Western-Style Suites Above Massive Indoor Water Park
High above Fort Mackenzie—the four-story waterlogged treehouse that feels like a mixture of Swiss Family Robinson and Pirates of the Caribbean —a 1,000-gallon bucket slowly fills with water. Suddenly, the big bucket topples, drenching those gathered below in a torrent of water. Heated to a balmy 84 degrees, Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor water park sports more than 10 splash-filled attractions including a wave pool, several tunnel slides, the Crooked Creek lazy river, and two Hot Springs warming pools.
The 80,000-square-foot aquatic arena is merely one of the many activities at the hotel's multi-entertainment campus. At the MagiQuest live-action adventure, kids wield magic wands and journey through a kingdom to meet mythical creatures, including a pixie, a dragon, and a Bob Dylan. Teens will gravitate toward gr8_space, a trendy hangout lit with midnight-blue and green lights, where they can play video games or dance to the music of a live DJ. Scooops Kid Spa gives manicures and pedicures to pint-size patrons sitting atop ice-cream-cone stools and banana-split thrones—free ice cream predictably and happily completes each visit.
Up to six bear cubs and adults can comfortably slumber in the rustic Grizzly Bear Suite. Daily itineraries can be planned in the separate living area, complete with a couch and two armchairs. Each of Great Wolf Lodge’s three spacious premium suites accommodates up to eight guests.
Greater Dallas/Fort Worth: Scenic Landscapes and Arty Flair
The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens makes for a relaxing escape, as its verdant 66-acre property along White Rock Lake is rife with seasonal flowers, shrubs, trees, and plants. Holiday décor at the arboretum includes seven fairy-tale castle exhibits, such as Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel. Families can pose for photos and juggle glass slippers inside Cinderella's enchanted holiday carriage, harnessed to two topiary horses.
Because of Dallas's relatively temperate climate, the outdoor Nasher Sculpture Center stays open year-round. On display through January 8 is Tony Cragg: Seeing Things, a collection of approximately 30 large, modern sculptures that speckle the park with vibrant colors and unusual shapes.