Great Wolf Lodge (GWL) is dedicated to fulfilling the amusement of every child, providing a fun-filled environment based around a huge indoor water park.
The Our Kids reviewers (2 adults, 2 nine year old boys), recently spent two happy nights at the lodge, enjoying the attractions and amenities.
Check-in is not officially until 4 p.m. but guests are allowed to check-in early, get a wrist band at the front desk and enjoy the water park until a room is ready.
Water Park Passes, 1 pm access to water park, kids activities, and unlimitied wifi is included with to your stay. Visit their official website to make the booking.
Types of accomodation
Catering to families, the lodge has several interesting room configurations which can accommodate from four to eight people. The least expensive room has a queen sized bed and a full sized sleeper sofa.
The larger suites, which can accommodate up to eight people includes a two level suite with queen sized beds on both levels and 1.5 baths.
Perhaps the most popular set up for the young at heart are the KidCabin™ and KidKamp™ suites which include a semi-private room with a bunk bed, day bed and television set, separated from the main sleeping room which houses a queen sized bed and full sleeper sofa. OK reviewers designated their Kid Cabin™ “off limits” to the adults.
All of the suites are equipped with a microwave, small refrigerator, wet bar, coffee maker, ice bucket and plastic cups. The room was extremely spacious and included a gas fireplace, wooden table and 2 chairs, 4 drawer chest, sofa, coffee table, small balcony and a quietly humming dehumidifier.
The lodge has approximately 400 rooms on four floors which are situated down very long hallways at the back of the building. If you are looking for quiet, and don’t mind the walk, ask for rooms located near the rear end of the hallways. Avoid rooms closest to the elevator on floors 3 and 4 as this is where the MagiQuest™ activities take place and can be very noisy. Designated quiet times are from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Room Rates and more details
Room prices include admission to the water park and are at their highest rates during holiday weekends and during major school breaks.
Monday through Thursday during non-holiday weekends are the least crowded and can yield significant room savings. Summer months also show rates which are less expensive than the cold, winter months. You can sign up to receive special offers via email on the GWL website.
GWL now issues a wristband embedded with a chip which also serves as a cashless, keyless system. The wrist band is a room key and can be used anywhere in the lodge instead of cash. This cash free system makes it very easy to spend money on the various activities offered throughout the resort.
The 67,000-square foot indoor water park foot is an amazing attraction for families and kids of all ages. The temperature is kept at a constant 84 degrees.
Lifeguards are plentiful and take their positions seriously; one of the guards told us he switches positions every 30 minutes to keep active and alert. Life jackets in a variety of sizes are available for free.
Abundant, clean towels are stacked near the front entrance. Non-potty trained guests are required to wear swim diapers.
While there is a height restriction of 48″ to ride the larger slides, there are plenty of activities for toddlers. Ft. MacKenzie™ is a treehouse with a splash zone on the bottom, rope nets and interactive spray stations. Ft. MacKenzie™ is the dominant attraction situated in the middle of the park.
Attractions at the Water Park
Looming four stories high, a clanging bell alerts patrons to the onset of a bucket getting ready to dump 1,000 gallons of water on anyone in its path below. Totem Towers™, twin three foot slides share a home inside Ft. MacKenzie™ where young ones delight in the quick trip that ends up in an enclosed pool where they exit.
A small slide, built specifically for the under 48″ child, Whooping Hollow™ provides a fun experience. The zero depth entry kiddie pool, known as the Cub Paw™ pool, is one foot, six inches at its deepest, and has interactive spray toys.
River Canyon Run™ is a two to four person slide which is the longest water slide in the park. Known for its quick speed, and fast drops, the slide empties out into a landing pool. Alberta Falls™, two identical slides tempts riders with either sitting in a single or double inner tube which swerves inside and outside the building before plunging into a dedicated splash pool.
A nice break from the slides is the relaxing Lazy River, also known as Crooked Creek™ where swimmers can walk or ride in single or double rafts and meander through the park. The Chinook Cove Activity Pool™ allows swimmers to play basketball while in the water. A floating snake and log beckon climbers to play.
The brave and courageous will want to experience Howlin’ Tornado™ where a huge funnel drops riders six feet, but not before experiencing the side to side motion going up both sides of the funnel!
Adventure at the Water Park
The three adventurous males in our party rode this slide repeatedly and laughed and screamed every time. The Wolf Rider Wipeout™ is a surf and body boarding simulator which uses pulsating, fast moving water to mimic the power of the ocean.
