BC Water Parks and Water Slides

Boomerang Ride at Cultus Lake Water Park, BC with kids

Boomerang Ride at Cultus Lake Water Park, BC

Cultus Lake Water Park, Fraser Valley, BC.

This waterpark offers a two new rides in 2013. The Boomerang takes up to four passengers in a raft  in a double-figure-eight slide, down 60 feet before diving to the ‘boomerang’ landing canal below. The Bazooka Bowls dares the daredevil — it takes riders through a black-hole flume, into a 30-foot bowl slide where they’ll rotate before dropping into a 9-foot bowl below. Too scary? There’s a spray “Pirate’s cove” that’s very cute and suited for younger children. OK to bring in your own food, and great discounts on the Cultus Water Park’s website.

Bridal Falls Waterpark, near Chilliwack, BC.

This BC water park is pretty straightforward — heated water (up to 80F) pours through four advanced slides, two intermediate, one tube and three kiddie slides under the shadow of looming mountains, along with a giant hot tub for the grownups. OK to bring in your own food. Near Harrison Hot Springs.

Harrison Water Park, Harrison Lake, BC

A summer water park actually located in a lake, Harrison Water Park functions like a freshwater playground. Scramble, bounce and slide on the inflatable equipment in the middle of Harrison Lake. It’s for ages 6 and up only; kids need to be at least 10 years old to be here unsupervised.

Splashdown Park, Tsawwassen, BC.

Just a short drive from metro Vancouver (and near the ferry to Vancouver Island), this park serves up a ramp slide, river run, body slide, five children’s slides and a big outdoor pool to splash in — a nice collection of water slides for the BC summer.  Look for the $8 off coupon on the park’s website.

Variety Kids Water Park,  Vancouver BC.

This free Stanley Park water playground or “sprayground” brings on the sprinklers, cannons and streams to create Vancouver’s largest outdoor spray park. On Granville Island, kids can play in the Granville Island WaterPark, which offers one slide along with a “spray park” area for toddlers and big kids. There’s also an outdoor spray park at Vancouver Aquatic Centre.

Atlantis Waterslides, Vernon BC.

In the hot, sunny BC interior, this water park keeps kids cool with 10 water slides, including the bumpy “River Riot,” three fast flumes and two gentle slides suited for preschoolers or toddlers. About 45 minutes away, young kids will like the colorful municipal Kelowna waterparks. (Check out this photo of Ben Lee Waterpark).

18 Tips for Visiting Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge with Kids

Great Wolf Lodge with Kids

Before heading to any big-ticket, big-adventure resort, it’s always best to ask an expert for tips. I asked three BC and Washington State moms who have repeatedly visited Great Wolf Lodge for their best tips, and added a few more tips from my own research. Of course, these are just opinions and suggestions. You may have your own spin on a Great Wolf Lodge stay.

1. Don’t break the bank for Great Wolf Lodge bunks.

The bunk-style suite rooms (Wolf Den, KidKamp and Kid Cabin) are cute and fun, “but we have found that you are not in your room long enough to make them worth the cost if you can fit in a smaller room,” says frequent Great Wolf Lodge visitor and Kelso, Wash., mom Melissa Parcel. Check Great Wolf Lodge’s website with special deals and coupon codes when booking; remember that the resort fee and taxes do add a decent amount to the final price.

2.  Sleep soundly — even at a crazy-busy water park.

For a quieter room, request a room away from the stairwells and on the opposite side of the I-5 freeway. Ask when making the reservation and upon check in. Although there’s a rule about “quiet time” in the evenings, guests do say that unaccompanied children playing MagiQuest down the hallways can be an earful.

3. Book your Great Wolf Lodge breakfast in advance.

If you think you want the on-site breakfast buffet — after considering point #9 below — book it in advance when making your hotel reservation. The total for four people is $40 when purchased in advance and includes drinks. If you buy buffet on-site, it’ll cost $13.95 per adult and $8.95 per child, and does not include drinks.

4. Make it a midweek resort stay.

To avoid crazy lines at these Washington water slides and to take advantage of great deals, head to GWL during the midweek. But ask if the hotel’s hosting a convention during your stay, suggests Korene Torney, a Victoria, British Columbia mom to two girls. Conventions can stretch the hotel’s capacity.

