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. 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 to this 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, climb through the Howlers Peak Ropes Course, and unwind in the South Hot Springs warming pool.
The 56,000-square-foot water park is the pièce de résistance among many activities on the hotel’s entertainment campus. During the MagiQuest live-action adventure, kids can wield magic wands and journey through a fantasy kingdom, encountering pixies and dragons along the way. More than 100 games such as skee-ball and virtual pinochle attract gamers to the Northern Lights Arcade and Howl at the Moon glow golf. Scooops Kid Spa offers manicures and pedicures for pintsize patrons perched atop ice-cream-cone stools and banana-split thrones. This Groupon comes with a resort credit you can use toward any of these offerings ($25 credit per stay included with Wolf Den, KidKamp, and KidCabin suites; $50 credit per stay included with Family suites). Upstairs, the resort’s cabin-style suites are ideally suited to families, with plenty of kid-friendly amenities and lots of space to spread out.
Thurston County, Washington: Nature and History near Olympia’s Hub
Near the southernmost tip of Puget Sound and anchored by the state capital, Olympia, Thurston County is made up of diverse terrain that contains the Chehalis River and Mount Rainier, the continental United States’ fifth-tallest mountain.
Downtown Centralia is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its 1900s-era architecture, including a post office and train depot. Along Tower Avenue, old-fashioned streetlights light the way as shoppers stroll to outlet stores and antique shops filled with vintage knickknacks.
Nearby, 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 growing teddy-bear population.