Tag Archives: Family

51 Things To Do At Madden’s & The Brainerd Lakes Area

If you read straight from our brochure you’d find that “Madden’s is the Midwest’s undisputed leader in recreational amenities.” After staying here a while and exploring, I certainly cannot disagree! Madden’s has seemingly unending recreation opportunities–enough to keep any child, teenager, or adult busy! We were even mentioned in the July 2011 issue of Parents magazine as one of the top 4 vacation destinations in the nation for good old fashioned family fun. So where should I begin… Let me give you a count down of the 51 reasons for choosing Madden’s recreation.

Four guests enjoy an afternoon of golfing at Madden's Classic course

1. Golf (63 holes to be exact)
2. Tennis (with lessons if you like)
3. Croquet
4. Lawn bowling
5. Volleyball
6. Horseshoes
7. Shuffleboard
8. Trap shooting
9. Bicycles (with miles of bike paths)
10. Pontoons
11. Motor boats
12. Fishing boats
13. Fishing poles
14. Fishing guide service
15. Water Ski School (for skiing, wakeboarding, & tubing)
16. Adventure Cove Children’s Activity Program (blog posts: 43 Fill Adv Cove, Children’s Vaca Paradise)
17. Marina’s Natural Sand Beach

Madden's guests enjoying the natural sand beach at the Lodge including water toys at our water park.

18. Lodge’s Natural Sand Beach
19. Wilson Bay’s Natural Sand Beach
20. Spalon Montage
21. Outback Trail Ride (on horseback)
22. Sunup Ranch Tour
23. Mini Golf at Pirates Cove
24. Fitness Classes
25. Yoga
26. Zumba
27. Gull Lake Water Expeditions
28. Happy Hour Cruises
29. Golf Lessons
30. Customized Golf Tournaments for your group
31. Cook-outs
32. Madden’s Water park
33. Paint your own wine glass at our Stable Gallery
34. Welcome Receptions
35. Special Events (such as Madden’s Food & Wine Event, Murder Mystery Weekend, & Labor Day Weekend Dance)
36. Nightly O’Madden Pub entertainment including D.J., bands, & karaoke

A minnow race at a weekly welcome reception

37. Craft Classes
38. Bingo Nights
39. Movie Nights
40. Kayaks
41. Canoes
42. Paddleboats
43. Rowboats
44. Sailboats
45. Waterbikes
46. Badminton
47. Basketball
48. Fishing Guide Service
49. 5 pools (3 indoor, 2 outdoor)
50. 3 hot tubs (2 indoor, 1 outdoor)
51. Minnow Races

This week we will feature some of our favorite activities. I would love to hear back from you about your favorites! Tell us about your favorite activity at Madden’s and why and we’ll feature your quote in an upcoming post. Email me at or comment below.

Until next time, Elizabeth

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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Family Time, Recreation


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Children’s Vacation Paradise

A "throw-back" kid's vacation. Sometimes the best toys are made by nature.

Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake is a gold mine for the young to experience a true vacation. We’re not saying the adults won’t have fun, but you might just get a little jealous! With many ways to get wet, run around, and explore the great outdoors, children can enjoy an amazing experience that will last a lifetime. Did you know Madden’s was featured in Parents magazine as one of four resorts in the nation for great “throw back” family fun?

What is it that makes Madden’s a great place for kids you ask? To start, Madden’s offers an exclusive day program for those between the ages 4-12 at Adventure Cove. With a friendly and fun staff, Adventure Cove offers many activities.

Slip ‘n Slide and water games at Adventure Cove

Adventure Cove Activities:

-Balloon animals
-Face paint
-A full playground with a sandbox
-Water balloon wars and toss
-Fishing contests
-Field trips to Paul Bunyan Water Park, Pirates Cove mini golf & go carts, Jacks Family Bowling Alley, Outback for horse trail rides, Sunup Ranch for a tour a quarter horse and beef ranch
-Soccer, Frisbee, scoop toss, and other outside games
-Water Ski School
-Tennis lessons
-Fun arts and crafts, playdough activities
-Activities at our marina including kayaks, paddleboats, canoes and pontoon boats
-Pizza and S’mores parties!
-Finally many games and swimming opportunities

Playdough time at Adventure Cove

Madden’s Waterpark

The fun doesn’t stop at Adventure Cove, after a great day there children can enjoy a lakeside swim at one of our three natural sand beaches. At our Lodge’s beach we even have a waterpark with a water trampoline, tetter totter, and wall climber.

