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’s indoor water park sports a dozen splash-filled attractions, including two three-story slides, a toboggan-style ride, and a Crooked Creek lazy river.
The 39,000-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. More than 100 games such as skee-ball and virtual pinochle flash and whirl in the Northern Lights Arcade, with prizes and games geared toward all ages. 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 Majestic Bear suite. Daily itineraries can be planned atop tall chairs surrounding a hexagonal breakfast table. Each of Great Wolf Lodge’s spacious premium suites accommodates six guests.
Traverse City: The Charming Cherry Capital of the World
One of USA Today ’s 10 Great Places for Local Wines, Traverse City draws visitors year-round with its fine riesling wines siphoned from grape gorges in the fertile Old Mission Peninsula. Tucked between the pinky and index finger on the hand-shaped state of Michigan, the proclaimed "Cherry Capital of the World" is bordered by scenic Grand Traverse Bay to the north and the sprawling Traverse City State Forest Area to the east. The town's downtown and waterfront thrives with gourmet restaurants and local landmarks, such as State Theatre, a recently restored art-house cinema built in 1949—families will want to drop by for the 25-cent Saturday-morning matinee. A drive north up the peninsula eventually ends at the whitewashed Old Mission Point Lighthouse, a local relic originally constructed in 1870.