Celebrate the Season at “Spring-a-Palooza” at Great Wolf Lodge



Flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing, which can only mean one thing…. Spring is in the air! Come and celebrate at Great Wolf Lodge in their newly enhanced Spring-a-Palooza event taking place March 10 through April 16, 2017.

Spring-a-Palooza is Great Wolf Lodge’s celebration of everything spring, and the Grand Lobby at the resort is Spring-a-Palooza central.  Here you will find colorful spring decorations throughout, including a special Great Wolf Lodge character-themed garden for children to explore. 

Each Department in Great Wolf Lodge got a chance to decorate a bucket for spring and  you the guest will have the chance to vote for your favorite one! Also be sure to check out the Fireplace as it is all decked out in spring decor and is great place to sit and warm up after a day in the water park.


During the five-week Spring-a-Palooza engagement, Great Wolf Lodge will offer additional entertainment options for you to enjoy, with special spring-inspired activities and events taking place daily.   Some of the scheduled events include:

  • Spring Picnic:  A time-honored spring tradition gets a Great Wolf twist, as guests can grab a blanket, spread it out on the floor and enjoy an afternoon picnic in the Grand Lobby.  Guests can sip complimentary Minute Maid beverage available from the Great Wolf Lodge character-themed Lemonade Stand and play a few rounds of “Take A Wiley Guess” card game.


  • Bubble Dance Party:  This special Spring-a-Palooza event fills the Grand Lobby with cascading bubbles while Great Wolf Lodge’s Ambassadors of Fun keep energy-levels high with a family-friendly dance party. 
  • Spring-a-Palooza Story Time:  Great Wolf Lodge’s nightly Story Time takes on a spring theme with a new tale featuring the Great Wolf Lodge characters called “Natural Wonders.”  Kids are encouraged to wear their favorite jammies to the Grand Lobby for this event and will have the opportunity to meet one of the Great Wolf Lodge characters in person.
  • Spring Scavenger Hunts:  Great Wolf Lodge will introduce two self-guided scavenger hunts as part of Spring-a-Palooza.   The “I Spy Spring” scavenger hunt will have guests looking high and low in the Grand Lobby to find a dozen hidden objects and claim a prize.   The “Spring Sprint” scavenger hunt has guests solving clues that will take them on a journey throughout the lodge.  When all 10 clues are solved, guests are rewarded with a prize.


  • Character Themed Flower Gardens:  A highlight of the Spring-a-Palooza celebration is the colorful springtime gardens found in the Grand Lobby.  The gardens are designed and hand-crafted by Pack Members from the resort.  Surrounded by a fence, the collection of flower pots are inspired by the Great Wolf Lodge characters.  Guests are encourage to stroll around the garden and vote for their favorite display.
  • Jelly Bean Guessing Game:  A gigantic jar filled to the brim with jelly bean candies sits in the Grand Lobby and guests are invited to enter a contest guessing how many delicious treats are within the jar.  The guests closest to the correct number without going over will be entered for a chance to win a Great Wolf Lodge Gift Card. 


  • Spring Themed Crafts:  During Spring-a-Palooza, the resort’s Ambassadors of Fun will host several spring-inspired craft making events for kids of all ages.  Character-themed crafting projects include Oliver’s Crazy About Bugs Jar, Violet’s Springtime Noodle Doodle, Brinley’s Don’t Blow Away Kite and Wiley’s Can You Spot It Binoculars.   

Similarly to how entry into the indoor water park is included with an overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge, all of the Spring-a-Palooza events are also complimentary to guests staying at the resort.  A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule provided to guests upon check-in.   

Chef Hany at Great Wolf Lodge.


Food is a huge part of any vacation and at Great Wolf Lodge, executive Chef Hany takes pride in every dish he creates.  He developed a passion for culinary arts at an early age and graduated from the International Culinary Institute before he traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, exposing his palate to as many different cuisines as possible.

Great Wolf Lodge takes allergy awareness very seriously and they are happy to accommodate your needs. The best part is that they do not serve peanut or tree nut products!

Before you leave be sure to check out the amazing Origami Cake created created by Linda Mihara, the owner of Paper Tree. It is 9 feet tall and took about two weeks to fold, before it was installed in the lobby of the Garden Grove hotel and indoor water park.

For more information on Great Wolf Resorts and its brands of indoor water park resorts, visit greatwolf.com.

Vacation Guide To The Ranch At Laguna Beach



Laguna Beach is home to rolling surf, amazing weather and a relaxed lifestyle. Visitors to Laguna are often looking for a laid-back hideaway which provide  indulgent benefits without the hassle of crowds in a popular beach town. The Ranch offers all of these luxuries in a tranquil environment with plenty of food, amenities, activities and mountainous views.

Ranch Accommodations


The Ranch offers 4 types of room: canyon rooms, creekside studios, creekside suites and cottage suites. There is also a Tree House nestled high in the hills that you can read about here. Upon a recent visit our family of 5 stayed at a cottage suite and we were super impressed with how spacious it was. There was more than enough room for all of us to stretch out and it was basically like living in an apartment without a kitchen.

