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Fun Out of the Sun at Great Wolf Lodge

By Aaron VanTuyl, The Chronicle

750eac32-396f-11df-86f5-001cc4c03286.imagePicture this: You want to get away for a few days and the kids want to hit a water park, but there’s one problem: you’re in Southwest Washington, where it’s usually easier to find rain than sunshine.

Check out Great Wolf Lodge’s new Grand Mound resort, a 398-room, 440,000-square-foot family vacation experience with an indoor water park and plenty of activities for both parents and kids. The resort is located just south of Interstate 5’s exit 88, between the freeway and Old Highway 99.

“It’s like a cruise ship on land, in terms of the activities that we provide for the guests.”
–Derrek Kinzel, Great Wolf Lodge General Manager

The indoor water park features six water slides, three swimming pools, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and an interactive waterhouse tree fort with suspension bridges, nets and a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket.

The biggest draw, however, is the massive yellow-and-red funnel, visible from I-5. Dubbed the Howlin’ Tornado, the 65-foot funnel drops riders at 30 feet per second downwards and into a pool.

The entertainment options for kids are many. MagiQuest, a live-action themed fantasy game, is like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, where kids carry around an electronic “wand” to accomplish various tasks.

The second floor of the lodge holds a tech center, equipped with Internet stations, karaoke staging and other entertainment for teenagers, and the Northern Lights Arcade. The arcade, all token-driven, lets players win tickets that can be turned in for prizes.

Derrek Kinzel, the Grand Mound resort’s General Manager, called the site a full-scale family vacation experience.

“It’s like a cruise ship on land, in terms of the activities that we provide for the guests,” he said. “And it’s all under one roof. It’s a lot more than just an indoor water park.”

The lodge features six different food options, including the Loose Moose Cottage Buffet, with a capacity of 250; the Bear Claw Cafe; a Pizza Hut Express; and a Starbucks coffee shop.

Access to the water park is available only to overnight guests, who get a park pass on the day they check in and check out, but the lodge’s gift shops and restaurants are open to the public.

For the parents, an in-house Elements Spa offers 11 treatment rooms with more than a dozen massage selections, including aromatherapy, Swedish massage, hot stone massage, pregnancy massage and stress relief chairs. Other spa services include facial therapy, herbal body wraps, pedicures, manicures and body bronzing.

To stay in shape while on vacation, visit the resort’s Iron Horse Fitness Center. The 600-square-foot gym features treadmills, elliptical trainers, weight machines, stretching mats and a recumbent bike.

Rooms come in eight different configurations, from a family suite to the Grizzly Bear suite, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and kitchen. Officials say the guest rooms are oversized, as far as hotel standards, and pricing runs from about $200 to $500 a night.

The lodge, a collaboration between the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., opened on March 18. To learn more or make reservations visit www.greatwolf.com or call 1-800-640-WOLF.

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