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Ever since our surprise baby #3 arrived three years ago, my husband and I have been outnumbered. We quickly went from man-to-man to zone defense. It proves to be tricky and exhausting, especially when we travel.
At times I have a tendency to want to hide in our house and never come out until all of the kids are self-sufficient. Other days I feel I am super mom and want to book our next international vacay with the whole fam. Do you do the same??
I was feeling a little ambitious when I booked a weekend trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX as a present for the kids for Christmas. If you’re not familiar with Great Wolf Lodge, it is an outdoorsy themed hotel chain geared towards kids with a massive indoor waterpark. They have 18 locations in the US and 1 in Canada.
The kids were super excited when they opened an envelope with a ticket good for a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. We picked them up early one Friday in January from school and made our way to Grapevine.
Here’s what we did to navigate the crazy weekend at an indoor waterpark with our three kids PLUS half a bajillion other kids/people…
WE ASKED FOR HELP
I put out an SOS plea to several family members asking if they would like to come spend a few hours at the waterpark with us.
With our hotel room price, we paid for 6 waterpark day passes for the two days. We had an extra pass, so I thought I’d put that to good use! Family gets to see these cute kiddos + an extra pair of hands to help. Win win.
My mom jumped at the opportunity and agreed to meet us there Friday afternoon and hang out for several hours.
Take any and all help you can get. It is not a sign of weakness. If you don’t have a family member around for your travels (like we did when we lived overseas and had ZERO family members around for seven years), consider bringing along a teenager/young adult that loves your kids. Some of them do exist.
Amazon Great Find Alert: These water shoes (pictured above on my hubby) are hands down one of my favorite gifts I’ve found for my hubby on Amazon. They’re durable, comfy, dry quickly, are easy to get on, and have lasted through many a vacay (everything from zip-lining & cave swimming in Mexico to family waterparks). Here’s a link so you can grab your hubby some!
This is an affiliate link, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. I will probably spend any and all commission on things like food for my kids, date nights with the hubs, and guacamole ingredients. So basically: food. I personally use or have used all items that are linked on my blog, which is why I am recommending them!
WE SHOWED UP EARLY
The waterpark was open from 9am until 8pm each day we were there. You are allowed to get into the waterpark at 1pm on the day of arrival (even though your room may not be ready until 4pm). You are able to use the waterpark for each day you’re there until the park closes on the day of your departure. So if you want on your day of departure you can checkout and put your bags in your car, then come back inside & enjoy the park until it closes!
Since we picked the kids up early from school on Friday, we got to the waterpark as close to 1pm as we could the first day. Bonus – our room was ready early so we were able to bring our luggage inside and change into our suits in our room . Which for our kids was the LONGEST 30 minutes of their lives.
A quick shout-out to the amazing check-in staff at Great Wolf Lodge: y’all were so friendly, helpful, and organized. I was very impressed!
On Saturday morning, you bet your booty we were there right at 9am when the park opened. We were able to get the seats we wanted for the day – the ones on the water’s edge in the toddler area.
WE GAVE EACH OTHER BREAKS
With my mom there Friday, she encouraged me and the hubs to sneak away for a little date night! After we got the kids down, mom stayed in the room while the hubs and I ran out to grab some dessert. I LOVE date nights, or pretty much any time I get with my husband without the kids. After we got back from our date my mom went home.
On Saturday, it was still important to break up the day with some kid-free time for the hubs and me. We took turns shuffling kids around. I would take the bigs and he would have the toddler. I would take all three, and he would have a moment to himself. Then, we’d switch and swap and switch again. There is a great toddler area with smaller slides, water play features, and shallow water. For the bigs there is a lazy river, a large fort structure, slides, and tube rides.
If you have kids, I’m sure you’ve recognized the importance of each kid having one-on-one time with their parents away from siblings. This isn’t something we get to do often, but make it a priority on holidays and weekends.
WE ATE IN THE ROOM
Since we choose to eat a diet mostly consisting of whole foods, it’s rare to have a large chain hotel like this offer gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free whole foods on their restaurant menus.
Back when our oldest was born we started making healthier lifestyle choices , so I have become well skilled in preparation for traveling healthier. I normally bring snacks and breakfast items on our travels, when traveling domestically. Depending on the length of our travel, we will eat out for lunch and dinner. Before a trip, I look at the map around the area for restaurants and cafes that have nourishing food. Sure it’s an extra step, but I’d rather be prepared with good choices than show up and have to settle for the typical nuggets & pizza kids meals which will lead to my kids getting sick that night and the next day. No thank you, midnight tummy aches.
The room had a little table with two seats and a small table that we made use of for meals. One thing I loved about the room was the separate bunk area for the bigs! The bunk room was even big enough to fit Peanut’s portocot!
We are an active family and enjoy working out, even on holidays/vacays. I noticed Great Wolf Lodge had a yoga class in the morning & I wanted to take the bigs!
The class was shorter than we expected, but the staff member did a great job! I’m sure they have to keep it short for attention spans of younger kids and also appeal to those people who don’t exercise on the regular. It was a nice option to have and I hope they stick with the yoga! Maybe they’ll add more exercise classes in the future if they’re requested.
The yoga poses were on giant boards at the front of the class. There was a cute little story that went along with the class so the kids could follow along!
WE PLAYED ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS. A LOT.
I know for a fact my kids are not the only kids who can love each other one minute then argue like crazy the next. What do you do to stop the arguing!?!?
We play rock, paper, scissors. And we played rock, paper, scissors a lot this trip. Oh the joys of parenting and figuring out ways to diffuse situations. I’m just waiting for the day when the kids tell me and the hubs to play rock, paper, scissors when we are discussing something!
It was a fun weekend for the kids, and the hubs and I even had fun mixed in with the crazy. It’s definitely not my first pick of a vacay. I’m more the adults-only, drink in hand, massages, lay on the beach with my husband kind of girl. It’s nice to sprinkle in some kid trips here and there, and make some special memories with these beautiful people God gave us.
If you’re stuck on what to bring for the kids, here’s a link to our favorite travel items!
How do you manage kid-themed trips?