Great Wolf Lodge Resort Review

Entrance to Great Wolf LodgeTexas has a number of great resorts and in 2008 Texas added another fantastic resort for you to consider for a vacation, special event, or weekend excursion. If you're looking for someplace special to treat your kids because they've been on their best behavior or somewhere to take the kids for a special occasion like a birthday, then Great Wolf Lodge is a fantastic choice. Kids from two to sixteen are going to have a blast at Great Wolf Lodge. We took our grand kids who are 2, 3, and 9 months and two out of three told us what a great time they had and it was a real chore dragging them out of there! The third grand kid can't talk yet but he sure looked like he was enjoying the the pool, hot tub, and watching the story time animals - a smile never left his face the whole time! Toddlers to teens will love this place. Our daughters and their husbands also joined us and stated that a weekend visit to Great Wolf may have to become a yearly family tradition - the wife and I agreed!

Great Wolf Lodge howled into Grapevine and opened it's doors in 2007 and since then it has been receiving rave reviews. The Grapevine location is one of 12 Great Wolf Lodges spread throughout the United States. Some of what we think makes Great Wolf Lodge unique and special for kids includes:

  • rooms designed with kids in mind
  • an indoor and outdoor waterpark
  • all sorts of kids activities
  • an arcade
  • a kids spa and much more

Great Wolf is like a resort designed for toddlers to teens!

Great Wolf Lodge Lodging

KidKamp Suite at Great Wolf LodgeIf you've got young kids (known at Great Wolf Lodge as "cubs"), you have a couple choices for some unique rooms. The Wolf Den is an in-suite cave-themed area with a bunk beds and the KidKamp room lets kids pitch camp with their very own Northwoods tent in the suite. Each of these rooms also give the kids their own 20" flat screen TV with movies and Nintendo.

KidKamp Suite at Great Wolf LodgeIn addition to these specially designed rooms for kids, Great Wolf Lodge has a variety of other rooms and suites to accommodate a family of from two to eight. Our group of 9 stayed in the Grizzly Bear Suite which included two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a comfortable liGrizzly Bear Suite at Great Wolf Lodgeving area with a sleeper sofa, three TVs, a mini fridge, coffee maker, and more. Some of the other room options include: a suite with an in room whirlpool; a suite with a loft with skylights, living room, and a bath and a half; or the Grand Bear Suite which has a master bedroom with private bath and can sleep up to eight.

All of the rooms come with: waterpark passes, an ironing board, coffee maker, hair dryer, free WiFi, mini refrigerator, microwave, sleeper sofa, and wet bar. But I'll bet you and the kids won't be spending much time in the room with all the other fun things to see and do

Toddlers to Tweens To Teens Activities

Slides go outside Great Wolf LodgeWhen we arrived, we were expecting a small indoor waterpark with a pool and some slides and not much else. Wow, were we surprised. Walking up to the lodge we couldn't help but notice a part of the waterpark that is actually on the outside of the building - a couple bright color tubes twisting out of and then back into the lodge plus what looks like a giant funnel. The grandkids were amazed!

Turns out the tubes and funnel are two of the most exciting rides at the Resort. And then when we walked into the lobby to register the kids couldn't help but see the huge multi-story indoor waterpark area and the gigantic Fort Mackenzie tree house - we had a hard time keeping up with the kids as they rushed to the room to get into their bathing suits and then head back to the waterpark.

The 80,000 square foot and 80 foot tall indoor waterpark with a constant temperature of 84 degrees (making it perfect for cold winter days!) is the largest in Texas and has a number of fun and thrilling rides and things to do, some of which include:

  • Young kids pools and slides at Great Wolf Lodgeof the 7 pools, the wave pool is the largest and a blast when the up to 3 foot waves start rolling and when their not rolling it's great for swimming or floating
  • the 12 level four-story interactive Fort Mackenzie tree house has two fun slides, suspension bridges, multiple water cannons and spray stations, and a 1000 gallon soaker bucket that everyone needs to try at least once - the grandkids must have spent over 2 hours enjoying everything there was to do in the Fort
  • a crooked creek where you grab a tube and lazily float along the Crooked Creek - a relaxing time for kids or adults
  • a young kids pool with a couple slides, water canons, and other features to keep them busy for hours
  • a pool with a basketball hoop, an agility challenge (I couldn't make it from lilly pad to lilly pad across the pool), and a floating snake
  • a hot tub

A huge bucket gives you a soaking at Great Wolf LodgeFort Mckenzie at Great Wolf LodgeGreat Wolf Lodge waterpark lazy river

There are 12 water slides at Great Wolf Lodge, but the most exciting and fun slides are the three giant slides. Alberta Falls is a single tube ride that twists and turns through a tunnel and into the plunge pool. The thrilling Cannon Bowl give you a twisting and turning 436' enclosed tube ride into a splash pool - you won't forget this one! One of the other slide has a tube big enough for a family of 4 or your 4 best friends. But the heart stopper is the Howlin' Tornado - very appropriately named - if you or the kids make it down this monster ride through the 6 story funnel without howlin' or screamin' let me know and I'll send you a Texas Outside Koozie! What a blast for kids and adults.

