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The Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

Updated on August 10, 2013

Consider a Visit to the Great Wolf Lodge

Traveling with the family? Looking for a place to go that will be fun for all ages? Have you considered the Great Wolf Water Park Resort, one of the best known indoor water parks?

Recently, the Great Wolf Lodge ("GWL") received accolades from USA Today and Reader's Digest as a great family resort, and top place to go to warm up!

With 12 locations across North America, chances are you won't have to drive too far for a wonderful, inclusive vacation, with fun for ages 1-101. The best thing about the indoor water park is that you don't have to worry about the weather. The Great Wolf Lodge is open year round, and is always around 84 degrees inside. From toddlers to teenagers, your children will love swimming and sliding at this park that some have compared to Disneyland!

Last Spring Break, I took my kids to the Great Wolf Lodge in Washington State, just over an hour south of Seattle. They are begging me to go back again soon.

In the wave pool at the Great Wolf Lodge (c) Stephanie Hicks
In the wave pool at the Great Wolf Lodge (c) Stephanie Hicks

Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark

Great Wolf Waterpark in Washington State (c) Stephanie Hicks
Great Wolf Waterpark in Washington State (c) Stephanie Hicks

Great Wolf Lodge Locations

There are currently 12 Great Wolf Lodges in North America (mostly concentrated in the mid-west and east):

  • Grand Mound, Washington
  • Concord, North Carolina
  • Mason, Ohio
  • Grapevine, Texas
  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Sandusky, Ohio
  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  • Niagara Falls, Canada
  • Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
  • Sheboygan, Wisconsin

You'll find ample, free-parking outside the lodge, and (I love this) free wifi inside!

At the Grand Mound, Washington resort, the interior of the lodge includes a Starbucks, gift shop, Pizza Hut, sit-down restaurant, sweet shoppe, spa/workout facilities, children's spa, and arcade. In addition, there are several snack and beverage locations in the water park area. Kiosks are set up for children to get temporary tatoos, and there are other vendors selling flip-flops, swimsuits, stuffed animals and more!

Conference facilities are also included at the Great Wolf Lodge. It could be a great location at which to schedule your next company retreat.

Staying at the Great Wolf Lodge

You cannot play at the Great Wolf Lodge, unless you are spending the night there. In other words, you must lodge at the Great Wolf Lodge, at their prices. Depending on the number in your party, the dates on which you'll attend, the location of the park, and whether you want a really cool themed hotel room, prices range from about $250-700 per night.

Ask your travel agent, or call the lodge itself to find out if they are running any specials. Or, sign up online for the "Wolf Pack" and you'll get special offers emailed directly to you. Either way, you will definitely need to plan in advance before you stay at the Great Wolf Lodge.

While the hotel rooms are not cheap, the up side is that you can start swimming and playing at 1:00 p.m. (3 hours before check-in) and can continue staying until the park closes at 8:00 (9 hours after check-out). There is no additional cost for any of the waterpark activities, from the wave pool, to the numerous water slides. Swim to your heart's content!

Toddlers and their parents will be comfortable in a special area of the water park designed just for kids under age 5. Shallow water and fun water spraying animals or vehicles are involved. Throughout the entire park, you'll find water fountains and there is even a huge bucket that fills up with water, then dumps all over one area of the park (it's a hoot!)

Life vests are provided, and there are lifeguards throughout the water area of the Great Wolf Lodge. Of course, parents still must keep a close eye on their children.

As with any swimming pool environment, running on the decks can be slippery and dangerous. Horseplay, dunking, etc. will not be tolerated and you could be asked to leave the park. Also, there are height and weight restrictions for some of the water slides. Children may have to be accompanied with a parent or guardian if they are not tall enough to ride by themselves. Be sure to check the signs and ask any questions before you stand in line for the Howling Tornado!

