Timber Ridge Lodge on December 24th and 25th. As Christians gathered around their Rockwellian fireplaces in their red and green striped matching pajamas, the Jews, Asians and South Asians--even a couple of Muslim women in head-to-toe modesty swimgarb--hit the water park hotel in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
The snow was falling steadily outside the windows, but inside the water park it was in the low 80s. Top 40 music played over the sound system as we glided along the lazy river, zoomed down the water slides and splashed in all of the pools save the hot tub. Because I'm scared of what lives in those.
The good stuff: We stopped for pizza at Burt's Place on the drive up. The girls had a blast. I looked better in a bikini than 90 percent of the women there. And we were able to successfully smuggle in a couple of clementines and Goldfish crackers and avoid having to purchase "pizza" or "nachos" from the frigid snack bar.
The bad stuff: A kid who'd indulged in said "pizza" barfed all over the side of the pool--about 5 feet away from us. The food at Smokey's BBQ, the hotel restaurant, was the worst "barbecue" ever to grace a bun. And their fish fry was just as unappealing. The kids were so wiped out by the travel and the water park that they completely melted down after dinner and we had to forgo Story Time with Milk and Cookies in favor of Lying in the Dark with Small Children Who are Afraid of the Sprinkler on the Ceiling.
Sunday morning's meal--the buffet brunch at the Grand Cafe in the nearby Grand Geneva Lodge--redeemed the resort. We gorged on omelets made to order, a waffle bar and assorted pastries and headed back to Timber Ridge for more water park fun.
Although spending the night away from home is still a pain with our kids (and sleeping on a pull-out couch is a pain, period), I'd happily head back to Timber Ridge at some point in the future. The suite was spacious and featured a giant bathroom, ample closet space, a full kitchen and a cozy gas fireplace. The water park was clean and the staff was very friendly and accommodating. Ideally our next trip there would include friends with similarly-aged kids and some in-room meal-making.