For our first night of our trip, I wanted to stay someplace special, and I opted for the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio.
The Great Wolf Lodge is a chain of resorts (all with indoor water parks) scattered across North America. True to its name, they are themed as lodges you would find at a national park or in the Pacific Northwest, although it loses a bit of authenticity when located right next to the highway with a Steak ‘n Shake fast food restaurant adjacent to the parking lot. They are planning to open their first California resort near Disneyland in 2015, which will be the first water park in the immediate area (Soak City in Buena Park is currently the closest).
The indoor water park with two fast, exhilarating tube rides, four very good waterslides, and several other water attractions. Considering this was a water park in a hotel, we were impressed. A surprising number of hotels near Cedar Point have indoor water parks, including Kalahari and the Maui Sands.
Our spacious and well-appointed room had a large “log cabin” in it with its own TV where the kids sleep. I’m sure most kids find it fun – Joel found it a little creepy (mainly because he was alone in it).
The resort had an interactive adventure called MagiQuest, which is available at all Great Wolf Lodges (and a few other locations). It’s an interactive role-playing game where a player with a wand goes to different locations within the resort to solve puzzles. It is similar in concept and execution to Dino Quest at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA. We unfortunately didn’t have time to play – it takes about eight hours to complete the game, although it can be played in stages.
We had a very good (and surprisingly healthy) dinner at the Gitchigoomie Grill in the hotel, followed by some ice cream at the hotel’s dessert stand.
The hotel has many other activities and events for kids, from an animatronic storytelling show in the lobby to a spa made just for kids. I could see how a family could spend a few days here. It was the perfect way to start our trip.