My husband and I decided toward the beginning of his volleyball coaching season this year to plan a fun family trip for the end of the season. A sort of ‘reconnecting’ trip, that we could look forward to all season long. We decided upon Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. We felt it was the perfect choice, being just a few hours drive it offers tons of family fun activities. We had already been anxious to check out this great family resort for a few years.
We arrived on Friday around noon and stayed until Sunday late morning. When we arrived, our boys’ faces lit up as they saw the giant wolf statues at the entrance of Great Wolf Lodge. They couldn’t get our of their car seats fast enough to run into the resort to see what was waiting for them. We shared pictures and a video tour with them from Great Wolf Lodge’s website a few days before our trip to spark their excitement as we counted down the days until we arrived.
As we entered, we were immediately greeted by a grand lobby by a giant picture window framing the giant indoor water park, multiple easels filled with large character pages to color, an animated stage where characters came to life singing and telling a story throughout the day, and much more. From the moment we walked in, we felt at ease about having young children (ages 3.5 and 23 months) there; not typically a feeling the parents of little ones get at a hotel! We loved that everything about Great Wolf Lodge welcomed children and encouraged them to play, laugh, and just be a child!
Wristbands: Upon check-in we received wristbands giving us access to the water park, serving as our room key, and were also set up for room charges! This was one of my favorite features, I am always forgetting my room key on vacation and am not crazy about carrying my purse… especially when you are going into a water park! En-genius; more resorts and vacation destinations need to adopt this fantastic idea!
*Mom Tips: Do not secure your bracelet too tightly or too loose (speaking from experience)! You and your clan will be wearing them for your entire visit and a replacement wrist band is $40.00!
Great Wolf Lodge has several types of rooms for you to choose from when booking your stay. We stayed in a family suite and it was the perfect size and setup for our young family.
Family Suite (2 queen beds, with a pullout sofa sleeper, microwave, small refrigerator,etc.)
Here are a few other options available:
KidCabin Suites, KidKamp Suites, Whirlpool Suites, Various (Large/Multiple Family) Bear Suites
*Mom Tips: Pack-n-play cribs are available on a first come -first serve basis. Be sure to call ahead to reserve one.
During our visit, the weather was overcast and chilly, the perfect weather for staying indoors. Because it was our first visit to Great Wolf Lodge, we decided to stay on site and eat at their different restaurants available.
Loose Moose Cottage- buffet style, open breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Camp Critter Bar and Grill- typical bar and grill restaurant, children receive wolf ears and a tail in along with their kid’s meal,
Bear Paw Sweets and Eats- desserts, snacks, ice cream, and drinks
Pizza Hut Express- pizzas of all sizes, breadsticks, wings, and more
Spirit Island Snack Shop- the only in-waterpark restaurant, snacks, meals, drinks, and more
Starbucks- all your favorite Starbucks drinks and pastries
Hungry As A Wolf- in room pizza service,
During our stay, we ate at nearly every dining option except for the Spirit Island Snack Shop. We had great experience at each restaurant and although the prices are a little higher than normal, they were by no means outrageous. We found eating inside the lodge was very convenient!
Our favorite meals were:
Breakfast at Loose Moose Cottage, providing a large breakfast buffet. You could enjoy everything from cold cereal and fruit to waffles, to make-your-own omelets. I loved that the breakfast atmosphere was very casual and families came down in their pajamas, swimsuits, or dressed for the day. It was a great way to ease into the morning together!
Dinner at Camp Critter Bar and Grill, while our boys enjoyed a typical kid’s meal and received their wolf ears and a tail, my husband and I enjoyed our meals as well. I loved their barbecued salmon!
However, our all-time favorite was our last meal of our trip… Wake-up With Wiley! This was recommended to me by the manager, Mr. Bateman. While our boys are still a little nervous around large costumed creatures, to our surprise they absolutely loved it! The characters were fantastic with the children, and very approachable. Both of our boys interacted with them by giving them high-fives, talking to them, and even a hug! They received character cards of each wolf and are still talking about them today. It was a great way to introduce your child to characters and allow them time to warm up to them. Our oldest son came away feeling proud of his courage to meet and talk to the characters. It was a great experience, one that we might have missed out on if it had not been recommended to our family!