You won't go hungry during your day of water play, because there are a number of snack and lunch locations right inside the water park part of the lodge. Parents and other guests over 21 can even enjoy a cocktail or beer! While you may be tempted to save costs by bringing in your own food, that is not permitted. However, we stocked up with groceries that ARE allowed in your hotel room. Feel free to use the mini refrigerator to keep your snacks cold, too.

Howling Tornado Waterpark Ride

Fun galore at the indoor waterpark (c) Stephanie Hicks
Fun galore at the indoor waterpark (c) Stephanie Hicks
Watching a show at the Clock Tower (c) Stephanie Hicks
Watching a show at the Clock Tower (c) Stephanie Hicks
Playing the Magi-Quest game at the GWL (c) Stephanie Hicks
Playing the Magi-Quest game at the GWL (c) Stephanie Hicks

More than Just Water Fun at the Great Wolf Lodge

Around the interior of the Great Wolf Lodge, you'll spot fun stuffed animal critters, from wolves to weasels. Your children can animate them to hear them sing, talk or laugh with a Magi-Quest wand (cost is about $10 for the wand, plus $15 to play the Magi-Quest game).

The clock tower in the lodge is a kids' delight, reminiscent of other theme parks like Disneyland. Several times a day, you can watch an animated show around the tower, or go on a "Wolf Walk." Kids of all ages love to learn about wolves' habitat. In the evening, children can meet at the clock tower for bedtime stories and free chocolate chip cookies.

My school aged kids really enjoyed playing the Magi-Quest game. Somewhat like Dungeons and Dragons meets a scavenger hunt, you use your wand to go on quests around the first four floors of the lodge. Fairies, crystals and wizards help you along the way. Fortunately, for other guests, the game is "turned off" at 10:00 p.m., and doesn't commence again until 9:00 a.m. We ran all over the place, up and down stairs so that my kids could earn their Magi-Quest certificate. Be forewarned - it took about 5 hours to complete, and is so addicting that it managed to draw my children out of the pools several times.

How does the Great Wolf Lodge Rate for Family Fun?

All in all, I give the Great Wolf Lodge a big thumbs up. For $400, our 4 kids (plus 2 adults) enjoyed hours and hours of water park fun. We didn't visit the spa or workout facilities, but we did take a trip to both Starbucks and Pizza Hut (add another $100 for food and drinks at the Lodge, plus another $50 or so in groceries). With the Magi-Quest game, we didn't feel the pressure from our children to buy souvenirs, either.

In short, we enjoyed the trip on a relatively shoestring resort budget. If you want to splurge, however, there is plenty to see, do, taste and drink at the Lodge.

We're confident our family will return again in the future, if not just to have a memorable trip for less the overall cost of other theme parks. As described at greatwolf.com:

Designed to capture the atmosphere of the Northwoods, our waterparks offer an amazing guest experience in a one-of-a-kind, rustically elegant setting. The perfect place for families to re-connect, and create lifelong memories

Our 4-hour drive home from the Lodge was a quiet one. The kids were asleep within 1/2 hour, and we could smile at the memories made during their Spring Break.

© 2009 Stephanie Hicks

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    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

      Wow Steph, I just heard about this place recently and was very interested in hearing about it. I am sure I will be checking it out real soon.

    • Marie Dwivkidz profile image

      Marie Dwivkidz 7 years ago from UK

      Looks like great fun - my kids would love it! Will have to make do with the paddling pool in the back garden for now though...

    • Ann Wright profile image

      Ann Wright 7 years ago from Northern Nevada

      What fun! I wish lived nearer there so I could see (and get wet on account of) some of the splashing. Great pictures. Thanks!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hey Triplet Mom - with a larger family, you can get more bang for your buck, since you still just pay for the hotel room at the Lodge. I hope you guys go and you have a great time!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Ann and Marie, I've been wondering if they will continue to expand and build more Great Wolf Lodges around the country - or even in Europe too. Thanks for the comments, Steph

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This certainly sounds like a wonderful and less expensive way for parents to entertain their children in a theme park. Sounds as though you all had a good time!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Copied twice for some reason. I'll add this...your daughter is darling.

