actually my preference so it was a rather enjoyable assortment - from the reds to the whites, and everything in between.  Quite surprisingly to me, my favorite wine of the night was the Rose.  I'm typically not a Rose fan, but this was made with Pinot which didn't make it as sweet as some others I've had.  The food was equally good.  My favorite was the simple meat, cheese, and bread that we had at the beginning.  That's always one of my favorite things to eat when enjoying a wine tasting!
If I find myself in the Burbank area again, I'd be happy to return to Urban Press Winery for more wine, food, and fun!  Check out more about this Burbank hot sport here!

Porto's Bakery & Cafe

I had heard that Porto's was THE place to go in Burbank when it comes to quality baked goods, but tasting truly was believing when we had the chance to experience Porto's on two different occasions.  During our work day at the Team Click offices, Porto's provided lunch to us which included sandwiches, salads, and sides.  The following morning, we had the chance to head to Porto's downtown Burbank location for a visit and to enjoy breakfast.  Now we had known how good Porto's was after the lunch on Friday, but seeing the line that had stretched outside of the building on Saturday morning let me know that the quality of their food was not a secret to the locals.
Lunch from Porto's Bakery - YUMMY!

When we entered the bakery, it was truly an overwhelming scene of people and pastries.  Our group was led upstairs to a conference room where we had our own assortment of breakfast waiting.  I selected a fruit topped pastry which looked (and tasted!) fabulous along with a fresh, delicious cup of orange juice.  While we ate, we had the chance to learn the history of Porto's.  What an incredible story!  The bakery was founded by Rosa Porto, an immigrant from Cuba who began baking prior to her arrival in the United States and then turned her passion into a business for her family.  Over the years, the family bakery has remained true to it's belief that "quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do."  To find out more about the story of the bakery and discover the menu, check them out here!

Visit Burbank

I'd like to thank them for being a sponsor of some of our activities during The Geekly Retreat!  For more information on planning your visit to Burbank, California, head on over to the Visit Burbank website.  Be sure to follow #VisitBurbank on social media for the latest and greatest news from this popular entertainment destination.


Give the Gift of a Family Vacation!

This holiday season, why not give the gift of a family vacation to the ones you love?  What better way is there to celebrate the season then creating family memories that will last a lifetime?? You've heard me share about the specials my friends at Get Away Today have had in the past, but Black Friday deals keep getting better and better!  Check out information below on specials for not only California, but Florida travel too.

Disneyland Travel - Get Away Today still has Adult's at Kid's prices on 3 day or longer tickets for Disneyland.  This is good on a variety of tickets including park hoppers or one park per day and can be used with or without MaxPass.  There are no blackout dates and they are good through the end of 2020!  Purchase your discount tickets to Disneyland Resort here.

Southern California Combo Ticket - Looking to plan a longer visit to Southern California?  You can combine the above Disneyland ticket deal with savings on other popular SoCal attractions like Universal Studios Hollywood and LEGOLAND, plus get an EXTRA combo discount to save even more on these tickets.  No promo code is required - you'll see the savings pile up in your cart! Check out the Southern California Combo savings here.

And For The East Coast - No need to fear!  We get included on the fun with this Black Friday Sale!  You can save an extra $10 off tickets for Florida attractions like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando off of the already discounted prices offered through Get Away Today.  Use code BLACKFRIDAYFL to access this savings.  For more on Florida deals, click here.

Don't forget to use my special code PIXIEDUST to save even more when you book a vacation package including tickets and hotel stay.  Visit soon though!  There is limited availability on some of these deals and they ALL expire on December 2nd!  Happy traveling my friends!

I'm an affiliate partner with Get Away Today.  That means that while you're saving money on some amazing vacations, I may also earn a small commission.

Disneyland Black Friday Sale from Get Away Today!

Who doesn't love a vacation for the holidays?  Or giving a vacation as a special holiday surprise for your family?  If you're thinking of planning a trip to Disneyland, now is the perfect time to check out my friends over at Get Away Today!  They have an incredible Black Friday sale that starts next week for the public, but my readers get EARLY ACCESS to this incredible deal.  That means more availability to choose from when booking!

So what's the deal?? 

  • Adults at Kid's Prices on 3-Day and longer Disneyland tickets
  • No blackout dates!  Valid for travel through 12/31/2020
  • Valid on Park Hopper or one park per day tickets with or without Max Pass
  • Can also be combined with extra night free hotel deals and 25% off at Disneyland Resort Hotels (select dates)
  • Use promo code PIXIEDUST to save an additional $10 off your vacation package!
WOW!  For anyone looking to book this incredible deal, check out my affiliate link below to get started.  

