This summer we didn’t have a chance to go on vacation. We’re a family who likes to travel, so that was unusual for us. Then I was contacted by Great Wolf Lodge and Chevy and invited to spend a night at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX with my family. They even offered throw in a Chevy Equinox for us to test drive down to Texas. Well, how could we say no? For two years I’ve been thinking that Great Wolf Lodge (GWL) would be a great weekend get-away for my family. Many of our friends have visited and all agree it is top-notch family fun. But the timing was never right. This time, though, we made the time and I’m so glad we did. When I told my kids about the plan, my son, who likes to play it very cool, was the most excited I’ve seen him in months. It turns out he was actually sneaking into his sister’s room after lights out to discuss how incredible our vacation was sure to be. Every day leading up to our departure he would find something about the hotel to chat me up about. What are the rooms like? Is there an outdoor pool too? How many slides are there? What are we going to do first? That right there was enough to tell me it was going to be a great weekend. When we arrived at GWL (please don’t make me keep typing out the whole name!) we were amazed at the size of everything! The Grapevine GWL is one of the top two largest indoor waterparks in the US. Of course, the big draw is the indoor waterpark. It’s everything you think it is, and louder. It’s tough to hear what your kids are telling you, but who cares? You’re going fast down a slide! We tried out every slide they had (a few times). By the end of the trip we all migrated to our favorites:
- Em loved the serenity of the floating in the wave pool. No, you didn’t read that wrong. The GWL wave pool is more like a gently wavy bathtub that is the size of an Olympic pool. If you’re looking for thrills, try the Tornado.
- Ry loved standing under the 1,000 gallon bucket of water (no, it doesn’t hurt, but don’t hold your child or you’ll drop them because of the pressure).
- Bill and I kept a running tab on the medium-sized slides. If you like fun and fast, the Tornado is your best bet.
For those who are concerned about water safety (and what parent isn’t?), I can assure you the lifeguards are of the highest caliber and GWL takes water safety very seriously. I was able to talk with Amanda, one the GWL PR reps, specifically about my concerns. She told me there is constant surveillance of the park, the lifeguards switch their posts every 30 minutes to keep them alert, and they have random checks and test emergencies (like secret shoppers, but in this case, it’s secret swimmers). You’ll notice that the inner tubes for the lazy river and the wave pool are clear. That’s so the lifeguards can see if anyone slips down or is caught below the water. I particularly loved that feature since my own daughter decided to (unsafely) try the lazy river without a float. (She was fine and nothing happened, but I wasn’t happy and let’s just say she won’t be doing that again.) If you tire of the water and want to relax, GWL has several watering holes and restaurants. We were pretty tired after a day of sliding, so we opted for Pizza Hut (on the lower level) and took it back to our room. Later that night we headed to the arcade to win some loot, then ended up Bear Claw Sweets and Treats Cafe for some fudge and milkshakes. Did I mention we don’t focus on diet a lot when we’re on vacation? Here’s a tip, though: The Bear Claw in the Grapevine GWL has some good looking salads and sandwiches for a reasonable price. I wished I’d seen those before the Pizza Hut trance. A few things we didn’t take advantage of, but you (OK, your KIDS) might love:
- MagiQuest. Buy your wand, trick it out with magical baubles, then embark on an adventure like no other. MagiQuest is an interactive treasure hunt that takes you all over the hotel to battle goblin kings and defeat dragons. Your wand unlocks the mysteries and clues.
- Scoops Kids Spa. Does your tween/teen long for a mani/pedi? A facial? You can spoil them rotten right here with ice cream- and frosting-themed packages. The lotions and potions they use here are the same as those in your room, I believe, and they smell divine!
- gr8 space. This is for teens only — no adults, no kids under 12. Your teen will love competing with new friends in gaming tournaments, releasing their inner rockstar with karaoke, or just hanging out.
- Cub Club. Need someone to watch the kids while you indulge yourself at Elements Spa for adults? Or have a quieter dinner with the spouse? Take the kids to Cub Club where they can sign up for one of these programs: Junior Lifeguard, Backyard Birdies, Bouncin’ with the Bullfrogs, or Bugs on a Rug. Some of the activities are educational, ALL of the activities are FUN.
We loved our weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. LOVED it. The next time we need to get away, but need to find something close to home, Great Wolf Lodge will be our first thought. If you have the chance, I highly recommend trying it out!