A number of us (4 adults and 3 kids - 1, 2 & 6 years old) recently visited the Rainforest Cafe at Great Lakes Crossing and found the experience to be mixed.
The kids loved the atmosphere with all the animatronics, elaborate water effects, tropical aquariums and lighting. I thought they were very realistic and well-done. It is a great place to entertain kids, which in turn allows adults to eat in peace for the most part. However, we had to get up and go for a lot of walks for the little ones to see their favorite animals! My 1 year old son did find the thunder and lightening and the "stampeding" elephants too be a little frightening up-close when the periodic "rain storms" started. If you have younger kids, ask for a table further away from the larger "live" animals. He enjoyed all the animals as long as he wasn’t too close, and it wasn’t during a “storm” (which is quite brief, so not too bad).
Unfortunately the menu and service did not meet the standards of the ambiance. Generally speaking, the entire menu is similar to fare you would find at a chain American eatery, such as Chili’s or Applebee’s. It seems as though a standard menu was chosen, and then an ingredient or two was added to make it tropical, and then an exotic or “jungle-like” name was chosen to make it seem special. Main entrees included steaks, pastas, burgers, wraps and salads, all with common ingredients and preparations, but fancy names.
Unfortunately someone has to pay for all the decorations, so the dishes are relatively expensive (although there are very large portions - we suggest you share entrees). Main dishes can go from $13 to over $20, and there were even $13 appetizers and desserts! The kid’s menu items were $6 or $7.
Our server did not help justify the high prices either. The main meals arrived before either of the 2 appetizers, silverware was forgotten, drink orders had to be corrected, and my salad was not prepared as I had ordered it.
Overall, the experience was adequate. We went there for the kids to see the decorations, and they were not disappointed. They loved all the animals and had a look on wonder on their faces that made it worth it. Of course after the meal, all three insisted on over-priced souvenirs from the attached gift shop...
To summarize, if you have young kids (below 12 or so) it is a place they will enjoy, but be prepared to pay for the experience, and if you are a group of adults, venture somewhere with a more unique dining experience, as opposed to a viewing experience.
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