INDOOR WATER PARK
Our family loves to swim! So the indoor water park was one of the things we were looking forward to the most at Great Wolf Lodge. We were not disappointed! Their indoor water park was massive and included many different sections. The area includes 9 water slides, 6 pools, a lazy river to float around, and a large wave pool!
One of areas that Great Wolf manager Mr. Bateman shared that the resort prides themselves in is their focus on safety first. As a former lifeguard and swim instructor, I was very impressed with the attentiveness of the lifeguards! They are all supervising specific sections of the water rather than a general vicinity. There are also lifeguards at the entrance that measure your child and give them a specific color coded bracelet designating which slides they are allowed to use depending on their height. My husband and I both found that helpful in selecting age appropriate slides/areas to play with our children.
Our little guy (23 months) loved the section for little ones, he ran all around the area, climbed on the water structures, and loved the slides. Our oldest son (3.5 years old) loved the water slides! He was so excited to go down on a tube with mom or dad, as they had great double or single tubes available for families to ride together! My husband and I also really enjoyed ourselves too! The slides for ‘older kids’ (I guess that’s us) were so much fun! We both loved one particular slide everyone called the ‘green slide’ as it had a good sized drop off and then you spun around a large bowl shaped funnel before shooting out the bottom. It has to be one of my favorite water slides!
*Mom Tips: The temperature is set at 84 degrees in the water park, if you are naturally cold, bring along a shirt or coverup that will help keep you warm when you are out of the water. (My husband and oldest son were not cold, but our youngest and I were.) Pack a comfortable swimsuit (you are indoors so you don’t need to worry about tan lines), a coverup, and flip flops/summer sandals to wear down to the water park. There are lifejackets in all sizes available, but you are allowed to use Puddle Jumpers if you prefer to bring your own.
One of our biggest surprises were all the options of fun things to do with your children! I anticipated the water park, however I was not aware of all of the other options we would have to choose from. You can also view activities by your child’s specific age HERE!
Here are a few:
MagiQuest- with a magic wand you can explore the hidden secrets around the resort
Cub Club- activities and crafts for younger children
Creation Station- create your own stuffed wolf or other souvenir; similar to Build-a-Bear
Northern Lights Arcade- family-friendly arcade with over 100 different games for all ages
Compass Quest- interactive journey throughout the resort where your goal is to save the princess and slay the dragon
Scooops Kids Spa- a fun spa experience geared towards a younger crowd
Daily Activities- Wolf Walk, The Great Clock Tower Show, Story Time, and more
Howly Wood XD Theatre- a moving theatre ride
Lazer Frenzy- arcade style light maze
We were lucky enough for our visit to fall on the last weekend of their Howl-o-Ween celebrations at Great Wolf Lodge. Howl-o-Ween events include: a Costume Parade, Trick-or-Treat Trail, Spooktacular Story Time (no worries the stories were not really scary), Pumpkin Painting and Seasonal Crafts, and a Monster Bash Dance Party.
Our boys especially loved that they got to wear their costumes and trick-or-treat through the resort and the story time where they wore their pajamas to the lobby for a fun Halloween story.
Great Wolf Lodge has more great seasonal events for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, Fourth of July, and more. Click HERE to see their full calendar of events.
We loved our visit, it was a great way to reconnect and hang out as a family. The Great Wolf Lodge offers an experience that is enjoyable for all ages without losing the ability to make the stay enjoyable for each child. With locations across the United States and one in Canada, The Great Wolf Lodge is accessible for everyone; click HERE to find the nearest one to where you live!
Be sure to to get the most out of your visit by reading Great Wolf Lodge Insiders; an interview filled with all types of tips and secrets with the General Manager of Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas.
DISCLOSURE – My family received a special room rate in return for this review. My reviews and recommendations are always true and honest. Read Cheerios and Lattes’s full disclosure here.