Water trampoline and water tetter totter at Madden's Waterpark

Or if water doesn’t seem appetizing, the children can go to our recreation center at the Tennis & Croquet Club and play a variety of games including:

Tennis & Croquet Club Activities:

Kid’s can enjoy various games including badminton
at the Tennis & Croquet Club

-Sand volleyball

For “kids” of all ages:

Just so you’re not getting too jealous, let me list a few activities scheduled weekly during social season for “kids” of all ages. These are great for the entire family!

-Tennis Lessons
-Golf Lessons
-Putting & other golf contests
-Water Ski School
-Horseback Riding
-Ranch Tour
-Biking on local trails
-Minnow Races
-Movie Nights

Face painting at the weekly welcome reception. Open to all guests.

Check your schedule when you arrive or inquire at the Tennis & Croquet Club for more information on all of the resort’s recreation opportunities.

Yours in Fun, Tim (, Social Activities Coordinator

**Submit photos of your kids enjoying Madden’s to be featured in our summer photo posts by emailing**


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A Fourth of July Family Affair

The Lind cousins on the 4th of July at Madden's

The Lind Family has been coming to Madden’s for years including visiting over the Fourth of July. For them it has become a family tradition. To learn more about their story, I talked to Chris Lind, one of six siblings in the Lind Family. He shared some of their family’s favorite memories of Madden’s:

Can you describe a fun tradition you’ve had at Madden’s?

For many years, our family has rented the Lake House. Each year we make a campfire down by the lake in front of the house. Our favorite part is the annual ghost story by the fire. We have 20-25 people in our party each year and we make a big production out of it. My four kids still talk about the ghost stories and can’t wait for the next one.

Another tradition we have is in honor of our mother, Carole. We hold an “Oh Shoot” best ball golf tournament each summer. Our mom got her first and only hole in one on the Social Nine course several years ago and let’s just say our mother was not known for her golfing ability. She was always the driving force behind us returning to Madden’s every year. We’ve only missed 2 or 3 years since about 1969!

The Lind Family's "Oh Shoot!" Best Ball Tournament

What was your favorite 4th of July at Madden’s?

Each year the kid’s at Adventure Cove decorate a float, make props and then parade around the resort. We will always remember the years when our kids were young and they participated in the parade.

Lind granddaughters, Sara, Lindsey, Allie, & Ashley in Madden's 4th of July Parade in the early 2000's

What is your favorite thing to do on the 4th of July?

The cook-out at Madden’s is wonderful. Then we usually go up to Pine Beach East course at the first tee and get a table together. We listen to the band, drink, and chat. It’s nice because you can see the boats lining up for the fireworks, see the band, and overlook the course.

Why is Madden’s worth coming back to year after year?

Madden’s has the whole package: great golf, great boating, great service. It’s a place we can relax, enjoy each other’s company, and make wonderful memories. Our mother passed away about 18 months ago and I think it was her favorite place to be with us. It is nice to reminisce.

The Lind's at Madden's 4th of July Cook-out 2004. Grandma Carole in center.


Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Family Time, Madden's Events


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Brainerd/Baxter American Celebration

Plan to visit Madden’s at the end of June or over the 4th of July? Consider checking out a local favorite: American Celebration. Sounds pretty broad, I know. But the American Celebration is very broad. The celebration runs from June 23 through July 4. Now that’s a party!

Each day will offer something a little different. For example on the weekend of July 1-3 the Brainerd Raceway will be filled with different races including Outlaw Drag racing and CRA Superbike racing. I’ve never been, but I’m told people around here love it! Another big favorite is the Annual Arts in the Park. It hosts 140 artists, tons of food vendors, and loads of entertainment. A battle of the bands competition will take place in the West Gate Mallon July 1 & 2 with the winner performing on the 4th of July. And of course, I have to mention the huge 4th of July celebration! Starting at noon, the day will be packed with stuff to do like a corn on the cob feed, musical performances, a parade, and fireworks to close out the night.

