Great! Wolf! Lodge!

Every year or so, the Jones family visits Heaven. It’s a place of happiness, fun, water slides, and magic wands. Our kids refer to it as Great! Wolf! Lodge! Please don’t omit the exclamation points when you say it. Thank you.

It’s excruciatingly expensive, but we take advantage of the homeschool discount in September or February. That way we save so much money that it’s only painfully expensive.

And at risk of sounding like a Hallmark commercial, it always feels worth it when we watch our kids having so much fun.

So here’s the Jones Family at G!W!L!

This year they passed out little headbands with ears on them. Everybody wore them, including staff and housekeeping. You felt a little silly if you didn’t have a pair on, actually.
This was the gorgeous view from our room. No, really, I’m serious, the kids were thrilled. See that yellow and red semi-circle above the brown roof? That’s the funnel to the best and greatest water slide in the history of best and great water slides: The Howling Tornado.

I noticed how much I liked the songs they played over the PA system, and mentioned to DJ that I’d like to know what station they played. DJ suggested, “The Thirties Mom Station?”

Because if GWL ever doubted its target market, all they had to do was look out at the parking lot:

It’s possible that some of the moms were only 28 instead of in their 30s.

The big draw is the indoor water park. Outside, it rained steadily for two days of our three-day vacation, but that didn’t bother us any.

Sparkler and Gamerboy at the wave pool. And, yes, you noticed that person in the background. That’s Ranger, enjoying the waves. What? What are you talking about, photobombing? The venerable and dignified DJ wouldn’t *ever* photobomb his own children’s pictures.
Speaking of photobombing, this would have been a great shot if DJ and Ranger hadn’t gotten in the way….
This incredibly fun fort has dozens of nets, tunnels, and stairs, all leading to two slides. This year, DJ and I got to stand on the ground and let Ranger have all the incredible fun he wanted.
Sparkler was demonstrating just how very and extremely relaxing she found the Lazy River.
This is how Ranger enjoyed the Lazy River — hiding in the innertube and walking along the bottom.

But what brought the Joneses to GWL in the first place, two years ago, was MagiQuest. We’d discovered it during a family vacation to Pigeon Forge, TN, and wanted to find a closer location. MQ is a scavenger-hunt sort of game that involves wireless “magic” wands, interactive videos, and dragons, fairies, and runes. We’re pretty sure that whoever created it had our family specifically in mind.

Bookgirl in action, playing MagiQuest.
Bookgirl completed an entire MagiQuest game in one night. That was a whole lot of running among hallways and swinging the wand. She brought the cloak from home specifically to play MQ.
Gamerboy and Ranger are checking their quest progress, while Sparkler glamorously displays her wand, belt, and (of course) ears.
This (fuzzy) picture captures Ranger’s debut as a MagiQuest player. His wand topper is a blue hand with a light-up eye in the palm. It was, he assured us, “freaking awesome.”

And we had fun, we ate junk, and we got tired.

All funned out.
Waiting for Dad to bring the van ’round.

We came home, but not before Ranger extracted a promise that we’d go back.

Also, here are couple of selfies to show how much fun DJ and I had. Because the kids are fairly independent now, we got to spend a lot more time actually together this year.

See how silly I look without those ears on?

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