We instantly saw why it was called the “Wipeout” as we watched numerous people get thrown off their boards from the pressure of the water. One of our favorite pools is the Wave pool or Beaver Tail Pond™ where three foot waves bob swimmers up and down.
The wave machine is turned on for ten minutes, then turned off for ten minutes to give swimmers a rest. Rafts are also allowed in this pool. This pool has a zero entry area where young ones can splash in the spray fountains.
The outside pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and was closed during our visit. Raccoon Lagoon™ was built to appeal to the entire family with zero entry areas, water sports, geysers and spray toys.
Tables and chairs are scattered throughout the water park which is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. There are also lounge chairs near the surf simulator and in front of the wave pool. An upper hot tub is reserved for those twenty one and older, while the lower hot tub accommodates adults accompanying children twelve and over.
While you won’t need sunscreen if you stay indoors, it is advisable to wear swim shoes inside the water park. If you forget to pack them, the conveniently located Bear Essentials™ store carries everything from swim diapers to flip flops and everything else to make your stay enjoyable.
Outside food is not permitted inside the park. Spirit Island™ Snack Shop located inside the water park, offers pizza, burgers, hot pretzels, salads and various other snacks. We chose to go back to our room and make lunch with food we purchased at home.
Activities and Attractions
There are numerous activities to enjoy at GWL. Highlighted below are some of the most popular ones. There is a fee for almost all of the activities at GWL, however, the cost of the water park is included in the room price.
- MagiQuest™ is an interactive fantasy scavenger hunt where players use specially purchased wands to complete several different quests throughout the property. Wands begin at $15.99 which can get pricey if you add on the new Topper Powers, magical wand toppers that allow users to customize their game. Each game costs $12.99 and can last from 4 to 6 hours. The fee covers use of the game during your entire stay.
- Compass Quest™ takes MagiQuest™ to a whole different level by adding nine new quests uncovered with a high tech compass. Compass Quest is $14.99 and includes the new quests.
- Ten Paw Alley™ is a recent addition to GWL. Comprised of ten bowling lanes, each lane is half the size of a regular bowling lane and uses small hand held five pound bowling balls. Games are $5 per person, per game, you don’t need special shoes to play and scores are fully automated. The OK team had a blast bowling here.
- Cub Club™ is an activity room for youngsters where they can do an arts and crafts activity or stop by for story time. Children can choose from a large variety of things to make, color and create. Prices vary by activity.
- Northern Lights™ Arcade has over 100 games including skeet ball, basketball, video games and games of chance. Players earn tickets which can be redeemed for prizes. This is a very popular venue after the water park closes at 9 p.m.
- Howly Wood™ XD Theater is a new ride we did not get to experience. It is a motion ride where riders are strapped to seats which move with the movie. Special glasses are worn to enhance the viewer’s experience.
- Oliver’s Time Challenge is another new game which pits opponents against each other. Perfect for toddlers, challengers race around a room pushing lighted buttons to try and beat the clock.
If your child wants to participate in several different activities, there are special package options which are less expensive than if the activities were purchased separately. They can be found on the GWL website.
The Loose Moose Bar and Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals are typically set up buffet style, but on special occasions, the restaurant serves ala carte items from a menu.
We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast there. Adults were $14.99 per person and kids from 3 to 12 were $9.99 per person. In addition to made to order omelets there was a good variety of hot foods (bacon, turkey sausage, grits, oatmeal, pancakes, scrambled eggs, potatoes) as well as yogurt, fresh fruit and cereal.
Bear Paw Sweets and Eats™ offers so many tempting delectable treats, it is difficult to decide what to get. Hand-dipped ice cream, fresh doughnuts, candy by the ounce, fudge by the pound, candied nuts, bagged snacks, pastries, huge cookies and a very small section of fresh foods including a fruit cup, pre-made salads and yogurt compete for your attention. And, of course, the ubiquitous Starbucks serving up a limited menu of fresh, steaming hot coffee for the adults.
Hungry As a Wolf replaces the old Pizza Hut on the premises. Family style value meals include GWL’s new in-house made pizza, salad and bread sticks. Located on the lower level, this carry out only dining option offers a few different family sized meals which can be taken back to your room.
The staff at Great Wolf Lodge are extremely accommodating and friendly. There are many new activities to enjoy since our last visit, and according to an employee, new interactive games are in the making for patrons to enjoy.
Although we did not get to experience everything the resort has to offer, two nights was a sufficient amount of time to spend at GWL. Our OK team highly recommends GWL to families and children who want to have fun!
Photos by Marla B. Hughes