    • sunstreeks profile image

      sunstreeks 7 years ago from Western Washington

      I've been wanting to go here. I've heard from family and friends also that this place is awesome.

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Peggy! I did love that photo of her.

      Sunstreeks, it is a really fun place! I actually know a group of women my age who are planning to go - without kids! :)

    • sunstreeks profile image

      sunstreeks 7 years ago from Western Washington

      I just wish it was cheaper for the room. If you have a group and spilt the room costs, it's not a bad deal. But for just 1 adult and child, its pretty expensive. We might do it anyways when I go back to work but for now, I think we will just be going to Wild Waves in Federal Way, WA.

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Right - I know. The bigger the group, the more affordable it is. Wild Waves is a really fun park too (I grew up in Seattle).

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      This sounds like a good family vacation, which is something people will be looking forward to this summer.

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi SweetiePie, the Great Wolf Lodge is perfect for families. I love that there are things to do for all ages.

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 7 years ago

      Hello fellow Oregonian. I've heard so much lately about the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound. I guess their prices have dropped a bit lately. I hear it's affordable if you go during the week. What a great hub, I've been wondering what it's all about and what it actually looks like. Thanks for sharing!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi wordscribe! Yes, I was actually just talking to my next door neighbor last night who wants to go. We're thinking about getting a room together. For 2 adults and a total of 6 kids, that would drop the price per person to about $50! And you're right, going mid-week is cheaper than on the weekends and holidays. Let me know if you go,

      Steph

    • profile image

      Bambigirl68 7 years ago

      Does anyone know the promo code for saving $25 at checkin?

    • profile image

      leslie 7 years ago

      code for saving $25. splashers

    • profile image

      glass railing 7 years ago

      Awesome... I've been to the indoor one at West Edmonton Mall which is great but these ones look far superior... I gotta get my sons to one of these... great Hub... thanks a lot

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I think the children like visiting this place. thanks for share and great picture also.

    • profile image

      Irilyne 7 years ago

      wow this seems like fun!i convinced my mom to go there for my birthday and we are going! yeeeaa i am so happy!!!!!!!

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good piece of writing.

    • profile image

      Adaja 6 years ago

      this water park is the best thing that has ever happened my husband trey songz and i she shared to much special memories that we have up to this day forward. It was awesome my family me that we should stay together forever we love each other but this waterpark made us come closer then ever!!!!!!!!!

    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 6 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      I gotta try Great Wolf Lodge someday - I hope that it correlates with my points as an RCI timeshare holder myself! I hope they build their smarm of a resort down in the Orlando area, alongside other water park resorts like CoCo Cay and Mindy O's Clarion Resort!

    • profile image

      lola 6 years ago

      i love great wolf lodge. it is a place your child should see at least once! it should be a wonder of the world!

    • profile image

      Sumampow80 6 years ago

      What a Great place, something for everyone. My family goes to the one in Travese City Michigan every winter. You can find all kinds of indoor water parks near you at http://www.funfix.com/Water-Parks

    • profile image

      kaleigh 5 years ago

      The prices are insane!

    • profile image

      austin shutler 5 years ago

      your lodge is the best

    • profile image

      Cierra 4 years ago

      I am having a blast here it is so muchfun!!!

    • profile image

      Linda Khharjen 3 years ago

      Great Wolf Lodge-what a racket!! It is overpriced for a measly two nights stay. Apparently a place where coddled kids go. My kids have been begging me for a trip but I tell them no. They tell me all their classmates have been. Too pricey and if you want somewhere cheap and affordable but fun try Six Flags

    Buckets of fun at the Great Wolf Lodge (c) Stephanie Hicks
    Buckets of fun at the Great Wolf Lodge (c) Stephanie Hicks
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