We took the kids to the Pacific Science Center and/or Experience Music Project (Dude and I split the kids ~ he took G-man to EMP while I took three to PacSci and the big one stayed at his grandparents' place to chill out and play video games), and to the Space Needle. We stayed with family and it was so good to see them and spend time together.
I visited the Daiso Japan store in the Commons Mall and it was awesome. So many cute bento supplies for only $1.50 each! I was very well behaved and restrained - I only bought a few new bento boxes, a couple of rice molds, one pack of new picks, and an etching knife. I think I could have happily spent hours in there, rifling through all of the bento stuff. They had boxes and cups and utensils and picks and molds and cutters and so much more, all for $1.50 each. So very cool!
The best part was Great Wolf Lodge. This was our fourth visit, but that place never really gets old. There is so much to do there! The waterpark is a blast, but that's only the beginning. There is the MagiQuest game, an interactive wand activated treasure hunt that takes you all over the hotel, through hallways and up and down stairs, following a storyline and completing quests. I think MagiQuest is the Dude's favorite part.
They also have Cub Club, which is a crafting room perfect for downtime when you don't want to go up to your room, but just need a little quiet activity. Cub Club has a corner with big cushy pillows and books to read, a little puppet theater, and tables full of crafts and coloring. There is also an arcade, and for the teenagers there is Gr8-Space, a large room full of nothing but video games.
Every morning a staff member leads kids on Wolf Walk, a 'nature' walk around the lobby of the Lodge. They talk about the different animals that are represented and share facts about the animals lives in nature, finishing up with a little craft. Bean and Princess made origami wolves and crawled around the lobby making wolf and bear noises in their pajamas. After Wolf Walk and at night before bedtime, there is an animatronic show with singing and a story in the large cozy lobby. Kids are invited to come down to the show in their PJs (or swim suits, or any other clothing) and get involved in the singing.
Since we go in October, there is also Howl-o-ween, with Halloween themed decorations and activities around the Lodge. They do a Trick or Treat Trail each evening - every kid is given a trail guide and sent from station to station around the lodge, receiving a treat at each station. I love seeing the kids running around, some in costumes, some in swim suits, even some in formal dress who are hitting the Trick or Treat Trail on their way to an event.
Great Wolf Lodge is our favorite family vacation spot so far. I love having all of the activities close at hand, with plenty of places for relaxation and quiet time when that is needed, too. When Beaker and Princess are older we might give Disney a shot, but for now we are happy with GWL. And it's even better that it's so close to us. The Grand Mound location is barely over an hour away, which makes for a nice easy drive.
Anyway, we had a fantastic vacation. And now we're glad to be home and settling back into our daily routines. Vacations are wonderful, but sometimes it takes a little time to adjust back to normal after you get home. We got home late on Tuesday night and the kids went back to school Wednesday morning, so we jumped right back into the swing of things.
Tomorrow I will have bento pictures from lunch today and tomorrow, and then Saturday I will put together a vacation bento post. For now, here are some pics from our trip!
Bean, Princess, and Beaker in the giant hamster wheel outside of PacSci:
Beaker and his "buddy" (bought specially for this trip ~ there was no way I was taking my three year old who loves to run and run and run to a huge crowded public place without a solid way to keep him close by and safe. I care more about his safety than I do about what people think. This was his first experience with a leash. He, of course, dropped to all fours and crawled around, ran to the full length to jerk my arm, and dropped rapidly to the ground while walking to bring me to a full stop. And barked at people.) trying to figure out the seagulls.
Beaker LOVED the animatronic dinosaurs at PacSci. I think he would have cheerfully spent all afternoon racing around that room. His favorite was the Pteranadons. "Where are their babies?" He immediately thought of Dinosaur Train and wanted to find Tiny!
My favorite part of PacSci is always the butterfly habitat. I love sitting in the big enclosed room with all of the butterflies flapping around. The room is hot, kept around 86 degrees faranheit, so none of the kids spend very long in there, but I love just sitting in there with my camera. They're beautiful!
Beaker was more fascinated with the koi pond inside the butterfly house than the butterflies themselves.
Princess likes the brain games best.
Bean's favorite is the naked mole rats. Ugly little things, but she thinks they are absolutely adorable. She spent about half an hour just watching them scamper through their tunnels and writhe in a wiggly naked pile in the big common area of their habitat.
Bean, outside of EMP:
First night at GWL, the little kids hit the Trick or Treat Trail in costume (and psuedo costume).
Bean playing MagiQuest:
On our last morning there, I finally managed to get 4/5 of our kids in one place and snapped a quick shot of them in their swim stuff before we checked out of our suite.
Beaker in his GWL ears, trying to talk me into buying him a second sucker. Not a chance, kiddo. One of those big things is plenty of sugar for one little guy!
The waterpark has this big bucket that dumps water periodically on people standing underneath. If you hear the chimes sounding, move!
On our last day there, Brick turned 14! Happy birthday, my biggest (and most camera shy) child! Love you!
Princess, pretending to push her sister under in the wave pool:
Beaker finally got up the nerve to try the lily pad jump zone and once he tried it, he wouldn't leave. I lost count of how many times he went across - at least a few dozen! Dude helped him out by hanging out next to the lily pads just in case he slipped off.
Bean gave it a shot, too.
And so did Princess:
Elusive pic of Brick (who always hides from the camera as much as his dad does):
G-man in the basketball pool:
Thanks for looking!