Those commercials you see on TV don’t actually do this place justice. And each Lodge you visit will give you a different experience — some of them are bigger than the others! From the indoor water park to the bowling alley, this place is what heaven must look like for children. It’s not Disney. It’s not Universal. It is Great Wolf Lodge.
When the children were smaller, I would daydream about taking them to Disney. But I don’t actually like large crowds, and I don’t love waiting in lines for hours (who does though?). A few years ago, these Great Wolf Lodge commercials started airing, and I thought it was finally something more our speed.
On a whim, my husband booked us a stay at the Colorado Springs location — there are seventeen locations in all, with one set to open in Arizona soon. Somehow, we managed to keep this trip a secret from two out of three kids… no small feat!!
We got the Kid’s Cabin suite, which had a dedicated kid room with it’s own TV. The best part of this room was the door that we could close to the parent room! And despite the Queen bed not being very comfortable or big enough for me and my husband, it was such a luxury to have our own space.
I don’t even know where to start with how amazing this place truly was, how it was worth every single penny we spent. At the Colorado Springs location, there was a Mommy and Me spa, Great Wolf Lodge’s MagiQuest game, mini golf, a ropes course, an arcade, a bowling alley, and of course the indoor water park! There were several restaurants (including a Dunkin Donuts AND Ben & Jerry’s) throughout the place and there was almost no reason to drive anywhere.
And we aren’t talking weird and boring hotel food — this food was handcrafted with love and care. It was delicious, filling, and beautiful (maybe I want to go back just for the food?). Each and every person that we came across, both employee and guest, seemed genuinely happy. Our littlest one had a couple meltdowns, but not a single parent batted an eye! Most likely, their kid had just been having the same fit. We all knew we were with our tribe.
We spent an entire day at the water park. My husband went on almost every single water slide with the two older ones. And there was still lots for the littlest one to do. For MacKenzie is essentially the biggest splash park I have ever seen. It was so amazing.
The entire time we were at Great Wolf Lodge, it rained. There was even a fairly loud thunderstorm that rolled through — this did cause the two biggest slides to close down because the tubes go outside the building!
Against my better judgement, I went on one of this big slides with my daughter. I am not daring when it comes to things like this, and I regretted it for the rest of the day. Lucky for us, my husband had rented a cabana at the pool area — we had a nice place to hang out between playing.
The following day was for MagiQuest. Now, this is probably the coolest thing (in my opinion) for the older kids to do. MagiQuest is exactly what you are thinking it is — a magical quest with wands. There are several different wands and powers you can buy for the kids, and then they go through the entire building collecting magical items and battling enemies.
My husband and I definitely met our step goals while doing MagiQuest with the children! The two younger ones had wands, but did not participate in the questing the way our oldest did. There is a lot of reading and critical thinking that needs to happen for the quests to be completed. We told the boys they were their sister’s knights, and had to guard her as she journeyed throughout the lands.
If your child completes the entire game, he/she becomes a MasterMagi. There are two ceremonies each day for anyone who beat the game and they are knighted as a MasterMagi in front of everyone. I was very pleased to see how many older teenagers were there playing the game the weekend we went! I think it is so good for kids to engage their imaginations and get exercise. This combines both with great finesse.
When it was time for us to leave, I was ready to go. This was the perfect vacation for our family, but I did feel all funned out by the last day. We suggest staying two nights and no longer than three nights. And while we have a younger set of children, this place is equally good for families with older children. Some friends of ours met us there, and they have older kids! It was fun to see them send their kids off on their own, and I am sure it was nice to know they were safe.
Now, I am not getting paid anything at all for posting this, incase you were wondering. This was just genuinely an amazing family vacation. I am not sure what the price difference would be compared to Disney or Universal — like I said we have never taken the children there. And if you have already visited those places, why not give this place a try?
After all, everyone loves waterparks!
All photos were taken by ATRP Editor Caitlin Bell. Please ask permission before using any images.