The official schedule is as follows:
Thursday, June 23
Little Miss & Mr. 4th of July Pageant: Westgate Mall Center Court, 1 pm

Saturday, June 25
Komen Brainerd lakes Race for the Cure: Forestview Middle School, 8 am
Miss Brainerd Lakes & Miss Baxter Scholarship Pageant, Tornstrom Auditorium, 7 pm ($10 cover)

Friday, July 1
Right Friends Picnic: Confidence Learning Center, 5 pm
Show & Shine: The Body Works parking lot, 7-10 pm
Minnesota Battle of the Bands: Westgate Mall, 1-9pm ($10 cover)

Friday – Sunday, July 1 – 3
BIR Annual Show N’ Go: Brainerd International Raceway, (cover varies)

Saturday, July 2
Minnesota Battle of the Bands Championship: Westgate Mall, 1-9 pm ($10 cover)
36th annual Arts in the Park: Gregory Park, 10 am-4:30 pm

Sunday, July 3
Gospel Night ’11Heritage Assembly of God Church: 6 pm

Monday, July 4
Corn on the Cob Feed: sponsored by Brainerd Jaycees,High School Football Field, 12 noon
Parade: Throughout town, 4 pm
Bill “The King” Musel as Elvis: High School Football Field, 6:30 pm
Winner of Battle of the Bands: High School Football Field, 7:15 pm
Wayne Renn (Country & Classic Rock Artist): High School Football Field, 8:15 pm
Presentation of the Flag & Singing of the National Anthem: High School Football Field, 10 pm
Fireworks! 10:15 pm

Did I miss anything? What is your favorite event? Keep me posted by commenting below or emailing me at

Thanks for reading, Elizabeth


Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Local Tidbits


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Bringing Baby on Vacation

So you want to go on a nice family vacation. A quiet getaway to… oh wait! There is no quiet when you’ve got the kids! I recently read a fun article in Conde Nast Traveler that could help out any parent: “The A-to-Z Guide to Traveling with Kids.” Wendy Perrin does a great job of sharing “Secrets every smart traveler should know.” I’m going to share some of my favorites directly from her article. If you want to read the whole article you can check it out on their website.
Wendy also has a blog and Twitter account: @wendyperrin.

My favorite letters… my notes follow with a double **

B is for Bananagrams.
Think Scrabble but with no board, no complicated scoring, and no need to wait your turn: Each player works independently and at his own pace and skill level, thus ruling out frustration and boredom. Your child can play alone, or the entire family can participate, and even when you lose some letter tiles under the airline seat, it’s still playable (

H is for Headphones.
Not the awkward inside-your-ear type that falls out of kids’ ears but the over-the-ear type that remains firmly on the child’s head. When your jet-lagged child wakes up at 3 a.m. in the hotel room and announces, “I’m tired of sleeping now,” give him the headphones and a movie and go back to sleep. **my bet is this works even when you don’t fly!

I is for Invisible Ink.
Colorless ink leaves no mess to clean up. The only frustration with invisible-ink activity books is when they come with only one pen and your child loses it. Once that happens, I is for iPhone, with its plethora of mess-free children’s game apps, but fair warning: It’s a slippery slope from Encylopedia Britannica Kids’ Ancient Egypt app to Moto Mania Dirt Bike Challenge.

J is for Journal.
It needn’t be fancy—just a simple notebook where, each day of the trip, your child writes a paragraph on the highlight of his day or three things he learned. If your child can’t write yet, he can draw a picture of something he liked that day. Leave space in the journal for trip photos that your child can add later. **I remember doing this as a kid. It is fun to look at my drawing journal from when I was in Kindergarten!

K is for kids eat free, kids ski free, kids cruise free, and other money-saving family vacation packages. Look for these deals at,, and

T is for Thinkfun games.
Portable mind-sharpeners that have kept my kids occupied during long train and plane rides. Our favorite is Rush Hour Jr.—an addictive puzzle that involves placing vehicles on a grid in a different arrangement each time, then trying to get the ice-cream truck out of the traffic jam by moving vehicles around the grid. It’s a single-player game, though, so when your kids start fighting over it, T is for Time Out (

W is for Wikki Stix.
The least heavy, least bulky, least messy way to do arts and crafts on the go.

**Do you have any more suggestions for traveling with kids? Help out a fellow traveler and share them by commenting below**

Take care, Elizabeth

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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Traveling Tips


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