Idyllically situated just off Rt. 80 in the Pocono Mountains, the town of Scotrun hosts a colossal indoor/outdoor water park, the truly impressive Great Wolf Lodge. A study in unabashed branding, wild animal motifs and the ubiquitous paw print constantly remind us of our temporary home. Take the “barely perceptible” paw handle on the condiment carrier in the Loose Moose Family Kitchen.
I should say, too, although swimming in maple syrup, to the left, Reese’s untouched 50s spaceship waffle is branded with the Great Wolf Lodge paw. No surface is safe.
While I’m fascinated by the clever, nearly assaulting brand, I’m possessed by an altogether different element. Navigating the serpentine 1 Great Wolf Drive, I’m immediately struck by the similarities between Great Wolf Lodge and the hotel featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining–the Overlook Hotel. Remember those creepy girls from the movie?
They’re not alone.
Aside from the macabre, this Great Wolf Lodge corporation truly has its act together. The Pennsylvanian site is but one of 16 locations across the U.S. and Canada. My hope is that each location equals the amenities and service. The team behind this 78,000-square-foot colossus should be applauded. The plastered euphoria on our kid’s faces is reason #1 why we’ll return.
Of the many, here are two impressive points with regard to organization and execution:
- Wristbands are both room keys and sources of purchase throughout the lodge. Swipe–you’re good! No cards of any kind required during your stay. Finally emerging from the water, recovering from Coyote Cannon, a 40-foot drop into a water-jet-fueled vortex? Head back to your room for some R & R, mindlessly shrug your wrist for entry. Not ready to rest? Blankly swipe to purchase food, drink, gifts, among other deafening options, a bowling lane at Ten Paw Alley.
It’s funny, everyone milling around, soaking, draped in raisin-like skin. We exist in some massive sanitarium, our ever-present wristbands making us all look like aquatic patients…
2. As a business owner I can’t help but think you’re asking for hell managing a water attraction. Although dark and raw, people drown at home, miles and miles from this 1000-gallon bucket dump…
Without going too far, water is the most powerful compound in the universe–too much of it we die, not enough we die. So where’s the happy medium? Great Wolf Lodge has either adopted or designed an awesome regiment. Both indoor and outdoor attractions have lifeguards in constant motion, literally casing the joint, rescue tubes under their arms, whistles pursed for infraction. With calculated precision, lifeguards constantly rotate from station to station so as to keep their skills fresh, free from monotony. Nice job lifesavers!
Can’t say enough about this chlorinated gem, and we didn’t even take advantage of the 4-story obstacle course. Bananas, just bananas. Main site is here:
Seeing as the indoor water park is kept at a constant 84 degrees, I look forward to revisiting in the dead of winter for a swim, re-admitted, an aquatic patient.