“To pee or not to pee…that is the question.”
Our children’s dilemma before hitting the pool, and the one thing that delays and/or interrupts any water activity with young kiddos. But, at the Great Wolf Lodge…they make it manageable! Easy access to EVERYTHING is the name of the game. With a well-versed crew to drive the ship, you’re in great hands for a weekend of exploration and, simply put…FUN.
At Great Wolf Lodge, a massive indoor water resort located in more than 15 across-nation destinations, the magic comes to life in, approximately, 100,000 sqft of space devoted to liquid fun and interactive experiences. Its popularity has boomed since the concept developed in the late 90’s, almost 20 years ago, in the Mid-West! Since then, families flock to the weather-resistant vacation spot, choosing to stay – on average – two nights, in an effort to fit in all the fun, food and fancy that the Lodge has to offer.
Our family drove down to beautiful Colorado Springs to check-out what has become a bit of a word-of-mouth advertising campaign in our own mountain resort town. Our friends have whisked their children away for a quick visit, choosing to couple the 5 hr trip with a stay at The Broadmoor (for the parents!), as well. But, I am here to tell you that a bit of peace and quiet may be found at the watermark behemoth, as there are more ways to enjoy some downtime than expected! Stay tuned…
We checked in with Matthew, early, and were met with calm and welcoming gestures that helped us to get our bearings and prepare for the adventure ahead. I parked our too-many-belongings with the Bell Stand who promised to get our ‘stuff’ to the room once it was assigned. We were too early to unpack, but not too early to dive-in! With wristbands attached (parents are allowed to connect theirs to a credit card; kids have the ability to open their room, using the band as a key), we headed into what can only be described as JoyLand. My two-year-old literally screamed with delight and bee-bopped down the hall towards the waterpark, framed by gigantic, interior windows and showcasing controlled madness. Being momentarily slowed by the presence of “THE GAMES” (arcade, bowling, mini-golf, ropes course, climbing wall), she and the big kids darted towards the explosive water action…goggles in hand, water shoes barely attached.
“There is strength in numbers”; the quote comes to mind, here, as it does at many family-oriented locations. Active/on-duty parents, lifeguards (of whom, there are many), lounging/wide-eyed grandparents are all working together to ensure that the kiddos are safe and burning off the enthusiastic energy that is housed in the park’s dome. There is even an elevated bar (our first registered place of peace) where the weary can rest/rejuvenate and enjoy the spirit that resides around. Whether this crowd is carefully watching for any unexpected shenanigans cannot be determined…but, they are there. Extra eyes and ears are always appreciated.
The occasional screams, melt-downs and high-pitched whistles all fill the air…but, this is JoyLand! No family is safe from the chaos that comes with fatigue at the Lodge. The bonus? Your respite is an elevator ride away, found in comfortable and quiet surroundings in the Lodge’s varied, comfortable and easily accessible guest rooms. Following an epic first dip at the waterpark, we meandered up to the room to prepare for dinner. Our ‘raisened’ fingers could barely push the elevator buttons; seasoned families donned robes and cozy slippers to get them from pool to tub. Our frozen tushies welcomed the hot baths and showers AND our exhausted energies rejoiced over the “Wine Down” delivery of meats/cheeses/accoutrements and petite syrah that were present when we hobbled into our cozy abode (kids excitement, excluded). The treat was exactly what the doctor ordered and got us thru the family bathing, pleasantly. Note: “Wine Down” is a piece of peace…not to be missed.
We were all ready to eat, and (to be honest) probably would have gorged on a pizza or burger or doughnut at one of the lower level eateries. But, we had a reservation at Barnwood, a farm-to-table restaurant located, on-site, and boasting a menu that locavores (and, the everyman/kid) can truly appreciate! GREAT food, incredible cocktails, patient waiters and ample space made the experience one to respect and, thoroughly, enjoy.
*Impressive fact: The restaurant is the only farm-to-table experience within 150 miles.
Bailey – our sweet, attentive and timely waitress – quietly, yet convincingly, made suggestions on food and drinks. With each sip/bite, our expectations were met, and exceeded. Typically, my husband refuses to take the youngest child out for dinner, much less expect to order – and finish! – a nice cocktail. He was surprised and pleased by the entire evening, offering to lay our toddler down for the night while I ventured out with the 10-year olds. Now, I was floored!
With their Paw Passes, in hand, we raced down to the main level to hit all of the remaining activities and collect all of the goodies that the Pass has to offer. Although the children see the Passes as a way to collect FREEBIES, be assured that they do not come free-of-charge. But, despite the cost ($49.99-$79.99), the time spent collecting – especially in a safe and enclosed environment – is worth the peace (there it is!) attained. Kids are independently busy and parents are free to enjoy the activities, alongside, or from afar…cocktail or book, on board. Really, a perfect end to a perfect, family day (and, how often can you say that??).
In the morning, we woke up with a ½ hour of yoga…a treat for the kids since they dominate the numbers attending. A quick “breakfast of champions” (Dunkin’ Donuts!), follows, prior to the packing up and, then, hitting the wave pool one last time. We shower, pack the car and grab a late brunch at The Loose Moose Family Kitchen, a buffet serving farm fresh eggs, apple wood smoked bacon, signature wolf waffles, and organic yogurts, granolas, fresh fruits and berries. Yum!! We arrived close to breakfast closing time, but the crew generously allowed us to be seated and kept the buffet open until our tables – along with a few other tardy diners – had finished.
Noteworthy → Great Wolf Lodge does not use or serve peanut or tree nut products, but some of our products may be manufactured in facilities that also process nuts. If you’d like to discuss your dietary needs before your stay, please email us here.
We enjoyed our visit at the Lodge, tremendously, and have started our own word-of-mouth marketing campaign at home! It was a place to have fun, connect with the family and find a little bit of peace during the holiday season. We plan to visit, again, soon and hope that the Lodge may offer others as many sweet memories as we had made, ourselves.
Be sure to check out Snowland at the Great Wolf Lodge this season!
The Lodge is spreading cheer to families this year with a winter wonderland complete with daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby, visits from Santa Claus along with a life-sized Gingerbread house constructed from more than 600 pounds of gingerbread dough, 1,300 pounds of sugar and hundreds of candies. To truly get in the holiday spirit, guests can dine in the life-sized gingerbread house with a small donation to the Ronald McDonald House.
Get on Santa’s nice list by completing holiday-themed assignments to earn your North Pole University Snowploma or mail a letter to old saint nick in the Grand Lobby with Great Wolf Lodge’s Santa’s Letter Depot.
In addition to two days of play in the resort’s 50,000-square-foot waterpark (84 degrees year round) and Adventure Park families can enjoy the following complimentary Snowland activities:
- Hot Cocoa with a Great Wolf Kid
- Cookies with Mrs. Claus
- Polar Wolf Walk
- Festive Family Flicks
Hospitality by Great Wolf Lodge