I'm an affiliate partner with Get Away Today. You save money and I may earn a small commission - everyone wins!

Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls - 5 Things Your Family Will Love

Our last family vacation found us visiting Niagara Falls, Canada for the first time.  After a few days exploring the local area and seeing the natural wonder that is Niagara Falls, we headed over to the nearby Great Wolf Lodge for our first stay at this popular family destination.  We had an amazing 2 night, 3 day stay!  There was so much for our family to enjoy, it was hard to fit it all in!  Check out why Great Wolf Lodge was a fabulous vacation spot for our family - and it may just be a great fit for your family too!

I was gifted a Paw Pass for each of kids and some free meal vouchers to enjoy during our stay!  Thank you Great Wolf Lodge for your partnership!

Chipmunk's Cove at Great Wolf Lodge - Niagara Falls
1. The Waterpark - Let's start at the most prominent feature of any stay at Great Wolf Lodge. . .Bear Track Landing! This waterpark is perfect for EVERY member of your family.  Our 4 year old felt confident and comfortable in Chipmunk Cove where the water depth was only 18 inches and he had slides sized just for him as well as spray features.  For our more adventurous 7 year old, he spent more time in the deeper pool, playing basketball with new friends, and riding water slides throughout the indoor water play area.  At 49 inches, he was able to ride just about everything - except the Wolf Tail slide which he was perfectly content not to try!  His favorite - Niagara Rapids Run which is a water coaster featuring up AND down parts of the slide.  There was also an outdoor pool area, but we honestly had so much fun playing inside that we barely stepped outside.
Wolf Den Suite at Great Wolf Lodge

2. The Rooms - Great Wolf Lodge features some amazing rooms for families to enjoy.  With a variety of options for families large and small, there is something for every family at a variety of budget points.  We ended up staying in a Wolf Den Suite because we thought the kids would enjoy the extra special theming and the bunk beds in the room.  The room was spacious for our family of four and even had a balcony for added space.  The bathroom was on the small side, but for our purposes it worked out just fine.  I'd rather have the extra living and play space than a big bathroom for a family vacation.
Breakfast at Antler Shanty

3. The Food - Being totally honest, I had heard mixed reviews on the food at Great Wolf Lodge and wasn't too excited about this part of the trip.  However, I was pleasantly surprised!  There are several different spots within Great Wolf Lodge - Niagara Falls, and we tried many of them.  One of our favorite spots was the buffet, Antler Shanty.  We had breakfast there each morning and dinner there as well.  The variety of food offered something for everyone in the family with a lot of kid friendly choices.  Around the waterpark, there were several options for quick bites from burgers to hot dogs, fries to chicken fingers, and everything in between!  There were even some great spots around the hotel to find some sweet treats.  The gluten free chocolate cake was one of my favorites!  If you're looking for gourmet dining, it's not here.  But for a family friendly vacation venue, the food is good, fresh, and well varied.

Great Wolf Lodge? There's an app
for that!
4. The Free Extras - Around the hotel, there are many activities for kids and families to enjoy that are included with your stay.  Young ones can enjoy a morning yoga session, meet Great Wolf friends at character greetings during the afternoon, and even end the day with story time featuring a talking display.  Don't be surprised to also find dance parties and other fun popping up all over the lobby throughout the day.  There's even an app that you can download to use during your stay to keep track of all of the events happening around the hotel that day!

5. The Extras with a Price Tag - Beyond the waterpark and the free activities, there are also many paid activities and extras that can be added to your resort stay.  My 7 year old absolutely loved MagiQuest and sometimes preferred that over time in the water!  You can create stuffed animal, bowl, play arcade games, participate in mini-golf, enjoy a spa treatment, and much, much more!  If you're looking to bundle experiences together and save some money, definitely check out the Paw Pass - it has a little bit of ALL of the fun at one low price!

When we booked our Great Wolf Lodge stay, I really thought we were going to simply get a waterpark experience, but we found a lot more fun.  Our 2 night stay could have easily lasted another night or two to make time to squeeze in everything this property has to offer.  We hope to visit more Great Wolf Lodge locations in the years ahead and my boys are anxiously awaiting our next opportunity to catch some waves and ride the slides!