Editor’s note: read other posts in Mumbling Mommy’s Family Trip Tuesday series at this link.
Over the years, my husband and I have heard a lot of really great things about Great Wolf Lodge. Once my husband realized he could get a good discount on a hotel room through his employer, he suggested we take our kids to the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, for a night during the kids’ fall break from school. (Even if you don’t have a discount through an employer, you can still find offers available on their website or you can sign up to receive email offers.)
Great Wolf Lodge, with locations around the U.S., is a hotel and indoor water park in one. A great thing about a visit to Great Wolf Lodge is that you can go to the water park at 1 p.m. the day you arrive instead of waiting until late afternoon when you check in. We packed a small separate bag with our swimsuits so we could enjoy the water park early in the afternoon, and we left the rest of our luggage in the car until our room was ready around 5 p.m.
The staff was helpful and courteous. The entire place was clean and the layout was simple to navigate. Lines for the water slides moved quickly. They had as many towels as you could need constantly available.
Another great thing is that the cost of the water park passes are rolled into the price of your room. So for just a couple hundred dollars (rooms vary greatly based on size, time of the year, and how close to time of arrival you book them), you can enjoy the bulk of two days at a water park and get a hotel room for one night.
Here are some more things about the water park and Great Wolf Lodge.
The Water Park
The water park was wonderful! My daughter wasn’t tall enough to enjoy some of the large water slides, but she said she was too scared anyway, so it was okay. My son and husband went on a lot of those slides together. I was pregnant, so my daughter and I enjoyed the smaller slides and the wave pool.
Between the slides and other water park attractions, there are several chairs and some tables where you can leave your bags and towels and sit and have a snack or rest. I feel like the layout of the water park made it easy to watch your kids, too.
We went during October and Great Wolf Lodge dedicates the month to “Howl-O-Ween.” It was fall break for many schools, so there were a lot of people there. Despite the crowd, it never felt too busy.
To go along with the Halloween theme, the staff had set up some fun decorations and special activities including trick or treat trails. This meant the kids could dress up and follow a map with a trail that led us around the hotel to get “tricked” or get treats. We loved it!
Story time at the Big Clock
This is a free activity and a lot of fun! The big clock has an animated story time where the characters come to life at various times throughout the day. It’s a great place to check out for a little break from swimming. We chose to go before bed — most of the kids, like ours, sported their pajamas. It was really, really cute and my kids enjoyed it.
There are a few options, from a nicer grill to a pizza place to a place that served sandwiches, salads and hot dogs. In addition, there is a cupcake shop, an ice cream shop, and a Dunkin’ Donuts. While we were there, we had the pizza and it was pretty good. We also let the kids get ice cream and a cupcake. There were no complaints! We enjoyed Dunkin’ Donuts, too. The line for it was very long because, well, it was morning and people like their coffee, but it moved pretty steadily. Overall, the prices weren’t marked up as high as I expected them to be.
We stayed in the Family Fireplace Suite. It included two queen beds and a sofa sleeper. The side nearest the door had the bathroom, the sink, microwave and refrigerator, and the two beds. There was a separation wall and beyond that was the full-size sleeper sofa, a coffee table, a small table and chairs for two, and a sliding glass door that walked out onto our balcony (which overlooked the parking lot).
For an additional fee, there is an arcade and a glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course. We visited the arcade and it was like any arcade you’ve been to. Basically, the kids loved it and $20 was gone in 20 minutes!
In addition to the Sandusky, Ohio, location where we visited, there are Great Wolf Lodge locations across the country from California to Texas to Massachusetts. There is even a location in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in Canada. For those with kids who may be interested in going to the Kings Island amusement park, it is right next to the Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati.
To sum up, Great Wolf Lodge is an awesome place to take kids of all ages. Two big pros for us are that it’s close to home and quite affordable. We would definitely visit again and probably stay for two nights. They have attractions for toddlers up to teenagers and adults love it, too. If you don’t feel up for dropping thousands of dollars to head to the beach and want a quick get-away that your kids will love, think about Great Wolf Lodge. My kids liked it so much they ask to go back all the time!
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Tags: Family Trip Tuesday