5. Display your cell phone smarts.

When you check in, you’ll get an information packet that offers a cell phone number to register on your phone. “I did this, and got some coupons texted to me, “ says Kirkland, Wash., mom Shannon Maher Longcore, a mom to three kids and frequent Great Wolf Lodge guest. “It saved us some money in their restaurants.”

6. Dive into two-day resort stay play.

Your pass into the GWL starts at 1 p.m. (you can access your hotel room after 4 p.m.), as long as you stop by the front desk to pick up your waterpark wrist bands. On the second day, check-out time is 11 a.m., and you can stay until closing (9 p.m.). There are changing rooms and lockers for use before check-in and after check-out. “We just put our suitcases in the car, and had a small day pack with our necessities in it. That worked out great,” says Longcore.

7. Wait on the MagiQuest wand.

The grand total for your MagiQuest game will come to about $30 total — $17 for the wand, and about $13 per “game.” If it’s your first visit, Melissa Parcel says you may want to wait to purchase the wands. “On our first trip, we caved and bought one for our son, but we spent all of our time in the water park and didn’t get any use out of the wand.” Older kids seem to love the wand game, however, and repeat visitors seem to love the game. Read more about how to extend play at #8, below.

8. Wave that MagiQuest wand.

If you leave near Great Wolf Lodge, you can visit just to play the MagiQuest game and run around the resort, which is something that Melissa Parcel has done twice. “It’s a pretty inexpensive day trip if you live a short distance away.” If you want to re-engage the wand, you’ll pay about $13 per wand on each new visit. You can also use the wands at other properties (provided you pay the “re-up” fee).

9. Host grandma or friends while staying at the resort.

Purchase additional water park wristbands (for $41.20 each) for people visiting you at the water park, even if they’re not staying overnight.

10. Skip the expensive Great Wolf Lodge resort food.

Korene Torney brought her own breakfast and snacks (cereal, yoghurt, fruit and vegetables) for the mini-fridge. Melissa Parcel brought along cereal and doughnuts for breakfast and sandwich making items for the next day’s lunch. Don’t forget to bring camping-style dining equipment (i.e. paper or tin plates, cups, bowls) for your in-room service. Korene Torney’s family also went to two Oregon-born restaurant chains in nearby Centralia: McMenamins Olympic Club and Burgerville (two thumbs up for both of those destinations from Lora!).


11. Freeze Great Wolf Lodge-related tantrums and meltdowns.

“I think limiting pool play to three hours at a time works well,” Korene Torney says. After three hours, Torney’s family lets the kids eat and relax in the room. It can also help to construct a schedule. Torney’s family wakes, eats in the room (with Starbucks from the lobby, delivered by her husband), goes on the morning “Howl Walk” at 9 a.m. (which includes a free craft), then pool time from 10-1. They rest, and eat in the room or drive to Burgerville. Then it’s back into the pool around 5-7 p.m.; out in time for evening stories.

12. Water, water everywhere…but bring a drop to drink.

“The pool room is very warm, so just remember to  drink some fresh water while there,” says Longcore. She says she saw some episodes of possible kid-dehydration; despite all that chlorinated water around, some children forget to sip drinking water.

13. Forget-it-not at home: must-bring items for Great Wolf Lodge.

Some items are spendy to replace on-site, should you forget them at home. Pack swim goggles, earplugs, flip-flops, Aqua Socks (if your bare feet don’t like all that concrete) and a swimsuit cover-up. Swimsuit cover-ups are particularly necessary, Torney says: “You want one because otherwise you’re forced to wear clothes over your suit to get between room and pool.” Men should bring t-shirts or a robe. However, you don’t need to pack a towel – they’re provided for free by Great Wolf Lodge. Life jackets in several sizes, notes Longcore, so there’s no need to bring one from home. You can also bring arm floaties and floating swimsuits, but no other floating devices. Leave the ravenous floaty shark at home.

