Ramada Tropics, that is... Okay, so we didn't exactly go somewhere warm this year, but we did take a quick trip down to Des Moines for Christmas because the kids asked for a water park. This is something we did even when I was little, and while it isn't a tradition we celebrate every year, it's definitely a great one. Baby Evelyn had her first swim experience (because I was able to buy a swim diaper in the gift shop), the kids enjoyed the slides, and we spent the whole rest of the night playing games and ordering room service. We didn't spend a ton of time in the pool, even though that was the part they asked for, but it does include a huge pirate ship play area, a "regular" pool, hot tub, sports pool (basketball and volleyball), and then the area at the base of the big water slides, as well. The staff to swimmer ratio was also something I noticed - they were definitely ready for the influx of family Christmas parties
If you haven't been to the Ramada Tropics in Des Moines I'd definitely recommend it. The breakfast in the restaurant is really good, the price is reasonable, especially on the off-days, and the facilities are clean. They also have an arcade where we spent about 45 minutes and the princess won two jackpot prizes! While they don't have a ton of games, it was enough to keep the kids happy. It's also conveniently located near several restaurants and just a short drive from Merle Hay mall, which has really stepped up it's game from the slightly sketchy place it was when I was younger. They have some great stores and, if you're without the kids, be sure to check out Flix BrewHouse while you're there!
The other waterpark hotel we love in Iowa that we love is King's Pointe in Storm Lake, but their waterpark wasn't open on Christmas day, so we skipped that one this time. We also can't wait to try out the new Great Wolf Lodge in Minneapolis! What are your favorite places to stay with kids?