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5 sweet spas that cater to kids

Great Wolf Lodge

Kids don pink robes and tiaras at the ice cream-themed Scooops Spa at Great Wolf Lodge.

Day spas were once sanctuaries for mothers fleeing their offspring for an afternoon of bliss. Today, many spas and salons around the world also cater to kids, providing everything from princess-inspired up-dos to therapeutic massages to ease aches and pains caused by sports or illness.

Some parents think children should wait until they grow up before partaking in such indulgences. “I think it is a very strange thing to do with a child," says Kerry Mullin, a mom from Columbia, Mo. "Completely wrong priorities.”

Others, however, think a spa is a fun spot for a special mommy-daughter day or a vacation treat.

"Kids need to have relaxing time, too, and it's good to get them in the habit of taking care of their hands, feet and skin,” says Heather Cagle, a mom from Macomb, Ill.

Here are five spas that embrace a young clientele:

Scooops Kids Spa at Great Wolf Lodge – 11 locations in North America
The ice cream-themed Scooops Kids Spas offer a sweet twist on the standard spa experience. Guests (ages 4-15) don a pink robe and sit atop ice cream cone-shaped stools during manicures or relax on an oversized banana split sofa during pedicures. Kids pick flavored fizz soaks, sherbet scrubs and delicious nail colors. Afterward, spa-goers are treated to a scoop of ice cream. During the daily Social Hour, Violet the Wolf (a lovable Great Wolf Lodge character) visits the spa to pose for pictures. Prices range from $29.99-$89.99.

The Spa at JW Marriot Cancun Resort – Cancun, Mexico
The Sweet Paradise Chocolate facial at The Spa at JW Marriott Cancun includes gentle cleansing and sunblock to prepare kids for fun in the sun (ages 6-12). Teens can rejuvenate sore feet after a day of exploring Mexican ruins with a Peppermint Patty leg and foot massage (ages 15-17). For a splurge, there’s the Mayan Princess for a Day package, which includes a pedicure, manicure, hair-styling session and glitter makeup (ages 6-17). Price range: $10-$135. 

Matt Stroshane / Disney

Mini spa-goers can get hair extensions and glittering ensembles at Disney's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Four Disney Locations
For the ultimate indulgence, there’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., two locations at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and aboard Disney’s newest ship, Fantasy. The entry-level Coach service includes a royal hairstyle, shimmering makeup, face gem, cinch sack and princess sash. Want to thoroughly spoil your wee one? Purchase the Fantasy’s Royal Sea package, which includes three makeovers, princess gowns and tiaras. Landlubber boys can join in the fun with a Knight package that includes a hairstyle and sword. (Ages 3-12.) At-sea boys, girls and even grown-ups can pick a Pirate makeover complete with bandana, eye patch, sword and sheath, tattoo, pirate medallion, treasure bag and pirate makeup (ages 3 and above). Price range: $15.95-$595.95.

Laniwai Spa and Painted Sky Spa at Aulani Resort – Oahu, Hawaii
Most treatments for children and teens at Disney’s Aulani Resort focus on well-being and self-confidence. At Laniwai Spa, new parents can take turns learning the art of baby massage and enjoying a spa treatment as part of the Ka Makana package (for parents with a child age 2 and younger, pricing starts at $150). The entire family can enjoy an Ohana massage treatment in a private suite (for three to six family members, ages 5 and up, pricing starts at $300). Painted Sky Spa is a teen gathering space (ages 13-17) with a lounge, yogurt and elixir bar, computer stations and activities like Hula dancing lessons and Xbox fitness. Treatments are tailored to meet teens’ needs, like make-up application lessons and facials that treat acne. Painted Sky price range: $20-$135.

Massage Envy – 800 locations in the U.S.
In addition to loosening kids’ muscles sore from the physical stress of athletics, Massage Envy relieves pain caused by surgery or early-onset arthritis with pediatric massages (age 8-plus). Price range: $39-$59.

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor of TravelMamas.com, a site for anyone who wants to travel with children … and stay sane!

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