Cabin-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 Grand Mound’s indoor water park sports nearly a dozen splash-filled attractions, including a wave pool, a six-story funnel slide, and a Hot Springs warming pool.
The 56,000-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 or Majestic Bear suites. Daily itineraries can be planned atop tall chairs surrounding a hexagonal breakfast table. Each of Great Wolf Lodge’s three spacious premium suites accommodates up to eight guests.
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 glow as shoppers stroll to outlet stores and antiques shops in search of vintage knickknacks.