14. Get crafty with Cub Club.

Bring your own hands-on activities and avoid expensive resort crafts ($10-20) in the Cub Club, Torney says. However, if you do plan to participate in Cub Club (which offers kids’ programs, crafts and projects about nature and the Northwest), make a reservation upon arrival to ensure your child’s spot. Adults must accompany kids under age 12 in the Cub Club; it’s not a childcare venue.

15. Stop the souvenir gimmes.

“We give our kids an allowance of $15,” Korene Torney says. With $15, the kids can enjoy a craft, buy snacks or candy, a cheap souvenir, or pool the money for one wand.  “As is usually the case with an allowance, this provided the perfect opportunity to teach them about the value of money while eliminating the perpetual ‘I wants,’” Torney says. “It worked great for us this year. They both bought ridiculous souvenirs, but enjoyed every minute of it.”

16. Snag your Great Wolf Lodge poolside spot.

“Friends of ours get down to the water area early and camp out at a table,” Longcore says. “If your kids are much older, and don’t need parents hovering, a table would be great.”

17. Entertain the teens at Great Wolf.

At gr8_space (Yes, that’s really the way it’s spelled), teens can use the Internet, listen to music, enjoy evening karaoke or play the Nintendo Wii and Xbox360. Admission runs $10 per child; you may want to bring the DS from home if that seems spendy. Most tweens and teens will be happy with just the water park slides, but you can visit the Myspace page of gr8 space here for a sample of the goings-on.

18. Avoid long checkout lines.

Use the express check-out via your room phone or TV.

You can find more answers on the Great Wolf Ask-A-Mom site (but these answers seem to be pre-vetted by a corporate PR firm). Or read a great write-up of a Great Wolf Lodge stay at PDX Family Adventures.

Do you have great tips (or a promo or coupon code!) for families headed to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington State? Leave your tips in the comments.

Read more about Washington Water Parks and British Columbia (BC) Water Parks and Water Slides.

Beat the Heat in Seattle: Wading pools, beaches and more

I received this press release from Seattle Parks and Recreation in my in-box and couldn’t help but share! Whether you’re visiting Seattle or live here, you’ll need a way to chill, and this list offers the perfect way to do so.

———Following is from Seattle Parks and Recreation Press Release ——-

Seattle Beaches

Parks offers safe, lifeguarded beaches at nine sites around the city (Seattle), and we strongly recommend swimming only where lifeguards are present. Beaches are open daily, weather permitting, from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Amenities range from swim rafts and low and high diving boards to nearby wading pools, play areas, ballfields, and more.

These Seattle beaches are open through September 6:

  • Matthews, 9300 51st Ave. NE
  • Madison, 1900 43rd Ave. E
  • Mt. Baker, 2301 Lake Washington Blvd. S
  • Seward, 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S
  • West Green Lake, 7312 W Green Lake Dr.

These beaches are open through August 29:

  • East Green Lake, 7201 E Green Lake Dr. N
  • Magnuson, park entrance at NE 65th and Sand Point Way NE
  • Madrona, 853 Lake Washington Blvd.
  • Pritchard Beach, 8400 55th Ave. S

Seattle Outdoor Pools

Parks operates two unique outdoor pools for summer fun. Each offers swimming lessons, family swimming, water exercise programs, and special events. And you can rent the whole pool for your own special event!

Lowery C. “Pop” Mounger Pool, at 2535 32nd Ave. W, 206-684-4708, is open daily through September 12. Mounger Pool is really two pools in one place. The “big pool” has a 50-foot corkscrew slide and the warmer, shallower “little pool” is great for relaxing and for teaching little ones. Call the pool to reserve it for your own birthday party or other special event!

Colman Pool, at 8603 Fauntleroy Way SW, 206-684-7494, opens at noon each day through

September 6, and is also open the weekend of September 11 and 12. The pool enjoys a spectacular view of Puget Sound from its prime location on the beach in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park. It features heated salt water and the Giant Tube Slide! Please note Colman Pool will be closed for the Seattle Open Swim Meets July 8-10 and July 16-18.

Seattle Wading Pools and Water Spray Features

Your little ones will love the cool, shallow water and you can cool your own grown-up toes too! We will operate 25 wading pool sites this summer, and there are five parks with spray features to enjoy. Please note that the pools take about an hour to fill and drain each day, as required by law.