They also supply the most comfortable plush robe you will ever slip into! I could have stayed in it all day and never left the room.  Actually, each morning I would wear it out on the balcony while I watched the deer play and soaked up the sunshine.


Video Tour of Cottage Suite

The Pond At The Ranch


The great thing about the pool at The Ranch is that is 100% saline. The pool is heated year round and features a hot tub and The Pond Bar. Pool services include cocktails, complimentary sunscreen and surprise amenities including complimentary passed snacks, sunglass cleaning, towel service and more.

Pool hours of operation:  24-hour key card access for overnight guests. The Pond Bar and pool services are available for hotel guests only from 11:00am – 6:00pm.

Video Of The Pool

Family Programs and Activities At The Ranch

From Sunday to Friday night with Kids night out on Saturday they set up daily events to make family time at Ranger station memorable. You can learn to do things such as:

  • build artful sand castles
  • star gaze with an Telescope
  • roast s’mores over the fire
  • and so much more!

They even have a Junior Ranger program with awesome camp counselors where you can drop your kids off for half the day. This is available for resort and local guests ages 5-12 weekends (Saturday and Sunday) through January 1. 3-Day advance reservations required.


How much is Junior Rangers?
9:00am-1:00pm – $65 per child with lunch included

Sycamore Spa At The Ranch

Coming Soon! 

Abandon the hectic pace of Southern California and surrender yourself to the soothing breezes and sublime surroundings of Sycamore Spa.

A peaceful canyon bungalow embracing both earth and sea, Sycamore Spa harnesses Laguna’s ethereal healing powers to quiet your mind, dissolve stress and restore your health and well-being. The attentive staff and coastal-inspired treatments converge to provide an intimate and nurturing experience tailored to your every need. Services offered include: massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, facials and body treatments such as scrubs.

Dining at The Ranch


The Food at The Ranch is quite simply, incredible. I dine out several times a week and I have yet to find a nicer breakfast spot then the Patio at Harvest restaurant. Currently, the new location for Harvest is being built but until then guests can dine on the patio where they can take in mountainous views and watch the deer graze right in front of them.

For photos of the menu and suggestions on what to order please visit my latest review of Harvest restaurant

Activities Near The Ranch


Who says you need stick around the resort to have a good time? Laguna Beach has so many beautiful beaches and just 350 yards away from The Ranch is one of the world’s most acclaimed beaches,  Aliso Creek Beach.

The Ranch has complimentary transportation that drops you off beachfront to explore the deep blue sea.  They also can arrange activities for you such as surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), skimboarding, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, dolphin safaris, tide pool exploration and other invigorating water activities. Or you can grab a custom-made picnic basket and lunch is covered!

Their partners at the nearby Hobie Surf and the Dana Point Yacht Club Paddle Center specialize in the California coastal experience, so you can paddle board, surf, play in paradise, or experience the eco-kayak tours nearby.

Video of Activities

Golf At The Ranch


Lastly, The Ranch is known for it’s magnificent Ben Brown Golf Course.

The 9-hole course is situated in what’s arguably the most serene and natural setting in Orange County. The course is carved into the naturally dramatic and lush walls of Aliso and Wood Canyons, creating an ultra-private playing experience with stunning views and elevation changes on every fairway.

Speedy greens and a commitment to proper tee box and hole placement keep the game fast, fun and inviting. An off-the-beaten-path location with not a house in sight means a quiet playing experience that offers a rare chance to connect fully in nature.

Families can join in on the fun too! The Ranch offers beginners golf lessons and even my 5-year old had a great time learning.


P.S. driving a golf cart is super fun! You gotta try it!

Get Social

To learn more about The Ranch please visit them on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour The Treehouse At The Ranch Laguna Beach



Imagine looking out from your own personal oasis into a beautiful canyon, lush with green fairways, and deer grazing right in front of you.  You are perched high above everyone else so you have a bird’s eye view of all the surrounding nature and landscape.

This is exactly what you would see if you were a guest in the Treehouse at The Ranch LB. The two-bedroom with king and queen beds, 3 bathroom, 1,600 square-foot suite offers an expansive wrap-around deck, full gourmet kitchen, living and dining space, and floor to ceiling windows. Also, included is the specialty Treehouse Gazebo for entertaining or personal enjoyment. Views from this perch are nothing short of dreamy!

The treehouse is perfect for a honeymoon stay, family vacation destination, or memorable couples resort solution.

