Over the last several years I have seen photos and stories shared about family’s experiences at Great Wolf Lodge. It looked incredible and one thing was always consistent, everyone loves it!
The opportunity finally arose that we were able to make reservations to visit! I had introduced the children to Great Wolf Lodge on YouTube and they quickly fell in love. Almost daily they would watch clips. Miss B fell in love with the characters. Austin couldn’t wait to experience the rush of the water slides and Addie loved the idea of the crafts, story time and of course, waterpark.
We had a decent drive to arrive at the Kansas City location but when we arrived, all were excited. As we entered the lodge, the lobby is warm and welcoming. The large clock tower greets you, decorated with fun forest friends. A grand fireplace stretches all the way to the ceiling. The children were giddy with excitement.
We made our way into our Wolf Den cabin. The children were so excited to have a place of their own. The rooms were cute and we loved having a mini fridge, table and plenty of bed space for the six of us. The Kansas City location is one of the older locations and some of the features of the room (our bed) needed updating but overall the stay was very comfortable and the room was very clean!
Check-in is officially at 4pm but you can check-in with the front desk at 1pm and get your wristbands to start using the waterpark. Be sure to pack your swim suits separately so you can start enjoying the water park asap! The kids could not wait!
Before we entered the water park, the children are measured and given a colored wristband that identifies which rides they are tall enough to ride. Then we entered. It is like entering a warm, humid summer day. Trust me, once you start playing in the water you are happy for the warmth.
We started in the kiddie pool first. We could have stayed here all three days of our stay. The splash area was constant entertainment, with the turning of gears and wheels the water spues from various places at your control. You can have a slow and steady trickle or turn it all on for a complete waterworks show. Just encourage your little ones to be mindful of others when they turn it on full steam, it can reach quite far.
On the other side of the kiddie area is Whooping Hollow where you can find two different water slides. I cannot tell you the amount of times the children went down the water slides over our time at the Lodge. Addie is always my timid one, so the first time she went down the slide she thought she was done. After a little convincing, she attempted it again and again. Fear turned to pure excitement. Miss B even enjoyed the water slides.
While we splashed and played in the kiddie area, the adults headed for the water slides. The thing about visiting a water park is it brings us all back to a time when we are kids again. The thrill of getting to the top of the slide and just starting off, the anticipation of the curves and the gentle splashes in the face, you simply live in the moment and forget about everything else. We all need those moments every occasionally. The water slides did not disappoint!
In Kansas City there are three large water slides that you can ride on with inner tubes, Howling Wolf, The Triple Twist (pictured above) and Alberta Falls. Our favorite was Triple Twist, it just is unexpected and fun with the ending giving you a little surprise. Over the course of our visit we all rode the big water slides with Austin and I laughed and giggled like a little girl. Austin would ride as many times as we were willing to climb the stairs.
The main feature in the center of the waterpark is Fort Mackenzie, an expansive waterworks play area equipped with a massive 1,000 gallon tipping bucket that empties on everyone below about every five minutes. It is a sight to watch! Austin was brave enough to put himself under it front and center as it tipped over and over again. Once while we were climbing to the top to ride the two …… slides, I was unaware that the bucket tipped where I was standing. It was quite a shock but we laughed and laughed as we wiped away the water.
Getting to the Totem Towers slides at the top of Fort Mackenzie is more than just walking up the stairs, you climb through nets and tunnels on your way up. It scored me lots of extra cool mommy points for doing it several times with Austin. These are single rider slides that are somewhat dark with flashing lights inside and cut outs along the way.
Not to be missed is the Chinnok Cove pool equipped with basketball hoops and the Big Foot Pass log course. They really did enjoy the pool immensely. Austin was the only one brave enough to attempt to cross the rope course while trying to balance himself on the logs below. It’s amazing how limber he is and what great coordination he has. Once he made it across, he did it again and again.
Ever since our visit to Typhoon Lagoon, my kids have loved the lazy rivers. Great Wolf Lodge has you covered here too! Crooked Creek is nestled in the back of the waterpark with great views of it all. The kids sent a good chunk of time floating around.
We stayed in the water parks for hours upon hours. There are bathrooms with showers, lockers, plenty of towels (that must stay in the water park), plenty of chairs and even Buckets, a small restaurant you can order and enjoy right in the water park.
For the time out of the waterpark, there are plenty of fun activities to keep yourself busy as well. Truthfully, I don’t see how you could spend one night and do everything. We were there 2 nights and 3 days and didn’t pay for any of the extra activities except the game room on the day we were leaving simply because we didn’t have time.
The schedule varies for the locations and the season but there are fun events in the morning, like nature walks where the children spend a little time learning about animals that live in the forest and make cute origami wolves at the end. The clock tower show happens in the morning and again in the evening.
Mid-day there were craft activities that included drawing, coloring, bracelet making, balloon animals and face paintings. All were included with your stay at no charge. The characters don’t usually make appearances during the day time hours, just usually in the morning time and then in the evening time.
After you have played all day in the waterpark, have dinner and then wash up, you are encouraged to end the day with story time. The characters vary by location, but one is present during a cute story time that encourages the children to play a part with repeating, acting and dancing parts of the story. After wards, they can meet the character and have pictures taken. This was a huge highlight for my children.
Big kids can continue to play in the waterpark or take off on their MagiQuest adventures. This is an interactive game that is played by using a wand throughout the Lodge to activate various game features. Then there are all the fun games in the Northern Lights Arcade, really there is so much to do for families of all age ranges.
And then there was the food….Food is an important part of any vacation. We were there during the off-season, so the buffet in the main restaurant was not open but there was still a great selection of food to choose from. My family has several food allergies and it can prove to be a challenge while eating out. I did a little research prior to our trip and read the Great Wolf Lodge takes great pride in offering to cater to those with food allergies. We found this to be the truth first hand.
The main chef spoke with us during our first evening at the lodge and found out our allergies and what he could prepare for us. The next day he met us with a smile and remembered exactly what our allergies were. Again, offered us a selection to choose from and happily made substitutions when needed. Having little ones with allergies can prove challenging because many of the dishes an average child would eat all have something mine can’t have. At one meal we had a great mahi steak sandwich, freshly prepared tacos for my three year old and a hamburger served on dairy-free bread. The chef gave us his card and told us prior to our next trip to contact him so he could have any dish ready we requested.
Since visiting, I have had several people message me or ask if it is really worth the price. Yes, it is on the higher side for a resort but when you look at the experiences and memories made it really isn’t. If you factor in what you would pay for a hotel stay and water park admission for a family, it can be close in price if not less expensive.
Our family always hunts for deals when we travel and there are plenty to be found even for Great Wolf Lodge. Stay tuned because I will share ways you can save during your stay at Great Wolf Lodge soon. This is how all my children felt leaving Great Wolf Lodge.
You are not just paying for a hotel room at Great Wolf Lodge, you are paying for an awesome water park, fun-filled activities and more importantly, memories.