Big slide ending at Great Wolf LodgeOne of the family slides at Great Wolf LodgeSlides into the water

Great Wolf Lodge's outdoor waterparkIn the summer, the 84,000 square foot Racoon Lagoon opens and offers slides, a patio with lounge chairs and umbrellas, an indoor and outdoor whirpool, and the lagoon. Safety is a priority with Great Wolf and the waterpark is well supervised with over 100 nationally certified lifeguards. The waterpark is outstanding and I'll guarantee that toddlers to teens are going to want to stay here from the time they wake up until the park closes.

More Than Just A Waterpark

But Great Wolf Lodge is much more than just a waterpark and it offers kids a wide variety of other fun things to do. After you check in and start to head to your room to get you bathing suit, you can't help but notice all the kids heading up and down the stairwells and into the halls with big smiles on the faces, magic wands in their hands, and shouting with joy "I found it!" You and your kids will quickly find out that they are on the MagiQuest. Armed with a high-tech magic wand, they set off looking to slay a dragon, defeat a goblin king, and find different treasures on each of Lodge's 6 floors and in the stairwells. The magic wand allows them to gain powers and earn points during their quest to find all of the treasures. Kids love it and I wanted to give it a try but my wife said it wouldn't be fair to all of the other kids playing and competing for first place - with envy I just watched them having fun with their wands and I gave a lot of hints to various participants about where they would find a treasure!

In addition to the kids wandering about the Lodge on the quest, around bedtime you'll see a hoard of pajama-clad boys and girls heading to the Great Clock Tower for story time and to sing along when the animatronic forest creatures come to life. Our grand kids remained perfectly still (a first for this trip and a new record!) with wide open eyes during the whole show. They hated it when story time ended but it turned out to be a perfect way to calm them down after a fun, exciting, and busy day - thank you Great Wolf Lodge! We all hit the sack tired and excited about starting the adverture over again after a well deserved good nights sleep.

If for some strange reason, the kids get bored with the waterpark (impossible!) or don't want to go on another MajiQuest, then here are some other additional ways for them to enjoy their stay:

  • the Cub Club is designed for the toddlers and younger children and has a number of fun educational programs and activities to teach them about nature and the creatures of the Northwoods
  • hours of good times for all ages can be had playing the hundreds of games in the Northern Lights Arcade
  • for the young beauty queens or the tweens to teens, a visit to the Scopes Kids Spa for a manicure, pedicure, facial, or just some make-up touch-up may be in order
  • the gr8_space features computers with teen-conscious Internet access, docking stations for ipods and mp3 players, as well as multiple gaming stations for those who strive to win one of the daily contests on systems such as Nintendo Wii, XBox360 and games like Guitar Hero

Part of storytime Arcade at Great Wolf LodgeScoops Kid's Spa

After all that fun and exercise swimming, climbing the steps to the top of the slides, running around Fort Mackenzie, and trips up and down the stairs in search of the MagiQuest treasures, it's time to eat and put back on some of those calories. And you have lots of choices:

  • for lunch, and possibly dinner, the kids will most likely want to grab a quick bite at the Spirit Island Snack Shop within the waterpark - adults can grab a cold beer or a frozen margarita
  • for any of the meals, the buffet in the Loose Moose Cottage is bound to satisfy any appetite and put back on all of the calories you lost - for example, the dinner buffet has what seems like endless choices which included salads, variety of vegtables, plenty of entree choices ranging from pizza to excellent prime rib, and a full desert bar!
  • for something quick, try the Pizza Hut Express
  • to order from a menu, the Camp Critter Bar & Grill offers several choices and provides outdoor seating overlooking the Lagoon or an indoor seat with a birds eye view of the lobby
  • I couldn't pass up the Bear Claw Cafe for Starbucks, fresh baked pastries and donuts, ice cream, and homemade fudge (wow)

Adult Fun At Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge hasn't forgotten about us adults who like to have fun and need to enjoy ourselves to help justify the expenditure. So for the adults you'll find:

