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A Guide to Great Wolf Lodge

A Guide to Great Wolf Lodge

We were provided this trip as guests of Great Wolf Lodge, however, all of our opinions are our own. 

Looking for a mini-getaway that can keep everyone in your family happy? Looking for a waterpark destination that provides more than just splish-splashing fun? A trip to Great Wolf Lodge can be a fantastic time with your family, if you know what to expect. With so many exciting options for everything, from lodging to entertainment, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. After our family’s most recent visit to Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, I decided to write a ‘Guide to Great Wolf Lodge’.

I’ve broken down Great Wolf Lodge by section, covering (hopefully) all you want to know about each section.

Sleeping, Great Wolf Lodge Style

Great Wolf Lodge is first and foremost, a resort hotel. While a day pass is nice, staying the night in the lodge does have its perks. First, anybody who’s anybody knows that being in the water all day wears you out. Knowing that your room is only steps away for a quick nap or snack break is such a relief. Second, staying overnight lets you experience a second day of waterpark fun (more on that later). And third, once you see the lodge and how they have incorporated the theme into all aspects of the property, you are going to want to get the full experience. Great Wolf Lodge doesn’t just have your standard hotel rooms. They have suites. Suites come in two types: Standard and Themed. No matter what you choose, each suite at Great Wolf Lodge has a mini fridge and microwave (great for storing snacks or any leftovers), a coffee maker, full-size sofa sleeper and plenty of room to put luggage and souvenirs.

Standard Suites:

Standard suites can sleep 4-6 people. Several suite options are available, including those with King size beds, fireplaces, and accessible bathrooms.

On our most recent trip, we were placed in a Standard Family Suite, which had 2 queen beds and a partitioned living area with a full-size sleeper sofa. We ended up putting our oldest on the sleeper sofa on the second night, so that we all had just a bit more room to spread out. Our room also had a full bath and a small dining table. Rooms also have a private balcony or patio (based on your room assignment), which is a perfect place to lay out those wet swimsuits to dry. 

Theme Suites Great Wolf Lodge

Premium Suites (for those that need a little more):

Great Wolf Lodge also offers premium suites for those families that need just a little more space. These suites are more like small apartments, with separate bedroom areas. There is even a loft suite, just in case the kids need their own space to chill out.

These suites can sleep up to 8 and also have accessible bathroom options. 

Waterpark Fun at Great Wolf Lodge

It is very likely that you are now familiar with the fact that a large part of the appeal of a trip to Great Wolf is their huge indoor water park.

As a parent of kiddos who aren’t the strongest swimmers, I appreciate that as soon as you walk into the water park area, you are greeted by friendly staff members who measure and put armbands on kiddos. The armbands are given according to your child’s height. This makes it easier for the staff to see if your kid is tall enough for a given slide and makes it clear to your kid what they can and can’t do. There are also racks with flotation vests at several areas around the waterpark for added safety.

If you aren’t a fan of big waterslides, or maybe you are traveling with smaller kiddos, the waterpark has a wide variety of options beyond the bigger slides. There’s a  wave pool and a pool with basketball goals, one for older kids and a shallow area for younger kids. The lazy river is always a winner for a relaxing break. My kids loved crossing the ‘lily pads’, calling it an American Ninja Warrior course. There is also an adults only hot tub, you know, should you get a kid-free moment. There is also a structure with smaller, more kid-friendly slides that has squirt cannons and buckets to dump water on unsuspecting victims. This is a great spot for the really little ones, so they don’t feel like they are missing out on the fun of the larger water slides.

Day Pass vs. Staying on Site

A quick search on Google will bring up a question that is asked frequently. Which is: “Can you buy a day pass for Great Wolf Lodge”

As of Summer 2019 Great Wolf Lodge is offering a limited number of day passes for $60 each.

The Day Pass includes:

  • All-day fun at our 84-degree indoor water park
  • Free life jackets for all the family
  • Free passes for kids 2 and under.

Day Pass Details

  • Purchase passes online or through Customer Service at 800-905-9653.
  • Towels are available for purchase, or you are welcome to bring your own.
  • Lockers are available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Coolers and outside food will have to stay in the car! Our lodges offer a number of delicious dining options.

Great Wolf Lodge boasts that you can get 2 days of waterpark fun for just a one-night stay.

True story! If you book a stay on Great Wolf Lodge property, you get a ton of perks. One of those perks are waterpark passes. While check in time isn’t until 4pm, you can show up as early as 1pm and hit the waterpark. After check out in the morning, stash your stuff in the trunk and head back in for more waterpark fun. You have access to the park for the entire day of your check-out. Plus, towels are provided with a lodge stay, so you are always guaranteed a clean, dry towel when you need it.

Out of the Water Fun at Great Wolf Lodge

Once your crew gets tired of playing in the water, or the fingers are way too wrinkled, I can assure you that there is tons of fun to be had beyond the waterslides. Several activities are included with a stay at Great Wolf Lodge, while other activities charge an additional fee. 

Included Activities

Included in your stay are a few great activities that appeal to a variety of ages. Before the waterpark opens in the morning, join the ‘Ambassadors of Fun’ for some wake up and move activities. At lunchtime, various fun and activities make for a great midday break. At night, snuggle into your PJs and join the Great Wolf Lodge friends in the main lobby for some night time fun. Also, throughout the day, the Great Wolf Lodge mascot and his friends will make appearances, so grab a picture to remember the fun!

