This post is sponsored by Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge opened up in Bloomington, MN near the Mall of America at the beginning of 2018. Recently, we were able to stay at the lodge and can’t wait to share all about this great resort a short drive away from Rochester, MN. More than simply a hotel, Great Wolf Lodge is destination. A remarkable attraction that is expertly presented and themed for maximum family entertainment. Everything here seemed to have the magic touch, including the wonderfully receptive, attentive and helpful staff. Here are 4 Things to Know Before you Go and also a few tips and tricks!
1. Great Wolf Lodge is Newly Renovated
The newly opened Great Wolf Lodge is actually the location of the Waterpark of America that closed in January 2017. Great Wolf Lodge purchased the property and spent an extensive amount of time and resources to turn the existing facility into what it is now. The Lodge is beautiful: the decor, furnishings, amenities, rooms, restaurants and attractions are fresh, fun and enticing. We especially loved how clean the facility was.
There are several rooms to choose from. The most popular is the Standard Suite which includes two queen beds and a sofa sleeper. If you’re looking for the most cost effective way to experience the Lodge, this is it! There is so much to see and do, that you won’t be spending much time in your room anyway. If you’re looking for a more exciting and themed place to spend your time, check out the Themed Suite. This includes a queen bed, and a separate Great Wolf Lodge themed space with two bunk beds called the KidCabin . Our kids *loved* staying here. They also have a separate TV for all the cartoon viewing. We originally thought that they would never utilize the TV, but it helped calm nerves as our kids were drifting off to sleep in a new place.
2. The Water Park is Included in Your Stay
The jewel of the newly renovated Great Wolf Lodge is the water park. This is 75, 000 square foot attraction is definitely the highlight of the stay. The best part is that your access to the water park is included in your room reservation. Even better is that you can access the water-park at 1:00 PM the day your reservation starts – even before you have access to your room! A change from Water Park of America is that you cannot use the Great Wolf Lodge water park unless you are a guest with room reservations. This is a welcome change as it ensures that the water park is never truly overcrowded (even at capacity) and provides a lot of value in the cost of your room reservations.
We loved the water park. You can only access the park by scanning your room wrist band at the gate (that everyone receives at check-in and wears throughout the visit) that is monitored by the Great Wolf Lodge staff. Towels are included and can be picked up just inside the main entrance to the park. Simply scan your wristband and request the number you need. Just before to return them before you leave to avoid a charge! There are several places to splash and play. My kids loved the indoor water playground, but there is so much more to see and do in the waterpark: basketball pool, floating lily pads that you use a climbing net to help you cross , lazy river and adjoining pool, 3 water slides, wave pool, Wolf Rider Wipe-Out (a body board simulator), cabana rentals, gear shop, and more!
3. There Is SO MUCH more to Do!
If the water park isn’t your thing or if you’re feeling a bit water-logged, fear not. Great Wolf Lodge is truly a destination with so many activities for you and your family. Inside the lodge you’ll find great family friendly attractions: Howlers Peak Ropes Course, Ten-Paw Bowling Alley, MagiQuest (a live-action, immersive game using a special wand that enables you to unlock clues throughout the resort), Northern Lights Arcade, Oliver’s Mining Company, Creation Station (pick out and create your own stuffed animal – a family favorite!), and Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall.
Our family favorite non-water park activities were the nearly hourly events they had going on in the Grand Lobby. From kids yoga, exercise, wolf walk, face paining, character meet and greet, drawing lessons, cup decorating, bracelet making, bingo, pajama dance party (definitely a must to wear kids out before bed if the day’s activities don’t already leave them exhausted!), and story-time with their interactive one of a kind projection screen that “comes alive” with all the of the Great Wolf Lode characters! This was really impressive and used really neat technology to tell some fun stories. Upon check-in you’ll receive a print out of what is happening and when so you can plan your day around what you want to see and do in the lobby!
Another favorite was the Creation Station. Kids (or adults!) can pick out their favorite Great Wolf Lodge character and help the staff fill their friend up with fluff. Each creature comes with a cute little draw-string backpack for easy transportation all around the resort. The kids hardly left the room without their little pals.
4. It’s Fun for Adults Too
While at first glance it might seem that this trip is all about the kids, it’s truly fun for adults too. What we appreciated most is that all of the events were planned out, there was hardly a moment where we wondered what we would do next since it was all at our finger-tips..and best of all facilitated and planned out for us. No extensive planing, details, or lengthy research involved. There wasn’t even a reason for us to leave the Lodge. With 8 different dining options and bars, there are plenty of food options – including an on-site Dunkin’ Donuts and Ben n’ Jerry’s! The Campfire Kitchen an dream come true for a busy family: a buffet for breakfast and dinner…there are so many options that you won’t have to worry about finding something that your kids will like to eat.
We really loved the Wine Down Service. At check-in you’ll receive a form with Wine Down Service Pairings that matches up a bottle of wine with a few select treats, food and desserts. Fill out this form and visit or call Guest Services and choose your delivery time window. Your room will be charged and you can enjoy a whenever you’d like!
The Great Wolf Lodge is a great get-away for your family. It’s a short drive from Rochester and a truly wonderful, immersive experience. Your kids will be talking about long after you get back! Make sure you check out their special offers page before you book to find the best rate on specials and packages.
Tips and Tricks
** Each room comes equipped with a mini-fridge. Consider bringing some staples along with you so aren’t dependent on the restaurants and convenience foods at Great Wolf Lodge. We brought milk, fruit, snacks, sandwiches (and some sangria!) to keep our costs down on food throughout our stay.
**Consider purchasing a Wolf, Paw, or Pup pass for all the non-included activities. Each of these passes include a selection of activities at various price points. You can save up to 46% in some cases! This is really convenient if you plan to enjoy some of these activities anyway – just pay once and they will mark your pass at each attraction as you visit them. These are available for purchase at check-in.
**Try staying during the week or at non-peak times. There can be some significant savings if you’re able to visit midweek…the water park and resort are also less crowded!
**Don’t forget to visit the special offers page to find the best packages and deals available when you book. You won’t find it less anywhere else! You’re definitely rewarded for booking early, so think ahead to when you might want to visit and book at least 60 days in advance for up to 50% off.
**Take advantage of the free activities they have in the Grand Lobby if your budget is feeling a bit stretched thin. These are so impressive, well-run, and the kids will have a blast.
**Visit the dining options or restaurants earlier or later than prime dining times to avoid long waits.