If your looking for a family-friendly water park resort look no further than the Great Wolf Lodge. This fun indoor water park hotel has everything you’d want in a family vacation. You’ll find locations all over the county including the water park capital of the world Wisconsin Dells. Find out if it’s right for your family with my Great Wolf Lodge review and tips. Everything you need to know about dining, accommodations, activities, the water park and saving money at Great Wolf Lodge.
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Ultimate Great Wolf Lodge Review & Tips
Great Wolf Lodge Locations
There are 18 different Great Wolf Lodge Locations in the US. With so many you are bound to find a location in driving distance from your home. Often they are located in more touristy areas which gives you access to more activities and attractions outside the resort too. We spent our family vacation at the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells but the resorts are similar throughout the country. Find out if there is a location near you.
Indoor & Outdoor Water Park
The indoor waterpark at the Wisconsin Dell’s location was comprised of three connecting rooms. We really liked this as opposed to some of the larger waterparks where you spend half your time walking between buildings. This made it easier for the kids to have a little independence while we were still able to keep an eye on them.
There were tons of slides for all different age groups. I thought they did a great job of making sure each age group had a slide they’d love. Even some racing slides and a tornado slide for the big kids. Families can also go on a small lazy river, play in the sports pool, get wet in the water fort play area and catch a wave in the wave pool.
The outside was a little smaller at the Wisconsin Dells location than some other large waterpark resorts. But we like that there was easy access to go from the inside to the outside waterparks.
You will also find a hot tub just for adults and a family warming pool. The family warming pool was a huge hit and was often pretty full. The temperature is kept warm in the water park but you can get a chill sometimes when your wet so the hot tubs were a great feature.
Great Wolf Lodge Attractions and Activities
The MagiQuest game is the signature activity at all the Great Wolf Lodge locations. Kids purchase a MagiQuest wand which can be reused every time you come to the resort. They then set off to solve riddles throughout the hotel and use their wand to gain points and badges to slay a dragon. The Wisconsin Dells location has a separate building for MagiQuest with four floors of adventure with slides, tunnels and rope bridges to climb.
Give yourself a lot of time for this activity. We only bought one quest but we were able to get hours of fun out of the game. It really helped to have a separate fun building and the fact that you don’t have to do it all at one time. You can start and finish your quests throughout your stay. I honestly was skeptical about spending the money on this but it ended up being our son’s favorite part of the trip.
All the Great Wolf Lodges offer arcade games. It’s a great place to go when you need a break from the water park. We usually do this after dinner or earlier in the morning before the water park opens and we need to get out of the hotel room.
Activities for Younger Kids
There are several activities throughout the day offered for kids. In the morning try their rise and shine activities such as a family walk around the resort and yoga. At night they have storytime and do a PJ dance party. The highlight of the resort is their Great Clock Tower show pictured above. Woodland creatures come out and dance, sing, tell stories and more. It’s pretty cute to watch. I would say these activities are really geared toward younger children. But great free activities for families.
Build a Bear
Do your kids love Build a Bear? Let the kids make their own great wolf character to remember the trip. Kids can pick out the stuffed animal, an outfit and accessories for a fee.
There are several different room choices at Great Wolf Lodge. A basic room has two double beds and a small pullout couch. Perfect for a family of five. If you want something unique try their bunk bedrooms where the kids have their own space to hang out. The bunk bedroom is a kid’s favorite for sure.
If you need more space try one of their condos depending on the location they can accommodate up to 16 people. A big group in the condo together can make for a fun family getaway or visit with a group of friends.
Wondering how much it will cost to stay? Get discount pricing at our favorite hotel site booking.com.
You’ll find several different dining options at the Great Wolf Lodge from poolside food to sit down restaurants.
Lodge Wood Fire Grill
This is the Great Wolf Lodges sit down restaurant that offers a little bit nicer dinner of steaks, seafood, and ribs plus a kids menus. You can also find breakfast and lunch options at this location.
Pool Side Dining
You’ll find burger, hot dogs and chicken fingers with fries at the pool area. They also have several snacks such as pretzels and nachos. You can bring the food back to your poolside seats to eat.
Bear Paw Sweets & Eats
If you want to get the kids a sweet treat head over to Bear Paw. Parents can find freshly brewed coffee, mochas, espressos, and lattes. Plus delicious pastries and cupcakes.
There is a bar area in the water park for adult beverages. In the Wisconsin Dell’s location, the bar has TVs on with sports and is located in the hallway between two of the water park sections.
**Food Money Saver**
- If you want to save some money on drinks buy their Suvineor Sipper that can be refilled during your whole trip. We just shared a cup as a family.
- Bring food to eat in your room. Each room has a refrigerator and microwave for your food. Breakfast is an easy meal to bring and have in the room. You could also bring some sandwich items and make a quick lunch when you need a break from the waterpark.
