One of our traditions has become taking an annual trip with friends to Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, Texas. Having a large water park inside the hotel is something our kids LOVE. We look forward to it every year, and when we get back, people at home always ask what it is like. There are other Great Wolf Lodges all over the country as well. If you are looking for a fun get away to somewhere new, this might be just the thing! Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Plan early for discounts.
Great Wolf Lodge offers room discounts if you book your trip a certain number of weeks or months ahead of time. Sometimes you can also find huge discounts for staying there on Groupon too. When you stay at the hotel, you have access to the water park!
Get a bigger room to share.
My boys and I meet another mom friend and her kids, and we get a bigger room because that way we can all share it. By splitting the cost, we save a lot! There are lots of different room lay outs, so just check the description well ahead of time. All of our rooms there have been great. Or if your whole family is staying and you want want your own room, there are lots of different layouts depending on the number of people in your family.
You can have access to the water park part of the day that you check in, and a good part of the day after.
So for the price of one hotel night stay, you also get almost two full days at the water park. Double check the water park for how early you can get your water park wrist bands on the day you check in. We usually get there around 2pm one day and can use the water park through the late afternoon of the next day.
You don’t need to bring your own towels.
When you get to the water park section that is on the lowest level of the hotel, they have towels guests can use. Just be aware that at some locations you have to check out the towels and then return them so you aren’t charged for them.
Bring your own snacks and drinks!
I pack snacks and bottled waters to keep in the hotel room. There are food court type restaurants and sit down restaurants in Great Wolf Lodge that are good, but I save a lot by bringing our own snacks that the kids can eat in the room as well. Since bottled water there can run about $2 each, just bringing your own is very convenient. You might not be able to bring your own into the pool area depending on their rules, but you can bring your own food in other areas of the hotel.
They have life jackets for swimmers who need them, so you don’t need to bring floaties for the little ones. Plus they are bright colors and easy to spot in the water.
The water park area has lots of fun water activities for all ages of children.
The splash areas great for younger children, and the big water slides are my oldest child’s favorite. There are lots of water activities in between too.
Dress in layers.
Sometimes it feels like there are big temperature differences as you walk through the hotel because the water park area is usually kept very warm, but the rest of the hotel is a normal indoor temperature. Especially if you get wet in the water park and then end up walking around the rest of the hotel, you can get pretty chilly. I pack a few layers in my swim bag for getting around the lodge.
Check out the indoor activities too!
They have a big story time with talking characters in the lobby and a dance party at night. If you go at Christmas time, they even have simulated snow during story time. There are talking Great Wolf Lodge animal characters that children listen to during story time, then take a picture with them.
Magic Quest is great for older kids.
This is a game in the Lodge spread out over different floors where children can buy a wand and a game, and follow the clues to find all the places in their quest book. The Great Wolf Lodge wands are reusable, so we just bought one wand a few years ago, and we bring it back every year. To buy a new game for the current year only costs about $15. There are several different versions of the game they can play, and it’s a fun change of pace after several hours on the water slides.
When you have your bracelet for the day, you can go in and out of the lodge as much as you want. So you can drive to other places if needed, then come back in and enjoy the water slides.