Great Wolf Lodge

We took our first trip to Great Wolf Lodge when my daughter was still a young baby and we were instantly hooked. Each year we do a big family vacation. The first year we went, we made this our big vacation so we went all out while there. We stayed for 5 nights, bought the paw passes, and lived it up in every way. We had so much fun on our trip, that we ended up going back less than a year later. We brought lots of family this time! It truly amazed me how quickly Great Wolf Lodge became a staple trip for my family. We now go for just two nights and don’t glam it up as much. We still look forward to it and have so much fun! Check out these reasons why you should visit Great Wolf Lodge with your family ASAP!

Atmosphere

I love the wow factor when you walk into the lobby of your chosen vacation destination. I feel like it sets the mood for the trip and instantly amps of the excitement. Each and every time we walk into Great Wolf Lodge, we are smacked over the head with an instant “wow!” It has such a great “lodge” atmosphere and just screams fun. You are greeted with a giant clock tower and various animals surrounding it.

There are two grand staircases on either side of the clock tower and balconies from each level of the resort that look down into the lobby.  Bears, wolves and other critters hang on the walls. There is a beautiful fireplace with comfy leather couches around it.  This makes for a great place to sit with the munchkins while waiting for check in. If you walk towards the back of the lobby, there is a gigantic glass window that showcases the entire waterpark.

It definitely doesn’t hurt that next to this window is a Dunkin donuts. Nothing gets the kids more fired up, than leaning on the window and imagining themselves in the water park. The hallways on the main floor are only slightly decorated. There are three levels up the stairs that are decorated for the quest. The upstairs hallways are named things such as the Whispery Woods, the Enchanted Forest, and the Tangled woods.

 

Each hallway is decorated differently and has objects that come to life when the kids point their magiquest wands at them. There are paintings, chests of gold, and other statues. They look so magical. Great Wolf Lodge definitely nails the atmosphere  of a family fun vacation.

Amazing water park

My kids are 9, 4, and 2 so the thought of a waterpark might seem a bit daunting. It is actually where we spend the majority of our time! The kids get measured upon entering.  They then get a color coded wristband that determines the slides they are able to do.

My oldest is now able to go down slides alone and loves it. Just this past year, my 4 year old son was finally tall enough to do all of the slides if he was accompanied by an adult.

There is an epic water jungle gym in the middle of the waterpark. This jungle gym has a dumping bucket that splashes everyone every few minutes. The two slides that come off the jungle gym are actually quite fun, even for adults. There are lots of water guns, ropes to climb, and tunnels to crawl through. We like to find the small buckets to dump on people below when we are cruising around the jungle gym. The kids fly through this thing, so if you want to keep up, I suggest water shoes. Those ropes hurt adult feet! Kids of any age can go down the jungle gym slides, but they have to go alone. These slides are pretty tall and fast so ages 3 and up is probably best.

To the right of the jungle gym is a younger kids splash area that has three small slides. My husband and I took turns watching our daughter while the other one ran around with the boys. My daughter loves, loves, loves this area! In fact, it was hard to get her to go anywhere else. She liked to splash with all of the toys and try out every. single. slide.

You could literally stand in one spot for 30 minutes while she ran up the few steps and down one slide then up the steps and down another slide. It was perfect and gave the much needed rest from running around with the little guys.

To the left of the jungle gym are the pools with basketball hoops and various floating leap pads, snakes and stumps.

It is fun to watch your kids fall all over as they try to climb onto the slippers objects. One part of the pool leads to the leap pads.

This another one of my family’s favorite areas in the waterpark. Even the adults try to leap across the pads without using the rope overhead. It is really stinkin hard! My kids have gotten pretty good at making it across. They love showing off their skills. The adults….well, we love to laugh at each other as we flop around and fall into the water repeatedly.

I always seem to spend hours every day floating around the lazy river.

It is the perfect place to take a break, float with  a napping baby ,or you could just play whatever wild game your kids concoct about the lazy river: this year was Mario water level. The first year we went, my daughter was a young baby, so each day she would take at least a 1 hour nap one me while in the lazy river….man it’s good I love floating around!

