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Friday, May 1, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge ~ My Review Stay

If you're looking for a great place for a family-friendly getaway, look no further than the Great Wolf Lodge. There are locations all around the U.S. just waiting to show your family a "howling" great time.

My family visited the Sandusky, Ohio location...we picked a good weekend for it too. It rained the entire time we were there so we were reliant on the GWL accommodations to keep us entertained.

Not only were we entertained, we left wishing we had MORE time to spend there.

There are so many things that need to be said to explain how wonderful the Great Wolf Lodge is. You'll have to forgive me if this post is lengthy.

Let's begin with the lobby. Right as you enter the lodge, you know you're in for a magical time with your family.
The lobby has ceilings 3 stories high. I felt as though I was entering the grandest of grand in the world of log cabins. (I'm a HUGE fan of log cabins.) There are also many things in the lobby to welcome the whole family right away.

At the check-in desk, the staff was warm and friendly. They explained to me all that was going on in the lodge that day for my family to enjoy and invited us to return to the lobby that evening for a special, bed time story. (I'll talk more about that in a bit.)

We stayed in a Family Fireplace Suite. It was gorgeous and felt cozy. The room sleeps up to 6 people, has a refrigerator and microwave, and also has an extra TV over the fireplace so you can watch TV at night and not disturb the little one(s) in the bed(s).

Here's a quick tour of the room to give you a better idea of what it looks like.

The Family Fireplace Suite- Great Wolf Lodge from TheMrs. on Vimeo.

After getting situated in our room, our first order of business was heading down to the water park. When we arrived at the water park, I think there was only one word to say. "Wow!"

This is one of the areas available for play in the water park. It's 4 stories tall and is called "Fort Mackenzie". Every few minutes, that big bucket at the top fills with 1000 gallons of water, sets off a warning bell, and dumps out over the tree house.


The other areas available are a lazy river, a small pool for little tots, a pool for playing basketball or swimming, smaller slides for smaller kids, big slides for big kids, and a huge hot tub. 

This is the slide in the tot pool

Here are the slides for little kids.

Here are some of the slides for the big kids and my hubster REALLY enjoying them.


Basketball anyone?

 Here are Alex and the Hubster enjoying Fort Mackenzie.

Alex and the hubster also went on a water slide together. Luckily, I was on stand-by with a camera to capture it. 

Alex on the waterslide - Great Wolf Lodge from TheMrs. on Vimeo.

The nice thing about GWL is their understanding of how a family would want to try and squeeze everything in while they're staying there. Because of this, they will allow a family access to the water park 3 hours before their check in time and will also allow a family to stay at the water park until it closes after check out. Also, there are large bathrooms with showers and changing rooms to accomodate these families as well as lockers to hold their items.

We decided, after dinner, to take Alex down to the bedtime story in the lobby. There were many families who joined us and Alex really enjoyed watching the show. Here's a sneak peek of what you'll see when you go with your family.

Great Wolf Lodge Story Time from TheMrs. on Vimeo.

Let's talk food, now. There are 4 different places to grab a bit at the location I visited. These are the Gitchigoomie Grill, The Klondike Cafe' (in the waterpark), Bear Paw Sweets and Eats (in the lobby), and Lumber Jack's Cook Shanty (for breakfast). 

We ate at the Gitchigoomie Grill for dinner. The service was outstanding and they did everything they could think of to help keep our hungry toddler happy while we waited. Fortunately, there's complimentary popcorn in the bar area that kept Alex quite happy. The meals were fantastic. I ordered a chicken quesadilla. What they brought me was a full spread and it was delicious. The hubster and Alex were also very pleased with their orders.

Later that evening, the hubster went down to Bear Paw Sweets and Eats. What he brought back for me, that the woman staffed there made just for moi, was a cotton candy sundae. At first, I wasn't sure I would like it. I thought it had cotton candy flavored icecream in it. Boy, was I wrong. It was vanilla icecream, covered in hot fudge, and topped with cotton candy and waffle cones. It was AMAZING!

In the morning, we ate breakfast at Lumber Jack's Cook Shanty. Here, they serve all the hot food to your table family style. There's also a breakfast bar with fruit, muffins, cereal, and a place where you can order an omelet just the way you want it. We had a wonder-FULL breakfast of french toast sticks, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, and scrambled eggs.

We also visited the Northern Lights Arcade. We played a few games and Alex enjoyed some rides in there. He won his first arcade prize and left extremely happy. My favorite game was Ice Ball or "Skee ball" as I call it. 


I'm going to share about one more area of the Great Wolf Lodge and then I'm going to link you to the website since there are even MORE ways to have fun that we didn't get the chance to visit.

When we had some down time, we took Alex up to the Cub's Cabin to play. This room is sponsored by Little Tikes and has many fun things to keep little ones entertained. There are computers, books, puppets, a play tent, a ship to play in, a tool bench, and more. Honestly, it's a parent's dream come true when it's raining outside and your little one doesn't have any interest in playing in the hotel room. Here are a few pictures to show a little of the room. 

Here are some links for you to check out for even MORE fun. 
Waterparks & More
Daily Events

My many thanks to Great Wolf Lodge for hosting our family for this review. We had a spectacular time and will be returning again for sure.



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