by Diana Lambdin Meyer
His name is Bruce the Moose and he’s made out of Legos. He’s the mascot for Timber Ridge and one of many enjoyable amenities that make this a perfect family getaway. Located on the 1300 acres that is the Grand Geneva Resort, the Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark goes a step further in providing a family-friendly experience for their guests, starting with Bruce the Moose. Lego room packages and Lego “create and take” sessions are among the activities that combine one of children’s most popular toys with a family vacation.
The Timber Ridge Lodge was added to the Grand Geneva Resort experience in 2001. As the name suggests, a rustic northwoods lodge decor carries through all 225-guest suites as well as the common areas and dining facilities. Five adorable mascots–a moose, chipmunk, coyote, and two human-like characters–make frequent appearances around the property and are even known to flop in the pool with your family.
A complimentary trolley is in constant motion around the property, picking up and dropping off at the pools, the horse stables, the golf course and more. If you’re lucky, Ron will be the trolley driver on duty. He’s a former school bus driver who knows how to keep your kids engaged and safe.
There’s really no need to leave the Grand Geneva property once you arrive, no matter what the season. From sledding and sleigh rides to swimming, tennis and climbing rock walls, there’s plenty to offer even the most finicky of your children. With golf, a great spa and multiple restaurants to choose from, adults, too, will appreciate a getaway at the Timber Ridge Lodge.
Our Editor Loves
- Indoor waterpark and two outdoor pools
- Lego-themed packages
- PJ story time in the lobby
Rooms & Rates
The 225 suites here are all perfectly suited for families, and many of the suites will open up to neighboring suites if you're traveling with others. A fully equipped kitchen has all the utensils and basics to put together a snack or a meal for the family. Grocery services are provided.
Suites are one or two bedrooms and all are two levels with flat-screen televisions upstairs and down. The lower level includes a DVD player and a media docking facility. The entire Timber Ridge property has a strong Wi-Fi signal at no extra charge.
A movie rental box is located just across the hall from the entrance to the waterpark. Pick out one of your family's favorites or bring along a DVD from home and enjoy the evening in your suite.
Parents will appreciate a bedroom with a king-sized bed and a whirlpool bath with doors that close and lock. Each suite includes a fireplace, a small dining area and your choice of a patio or balcony.
Trying to find an easy, cost efficient way to entertain a three year old in cold, dreary February. Researching water park resorts a short drive from Chicago and came across Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva.
We had only one night to spend and that was about the right amount of time to enjoy what Timber Ridge had to offer. We were able to check in early for Thursday afternoon arrival, which was very much appreciated after our drive. The view of the water park from the resort lobby was all it took to get the boy VERY excited. And then we passed the arcade on the way to our room, he almost hyperventilated.
The rooms are not posh, but we had a one room suite, and I was impressed with how equipped it was. There was a fully stocked kitchen, save money and bring food along for breakfast/snacks/etc. A pull out queen sofa sleeper right in front of the gas fireplace and the TV. A separate bedroom with king bed (not very comfortable) with another TV. And the best part, a two person whirlpool tub in the bathroom.
The water park was the perfect size for the boy. A zero depth pool with a water table, two very manageable slides, even a couple of bucket swings. Definitely sized for the 1 to 4 year old crowd. The water and the air temperature were super comfortable. There are many tables and chairs around the entire pool area for stashing towels, gear, etc.
On the other side of the toddler area there was a 4 ft deep area with another slide (longer and steeper, but completely visible from bottom to top), some floating islands with a cargo net above, picture American Ninja Warrior, for balancing on and falling off of. There was also an area where you could shoot inflatable balls into basketball hoops. We probably laughed the most over the floating island area, it was totally accessible with his puddle jumper floaties.
Life guards seemed very attentive. I believe that there were life vests to borrow. There was a lazy river with inner tubes and two very tall, very twisty enclosed slides that we could not use - not 48" tall yet. There is a snack bar inside the water park area, but we did not use it.
