Great Wolf Lodge

I don’t know if any of you have been to Great Wolf Lodge, but if you’re wondering what it’s like, imagine Las Vegas in all its blinking, garish glory, only instead of empty liquor cups everywhere there are empty froyo cups everywhere.

It also is probably the only place in the world where you check out at ham o’clock.


Remember how Pinnochio grows a set of ears when he plays hooky to go to Toyland? Guess what they give the kids the minute you check in at GWL.


Lucky guess.

At the check-in desk, they pipe in some kind of smell that makes parents weak and vulnerable and you end up buying the $50 passes that include a magic wand, mini golf, 20 arcade points, a walk through a mirror maze, a scoop of ice cream, a cup of bulk candy, and “free” entry to the high ropes course—which, after all the things that came before it, is really just a death threat.

The first thing you do is take the kids to the indoor water park, where if you are holding your son’s hand, you are too far away for him to hear you. The kid whose hand your are holding declares he doesn’t like water and wants to watch TV in the room. You pretend you can’t hear him, which you actually can’t. You spend two hours hours looking for the other kids until you finally give up and hope that whatever families they ended up with are nice ones.

Then, out of nowhere, your other children show up, wondering why you look so irritated. You are so exhausted you take everyone to the room to watch TV.

Then the boys want to go cash in all those things on their “paw passes,” so you start looking for those nice families they found earlier to maybe take care of that for you, but when you open the door, all you see are children. So many, many children. Where did all the adults go? Is it even safe for adults here?!

Fortunately, we were vacationing with our friends who have a super sweet, 6’2” fifteen-year-old, and he took the boys around while the adults sat in the room and asked each other repeatedly, “Can you hear anything anymore?”

The boys, of course, loved it. They loved their wolf ears, loved the magic quests, loved the two arcade games that 20 points bought them, loved all 90 seconds of the mirror maze, and especially especially loved the scoop of ice cream and the cup of cavities their passes got them.

On the way home, we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch, which was a healthy break from all that junk we had been eating. There, the boys asked me if I had a good time at Great Wolf Lodge. I said I did. I said it always makes me happy to see my boys having a good time. Vincenzo said, “Yeah, but what about you? Did you have a good time?”

And I thought of us all right there, eating cheeseburgers, my boys looking at me with big eyes, wanting to know if I had a good time at the water park, so I told him the truth.

I did. I really, really did.

I actually don’t know. I don’t know what I’m cooking tonight! This is so weird!

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