- Order food to your room. The Great Wolf Lodge is usually surrounded by tourist type restaurants so you have tons of outside options to choose from. Consider ordering a pizza to have in the room or picking up your favorite take out. Below you’ll find all restaurants and attractions located around the Wisconsin Dells Location.
Related Article – Tips for Visiting the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells
Great Wolf Lodge Tips for Your Visit
- Towels are provided when you enter the pool area. However, don’t forget to return them when you leave the pool area or you will be charged.
- Life Vest – These are provided free of charge at the pool area
- If you are visiting during a busy time go down early in the morning and put a bag on a table or chairs you would like to save. That way you have somewhere to keep your stuff while you swim & have a place to take a break.
- Extend your stay by taking advantage of the long pool hours you get with your stay. You can check-in early and use the pool even if your room is not yet ready. On your last day check out and then spend the rest of the day at the pool. You can get two full days at the pool for just a one-night hotel fee.
- Lockers – If you are already checked out of your room and are still swimming put your change of clothes and other valuables in a locker. They are located in the pool area.
- Changing Rooms/ Bathroom – In the bathrooms areas there are showers and changing areas to use if you stay late.
- The hallways can be cool so make sure to bring a light sweatshirt or coverup to walk back to your room. You can not take the towels with you.
- Take advantage of the free storytime and other activities at night when you’re done with the water park for the day.
- Check out the events calendar before you go to see if they have anything special going on during your visit.
- Look for cheaper rates on your stay on sites like Booking.com. Or sign up to get emails from Great Wolf Lodge and they will notify you of upcoming sales.
- If you plan to do several of the paid activities consider getting a Paw Pass. The pass groups together activities to give you a cheaper rate.
- When getting your room ask if it connects to the waterpark through indoor hallways. This is a really nice perk on rainy or wintery days.
Wisconsin Dells Attractions
Located right outside of the Great Wolf Lodge are tons of entertainment establishments and restaurants for families. What’s cool is a lot of locations are in walking distance from the Great Wolf Lodge. Here are all the things to do you can walk to:
Walking Distance from Great Wolf Lodge
- Fast Food Resturants – Five Guys, Panera Bread, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Subway, Noodles & Company, Starbucks and Rosati’s Pizza.
- Buffalo Phil’s Grill – A sit-down restaurant where your food can be delivered by miniature trains. How cool is that! They also have a large menu and a lunch buffet.
- Knuckleheads Trampoline and Indoor Amusement Park – Under the same roof as Buffalo Phil’s Grill you will find a huge family entertainment space. This 80,000 square foot park has bowling, arcade, trampoline park, and amusement rides.
- Outlet Mall – There is a big outlet mall with 75 stores to shop located just south of Knuckleheads.
Downtown Wisconsin Dells
If you want to get out and take a drive head to downtown Wisconsin Dells only 10 minutes away. Here you will find a cute touristy street filled with restaurants, shops, and arcades. We loved visiting Wild Fun Zone located on the strip. My kids really loved the glow in the dark indoor miniature golf and awesome laser tag course.
Another area not to miss is the Glockenspiel Clock and Bavarian Village. Every half hour the huge cuku clock goes off and tells the story of the Pied Piper. It’s free and fun to watch while your eating ice cream or some local fudge. There is also a nice scenic river walk if you’re looking for a quiet stroll.
More Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells
Looking for more fun Wisconsin Dells Attractions to visit? There are tons of cool family-friendly things to do in Wisconsin Dells. In the summer months, you’ll love horseback riding, the Tommy Bartlet Show, canyon rides, zip-lining, ropes courses, outdoor waterparks and more. In the winter months enjoy the many indoor amusement parks, skiing, snow tubing, and shopping. Find out our 30 Favorite Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells any time of year and have a blast on your family vacation.
What to Pack for the Water Park
Wondering what to bring with you on your trip to a water park? Here are a few things I would suggest. You can click the link to see the item I use for each category.
- Goggles – The kids will want googles when they swim in the wave pool or sports pool.
- Beach Bag – I like to bring a beach bag to hold our cover-ups, a book for myself, phones and water toys.
- Waterproof phone case – I like to take pictures of the kids having fun so I use this waterproof case to keep my phone dry while in the pool.
- Waterproof bag to hold your room key, cash, and other small items
- Flip Flops – Your feet will get wet even if you’re not in the pool
Overall I think the Great Wolf Lodge is an awesome water park resort option in Wisconsin Dells or any of the other 17 locations. If your looking for an indoor water park hotel that’s perfect for a family vacation this is it. They have a fun mix of activities and water park features to keep everyone in the family happy.
I really hope that this great wolf lodge review and tips have helped you make a decision on your next weekend getaway. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments. I love to hear from readers.
Second Hotel Option – Wilderness Resort
Another great indoor water park to consider in Wisconsin Dells is the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort. This is also a favorite of ours to visit because we love the extra activities like go-karts, laser tag, and indoor ropes course. Check it out and see which resort is right for your family.
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