Brisk, cool weather has swept into the Midwest, convincing us that fall has finally settled in. As I pulled out the long sleeves and warm jackets for my daughter, I reminisced on my favorite fall traditions: pumpkin patches, pony rides, crayon leaf art, hot apple cider, corn mazes, jumping into piles of leaves, caramel apples, and of course Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating.
For me, swimming doesn’t usually come to mind this time of year. Yet somehow the new fall tradition has become trekking to the Wisconsin Dells Mega Water Park Hotels for one last Hurrah in swim suits. And the school holiday long weekend of choice: Columbus Day.
I was skeptical, even after countless recommendations from other parents. But you can’t beat the off season prices in the Dells. And these resorts did sound like a warm cocoon filled with so many bells and whistles we’d never have to step outside, allowing us to escape the cool weather rather than embrace it. I drew a parallel of journeying to a new land like Columbus, and decided to give it a try.
My daughter and I made our first trek last year to learn the ropes, and it was a huge hit. This year we came better prepared with food, beverages, and toys for the hotel room as well as multiple swim suits to keep up with daily trips to the indoor water parks. Now these are the childhood memories she’ll fondly recall when fall rolls around each year: swimming at a different themed indoor water park each day of the long weekend, getting to watch tv and eat breakfast in bed, duckie races in the lazy river, making a stuffed Moose to add to her quickly growing collection, indoor mini golf with a shark tank, painting at Polka Dot Pots, three story playground structures with nerf ball guns, making her own caramel apples and root beer floats, winning prizes in the arcade, meeting Monty and Molly the Moose, and wagon rides to the pumpkin patch (the only time we set foot outside the resort all weekend).
It was a great mini vacation. But of course, now that we’re home, I’m going to make her embrace the cool weather with all of my favorite fall activities, too!