Three-Day Wading Pools:

Bitter Lake, 13035 Linden Ave. N, noon to 7 p.m. Wed, Thu, Fri through Aug. 20.

Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave., noon to 6:45 p.m., Fri, Sat, Sun through Aug. 22.

East Queen Anne, 160 Howe St., noon to 7 p.m. Sun, Mon, Tue through Aug. 22.

E.C. Hughes, 2805 SW Holden St., noon to 7 p.m. Wed, Thu, Fri through Aug. 20.

Hiawatha, 2700 California Ave. SW, noon to 6:45 p.m. Mon, Tue, Wed through Aug. 18.

Soundview, 1590 NW 90th St., noon to 7 p.m. Sat, Sun, Mon through Aug. 22.

South Park, 8319 8th Ave. S, noon to 7 p.m. Sun, Mon, Tue through Aug. 18.

Wallingford, 4219Wallingford Ave. N, noon to 7 p.m. Wed, Thu, Fri through Aug. 20.

Daily Wading Pools:

Green Lake, N 73rd and E Green Lake Dr. N, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 6.

Lincoln Park, 8600 Fauntleroy Ave. SW, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 6.

Magnuson, eastern end of NE 65th St., noon to 6:30 p.m. daily through Aug. 29.

Van Asselt, 2820 S Myrtle St., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 6.

Volunteer Park, 1400 E Galer St., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 6.

Water Spray Features:

Ballard Commons, 5701 22nd Ave. NW, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Oct. 15.

John C. Little, 6961 37th Ave. S, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 6.

Lower Judkins, 2150 S Norman St., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 6.

Miller, 330 19th Ave. E, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Oct. 15.

Pratt, 1800 S Main St., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 6.

For a more complete listing of fun summer activities in Seattle parks, please visit www.seattle.gov/parks and click on “2010 Summer Guide” on the home page.

Make a Splash! Water parks in Washington, Oregon and BC

Nothing says “Cascadia summer” like a line-up of shivering, dripping-wet kids. So I created a list of water parks large and small, indoor and outdoor, westside (cool) and eastside (dry, hot) to keep the kids chilled-out this summer. Do you have a favorite?

Washington Water Parks

Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound, Washington.

Make a splash: This indoor Washington water park resort features toddler-friendly pools and big-kid slides. The five-person circular rafts slips down the River Canyon Run, with drops from six stories high.

Splash Down Family Water Park, Spokane, Washington

Make a splash: Ride down the 400-foot Spokane Falls slide at this Eastern Washington water park.

Slidewaters: Lake Chelan Waterpark, Lake Chelan, Washington.

Make a splash: rip down 8 slides, including the 420-foot “Purple Haze” slide that envelops you in darkness at this Washington State aquatic park, located in Washington State’s inland community.

Wild WavesFederal Way, Washington State.

Make a splash: Try any one of the thrilling flumes, including the Python Banzai or Konga Banzai. One of the most popular water parks in Western Washington — plan accordingly!

Birch Bay Waterslides, Birch Bay, Washington.

Make a splash: This low-key four-slide park in North Washington (near the U.S.-Canadian border) covers all your bases, from tame to torrential.

Oregon Water Parks

North Clackamas Aquatic Park, Milwaukie, Oregon.

Make a splash: This indoor Oregon municipal park features three water slides, an 85-degree wave pool and free lifejacket rentals.

Wings and Waves Waterpark at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon.

Oregon’s newest water park is INSIDE an aviation museum — so you’ll cannonball right next to fighter planes. Go on the Sonic Boom or Nose Dive slides — or just hang out in Splashdown Harbor.

Emigrant Lake, near Ashland, Oregon.

Make a splash: Not really a water park, but a fantastic, unique way to mix fresh-water fun and a 280-foot twin flume waterslide at a campground facility.

 

Splash! At Lively Park, Springfield, Oregon.

Make a splash: This all-indoor facility offers an indoor wave pool, a 144 foot slide, and year-round water activities. Read more at Pitstops for Kids.

Jamison Square, Portland, Oregon.

Make a splash: At this municipal, downtown water spot, kids can sit on steps while fountains of water cascade down, filling the bowl below. Then, mysteriously, the jets shut off, the water drains out — and the flow start all starts over again. A free, kid-friendly Portland water park!