Extra Fun

The following activities cost an additional fee, but are worth it to make this an extra special trip to remember. You can also add an attraction pass to your stay and save a little money. There are three pass options: Pup Pass, Paw Pass and Wolf Pass. The Pup Pass is for the younger kids who might be a bit too little to participate in the MagiQuest game. 

Pup Pass ($44.99) includes:

  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade ($5)
  • One Mike and Ike Candy Cup
  • One Bear Paw Ice Cream
  • One Build-A-Bear animal
  • One Color-Your-Own T-shirt or Pillowcase

 Paw Pass ($44.99) includes:

  • One MagiQuest Game
  • Choice of classic/color wand, standard topper or Magi belt
  • One Mike and Ike Candy Cup
  • One Bear Paw Ice Cream
  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade ($5)

Wolf Pass ($54.99) includes:

  • One MagiQuest Game
  • Choice of classic/color wand, standard topper or Magi belt
  • One Mike and Ike Candy Cup
  • One Bear Paw Ice Cream
  • One Pair of Great Wolf Lodge Goggles
  • One Game of Howl-in-One Mini Golf
  • One Game Bowling at Ten Paw Alley
  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade


MagiQuest turns Great Wolf Lodge into a giant game that needs to be played.  Once your kiddo has picked out a wand (they start at $17.99) and a game has been activated on the wand ($13.99 during your stay) they can set out on a quest.

To be totally transparent with you, I didn’t ever really figure out how it worked. What I did figure out was the fact that my kids really had a ton of fun going from floor to floor on quests.

Northern Lights Arcade

I am still not sure if my kids or my husband and I enjoyed the arcade more. There is something about the allure of tickets being spit out of the games rather than just being automatically loaded to your game card. My husband and I got just as into the games and racking up tickets as my kiddos did.

Two words: Clown Game

Located inside of the arcade is also mini bowling, my kids had a ton of fun bowling with balls and pins that were quite frankly more their speed. If mini golf is more your thing, pay the cashier for a round of golf, grab a club and a golf ball and go to town!

Creation Station

If your kids are anything like mine are, they need a new stuffed animal like they need a hole in their heads. However, the siren song of a spot like the Creation Station at Great Wolf Lodge is something that you should be prepared for prior to your visit. The creation station is very similar in concept to a popular place where you can build your own stuffed animal.

My youngest son picked the Oliver Great Wolf Character because Oliver has glasses and so does he. He felt pretty special that he found a character that was ‘like him.’ Making a character costs 29.99 and then clothing is an extra charge should your kiddos want an outfit for their new buddy.

Spoiler Alert: They are going to want an outfit for their stuffed animal.

Scoops Kids Spa

Most of the time I don’t feel like I am missing out by being a ‘boy mom’, but when I found out that Great Wolf offers a Mommy and Me spa experience, I was wishing that someone in my crew would want to get their toenails done with me. Scoops is a spa experience geared towards kiddos while offering parents the chance to go relax in the grown-up spa.

Food Options at Great Wolf Lodge

Spending all day swimming and playing can work up an appetite, which begs the question what are you going to eat?

We are glad you asked. There are several options while you are staying at Great Wolf.

Hungry As A Wolf

This is a pizza place. I mean, they have other options as well (including salads and a tasty meatball sub), but the number of people I saw carrying multiple boxes of pizzas back to their families, indicates to me that Hungry As a Wolf is hands down a pizza place.


If you aren’t able to pull your group away from the water fun, don’t worry! Buckets serves up burgers, hot dogs, and salads right next to the action. And don’t skip the famous Tipping Bucket dessert. Loaded with soft serve ice cream, cookies, brownies and candy this is for sure a shareable dessert!

Loose Moose Cottage

This eatery serves breakfast and lunch buffet style. Additionally, I noticed that they had a table set up just outside of the entrance with grab and go breakfast type items, think cereal and fruit, that could be charged to your room or paid for with a debit or credit card.

Lodge, Wood Fired Grill

Lodge is a great place to eat if you are looking for something just a bit more than a traditional buffet. With adult cravings, like steak and seafood, to kid-loved staples like mac-n-cheese and burgers, this will appeal to everyone in your group. 

Dunkin’ Donuts

This classic doesn’t really need any introductions, but we found that since our kids tend to be pretty early risers and the Loose Moose opens at 8 am, it was nice to have a spot to grab a quick snack to tide everyone over. Plus, that first taste of coffee in the morning….ahhh!

Grizzly Rob’s Bar

If you are going to be somewhere with a tropical feel, you might as well have a tropical drink and get in the zone. Grizzly Rob’s serves up unique cocktails and cold beer. They also have soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages for those who wish not to imbibe. 

Takeaways from our stay at Great Wolf Lodge

The staff at Great Wolf goes above and beyond to ensure that your entire pack has a fantastic time. Everyone was so willing to help my kiddos, from engaging them in the extra activities to answering questions about where to find the scavenger hunt clues.

There isn’t a detail that is left undone, as we learned when walking the long corridors of Great Wolf to follow the noses of the animals on the light fixtures in order to get back to the center of the resort. So, if you tell your little ones to walk in the direction of the noses, they will end up finding the lobby area should they get lost.

We had a fantastic weekend at Great Wolf and left with fun family memories and plans to return again soon!

Great Wolf also has really great deals throughout the year. Make sure you sign up to be part of their email list, so you get the heads up on room specials and upcoming events.

Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge? What does your family enjoy doing there the most?