Saturday, January 25, 2014

Escaping the Bitter Cold: Our Trip to Kalahari

I think it is safe to say that this is the coldest January I ever remember living through!  With three "snow" days (no snow, just -20 degree actual temps with -40ish degree wind chills) on the books in the past two weeks and another polar vortex blast (isn't it great that we now have cool sounding apocalyptic names for weather events?) coming our way Monday with the very real possibility of a fourth "snow" day, I am grateful for the warm family getaway we just returned from yesterday. 

Granted, we weren't able to bask in Florida sunshine or rake our toes through warm sandy beaches, but spending three days in an indoor waterpark (with a glass roof that lets in the arctic sun minus the freezing temps), running around with bare feet and swimsuits, felt just like heaven on earth!

We've spent the other couple of snow days keeping busy at home or at the indoor play park (like the entire rest of the Twin Cities who felt cooped up after two snow days in a row)....

Snow Day #2 at the indoor play park, it was kind of cool that we were already at the Kalahari Resort and Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells when we got the call that school had been cancelled for a third time. 

I also felt a little better knowing the kids would be missing one less day of school than originally anticipated. 

We arrived early Tuesday evening and the kids were so excited that we were barely in our room five minutes before every single one of them had their swimsuits on. 

Much of our three days' time was spent at the waterpark where the kids enjoyed the water slides, wave pool, lazy river, "hot" pools, and kids' activity pools.

Ben was brave enough to try out the Flow-Rider.

Allie tried a couple times too...but the wave was pretty powerful and she gave up after almost losing her swimsuit bottoms!

This was Olivia's favorite slide.  I'm fairly certain she rode it at least a hundred times.

I always enjoy the break from normal household activities that vacation brings...especially the no cooking part, but still enjoying big breakfasts and lots of tasty treats!

Zach particularly loved eating here because not only do the kids meals come on leaf plates, but they come complete with a gummy worm!

We also had fun exploring the resort together.  Even though we didn't go anywhere geographically warm, when we were inside the Kalahari Resort, we felt like we had momentarily escaped the cold of the Midwest and were livin' the jungle life.

Planning our vacation mid-week during off-peak time does have its benefits.  For example, the kids pretty much had free reign of the indoor play park.  And, since they were also the only kids that entered the coloring contest, they were counted among its winners!

When our fingers and toes got too pruny in the water park, we made our way over to the indoor amusement park.  We enjoyed the arcade games, Ferris wheel, go-karts, ropes courses, climbing wall, laser tag, bumper boats, carousel, and interactive 3-D games. 
Apparently Olivia has a secret talent for winning arcade she is with her first 100-ticket jackpot win of the week.

Allie and Ben made it all the way to the top of the ropes course...which I believe was about 6 stories tall!

Olivia with her second big jackpot win of the week...this time, 500 tickets!

Zach is still not a fan of the Ben sat next to him on the stationary bench. 
We arrived home yesterday after far too much junk food (I never thought I could actually grow tired of pizza and processed cheese nachos) and far too little sleep (our bed never felt better than when I collapsed into it last night). 

Although tired and recovering from vacation fun overload, we are all healthy (oh, yes, Zach did come down with strep throat a few days before we left) and happy to be home.  The kids especially missed this little guy:

When asked about their favorite Kalahari vacation memories, each of the three kids had something a little different to add. 
Allie:  The Master Blaster (basically a waterslide that is more like a roller coaster)
Zach:  The Lazy River (I totally agree, buddy)
Olivia:  Winning all my tickets and getting my nails painted pink

Me?  Well, I enjoyed all of vacation....but, I especially liked putting the kids to bed at the end of the day, followed by a movie with Ben and our contraband treats (they had AMAZING German Chocolate Cake and Peanut Butter Pie!).  Granted, by the third night, I was asleep within minutes of the kids' bedtime, but that's ok too. tackle the laundry pile and cross our fingers in hopes of another "snow" day on Monday to relax before real-world re-entry!

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