Timber Ridge Lodge Waterpark at Grand Geneva
Our family visited the lodge and waterpark for a one-night getaway, an easy 1 hour and 15 minute drive from our home in Madison. Eager to get swimming, we arrived before the 4PM check in time and were given colored wristbands that granted us access to Moose Mountain Falls for both days. Changing facilities are available on the first floor, directly across from the entrance to the waterpark (note: the waterpark provides guests with complimentary towels and life jackets).
But, before our hair was wet, we paid a visit to the Dan Patch Stables located near the South entrance. Featuring farm animals, the free petting farm is a small collection of cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens.Pony rides are $8, horseback rides are $32/person, and carriage rides are $60/group. Advance reservations are required for the horseback and carriage rides; and a carriage ride may offer you a better bang for your buck (especially if you have smaller children). If you visit in the special time of year where the ground is not quite frozen, wear boots or old shoes for this portion of your visit.
Back at the Timber Ridge Lodge, our family of five checked into a two bedroom suite (with one of us taking the pull-out sofa in the living room). The room features a fireplace, two flat-screen televisions, a balcony, two bathrooms (with a whirlpool tub in the master bath), and a kitchen with microwave, refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, and electric range (fully stocked with dishes, utensils, pots and pans). We had packed microwave popcorn and cereal for breakfast and were glad to have a designated place to prepare and store food.
Worth noting is the established relationship between the property and Trader Jacks, a local grocery store offering delivery service to your room. Groceries must be ordered and paid for a minimum of three days before your visit and there's not a delivery fee. If you car is always packed to the rim (like ours), pre-ordering groceries is a great way to enjoy a family meal without the hassle of packing a cooler or making a grocery run once you arrive in town. The "main attraction" is, of course, Moose Mountain Falls waterpark. In all, the waterpark weighs in at 50,000 square feet. With the exception of the indoor/outdoor hot tub, the outdoor waterpark was closed for the season during our visit. The waterpark features two slides, Timber Rapids (green tube slide) and Moose Mountain Falls (yellow body slide). Both slides eject riders into Canyon River, a lazy river that winds throughout the building. Ideal for elementary-age kids is the activity pool, with basket ball hoops and the floating log and ropes obstacle. Designed for toddlers and babies, the Tiny Timbers activity area features a zero-depth entry pool, tiny slides, swings, and a mushroom waterfall. We didn't spend too much time in this area, but it looked like everyone was having a nice time (and I didn't see any shivering bodies or blue lips, an important consideration in winter months). Adjacent from the waterpark is Crazy Coyote's Arcade Cave, which offers the standard assortment of video games, air hockey tables, ski ball, and claw grabbers you might expect from a resort arcade (in all, there are over sixty games and activities to choose from). Patrons play with per-loaded cards that both track the account balance and points earned (ask anyone who has schlepped around fist fulls of tickets for their kids and this is a welcome change). While the game rates are on the upper end of reasonable, I was impressed with the variety and quality of the items behind the prize counter. Beyond the waterpark and arcade, Timber Ridge Lodge offers various family activities scheduled throughout the day; ranging from crafts, to souvenir workshops, movies, and scavenger hunt. We popped into the craft room in time to paint snowman sun catcher thermometers, a craft everyone enjoyed (including parents enjoying a few minutes of down time).
Later in the evening, we stopped by the 8PM storytime, where children gathered around the lobby fireplace for complimentary cookies and milk. The books were really geared towards the younger child, but our kids enjoyed receiving a goodie bag all the same. In the lobby, you'll also find "Bruce the Moose" a structure made with over 17,000 Lego bricks by Lego Architect Adam Reed Tucker. The Kids are Grand childcare center is located near the Well Spa and Salon/Fitness Center and is ideal for parents who might like a date night and/or time to enjoy spa services, skiing, or a game of golf. Kids are Grand is designed to offer kids a more interactive experience than just watching a movie, and while we did not take advantage of this service, I stopped into the facility to take a few photos (note that the building is located near a nice outdoor playground). Rates vary based on the age of your children and the number of children in your family (read this page for details).
And, finally, the Fitness Center offers guests more options for staying active, especially in the winter months. Families will appreciate the indoor gym area, where Fitness Center staff can set up ping pong, soccer, volleyball, and basketball. In the far corner is a 35-foot tall rock wall available for $25 for up to three people for 1/2 hour (children must be 8 or older to climb). Indoor tennis courts are also available for rent (and advance reservations are required for both the rock wall and court time). If you are planning a visit to Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark, make sure and register your kids for the Lil' Splashers Club. Membership benefits include discounts on food purchases, room rates, childcare, ski lift tickets, and spa services. Linked to your kids' birthdays, you'll also receive additional rewards and gifts if your stay coincides with their birth month. Additional savings and discounts are available if you stay Sunday-Thursday (mention the $25 Certificate of Savings when you call to make a reservation).
* Our family received complimentary admission and lodging for the purpose of writing this story. I hope you find it objective; please leave a comment below if you have any feedback or suggestions.