Cascades Indoor Water Park
You can catch a wave at this 40,000-square-foot water park, whether you want to speed down a three-story-high tube water slide or roll along in the wild wave pool. Toddlers have a one-foot-deep wading pool with a mini slide and swing, while preschoolers and grade school aged kids (and actually kids of all ages) can enjoy the splashing and squirting fun of the Big Bear Falls, with smaller slides, water guns and a massive deluge of water poured from the bucket up top. For the rest of the crew there's a special "sports" pool with basketball hoops, an outdoor pool that's open even when the snow flies and features spectacular views of Virgil Mountain, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and four massive slides in the Rapids (made for kids and adults 48 inches tall and up).
The more intimate size of this water park makes it relatively easy to keep tabs on more than one kid at a time, and the attentive lifeguards make sure everyone stays safe, even if you have to turn your back for a second. (And since there's only one entrance in and out, you might even be able to catch a break on one of the park's lounge chairs next to the entrance.) The hotel provides flotation vests, tubes and towels, so all you need to pack is your suit and you'll be ready for fun.
The park is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday (with weekday mornings offering a more limited number of attractions), and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays -- leaving plenty of time for enjoying the park's charms.
The Adventure Center features outdoor thrills year round, including a massive ropes course, high-flying zip lines, year-round tubing, and a mountain coaster that combines the features of an alpine slide and roller coaster, whipping you around curves and dips in the mountain at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Most of the activities are appropriate for kids 6 and up, while a few (such as the tubing and the mountain coaster) allow kids as young as 3 if accompanied by an adult. Each activity costs an additional fee; you can pay a la carte or spring for an "Adventure Ticket," which gives you full day access to the Mountain Coaster, the Euro Bungee and either the Zip Line or the Aerial Course.
For the 6 and under crew, a purchased ticket gets them all-day access to the Cub Club Playland, soon to offer a bounce house, swing set and kiddie rides.
Bearfoot Den Children's Activity Center
Little ones can play with an array of toys, while older kids can make crafts, play Wii or sign up for an evening recreation session at this kids' room -- located on the first floor of the Lodge. Two-hour night sessions for kids' ages 4 to 12 range in theme from "Pajama Jam" to "Hideaway Scavenger Hunt." These programs include an activity, a snack and sometimes dinner. Parents are welcome to visit the Center with the kids for free, and an adult must accompany children under 12 years old. Special half- and full-day rates are also available. Center hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends. Advanced recommendations should be made at least a day ahead, but book earlier to ensure a sitter is available when you need one.
Bring your kids' best pajamas so they can head down to the 8 p.m. story time in the lobby every evening.
At this sizable arcade located next to the indoor water park (you'll have to walk through the arcade to get to the water park, so expect your kids to beg to test their skills on the various games as you pass by) your kids can play over 30 modern games, then trade in prizes for take-home treats like star-shaped glasses, movie clappers or giant Pixie Stix. Plan on spending a good amount of time here -- it's a kid magnet. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Disc Golf Course
At the concierge desk, purchase passes for play at a nine-hole disc golf course.
Purchase a pass and earn access to a variety of special seasonal recreational activities, from sleigh rides in winter to bounce house fun in warm weather months.
Hiking and Mountain Biking
Set out on foot or rent a mountain bike and explore the resort's Nordic trails and Tuller Hill State Forrest. Guided hikes depart regularly -- consult the resort activities guide for current times. Available in spring, summer and fall, hourly mountain bike rentals are available including bikes with training wheels. Helmets are included and half-day and full-day rentals are available. Rental hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in season.
Hope Lake Park
Follow a scenic footpath from the resort to Hope Lake Park, a public town park offering a swimming beach, boat rentals and fishing. Admission is free with a resort wristband. Visitors can rent boats and fishing poles by the hour. Volleyballs and basketballs can be checked out at the concierge desk for use at onsite courts. Bring your own sunscreen, beach blanket and sand toys. The park is open daily from July to Labor Day and on weekends in May, June, September and October.
Greek Peak Mountain Resort
Avid skiers as well as novices will enjoy affordable rates, six aerial lifts and 32 trails (over half open for night skiing). The resort's Junior Ski and Ride program allows kids ages 3 to 14 to start learning how to ski and snowboard. Newbies start out in "Magic Carpet Land," a ski bowl that makes it easy to get up and go before kids are ready to hit the easy slopes. Private or group ski lesson packages are available.
While not as extensive amenity-wise as some larger Northeastern resorts, the family-owned and family-run facility offers an attractive array of options and activities bound to entertain any winter visitor. This includes a six-run Tubing Park, an Adaptive Center for guests with disabilities and a full Nordic Center, which offers groomed cross-country paths, snowshoe trails, lessons and rentals.
For little ones who aren't yet ready to brave the slopes, the ski resort offers a babysitting service, though you'll need to book your spot there at least 24 hours in advance. Also onsite are fitting services and an in-house cafe. At the original A-Frame lodge, there's a casual teen hangout featuring a small arcade and snow sports videos.