The highlight of our Dallas vacation was by far Great Wolf Lodge. I thought I would share some pictures, what I loved, what I could’ve done without and a few insider tips in case you’re planning your spring break, summer vacation, or not-back-to-school homeschool trip (they have a whole week in the September dedicated to this, fyi). You know, since a one time 2 night trip makes me an expert and all.
Even the lobby is enormous. That’s the fireplace in the lobby. The wolves over the fireplace? They’re full-sized mounted real wolves. Again.. wow.
The tree house in the lobby. Me with Baby.
We booked the Kids Cabin Suite to stay in.
It had a cabin (as the name suggests) in the room. The cabin had a bunk bed and a twin size in it and a tv. All four of the olders slept in it. In the rest of the room there was a queen sized bed and a couch that made into a bed as well. Here I have to tell you a couple of the downsides – our bed was hard as a rock. Enough so that it made it hard to sleep. And the tv? It’s there, but you have to pay extra for Disney or Nickelodian programming but I kept reminding myself that this vacation was about the kids and the waterpark. Not about sleep or tv. And let me tell you, the waterpark more than made up for the lack of tv and sleep.
Here’s the view from the lobby when you walk inside. Wow, anyone?
When you’re walking from the rooms down to the waterpark you walk through an area where there are sweet treats, the Northern Lights arcade, a Pizza Hut where you can order personal pan pizzas (be forewarned, that’s all you can order, they don’t sell larger ones), a spa for little ladies, and the MagiQuest shop. There was plenty that we never got around to. Like MagiQuest, the spa, the sweet shop, and Cub Club. For one thing, those all cost extra. You can reserve packages that include those things, but not for a family our size. And we found that the park was the big draw – that’s where we wanted to be. Everything else was just icing. The grandparents sent extra money for the kids to blow, and blow it they did in the arcade one evening. They had a blast, won a bazillion tickets, and bought souvenirs. Win, win, win.
They measured the kiddos right when you walked into the park. And arm-banded you red, yellow, or green according to height so that they aren’t remeasured at each waterpark attraction. You must be 42 inches to get the “green” pass to everything including the big slides on the back wall.
Both of our boys were able to do this and they loved it. These are the only slides you can ride down together, by the way. Even the baby slides with the babies don’t allow you to lap sit. But the big slides have innertubes or rafts that you can ride together. And you can see a portion of the big slides from the parking lot. Wow.
There is a Totem Towers section where there are middle-sized slides. My girl and BigMan could ride these, but BigMan didn’t want to. This is also where they dump 1000 gallons of water from that amazingly huge bucket periodically!
There was a baby/kiddies section where BigMan and Baby spent most of their time.
There were hot tubs – one for parents and kids – they warned against the kids staying in there, but the temperature of the water was lower than a typical hot tub. And there was another hot tub for 21 and older. Cool.
In the waterpark there was an A & W concession stand. Good if you’re starving and don’t mind spending a lot for each meal. We never did – we always left the park to eat, rest, and then returned later. And for the 21 and older crowd there were “adult drinks” – again just thought you should know.
There was a lazy river.
A wave pool.
They supplied life-jackets. You couldn’t bring your own inflatable arm floaties (I don’t think, you can check on that, though) but you could bring the kind like I’ve raved about before. We didn’t, we just used what they had and it worked perfectly for all ages of our kids (9, 7, 5, 3, and 16 months). They also supply towels. No need to pack them.
We went in February because they have winter rates that we could take advantage of and we found a homeschooling code online that reduced our price by $100 a night. And during the winter there are WAY fewer people – we like fewer people, allows us to relax a bit with all the kids running around. Also noteworthy, when you reserve a room you get 2 full days of waterpark for each night you stay. Well worth it. They also have on-going specials throughout the year.
They offer breakfast in the mornings but you have to pay for it, not a complimentary buffet like at most hotels. We found it worth it to get up, get dressed, and go eat breakfast outside of the hotel. Since we’re early risers this worked beautifully for us since the park doesn’t open until 9am. We came back, changed, swam until we were hungry and exhausted and then we left again to go find food and naps in the van. We came back, swam some more and then left for dinner. Making it back in time for their free Clock Tower animatronic story time.
Extra things you should know – the lifeguards were great. Abundant. Attentive. And kind. When they had to correct the kids they did it kindly, gently, and with a smile. No snapping. Also, the lifeguards – boys and girls, were completely dressed. Swim tops with sleeves and shorts. It’s a nice bonus. They also have an outdoor waterpark they open during warmer seasons.
Down the road from the Great Wolf in Grapevine is Grapevine Mills Mall – an outlet mall to shop, look around, and get this… coming this summer they will have an aquarium and a Lego Discovery Land. We just missed these, but we’ll be going back. Also, if you’re driving from central Arkansas you have a 5-6 hour drive into Grapevine. Very doable – even with all our very young munchkins.
Overall, the price was well worth the joy! We’ll be going back for sure!