The large slides are in the back of the waterpark. They are so much fun!

The yellow slide doesn’t require you to bring up your tube and seats three people. I went down with both boys several times. The blue and green slides are tunnel slides that actually go outside of the building. You can go down alone or in one of the double tubes. I obviously always had a youngster with me. It is so much fun to do them after the sun has set. It is completely dark in the slides and is extra thrilling. My four year old is a dare devil and loved the extra excitement of a pitch black tunnel ride. If your family in anything like mine, you will spend countless hours on these slides and love every minute of it.

The Quest

The magiquest and wands are included in the paw pass, so we have been doing the quest since our very first year at Great Wolf Lodge. I am not going to lie, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into the first year. We thought we would go into the cute little magic shop and buy some wands and then mosey around the resort and makes things come to life and win the quest.

NOT THE CASE! This thing is intense people. It is so much more than we thought it would be, but once you get the hang of it you are hooked! There is a Book of Wisdom that comes with your wand purchase and you need to guard this with your life. You can’t finish without it. There are approximately 10 runes that you have to earn. These runes help later in your battles. The  booklet tells you what each rune requires and where to find the items you need. It took us an hour or so to figure out exactly what to do. The workers at the magiquest shop are very helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Each rune quest take 10-30 min, so just know that the completion of this quest will take hours long and will be spread over your entire stay. You will be running to all of the upper levels of the resort during your quest, so wear some comfy shoes. There is a goblin, red dragon, and silver dragon to battle at the end.

We have beat all of them except the silver dragon. My husband and I were both helping our son and we still didn’t beat it. We have done the magiquest three times now and the boys  still get excited to play.

Restaurants in the resort

 

Great Wolf lodge has a Dunkin’ Donuts, pizza restaurant, ice cream parlor, a lunch snack shop in the waterpark  and a regular sit down restaurant. You literally don’t need to leave the resort! We get pizza every time we stay there and it is pretty darn tasty. We have also made ice cream a tradition as well. This year each kid got $5 in treat money and they were able get ice cream twice and have money leftover.

The prices are actually pretty cheap compared to other resort food prices.  If you don’t want to worry about drinks during your stay, buy one of the refillable great wolf lodge cups for $10 and refill it anywhere in the resort.

Story time for bed

There is a story time at 8pm every night in the lobby. Pajamas are welcome! My kids aren’t great at sitting down through the story so we always sit near the back. This way  they can walk around and listen. They love to watch the characters read the story. You are able to have milk and cookies delivered to your room by the characters for a small fee, but we haven’t tried that yet. This is a great way to wind down for the day and get ready for bed.

I was afraid this last year that we went,  that the awe factor for Great Wolf Lodge would no longer be there for my family. This was the third time we had gone and I was anticipating restless kids that were sick of the same old thing. This never once happened on our trip. Great Wolf Lodge will be an annual weekend trip for my family for years to come. It is perfect for kids of all ages and is entertaining for adults as well. I can’t wait to plan our next stay!

4 Comments

  • Donalacasa says:

    I have always wanted to visit since they opened in Texas, but never got the opportunity and my kids are old and dusty now. LOL Maybe one day I’ll get the opportunity to take nieces, nephews, or grandchildren.

    • ashton358 says:

      This past year we went with my brother in laws who are 20 and 18 and they loved it! I hope you get to go soon with your family. It is so fun.

  • Our family completely enjoy our Great Wolf Lodge experience as well. We go to the one in Washington because I’m on the western side of the continent. I feel that when I enter the Lodge, it’s like “organized chaos”. All the kids are on a mission! It’s great! I also enjoy their activities there such as story time and scavenger hunts. I’m looking forward to checking other Great Wolf Lodge thanks to your post!

    • ashton358 says:

      I agree about the organized chaos! We normally go to the one in Traverse City, Michigan but we would love to explore others.