- August 26, 2010

Mini Vacation at Great Wolf Lodge


Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, just outside of Dallas, is the best hotel for families I have ever visited.  It has a serious awe factor, from the moment you drive up and see giant wolves guarding the entrance.  And when kids see waterslides protruding from the side of the building, they can’t wait to get inside.

When you approach the hotel lobby, large doors open automatically and you enter into a world of forests and woodland creatures.  Great Wolf Lodge is, in a word, huge.  It is 98,000 square feet of indoor, air conditioned, entertainment.  Every inch of the hotel is a part of the lodge theme, from fake trees in the lobby and hallways, to log cabins in the guest rooms.  

We stayed for two days last weekend and I feel like we barely scratched the surface of all the family fun the hotel has to offer.  Great Wolf Lodge encourages families to arrive with no plan and allow the hotel to provide engaging activities to keep you busy during your stay, no matter the length.  The 84,000 square foot indoor waterpark, Bear Track Landing, alone is enough to keep kids entertained for days!

This 80 foot tall indoor waterpark is one of the largest of its kind in the country.  It boasts 10 indoor waterslides (our favorites were the Howlin’ Tornado funnel slide, the cannon bowl tube ride and the family raft ride), 6 pools (including a wave pool and a great indoor/outdoor hot tub for ages 8 and up), a wave action river, and Fort Mackenzie (an interactive treehouse waterfort featuring a nearly 1,000 gallon tipping water bucket).

And if all that is not enough, there is an 84,000 square foot outdoor waterpark too!  The outdoor waterpark, Raccoon Lagoon, is only open through Labor Day weekend.

The best thing about both of these waterparks is that they are not open to the public.  Only registered guests of the hotel can play there.  Because of that, we never had to wait in any line more than a few minutes.  Actually, after racing up the waterslide steps over and over, I began to wish there were a bit of a wait, so I could catch my breath!

When we were ready to eat, there were several affordable on-site restaurants, from A&W to Pizza Hut.  I enjoyed a sweet treat from the Bear Paw bakery.  Honestly, when you’re in the lodge, you feel like you could just move in.  They have everything there. 

In the evening, I bought my kids a MagiQuest wand to share.  This allowed them to go on 9 interactive quests and 3 adventures, spanning the 8 floors of the hotel.  My older children had so much fun running up and down (and up and down) the hotel staircase, looking for the “runes” they needed to complete their quests.  The little boys just enjoyed pointing the wand and watching objects, animals and pictures throughout the hotel come to life and speak to them.

Other fun activities the hotel offers are:

  • Cub Club where kids can play and do crafts with their parents (some craft fees apply)
  • A photo scavenger hunt with a reward upon completion
  • Storytime
  • Animal tours around the hotel
  • An animatronic show where trees and animals come to life
  • A kid spa (fees apply)
  • An arcade (fees apply)

Great Wolf Lodge is currently offering several specials, which you can find listed by month here.  If you would like to receive e-mails with discounts and exclusive offers, sign up here.  Room rates for September start at $199.  Waterpark admission passes are free for hotel guests. If you figure out how much it would cost to take your whole family to the waterpark at Fiesta Texas ($215 for ours), and consider the fact you won’t be waiting in waterslide lines in the hot Texas sun, it’s a great deal for a mini vacation!