Arcade, as expensive as you'd imagine, no big surprise. He wanted to hang out in there all night - NOT. We left property to get dinner, business district Lake Geneva, plenty of casual choices right across the street. There is a BBQ restaurant onsite.
Because you can get into the water park prior to the actual check in time AND you may use it the entire next day, even after you check out of your room - this place is a great value. There are lockers to put your things in, a locker room with showers and changing areas. We hung out the day of check out until about 3 pm and then just changed in the locker room and headed home.
I will say that I booked this get away with only 2 days notice and tried to get into Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee. While Gurnee is 40 minutes closer to home and the property is newer and completely renovated, it was not worth 3 times the price of Timber Ridge. Perhaps with older kids, but we were not able to use 75% of their water attractions due to size requirements. I was able to determine this from GWL website, which was super helpful to me in making my decision.
All in all, a great winter getaway for a very reasonable price.
Nice indoor water park for the kids with outdoor pool in the summer months. I was very happy to see lifeguards on duty at the waterpark. Lifeguards make it much less stressful for parents of young kids. There's a restaurant on site. A kitchen to prepare your own food. A short distance to Lake Geneva, shopping, restaurants and fast food. We had a really nice vacation
Moose Mountain Falls
Obviously, the reason for staying here is the steps-from-your-doorway waterpark. Moose Mountain Falls is 50,000 square feet of splashing fun. Two 35-foot slides with lots of twists and turns keep the adventure seekers in your family happy, and Tiny Timbers is perfect for infants and those up to about 6 years old. A lazy river and hot tubs complement the fun times. If the weather is nice, the big windows open up and you can move freely inside and out. One of the outdoor pools is just perfect for toddlers. It has a zero-depth entry and splash fountains, slides and swings just their size. The other pool is about 4 to 5 feet deep through out (perfect for bigger kids), and includes water basketball, slides and a massive sunning deck.
Of course, children who are not yet toilet trained must wear swim diapers. If you forgot to pack some, they are for sale at Trader Jack's on the property.
When it's time to dry off, children can mellow out with other kids watching a movie in a room filled with overstuffed pillows and popcorn downstairs. A staff member is always on site, so parents can sneak away for a shower or just a quiet moment. In the same hallway are rooms where arts and crafts and Lego building takes place.
Kids Are Grand
The Kids Are Grand children's program is located in a separate building, adjacent to the spa and fitness center. The program is ideally suited for 4 to 12 year old kids at a rate of $10 per hour for the first child and $5 for the second child. However, 2 to 4 year olds are welcomed in specified hours only. Infants might be accommodated if the center is not too busy, as long as parents are nearby to change necessary diapers. Lots of board games, arts and crafts, Wii and PS2 are available.
Cooking classes, scavenger hunts and dancing lessons can be added to the fun for just a few dollars more.
The rest of the 1,300 acres is filled with activities that your family will enjoy. In the warm weather months, horse and pony rides are offered, along with a petting zoo at Dan's Patch. The same horses are engaged for hayrides or sleigh rides, depending on the season.
Several trails around the property are perfect for nature walks or bike rides. Even the roadways are wide and with limited traffic, so they're really good for perfecting bike-riding skills.
One small, but nice outdoor playground is located next to the fitness center under trees and with park benches for adults. A mini-golf course is also a fun outdoor treat.
The grounds also include indoor and outdoor basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts, and lots of wide, open spaces for throwing a Frisbee, flying a kite or pitching a ball. The corn maze and hayrides in the fall are outstanding.
The two 18-hole golf courses offer clinics for kids in the summer.
In the winter, the outdoor ice skating rink also offers lessons. The ski hill includes a magic carpet, a terrain park and two chair lifts. Cross Country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing are options as well. Don't worry about bringing any equipment. It's all right here, although some require a minimal rental fee.
