Credit: www.greatwolf.com photo

Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos in Pennsylvania is the perfect family vacation! This resort is so family friendly, it will put everyone at ease, not just the kids. My family and I visited there and the second we pulled into the parking lot and saw the gorgeous lodge we were excited to begin our vacation.

Inside the suites everything is beautiful, clean and relaxing. Our room had a cute bathroom, a counter with a microwave and a mini-fridge underneath, a dresser, flat-screen TV, two beds, an entertaining area with a small table, chairs and sofa bed, and a private terrace. It was breathtaking to view the mountains in the distance. The beds were a slice of heaven.

During the breakfast buffet a show of animal characters was held in the lobby to entertain the little ones, who were enthralled. The restaurant on the lobby level, Loose Moose Family Kitchen, has amazing food and freshly baked goods made in the on-site bakery. The selection of food for the buffet is more than you could imagine, and everything is fresh and delicious.

After filling up on the amazing breakfast, my family and I changed to our bathing suits to go to the fabulous indoor water park. Families play in several pools, some with water levels for the little ones and others going as deep as 5 feet. Activaties include basketball playing in the pool, jumping in the wave pool (that was our personal favorite) or simply floating on a tube down the lazy river. There is a Jacuzzi for kids that the entire family is welcome to enjoy and a Jacuzzi for adults who just need some alone time. There are little-one catered water slides and enormous tube slides that wind above your head. In addition to all of that there is a huge outdoor pool area. Whether you’re inside the indoor water park or partaking of the sunny outside pool, food stands abound and there are cabanas available. Throughout Great Wolf Lodge there are a couple of restaurants to choose from that have American, Southern and Italian food.

One of the things I noticed as I walked around is the diversity of the families who were there on vacation. You had people of every race and ethnicity, and there was also a very inclusive staff with people from various ethnic backgrounds. It was an environment for everyone to feel comfortable. Jason Bays, assistant general manager, explained, “We specialize in activities for children 12 and under—that’s our sweet spot. Our activities are geared to bring all the families closer together.” Talking about the popular activities at Great Wolf, Bays said, “We have the indoor water park—75,000 square feet of indoor space with slides, rides and a pool. When you’re ready to dry off there’s Magiquest, our interactive scavenger hunt that happens throughout the hotel. [Get your wand and get going as you get clues and find treasures.] There’s mini-golf, Ten Paw Alley bowling [catered with small lanes and 5 lb. balls so everyone can enjoy], a spa for adults and a spa for kids. We have kids’ activities with our Great Wolf character appearances. We have a pizza place. A full bakery downstairs that makes baked goods daily.”

One of the things that will really put you at ease is the welcoming, kind and friendly demeanor of all of the staff at Great Wolf Lodge. Bays explained, “Our staff goes through training on how to welcome the guests. Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion is essential to what we do at the lodge for our pack members [that’s what staff are called]. Everyone goes through Wolfology—that’s a training program where we train our pack members in preparing to work in an environment where they make a difference in a family’s vacation. Staff also have safety training and each department does its own training. Everyone is so warm and welcoming it creates a great culture to be a part of for our team and hopefully our guests also.”

There’s an obstacle course outside that goes three stories into the air, the amazing Northern Lights Arcade, video games, skee ball (my favorite), air hockey, a huge Connect4 and so much more. There’s an interactive ride called XD Hollywood, where you are part of the movie and as you sit in a chair with 6D glasses on you feel the wind blow and see the danger coming. (It could be dangerous dinosaurs coming to dine on you; it depends on the movie you pick.)

There are movie nights, story time, jamborees and a whole host of activities to keep your wolf cubs happy and occupied. One evening the children and their parents filled the lobby area doing the Electric Slide and the Macarena. This place is everything you could wish for in a family vacation: somewhere you feel relaxed, somewhere you and your kids feel safe and somewhere you and your kids feel welcome and catered to. It is obvious to me that when you’re a guest at Great Wolf Lodge, it’s all about you!

Great Wolf Lodge has been at this location at 1 Great Wolf Drive for 12 years and is currently owned by Center Bridge Partners. For more information, visit www.greatwolf.com. There’s currently a sale of 25 percent off if you book and stay before Sept. 2, 2018. Get up, go and have a howling great time!