Cabin-Style Suites Above Massive Indoor Water Park
High above Fort Mackenzie—a four-story waterlogged treehouse that feels like it could be a part of Swiss Family Robinson or _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 Kansas City's indoor water park and its 10-plus splash-filled attractions draw visitors looking for an aquatic getaway no matter the season. In addition to braving Fort Mackenzie, you can plunge down a four-story slide at Alberta Falls or careen through twisting tunnels on The Triple Twist.
The 38,000-square-foot water park is one of many activities at the hotel's entertainment campus. During the MagiQuest live-action adventure, kids wield magic wands and journey through a kingdom to meet mythical creatures, including a pixie and a dragon. Scooops Kid Spa gives manicures and pedicures to pint-size patrons sitting atop ice-cream-cone stools and banana-split thrones—free ice cream completes each visit.
Family suites sleep up to six with two queen beds and a semiprivate living area that contains a full-size sleeper sofa and a 27-inch TV. They're equipped with microwaves and refrigerators, and some have a balcony or patio as well. The KidKamp and Wolf Den suites have a kid-themed sleeping area with bunk beds, including their own TV.
Kansas City, Missouri: Barbecue, Jazz, and Nightlife
The Great Wolf Lodge is located just about 20 minutes west of Kansas City, MO. The ratio of fountains to barbecue joints here is roughly 2:1—as in, 200-plus public fountains and more than 90 restaurants where you can order the city’s signature slow-smoked meat. Though Kansas City is known for its aquatic architecture and barbecue, it has also evolved into an artistic hub. Here, you’ll find a legendary history of jazz and blues, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, prized for its European paintings and Imperial Chinese art. Add a die-hard sports community and a downtown area named one of America’s best by Forbes magazine, and the at-times overlooked Kansas City has all the makings of a memorable getaway: culture, Midwestern charm, and an endless supply of sauce-slathered ribs.
Though the storied jazz scene continues to thrive in numerous clubs around 18th and Vine, it’s the flashy Power & Light District that draws a fashionable late-night crowd. This nine-block neighborhood in the middle of downtown is home to more than 50 shops, restaurants, and bars. If the weather is warm, head to the open-air rooftop lounge at Elements or The Jones for a drink under the moonlight.