Getting away to the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge

This March break we decided to get away without going too far away. I've been thinking about Great Wolf Lodge for quite awhile but heard there were closer and cheaper options in New York State.  A little online research and I found the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge near Lake George New York. 

How far is it?

By the map it's about 4.5 hours.  It took us closer to 6 or so including bathroom breaks, the wait and the border and lunch.

We drove through Montreal, though you can also drive through Ogdensberg. The Montreal route is longer but on faster roads.  The route down the 416 takes you through smaller towns at slower speeds.

Either route takes you through the mountains and it's quite a lovely drive.  There isn't as much as usual to be seen along the highways as I usually see on our trips to the States though - not a single Cracker Barrel between Ottawa and our destination, but fortunately there was an Applebees :)

What is there to do there?

Indoor Water Park

The indoor water park is included in your stay at the hotel (so is the outdoor amusement park when it's open) and it has a lazy river, a treehouse, a toddler area, 3 4-story enclosed slides and a boogie board ride.

My kids aren't very adventurous so they were thrilled with the lazy river and the slides in the treehouse. I was really impressed with the lifeguards on staff.  They were monitoring everything very closely and are constantly showing that they are doing visual checks of all sections of the water.  We were comfortable letting the kids have free run of the lazy river and treehouse on their own at ages 5 and 8.

Adventure Trek

I didn't really understand what this was before we arrived but in the end we invested and I'm really glad we did.

The hotel has an indoor video game called Adventure Trek.  You need to buy a wand (about $30) and then you use the wand to complete missions.  Once you've completed all the missions in one section of the game you get to play a game on a big video game screen.

We only bought one wand for the three kids.  Most of the groups of kids we saw had each kid with their own wand.  We were fine with just the one.  We also didn't get the upsell of fancy toppers for the wands nor did we buy them adventure capes.  We're the boring parents apparently ;)

What was great about this is that it kept the kids moving even when we weren't in the water park.  They were running all over the hotel, up and down the stairs from floor to floor, to try to find all the things they needed in each mission.  We always had one of us with them while doing this but had the twins been a bit older we would happily have left them to their own devices.  

The perk here is that your kids get to go running around the hotel and it's perfectly acceptable and part of the way the hotel works!

Kids Klub

They have a kids' club that was great for keeping the kids entertained.  We went and coloured a few times, and the twins also spent some of their pocket money on colouring t-shirts.

There are mascots that make appearances daily and one night we had bedtime stories with Scrappy Doo which the twins really enjoyed.  At eight and a half, my older son was pretty uninterested in the mascots though.   There's also an arcade. The kids loved this but it's just a typical arcade with the tickets and prizes.

Lake George

This area is mostly closed down in the winter. I would love to go back when we could take advantage of the hiking, the outdoor mini putt, and the amusement park.  There are outlets and lots of restaurants, though many were closed for the season.  There's also skiing but we aren't winter sports people :) 

Overall, this was a great trip and I'd definitely go again. I think that for the winter months two nights would have been enough and three pushed it a bit long with only the adventure trek and the water park to keep us busy.  

Have you been to Lake George? What did you think?

Ottawa area attractions: Mont Cascades

by Amanda Our 2 year old has a new phrase these days. “Water slides. Go! Water Slides?”  We are frequent visitors to Mont Cascade. So frequent that we have purchased season passes again this year and our son recognizes when we get close because he says “Water Slides!!” Mont Cascade is located in Cantley, Quebec, approximately 25 minutes from downtown Ottawa.

Ticket prices are only $15 for adults or $35+tax for a season’s pass (2 and under are free!) making it is a very affordable option for some fun in the sun. The water being heated this year adds to even more enjoyment.  At $35 for a seasons pass we can justify only going for a few hours at a time. Sometimes with smaller children this is needed for those who still nap or just need to head home for some quiet time.

The kids area consists of a 3 smaller slides that end up in the beach like wading pool and 2 larger slides that bring you down to the bottom in their own little area. Check it out here. Our 2 year old loves going down the 3 smaller slides on his own but with the longer walk up to the top for the 2 larger slides, called Lemonade and Tangerine for their colours, he has an adult ride with him.

We have discovered that depending on what kind of bathing suit bottoms you wear will greatly impact your speed, or lack thereof.  My husband has his “water slide shorts” that offer speed! Even going on the slides with our son they catch some great speed and shoot out the bottom.  If you are wearing bathing suit bottoms that are made out of cotton you may find yourself pushing yourself down the slide more.  When we visit during the more busy times one adult generally stays at the top of the slide and the other at the bottom to do the catching as they come into the water. Our son does the small walk back up to the top by himself with us watching him. This is done more for the fact that he doesn’t understand the concept of not letting the older kids jump in front of him and to wait until the child before him is completely out of the way before it is his turn!  There is a height restriction in the childrens area but adult or older children are able to slide with the little ones at all times.

With many daycamps frequenting the park this summer I suggest trying to go on a Monday or Tuesday. Generally these are days where daycamps do not take day trips off site.  Plan to be there right for opening, 10am, or head later in the day around 3 when many people are leaving for the day to get home for dinner.  That being said we did meet some friends there on a Friday early afternoon and despite the parking lot being full the kid area was not overwhelming.

Bring a cooler and pack your lunch and snacks. There is a canteen available and a Subway restaurant. Prices can start to add up quickly. Just remember not to bring any glass bottles or containers, as they are not permitted.  If you get there early grab a picnic table with some shade and an umbrella.  There are also a few cabana’s to rent if you are going with a group but I do find them very awkwardly placed over by a smaller pool and not close to the children’s area and away from many of the main slides. This could be a draw for those with older children so the parents have a quiet place to sit but those with young children would not have easy access from the kids area to their cabana’s.

For older children there is “Splash Forest” with a few small tube slides, spraying water and buckets of fun.  We have only frequented a few of the “big slides” and have found that the line ups can get quite big in the mid day.  Expect a line up to wait for your tube or mat if they are required for your slide of choice and then a long walk up to the top of the slide. However, it would be a great way to tire out the kids for the drive home!

The lifeguard in me also feels the need to gently remind you to keep your eyes on your child at all times and to stay close.  From what I have seen over the past two years frequenting this water park is that the lifeguards are not always as vigilant as they could be.   Because they are a private waterpark and not a City pool they do not have to follow the same standards and the lifeguard to bather ratio is quite large.  We have noticed there are a few lifeguards who are fantastic with the children, encouraging high fives as they walk back up to the slides, gently reminding children to walk instead of run and responding to questions or needs of park users. Next time you want someplace to cool off why not head to Cascades? We’ll see you there!

Amanda is a mom to a 2 year old boy and 4 month old baby girl.  When she is not out having fun with the kids you can find her getting her yoga on at

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