We were provided a Hyundai to drive for the purpose of this trip. All opinions are our own.
I’ve always wanted to surprise my kids with a trip. It looks like a ton of fun when I’ve seen other parents do it.
So when Great Wolf Lodge asked us to come and check out what they have going on for Spring, my husband and I decided it was the perfect time to pull off a surprise trip.
Planning the Surprise Trip
A few days before we set off on our adventure with our boys, a Hyundai Santa Fe arrived in my driveway, for me to review. This was perfect for our trip, it had lots of space for our luggage and the surprises that we had planned along the way.
My kids didn’t suspect anything with the arrival of the new wheels, as it happens from time to time. The secret was still safe.
My husband and I made plans to pull the kids out of school a few hours early on a Friday afternoon and head North, our children none the wiser.
Preparing the clues
I am not very crafty. I can visualize the end product in my mind but getting it from my brain into reality is difficult for me to pull off.
In planning for the surprise I knew that I had to keep it simple and decided on clues to give to the kids at certain points along the 2 hour trip to Great Wolf.
There was a twist that my husband added, he wanted clues but didn’t want the boys to figure out where we were headed until the very last hint was given.
Along with each clue was also a bag of goodies to keep the kids busy on the road. Each bag consisted of a combination of items from home that I know my kids like to bring to keep themselves entertained and a few new surprises.
Our 2-hour drive consisted of 3 envelopes with hints and 4 corresponding goody bags. The last bags, the one without a clue attached had new flip flops because my kiddos were in desperate need of a new pair and a pair of their swim trunks that they already owned.
Here’s the thing. The goodies in the bags were either something that my kids needed (like the sandals) or something inexpensive that I knew they would enjoy.
Time to hit the road with Hyundai.
There was only one minor snag with our plan to surprise the kiddos. My youngest son is very focused on schedule and quite frankly doesn’t love to be caught off guard. This is a detail that I thought about briefly but didn’t give much consideration to.
I think on a ‘normal’ school day my little guy would have felt less upset. The day that I picked up the boys, there was a party celebrating the end of their American Heart Association Focus. My older son had already done his party, the youngest? You guessed it. He was in the middle of the party.
Navigating a vacation surprise with a kid who doesn’t like surprises
In hindsight, I should have handled getting him out of school early a bit differently. This kiddo has some sensory issues and each morning we talk about who will be picking him up from school. Additionally, if his schedule changes, like say, getting picked up early, we talk about that too.
Even though we had way more fun on our weekend at Great Wolf Lodge that I could imagine he would have had during his school celebration. He has mentioned several times that he wished he could have been there for his party.
I don’t know what the answer is, to make this easier for a guy like mine who needs to know what is going to be happening. I don’t like to blatantly tell him a lie because there will be a day that I need him to trust my word completely and I don’t want a ‘fun’ fib to fog that trust. Perhaps next time, telling him that he has to be picked up early for an appointment and leave it at that.
Figuring out the destination
My kids figured out that we were headed to Great Wolf Lodge when we reached the Cincinnati skyline. As I expected they were very excited about where we were headed, I am not sure what I would have done if they had been disappointed! Luckily, I didn’t have to deal with that!
Check out the video of the trip to Great Wolf Lodge! Have you ever surprised your kids with a trip before? What were their reactions like?