For indoor activities, the kids might be satisfied to simply hang out in the video game arcade that has almost 60 games for kids of all ages. Parents can put a financial limit on cards assigned to each child. No need to worry about quarters or tokens.
The only shop onsite is Trader Jack's, which carries everything from snacks to diapers to little swimsuits and water wings. If you want a wide variety of souvenirs from your Wisconsin vacation, you'll have to visit the shops in downtown Lake Geneva.
The Hungry Moose Food Court is sure to be popular for families caught up in the excitement and enjoyment of the Moose Falls Mountain Waterpark. This cafeteria-style eatery is a part of the waterpark. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Hungry Moose covers the bases with egg sandwiches, cereal, yogurt and pancakes for breakfast. The remainder of the day, the menu includes pizza by the slice, burgers, nachos and the like, but you can also order a salad, pasta or fresh fruit. Milk and cookies for an afternoon or evening snack is also available.
Smokey's Bar-B-Que House is also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers many of the same goodies as the Hungry Moose, in addition to baby-back ribs, salmon and country-fried steak. On Friday evenings, enjoy perch fresh caught from nearby lakes. Table service here makes the meal a bit more relaxing and adults may order an appropriate adult beverage.
Gluten-free options are available at both restaurants.
However, for families who like to do-it-themselves, Timber Ridge offers a grocery shopping service and will have the kitchen cabinets in your suite stocked with whatever goodies you order in advance.
Of course, you may also take the trolley over to the Grand Geneva Resort to experience the selection of restaurants there. These include a steak and seafood option, an Italian bistro with fresh ingredients direct from Italy, and a cafe-style restaurant featuring Midwestern cuisine.
Planning & Tips
A $15 resort fee is attached to every bill, and although the fee is visibly noted in several places, some guests are occasionally surprised. Don't be. This covers services like Wi-Fi, the trolley, valet parking and lots of little extras that other resorts may ding you for.
All About the Extras
Instead of cribs, Timber Ridge offers Pack-n-Plays at no extra charge. A rollaway bed is an additional $15 per night.
Coin-operated laundry facilities are available on each floor. Each room includes four passes to the Moose Falls Mountain Waterpark.
The young women in your family should check out the services at the Well Spa, which includes make-up and skin care classes. Also ask about the Mommy & Me Yoga class offered most weekends in the fitness center.
In-room babysitting is available at $20 per hour for up to two children, and $5 per additional child after that. Please make babysitting arrangements at least 24 hours in advance.
PJ story time at 8 p.m. in the lobby each evening includes another visit from some of Timber Ridge's adorable mascots.
The Art of Smart Timing
All facilities at the Grand Geneva Resort and Timber Ridge Lodge are open all year long. Obviously, the busy times are when children are out of school and parents are eager to offer them a fun-filled getaway.
You'll find the best bargains mid-week from September through April. The fall weather in this part of Wisconsin is spectacular, and there are activities programmed throughout the year for families, so an off-season getaway is a great bargain.
Lake Geneva is located in the southeast corner of Wisconsin, about an hour from Milwaukee on Interstate 43. If driving from Chicago, about 90 minutes away, most people take Interstate 90 to Illinois Highway 47, which crosses into Wisconsin on the south side of Lake Geneva. Air travelers have their choice of flying into General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee or either Chicago O'Hare or Chicago's Midway airport.
The Grand Geneva and Timber Ridge Lodge partner with GoRiteway.com to coordinate transportation from the airports, however, many families prefer to rent a vehicle in order to explore downtown Lake Geneva.
For Mom and Dad
Hire a babysitter for a few hours and take the trolley over to the Grand Geneva Resort. There, you'll enjoy the lobby lounge, live music and a delightful cocktail menu. Of, if it's winter when you visit, include a romantic sleigh ride for your evening out. In the summer months, find a seat around the outdoor fire and watch the stars come out while enjoying a drink or sumptuous dessert, like cheesecake on a stick.