Monday, August 24, 2009

The Dells, Part Two

We did manage to book a third night at Great Wolf Lodge, but probably only because I was up early and went to the front desk first thing. The woman at the desk told me they were even busier Sunday night than they were Saturday. She said that was very strange and figured it was people trying to eek in one last getaway before school starts. I happened to be walking by the front desk after breakfast and heard them turning down someone else who wanted to book an extra night. We were lucky ducks!

Even the kids were tired of swimming! They actually skipped their morning swim. We drove about 20 minutes to a big cat rescue facility. They take in unwanted big cats and (apparently) don't breed them or do photo sessions with cubs. We had a good time watching many tigers, seven lions and two leopards. Most of the tigers were displayed alone or with littermates (tigers are solitary animals.) The lions were in pairs because they are social animals. However, my favorite exhibit contained a grown male tiger and a grown male lion. I am assuming they must have been raised together as cubs. I can't even estimate the number of times I've been asked at keeper chats who would win a fight, lions or tigers? My answer is ALWAYS "We don't know because we'll NEVER put them together!"

Kaylin was eager to play MagiQuest. She carefully chose her electronic wand and we began our very long scavenger hunt. We used a booklet of clues to guide us on 10 missions to find ancient runes and become Master Magi. It was really cool because most of the items did something when you aimed your wand at them (treasure chests opened, lights turned on.) The thing that was painful (for me) was that there were FIVE floors of clues and almost every mission included at least four floors. Up stairs, down stairs, up stairs down stairs, over and over and over and over. There were 4-8 things to gather per mission and nearly all were on different floors. We played for about four hours before we finally "won." Of course, there is really no end to the game because now she can choose from a dozen "adventures," plus there are two missions located inside the lobby area of the lodge. Kaylin loved every second of the game and wants to go back today.

I knew Logan would NOT love the game, so he and Gene went to a huge indoor playland within walking distance of our hotel. They had indoor go karts as well as many rides and a large arcade. Gene took him on the go karts twice and then got him a ride wristband so he could ride everything over and over. We met up at MagiQuest about 3pm, just as Kaylin was completing her Master Magi mission. I really wanted to go to the International Crane Foundation, so I hopped in the van and headed there. Gene took both kids back to the playland and got Kaylin her own wristband :) The crane place was awesome. They displayed a pair of every kind of crane from around the world (15 or 16 types- I sadly can't remember.) Years ago, I worked with African crowned cranes and had forgotten about how much attitude they have! I'm trying to think where we could (safely) house some in our new Africa exhibit. It was extremely enjoyable to wander around without kids. They would have hated the place!

We met up for dinner at 6 and then hit the waterpark from 7-9. I have no plans to swim this morning, so I decided to make the most of my last night. Logan and I went on slide after slide and I played in the wave pool and the basketball pool. (Kaylin made a friend that she was hanging out with.) Suddenly Gene showed up in his swim trunks and said he'd decided to go with me on the Tornado. The Tornado was the one slide Logan wasn't tall enough to do and it required at least two people so I couldn't do it on my own. You sit facing each other on a tube and do an almost vertical drop into a huge cylinder (the tornado) where you go back and forth up and down the walls until you are flushed out into another vertical tube and expelled from the ride. It was 15 seconds of pure awesomeness for me and terror for Gene. (Eh, only a few seconds, thanks Gene-Gene :) I wisely stayed out of the hot tub and all my stair climbing for the slides kept me warm. I wasn't cold at all. The kids loved swimming as always and will go one last time this morning. The plan is to then maybe do MagiQuest for a little while, go on "real" outdoor go karts and then start heading home.

It's been an excellent weekend adventure. We've all had a great time and have tons of stuff we want to do "next time." My only complaint is that my bad (planter fasciitis) foot flared up again majorly after climbing all those waterslide stairs barefoot. Then when it was already flared up I spent four hours climbing stairs at MagiQuest and then on many more barefoot climbs at the waterpark last night. I will have to spend the remainder of my vacation week with my orthotics or just resting the foot. Poor Susy. At least I have five more days off work :D

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