January 7, 2024

Beat the Winter Blues at Great Wolf Lodge

I don't normally gush here on this blog, but we had such a great time at The Great Wolf Lodge yesterday and this morning. The visit was a hit, even with a energetic toddler. The Beartrack Landing indoor waterpark was especially thrilling for SoJo and my 3-year-old niece.
SoJo and his cousin had a blast (pun intended with that photo above). Their favorite part was the fountains coming out of the floor near the wave pool,
and the Whooping Hollow Kiddie slides, which are limited to tots under 48". No worries for parents about big kids knocking over the little ones on the rush back into the water.
There are plenty of life-vests available in various sizes to use as you need them, as well as towels. I hate packing them when we go on vacation, so this saves a lot of room in your suitcase.There are multiple water slides, some of which take you both in and outdoors (cold butt alert), as well as a family slide where you can ride with 4 people. And the Fort Macenzie tree house is filled with pipes and water features that are interactive and soakingly fun.
If you need a break, you can go have a slice of pizza and a beer at one of the snack bars too.I would have thought that the most stressful place to have a toddler would have been in the waterpark (that was surprisingly the easiest place to mind him, since he was so engaged by the activities), but it was actually here:

an un-gated staircase leading up to the loft in the Loft Fireplace Suite.
Check out the view from up there. No surprise that a toddler would love going up and down. We liked it too!
Mr. Geek, SoJo and I slept up there together in the queen bed; it was cozy and warm due to the rising heat from the fireplace downstairs. So unlike the frozen tundra that we live in.
My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece shared the downstairs space and were quite comfortable, save for SoJo's 4:30am wake up. You'd think after an afternoon/evening of 2 visits to the waterpark, he'd be wiped out. I think he was both excited and a bit apprehensive of being out of his usual sleeping space, but we all managed just fine for the night and early morning.
The downstairs of the Loft Fireplace Suite has a sofa bed, 2 queen beds, and all the comforts of home like a mini-fridge and microwave. I love how Great Wolf Lodge pays attention to each detail, like in the actual ceramic mugs hanging from a rustic peg board,
rather than chintzy Styrofoam cups (they try to be eco-friendly in many ways, like having recycling bins all over the hotel and in the rooms). And now the best part....
A gas fireplace! It was great sipping the wine I said I'd sip in my last post. Went quite well with pizza. And it sure made drying our swimsuits convenient.

The view outside from the balcony wasn't bad either. The Pocono Mountains in winter are just gorgeous.
You can see Camelback Ski Resort (one of the many in this area) just on the right. In summer, The Lodge has a nice-sized outdoor pool to complement the indoor activities. We'll definitely be back for a visit during outdoor swimmin' weather.
I mentioned details--well, Great Wolf Lodge was full of them, from the lights in the guest rooms and throughout the hotel
to the murals in the hallways
to the imagery on the metal grate of the lobby's giant fireplaceand of course the lobby itself. Since it's after Christmas but still winter, the lobby was decorated in over 1 million white lights and snowflakes and snow.
The Clock Tower has animated shows a few times throughout the day and an 8pm show followed by bedtime stories. We sadly missed all the shows because we were too busy!
Some of the decor is a bit kitschy, like the taxidermied animals
and chainsaw-carved furniture and sculptures, but that's part of the ambiance and charm.
This certainly made us happy this morning at 6:30am, when we had had enough of trying to keep SoJo in bed.
There is so much for kids and adults to do at Great Wolf Lodge, beyond spending hours in the waterpark. Frankly, I can't believe one could exhaust that, but exhausted parents might want to let their kids make some crafts in the or play MagiQuest, an interactive game played throughout the hotel.
A lot of the activities are geared towards older children, like the arcade and teen-oriented gr8_space Tech Center
and other activities, and even a kids' spa called Scoops
but toddlers willl have an equally great time, like ours did. The only drawback I found in visiting with a younger child is that the MagiQuest game was scary for our son. The interactive kiosks are located on the 3rd and 4th floors and one must pass by them on the way from the elevator to your room. This one particularly scared SoJo
See the skulls and bones? Those weren't really the issue, rather the loud dragon roars and hissing sounds made him uneasy. We called it a "dinosaur", and naturally the first thing he uttered when waking up this morning was "see dinosaur." We ended up taking him up the steps to avoid these areas.

But honestly, this was one of the best places we've visited in a long time. Everything was nicely laid out, clean, charmingly decorated, and the staff very friendly and accomodating. The variety of activities was great, and the waterpark was highly engaging for all ages. I even saw an man who looked to be in his 80s hanging out in the spa, enjoying himself. It's definitely a place worth visiting if you get the chance.
Great Wolf Lodge, we'll be back! We plan on making this an annual trip with my niece and my husband's brother and his wife.

Check out the closest Great Wolf Lodge to you, with 12 locations in the US and Canada.
Disclosure: I received a media rate of $99 for lodging in order to review the facilities at Great Wolf Lodge. The opinion expressed is entirely my own.


  1. Wow, incredible! That looks like a stress free family vacation option for any season! You don't have to worry about getting rained out like at the beach.

  2. I think you're the second person who has gotten paid to review the Great Wolf Lodge on their blog recently. We have one near us in Kansas City, but we've never been. I'm sure it would be great!!!

  3. FYI, Amy, I didn't technically get paid, just got a discounted room. You say potato, I say tomato. :)

  4. SoJo looks so handsome! Aww. I love the loft suite, too. Very cool.

  5. Wow; you must have had a great time, all those pictures!
    It's hard to imagine a warm pool right now , in the frozen tundra. :)
    Wonder what SoJo must think; that he likes the weather better there?
    Happy for you to be able to spend an after holiday vacation. They really are the best!

  6. Wow! What a fun looking place and my Soren is growing fast! Take me with next time, I promise to be good.

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  8. wow! that looked amazing and like so much fun.. i wanna go!

  9. Oh man, I'm so jealous! I would love to do that with my daughter and husband. We need a vacation pretty bad. The holidays managed to just wear us out more, LOL.

    I wanted to say thanks for coming by and commenting, too. :-) I'm so happy to have you as a kindred spirit. :-)

  10. You captured the essence perfectly! We don't have one less than 5-7 hours away from me, I don't think. :(

  11. Wow ! I'm sitting here in FL in 32 degree weather thinking.... that would be a better place to go right now ! lol


  12. I want to go now. That looks like so much fun. Your pictures are great.

  13. That sounds like such a great place to stay with a family!!

  14. Oh you are so lucky! We have one of these in Michigan & every one I know has been. I want to go so bad, they always have such fun!

  15. I remember our trip to Great Wolf waaaaay back when my sister and I were in elementary school-We had a wonderful time then, and it looks like you had a wonderful time now!!
    I love your kiddie's face: He looks thrilled with everything.
    You guys are so lucky :D

  16. What a beautiful, family-friendly place! I'm intrigued. I love those spacious, woodsy rooms and that water park is something else! I'm ready to book a vacation!

    Just one request: I would LOVE it if Great Wolf Lodge built a SW/W location...perhaps in Phoenix/Tucson, AZ or Los Angeles, CA or Albuquerque, NM. :)


  17. Great review! I've heard so much about this place. If they have a StarBucks, I'm there! :0)

  18. This would be a great place to stay warm and have fun!


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