I have been away on a family holiday and even though I tried not to be, I have been out of the “loup” (loop). Get it? I was at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara, Ontario- Wolf, Loup (French for Wolf). I know, it is lame and I apologize. Great Wolf Lodge is a mecca for little kids about the age of my granddaughter and up. Grammies can have fun there, too.
My grandson had fun but he is a little to young to understand everything that is going on. He was a little scared and then unsure, but warmed up as time went on. On the way to the Water Park-his little face says, “too many people here!!!” In the last moments before heading home he had a smile and a happy heart.
Essentially, Great Wolf Lodge is an enormous indoor water park, with accommodation, food, shopping for souvenirs, a huge lobby with talking nonhuman animals, an arcade and various activities for kiddies, all of which are designed to relieve their parents of any extra money they have brought along with them. This is not a criticism. It is a very well run and family friendly place and we had a ball there.
When I first stopped eating nonhuman animal products, there was always a concern about what to do when eating out. This has become much less of an issue for me for several reasons. I feel comfortable calling ahead to let eateries know and to ask what they could whip up for me. I know how to be more clear about what not eating nonhuman animal products means. I have a little spiel that I borrowed from my daughter covering all the do nots. I am not that fussy and will eat a large salad or pasta dish if that is all they offer.
I am very happy to say that many places are more familiar with and accepting of vegan requests and are happy to help. I was very pleased to see that this was the case at Great Wolf Lodge. Without fail, the chef came to our table at every meal to inquire personally about what she/he could do to accommodate us. This was followed with a tour of the buffet offerings, where the chef pointed out to us what was vegan and what was not, right down to the canola oil in the corn. One kind chef pointed out to us that, although the French fries which we had been eating are vegan, they are cooked in the same oil as the chicken. We so appreciated that info, although the kids may not have, because the fries were now off limits.
Apart from the kind accommodations made for us, I noticed that just generally, there were a lot of healthy options offered to all the patrons. There was oatmeal for breakfast, fresh fruit at all meals, a salad bar with tons of interesting greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers(red no less), olives, pickles, legumes, edamame and the list goes on. This was not your usual iceberg lettuce, green pepper and unripe tomato bar. There was also a burrito station at lunch time which had some fresh veggies and beans.
Now, I do think that vegans visiting Great Wolf Lodge are lumped into the category of people with special dietary requirements, which is really not what we are about. But I understand why places may look at us in that way, and I am hoping and am certain at the same time, that this is changing. We have been upgraded from granola type folk to those with specific dietary needs and as such are more respected for our choices which emanate from our life philosophy.
Even sometimes, the chefs are a step ahead in understanding what veganism means. My daughter had an interesting conversation with the chef at the burrito station. He said that his wife is vegan and that he should know whether or not one particular item at his station was vegan (can’t remember what it was). He understood the importance of knowing this for all of his vegan diners and declared that he was in favour or more vegan options being pre-prepared. He didn’t have to tell my daughter that. I appreciate his candour and understanding and respect.
Annie’s Vegan View
Be open to accepting that small changes are good changes.
Continue to speak the truth about veganism in an optimistic, but firm way.
Veganism is about the nonhuman animals who suffer at our hands.
Veganism is about being devoted to being the change that we want to see in this world.
May all beings be happy and free.