HIP-HIP-HOWL-RAY! You're planning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge! You and your kids are going to having a blast, making memories that will last a lifetime.
If you're unfamiliar with GWL properties, let me introduce you. Great Wolf Lodge is a brand of family-friendly resorts with huge water parks inside! Although the water park is the main attraction, each resort also feature restaurants, arcades, spas, and other children's activities - including character meet & greets with Wiley Wolf, Violet Wolf, and Oliver Raccoon.
There are currently seventeen Great Wolf Lodge properties in North America (listed in order of opening date):
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- Sandusky, Ohio
- Traverse City, Michigan
- Kansas City, Kansas***
- Williamsburg, Virginia***
- Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
- Niagara Falls, Ontario
- Mason, Ohio
- Grapevine, Texas
- Grand Mound, Washington
- Concord, North Carolina
- Fitchburg, Massachusetts
- Garden Grove, California***
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Bloomington, Minnesota
- LeGrange, Georgia
- Gurnee, Illinois
NEW Great Wolf Lodge Resorts are slated to open in Salt River, Arizona (near Scottsdale) in 2019 and in Manteca, California in 2020.
Our family has been to three Great Wolf Lodge properties to-date (***denoted with three stars on the list above) and although the branding is spot-on with all of them, they each have their own unique feel.
Before you head to the airport or pack your car up for a road trip, consider our packing tips to help your vacation be the best it can be.
- Two swimsuits for every member of the family: One will do just fine, but...everyone knows it's no fun to put on a wet swimsuit! If you have two swimsuits at home, pack both.
- Water shoes or flip-flops: The water park is BIG and well-maintained, but there are a lot of people! If you prefer to have something on your feet at all times, opt for water shoes. If not, bring along flip-flops or sandals that can be worn to and from the water park.
- Swim diaper for you baby or toddler: Great Wolf Lodge requires swim diapers for little ones who are not yet potty-trained.
- Waterproof case for your phone: Many people prefer to leave their phones behind in their rooms, but if you want to capture memories at the water park, a waterproof case and lanyard for phone is strongly advised.
- Bag to carry wet items home in: Great Wolf Lodge offers standard plastic laundry bags that could work for this purpose, but it's always helpful to have an extra bag on-hand. Wet/dry bags are especially good for preventing mold and mildew.
- Swim goggles (if desired)
- PJs/Slippers for storytime (if desired): All of the Great Wolf Lodge properties host a nightly storytime (often with characters) where kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas.
- Water bottles: Depending on where you go, you may not be used to the taste of the local tap water. If you are road-tripping in, pack a case of water bottles.
- Snacks and simple meals: Most Great Wolf Lodge Resorts offer multiple restaurants inside - pizzerias, upscale fine dining, character breakfast buffets, even Starbucks & Dunkin' Donuts! That being said, you may grow tired of the offerings or you may want to plan ahead for economical purposes. In our experience, Great Wolf Lodge has always been great about allowing outside food. Feel free to bring fresh fruit, granola bars, prepped salads, etc. Check ahead with the location you will be visiting, but most GWL rooms have mini fridges.
***Note that if you forget any of the above items, you'll likely find it for sale at an on-site shop. There is a moderately sized store that you walk through right before entering the water park that carries swimsuits, coverups, water shoes, and lanyards, along with a variety of souvenir-ish items.
NO NEED TO PACK:
- Towels: Great Wolf Lodge provides towels at the water park and in your room. Note, however, that the water park towels need to stay at the water park. If you think your child will be chilly on the walk from the park to your room, feel free to bring along a bathrobe.
- Sunscreen: One of my favorite things about Great Wolf Lodge! 95% of the water park is INSIDE. No need to slather on sunscreen every time you head to the park. Obviously, you might still want to pack sunscreen if you are planning to spend time outdoors for other pursuits, but it's not needed for the water park experience.
- Life jackets: Great Wolf Lodge offers life jackets for all ages - for tots up to adults!
- Inflatable water toys: Not needed, not allowed. The water park is HUGE and there is so much to do for all ages!
Have a fabulous time! As always, feel free to contact me with any travel questions.