In November we went to Great Wolf Lodge, a hotel with an indoor waterpark in Fitchburg, Massachusetts (about an hour outside of Boston), for a weekend with a group of families from the church. The lodge is basically a G-rated Las Vegas where you never need to set foot outside, complete with performers in the lobby, casino (er--arcade), waterpark, ropes course, bowling, mini golf, restaurants, and a (disturbing) kiddie spa/salon. The kids of course had a wonderful time, and so did we.
Below, from left: stocking up on snacks at the H-Mart in Burlington on the way up Friday night; doing the baby ropes course with a harness; exhausted Saturday night.
After Marcus and Samantha fell asleep at night, we would sit out in the hotel hallway with friends, talking or playing a board game while all our kids slept in our respective rooms (with chairs barricaded around the bed to keep Samantha from falling off as it was exceptionally high). We lent someone a water sling as she juggled a newborn and watched a two-year-old in the water; someone else lent us goggles when the pair we'd brought with us broke. The theme of the weekend was "community," and I think it worked. Very early Sunday morning, when the fire alarms went off in the entire hotel and everyone had to evacuate, we just had a little bit more community, a little bit earlier and a little bit chillier than we had been expecting (the alarms turned out to be due to smoke from someone's burnt muffin in a microwave oven; we got back into our room fairly quickly, and we got to take the service elevator back up through the laundry, for even more excitement).
On Friday night we were given a scavenger hunt with forty two questions: Find someone who lives in a ranch-style house and someone who lives in a three-decker; Find a sixth grader; Find someone who has visited China but was not born there; etc. Marcus was intrigued by the idea of a scavenger hunt, his first, and Robert and I of course are innately competitive, so I decided we were going to do our best to win. Saturday morning at breakfast we set to work, and in the middle of the day, while Robert and Marcus swam in the wave pool and rode the water slides, I asked people questions. "Do you have a brick house?" I'd say, approaching someone I knew was with our group. "What?" I was asked in return, blankly, quite often. One man actually said "Oh my gosh, what happened to my house?" as though I were asking "Do you have black Nissan Altima parked out front?" and was about to follow up with "It's on fire." Some of the items required team work: Find a dad who's over 36 and a dad who's under 36 and have them go down a water slide together; Take a picture with two other families in front of the water slide and email it to the families minister; etc. The hunt certainly accomplished its goal of having me talk to a lot of different people, most of whom I would never have said a word to this weekend (not out of meanness, but rather shyness; I think, actually, the extroverts didn't bother with the scavenger hunt as it seemed pointless to them--they were going to speak to everyone anyway). When I turned in our booklet at 5:00 Saturday evening, we were the first to finish, winning $500 toward a family camp long weekend away next summer. A motivated teenage girl and her brother turned theirs in two hours later, desperately glad they were second and could claim second prize--a $300 weekend away for a couple (their parents, who had promised them donuts and a fun parent-free weekend if they won). Other prizes included tickets to Blue Man Group, Museum of Science Omnimax tickets, and restaurant and movie gift certificates. By the end of breakfast on Sunday only one other family had completed the scavenger hunt, and another one had come close. Three more families completed about half of the scavenger hunt, while the other 30-40 families (those more extroverted than I am, or less competitive, and probably healthier on both counts for it) never bothered to turn their books in at all.
Below, from left: watching the singing and dancing animal show in the lobby Saturday night; decorating our small group poster on Sunday morning; getting our prize on Sunday morning.
On Sunday afternoon we drove back to Boston, completely exhausted, but glad we got to have a fun weekend away with friends, water, and good clean competition.
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Created: 11/18/14. Last Modified: 11/18/14.