Video of Inside The Treehouse

Photos of The Treehouse












  • Master Bedroom – King Bed and Full Bathroom (Oversized walk-in shower and dual vanities)
  • Guest Bedroom – Queen Bed and Full Bathroom (Shower/Tub combination)
  • Queen Sofa Bed
  • China Glass, Silver pots/pans, and utensils
  • Full Gourmet Kitchen with equipment including stove, oven, microwave, espresso machine and refrigerator
  • Full Bathroom with Shower (Downstairs)
  • Dedicated Ranch Hand to assist with guest needs
  • Personal Golf Cart
  • Complimentary beach gear upon request: Chairs, Umbrella, Towels, and Waters
  • Access to adjoining Gazebo
  • Signature Ranch bedding and Italian linens
  • Cozy slippers
  • Tuvalu designed coastal ranch estate quality furnishings
  • Multi-line telephone with voicemail
  • Hair dryer
  • Iron and ironing board
  • In-room safe
  • In room coffee machine with a selection of coffee and tea
  • State-of-the-art technology, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi,  3 LCD TVs (49″ – 48″), universal charging station for phones and tablets
  • Twice-daily housekeeping, including turn-down service
  • Complimentary valet/self-parking. No resort fee.

To book The Treehouse please visit www.theranchlb.com

Package Deal – Spend Labor Day At Renaissance Indian Wells

15 Facts You Probably Didn't know about Music (1)

Got plans for Labor Day? You do now! Treat the family to a long relaxing weekend at Renaissance Indian Wells. They have Pool-time, dive-in movies and the legendary Family Dance Party that is returning to Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa for Labor Day weekend! You can read about our previous stay here.

The 23-acre Palm Springs area resort’s Labor Day Weekend Package is priced from $219 USD per night and is highlighted by a daily per-room resort credit that can be used for dining or spa treatments throughout the stay. The package provides:

  • Overnight accommodations in one of the resort’s highly appointed rooms
  • $25 daily resort credit
  • Dive-in movies (Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)
  • S’Mores (Friday and Saturday, 7 to 8 p.m.)
  • Family Dance Party, Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Access to Mobile Gaming Truck

Camp Oasis

There’s more to the celebration as well. Labor Day weekend guests of Renaissance Indian Wells can look forward to the resort’s popular Camp Oasis for children age five to 12. For grown-ups, pool bar temptations and rentable cabanas await, as does the popular poolside DJ experience from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Also on Saturday and Sunday, the air-conditioned Gamer’s Ride Mobile Gaming Truck will be on-site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., while a kids’ Craft Zone will beckon on both Saturday and Sunday, offering glitter tattoos and craft painting.

Get The Labor Day Discount Code

With a wide selection of connecting and adjoining guest rooms and an acclaimed swimming pool experience highlighted by waterfalls, cabanas, poolside dining and its own sandy beach, Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa offers its Labor Day package at http://deals.marriott.com/renaissance/usa/ca/indian-wells/labordaypackage (code HOL). The package is based on availability, and is subject to tax and daily resort fee.

To discover more, follow the property on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renaissanceindianwells, Twitter at www.twitter.com/renindianwells or Instagram @renindianwells. To contact the resort directly, please call 760-773-4444.

Family Fun Package This Summer At Kona Kai Resort

Panko Fried Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango Curd and Coconut Sorbet-4


When was the last time you visited San Diego? There are some beautiful resorts and hotels there perfect for a family staycation. One in particular, The Kona Kai Resort has a great family package this summer called  “Family Fun in the Sun”.  The newly refreshed, boutique resort on San Diego’s Shelter Island is offering a classic summer getaway for families, complete with a private beach, sandcastles, s’mores and bike rides. The iconic Kona Kai Resort & Spa, which recently completed a multimillion dollar revitalization of the property, offers casual, Southern California beach luxury in the heart of San Diego.

The Family Fun in the Sun package includes:

  • S’mores kit for four
  • Sandcastle building bucket and tools
  • Complimentary one-hour bike rentals for four
  • Welcome plush toy for children upon check-in

The Family Fun in the Sun Package is available from July 11 to August 31, 2016 for guests who book a one night stay Sunday through Thursday and a two night minimum Friday through Saturday.  For more information, visit www.resortkonakai.com

Private Beach At Kona Kai Resort

With an ideal setting for families, Kona Kai Resort & Spa is the only resort in the area with an exclusive private beach available only for hotel guests and Kona Kai Club members, historically known as the “club of all clubs.”  The resort sets up beach chairs and umbrellas for comfortable all-day sun lounging overlooking the Kona Kai Marina.  Kids can play freely and nearby, with food and drink service available anywhere on the property through Vessel Restaurant.  The resort offers beach cruisers and water sport rentals for guests to explore Shelter Island and San Diego bay.  In the evening, guests lounge around cozy fire pits and enjoy the sunset while kids make s’mores.

New Pool, Live Music and Cabanas

The recently revamped pool area at Kona Kai Resort & Spa is the hub of the property located in the open, Spanish-inspired courtyard in the center of the resort with open views of the marina and private beach. The pool deck features a spacious hot tub facing the marina, and a new poolside Tiki Bar a menu of classic summer beverages, local beers and artisanal cocktails along with an array of delicious light bites from Vessel Restaurant.  Live music is offered Thursday – Saturday featuring local bands, while a large, flat-screen TV provides guests the opportunity to watch sporting events poolside.  Private covered cabanas with plush, vibrant pillows and curtains are available to rent.  For more information, visit www.resortkonakai.com  or call 619.221.8000.

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