Great Wolf Lodge sits next to the thunderous Kansas Speedway, host of two stock-car-race weekends a year as well as the brand-new Livestrong Sporting Park, home of the high-flying Sporting Kansas City Major League Soccer team. Guests can easily walk or not as easily somersault from the hotel to either location. Just 15 miles east lies Kansas City, Missouri. The “world’s barbecue capital” is stocked with more than 100 barbecue joints that serve traditional slow-smoked meats and fish. Burnt ends, the crispy tips of a brisket, are a noted regional delicacy. Most locals prefer to wash up after a saucy dinner by splashing around in 1 of more than 200 fountains, a number that places Kansas City in the same watery pantheon as Rome. Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
Inside Element Fitness, the lime-green walls of the cardio room energize guests dashing away on treadmills as the yoga studio’s crisp white walls and glowing orb lights soothe yogis. The pool room echoes with splashing as guests stretch during pool aerobics classes; the dry sauna nearby remains quiet, letting guests absorb dry heat without listening to the heavy-metal albums played in traditional saunas. Stationary bikes adorn the spinning studio. Meanwhile, in workout studios lined with free weights, personal trainers make use of their professional weightlifting or triathlon experience during one-on-one personal-training sessions or group fitness classes.
Summer relishers can splash their way to sybaritic fun at The Jones, an adults-only rooftop watery haven with a swim-up bar and gorgeous vistas of Kansas City. The Jones encompasses 20,000 square feet of rooftop pool deck and features 12 private cabanas (additional fees apply, reservation required) and a communal outdoor shower. Guests can play Where’s Magellan? in the water or repose around the pool’s perimeter in an assortment of single lounge chairs all summer long. Everyday, the aqueous revelry is set to the flowing music of DJs hailing from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Kansas City. Parched patrons can quaff a cocktail at the 150-foot bar space or stay submerged at the swim-up bar, where the friendly staff mixes specialty drinks.
Reef KC’s certified and highly trained staff guides aspiring scuba divers with classes designed by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. PADI Master Scuba Diver trainer Braden Beller, PADI Dive Master James Lowery, and PADI IDC staff instructors Steve Volkmer and Joshua Williamson help students perfect amphibian impersonations with a variety of courses. The courses accommodate divers of all skill levels, beginning with Discover Scuba classes, which introduce swimmers to underwater breathing during local pool dives. In addition, Reef KC students can work toward open-water certification so they can effortlessly shower for hours, retrieve all the coins from the bottom of every fountain, and defuse nuclear bombs perched perilously above an abyssal alien city.
Prompted by the nod of the lifeguard’s head, the intrepid swimmer takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and bravely flings his body into the dark confines of the Barracuda Blast. The slide’s gushing flume speeds its intrepid passenger down covered loops and twists until it spits him out unceremoniously into the warm waters of the pool below.
Boasting a host of aquatic activities, along with nearly 1,000 feet of water slides including the fearsome Barracuda, CoCo Key unleashes the inner merpeople of guests of all ages. Stationed along the pool and at each attraction, licensed lifeguards keep their eagle eyes peeled to ensure the safety of their guests as they play water basketball or engage in leisurely floats down Adventure River. Nearby, a zero-depth-entry kiddie pool serves as a merrymaking haven for children or recently unbottled miniature ships less than 48 inches tall, and a sun-drenched outdoor tanning deck enables visitors to bask in skin-browning rays. To prevent growling stomachs from interrupting watery romps, crews of chefs bustle about CoCo Key’s dining facilities, whipping up culinary sustenance for hungry swimmers.
Divers Equipment devotes itself to all things scuba. Since its founding in 1959, the business has evolved right alongside the scuba industry, which today features more sophisticated gear and higher training standards than ever before. In order to maintain scuba's status as an attainable sport for everyone, and not just for people born with blowholes, Divers Equipment offers a variety of training tools, including learn-to-dive classes and open-water certification courses. An onsite heated pool allows many of those training sessions to unfold right at the facility, and a full stock of new and used gear keeps divers properly outfitted for underwater adventures.