So this was the view outside our Great Wolf Lodge hotel room. The cone-looking thing is the Howlin' Tornado, which I was happy to go on once. It was a wild ride, not unlike what I imagine it must be like to get flushed. You must be 48 inches tall to ride, no exceptions, which makes sense. I felt like I was gonna get tossed off the raft. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I didn't once, just to say I did. But I prefer the slides that just go fast, like the big blue tube. That's the River Canyon Run. The whole family (42 inches and up) climbs in what is essentially a round rubber boat. It's speedy, splashy goodness. Another cool thing: The inflatables for both of these rides take their four-story trip to the top of the slide via a mechanical pulley system, rather than on your back (which is how they do it at Wild Waves in Federal Way). There are two other big slides, basically the blue run (faster) and the green run (twistier) of Alberta Falls. Kids over 42 inches can ride these with an adult, which is neat, but honestly, they're a lot more fun solo.
There are two other slides at Totem Towers. They're not huge, but plenty of fun for kids over 42 inches, and adults. They're part of a structure with a giant bucket on the top, which frequently spills a massive splash you need to watch out for. Kids also love the Chinook Cove rec pool, which has basketball hoops, big floating things you can climb on (snake, beaver, acorn), and a lily pad challenge (I couldn't get across but Eddie could). The wave pool is also fun. It has a funny name, but I don't remember it. Basically, we climbed into these clear plastic single and double inner tubes and rode the waves. An aside: Can I just say that these clear plastic tubes are not super flattering? As if my hips and thighs need to be compressed and magnified for all to see. But I digress. There is also a really nice kiddie area, for the under-48-inch crowd. Our boys enjoyed the slides, little though they were, splashed around with the water sprayers and water dumpers. They also put on their goggles and explored the foot-deep waters.
All in all, I think Great Wolf, with all its newness and Disney-eque cleaning philosophy, spoiled me on Wild Waves, which is older, grimier and not as aggressively kept up.