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 Grand Mound’s indoor water park and its more than 10 splash-filled attractions draw visitors looking for an aquatic getaway no matter the season. In addition to braving Fort Mackenzie, you can crash into 3-foot waves at Slap Tail Pond, careen down a six-story funnel slide at Howlin’ Tornado, and unwind in the South Hot Springs warming pool.
The 56,000-square-foot water park is merely 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. Adolescents may gravitate toward gr8_space, a trendy hangout lit with midnight-blue and green lights where teens can play video games or dance to the music of a live DJ. Scooops Kid Spa gives manicures and pedicures to pintsize patrons sitting atop ice-cream-cone stools and banana-split thrones—free ice cream completes each visit.
Six vacationers can comfortably sleep in the family suite, where they can plan daily itineraries in the semiprivate living area.
What makes Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound eco?
Silver certification from Green Seal, a nonprofit, third-party organization
Recirculation of most of the water in the park, encouraging water conservation
UV water-filtration system that minimizes chlorine use
Low-flow toilets, tubs, and showers that reduce water waste
Energy-efficient lighting and appliances
Composting of food waste
Thurston County, Washington: Nature and History near Olympia's Hub
Near the southernmost tip of Puget Sound lies Thurston County, a diverse terrain anchored by the state capital in Olympia. The Chehalis Centralia Railroad & Museum pays tribute to its railroad-heavy history with steam-powered-locomotive tours that chug along the Chehalis River and past Mount Rainier. Nature preserves such as the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve sprawl over the South Sound's hills, providing a habitat for endangered wildlife, indigenous plants, and nature's vicious teddy-bear population. In downtown Centralia, old-fashioned streetlights illuminate shoppers’ strolls to outlet stores and antique shops filled with vintage knickknacks.