  • a spa offering a variety of facials and massages
  • a well equipped exercise room to help you get rid of the the calories from stuffing yourself on the good food at the buffet
  • a 21 and older only hot tub
  • a Starbucks for your morning get-ya-going coffee or afternoon tea or the Bear Claw Cafe for a quick breakfast, lunch, or snack
  • the Camp Critter Bar & Grill which is perfect if you need to escape, have a cold drink, and catch the latest scores

Make sure you don't woose out and skip the Howlin' Tornado or the Cannon Bowl - so grab the family and hike up the four stories (we all need to wear off some calories) and see if you can make it down without howlin' or screaming! If you do, treat yourself to a great margarita from the snack bar within the waterpark area!

If you feel a need to get out, Great Wolf Lodge is close to lots of other fun things to see and do - excellent golf, great biking trails, fun nightlife, good shopping, and more.

Special Events

Great Wolf Lodge is an excellent choice for a family reunion, corporate retreat, or business meeting. They recently opened a state-of-the-art, 20,000 square foot conference center and have a varity of rooms to host your meeting. While you're conducting some strategic planning sessions, the spouses and kids can enjoy the waterpark or other activities. For team building, the arcade is perfect. Or forget the business meetings and just treat your employees and their families to a special treat to say thanks for all their hard work.

Be careful, if you select Great Wolf for a family reunion, you may get roped into doing it again year after year - we did and are already thinking about when to visit again! Our choice was February when it is cold and chilly outside and an 84 degree waterpark is a welcome relief.

Great Wolf Lodge is centrally located between Dallas and Ft Worth and is 5 minutes from the DFW airport.

Grapevine

Great Wolf Lodge couldn't have picked a better spot to locate in Texas - Grapevine is outstanding and one of our favorite Texas cities because it offers so much to see and do. And Great Wolf Lodge is smack dab right in the middle of lots of fun things to do. Granted you could have a fantastic time and never get bored with everything there is to do within the walls of Great Wolf Lodge, but if you do want to get out, here are some of our favorite things to do, all of which are within 15 minutes of the Great Wolf Lodge parking lot:

  • Cowboys Golf ClubGo Golfing - Grapevine has two of the best golf courses in North Texas, Grapevine Municipal and Cowboys. Grapevine Muni is a city owned course with 36 very fun and challenging holes. Like most city owned courses, the prices are reasonable and the course can get crowded. Unlike most munis, Grapevine is typically in very good condition. Here is a link to our review of Grapevine. Cowboys Golf Club is consistently ranked as one of Texas's top courses - immaculate conditions, outstanding service, and a great golf experience - but it's also at the upper end of the price scale. Check out our review of Cowboys Golf Club. Within 30 minutes you have lots of other excellent choices which you will find on this golf map of courses near Grapevine.
  • Shop Till You Drop - if you like to shop, three minutes from Great Wolf Lodge is Grapevine Mills Mall with over 1.6 million square feet of shopping, entertainment and restaurants. You'll find over 180 stores to choose from, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria's Secret, Forever 21, Old Navy, Group USA, Oakley Vault, and Ann Taylor plus restaurants, movies, and more.
  • Explore Grapevine - Grapevine is one of Texas Outside's favorite cities because it always has something going on and plenty to do. The City sponsors a number of fun events, particularly Grapefest; there are some good restaurants and bars; plenty of tourist attractions; and some quaint shops downtown.
  • Get Some Exercise - if you like to hike or mountain bike, there are some outstanding trails along Lake Grapevine - our favorite is the Northshore Trail which is a challenging mountain bike trail and very scenic as it winds along the lake - and you can stop after hiking/biking a few miles and have a beer and burger and listen to some music on the deck at Little Pete's (oops, that seems to negate the calories we are trying to loose, but it sure is fun)
  • Lake Grapevine at sunsetHit The Lake - step out the door of Great Wolf Lodge and five minutes later you can be enjoying fishing, skiing, sailing, swimming, cruising, or partying on Grapevine Lake. If you want to get out on the water and didn't bring your boat, then rent a ski boat, waverunner, or party barge from Just For Fun at Silverlake Marina or go for a romantic sunset sail with Island Bound Adventures. Or just head over to Little Pete's for live music and good food on their floating deck. Or go for a ride around Grapevine and then into the lake on the amphibious duck at Duck Riders. To learn more, check out our review of Lake Grapevine.

Bottom Line - Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect place to treat the kids to a special weekend that they won't soon forget. Vist their Website or call them (800 693-9653) to make a reservation. Have fun.

 

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