British Columbia Water Parks

Cultus Lake Water Park, Fraser Valley, BC.

Make a splash: You’ll find over 12 features at the Cultus Lake water park, including a spray “Pirate’s cove,” a “Valley of Fear” and a slide that shoots you at 60 km per hour (about 30 miles per hour).

Bridal Falls Waterpark, near Chilliwack, BC.

Make a splash: This BC water park offers over eight slides for the whole family, with long, straight shots down super-fast slides – including one that shoots you down a pitch-black tunnel.

Splashdown Park, Tsawwassen, BC.

Make a splash: Gentle rivers, intermediate rides and “advanced” body slides, including the with 425-foot “Oliver Twist” drop at this water park near Vancouver, BC.

Atlantis Waterslides, Vernon BC.

Make a splash: This BC water park offers 10 looping, swooping slides and flumes, many with views of beautiful Lake Okanagan. Located on the dry side of BC.

Variety Kids Water Park, Vancouver BC.

Make a splash: This free Stanley Park water playground or “sprayground” isn’t fancy — no slides — but it is efficient at cooling off kids. Cannons, sprinklers, and splashable streams galore at Vancouver’s largest outdoor spray park.

Families Travel! Great Wolf Lodge with Kids

Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound with Kids

Great Wolf Lodge with Kids

Located about 90 minutes north of Portland, Oregon and 90 minutes south of Seattle, Great Wolf Lodge (one of 12 in the Great Wolf chain) was created with families in mind, from 4,000-square-foot water pools to evening pajama storytimes.

Ryan Ellis of Vancouver, Washington, went with wife Marissa, and children (Sam, age 10, and Ben, age 7) to the waterpark resort in Grand Mound, Washington. Let’s find out what Ryan thought of Great Wolf – and what you should know before you go.

Q: What did you like about Great Wolf Lodge with kids?

I liked that there was something for every age. Kids had the Cub Paw Pool, older kids liked the MagiQuest (live-action magic-themed treasure hunt) game, teens had their own game room (Northern Lights Arcade) and adults had a couple of bars. But everyone loved the water park and arcade.

Q: What did your kids like at Great Wolf?

The top three things they liked were the wave pool, the MagiQuest game and the water slides.

Q: Which ages would enjoy Great Wolf the most, though?

Kids over age 6. I saw a lot of really small kids, but they were pretty limited on the water features they could participate in. I think the minimum height for a lot of the features was 48 inches. (Lora’s Note: Yes, that’s correct)

Q: What is the Great Wolf food like? Passable? Pretty darn good?

We packed our own food. There is a fridge and microwave in every room and I am a cheap S.O.B. We went to Trader Joes before and bought a bunch of frozen burritos, bananas, carrots, salad and mixed nuts. Oh, and wine. Lots of wine.

Q: How much per night at Great Wolf Lodge? What’s included in the price?

We went from Sunday through Monday, the least expensive of the nights, and it was $190 per night for our Family Suite before taxes, for four people AND it included admission to the water park for all four people. Friday night or Saturday night sets you back much more for the same room. The MagiQuest game is extra, $17 for the wand and $10 to play the game, but the kids loved it.

Q: Is there anything a parent should do (or not do) to have a good time at Great Wolf?

Bring lots of snacks. Playing in water makes everyone hungry and thirsty, and resort prices are outrageous. It was nearly $7 for a hot dog and about $4 for a soda.

Q: Anything during the experience that surprised you at Great Wolf Lodge?

That you can’t make it a day trip to the water park. You have to stay at the hotel to get in, and the suites have a base price for four people — same price for family of two as a family of four.

Q: Would you go back to Great Wolf with kids?

Yes, we are already planning on going back with a friend and her son probably in the winter. The smiles on the faces of the boys defined the fun we had. (This Hallmark moment brought to you by sappy fathers anonymous).

As we were packing to go home, the kids were plotting on a way to live there.

Thank you so much, Ryan! Have you stayed at Great Wolf? What did you think? Leave a comment below.

Read another trip report on Great Wolf Lodge with kids, from the DeliciousBaby.com site.