The weather can’t seem to make up its mind lately and somehow a cold front always seems to blow through when it comes time for the weekend! We’ve all been craving for a bit of a tropical vacay so I did the next best thing and booked a staycation at Great Wolf Lodge! I’m not even joking when I say that Great Wolf Lodge has actually been on our bucket list for over 5 years now – I’ve heard countless rave reviews of this place and am so glad that we were finally able to experience it for ourselves. It lived up to all the hype — even my husband who can be very skeptical about these things came back telling me we need to go back asap! If you’re looking a weekend escape with the family or even someplace to go over the upcoming Spring Break holiday, I cannot recommend Great Wolf Lodge enough! Read on for a Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine review as well as tips on how to make the most of your trip (especially if you’ve never been before!).
Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine Review:
WHAT TO DO
First of all, there is no shortage of things to do at Great Wolf Lodge and has activities for kids of all ages (including babies and adults!).
mother/daughter matching swimsuits (size down / I had to shorten the straps on both swimmies)
Great Wolf Lodge is probably most known for its indoor water park and it is beyond impressive! At 80,000 square feet and over 10 stories tall, it’s seriously like a mini paradise. The space is split up well into different areas that are suitable for different age groups, including multiple different thrill rides for the bigger kids, different twisty-turny water slides and a water fort tree house which Dylan loved, as well as a lazy river and a shallow Cub Paw Pool that was perfect for our little Mei! Outside it was a chilly 40-something degrees but so thankful that Great Wolf Lodge keeps their indoor waterpark at a very comfortable 84 degrees. USA Today recently named Great Wolf Lodge as the best indoor water park in their Readers’ Choice Awards and hands down, it is the best I’ve ever experienced. Best part? The waterpark is completely free and included with your stay at Great Wolf Lodge!
FIRST-TIMER TIP: As you can imagine, the waterpark gets busy! Come early in the morning or one hour before closing to avoid some of the lines for the rides or if you’d just prefer less crowds. There are lockers to store your valuables and towels are provided once you’re at the waterpark, but if you’d like to have a lounge chair or table next to the swim areas, come early as those are limited.
Howlers Peak Ropes Course
We managed to venture out of the water park on the second day and omg, the Howlers Peak Ropes Course ended up being a new favorite for both Dylan and myself! The course itself is a 4-story tall mini obstacle with different challenges that test your ability to balance. You start with getting harnessed in with the help of the staff and thankfully it also ensures that there’s no way you’ll actually fall while on the ropes course. There are a combination of stairs, balance beams, and ziplines, all of which are incredibly fun to traverse while being balanced on the ropes. At 6 years old and just a bit above 48″ tall, he was big enough to traverse the entire structure as long as I was there with him. I knew Dylan wouldn’t get scared as he’s incredibly outgoing in all respects, but he surprised all of us and scaled sections that even a few other adults passed up on — it was such a great opportunity to see him growing his self-confidence and push past fears!
For the little ones, Great Wolf Lodge had a special ropes course section just for them! Mei had just turned 4 years old and is small for her age (takes after her mom! 😂), but I loved that she could join in on the fun too. The mini ropes course section still had sections for the kids to test their balance as well as a zipline for them to enjoy at the end, but thankfully it stayed at ground level and was a great way to let the little ones have a taste for the ropes!
FIRST-TIMER TIP: Make sure to bring closed-toe shoes as it’s required for the ropes course. I personally recommend athletic shoes.
Northern Lights Arcade
The Northern Lights Arcade is open 24 hours!! Where was this arcade when I was a kid? Dylan and Mei couldn’t wait to play some games and there were so many fun options to choose from. Mei had a blast with the crane claw machine and surprised us all by actually successfully grabbing a couple prizes! Dylan was more into the simulation games and actually earned quite a few Paw Points on his game card which we later traded in for prizes!
MagiQuest is one of the activities that really sets Great Wolf Lodge apart and it quickly became one of my kids’ favorites. From the moment that we checked in, we noticed various treasure chests around the lodge and paintings that would talk / animate – it was only later that we found out it was all part of the MagiQuest adventure! After we picked up special MagiQuest wands for Dylan and Mei (the wands cost $17-$45 depending on the topper), they quickly set out pointing their wands at the different stations and fulfilling their quest. It’s a bit of an interactive scavenger hunt that combines computer screen stations, enchanted paintings, talking animals, and treasure chests that offer clues and coins as you progress. Once complete, Great Wolf Lodge actually holds a daily knighting ceremony for their Magi Masters, and it was definitely a highlight of the trip for my kids!
WHAT TO EAT
The food is a whole experience in itself at Great Wolf Lodge, and boy was it delicious! The Grapevine location offered six different dining options (plus a full-service Starbucks on property!) and not only did it include all the kid favorites such as pizza and mac & cheese, but there were also lots of unique options for adults to choose from depending on their mood and appetite. Each restaurant has its own executive chef and the entire staff was more than willing to accommodate for any allergies and food intolerances as well (y’all may remember that I’m dairy-free).
Lodge Wood Fired Grill
The Lodge Wood Fired Grill is a full-service, sit-down restaurant serving up lunch at dinner at Great Wolf Lodge, and it was probably my favorite spot to grab a bite to eat. The chefs really know how to serve up food just right here with their premium wood-fired steaks, fresh salads, and juicy burgers. The kids went back for seconds on their mac & cheese and I personally could not get enough of their roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon!
The Loose Moose Cottage
The Loose Moose Cottage is a buffet-style restaurant that served up breakfast and dinner. I highly recommend their made-to-order omelets for breakfast as well as their baby-back ribs for dinner (I had 2 ribs and am not even a bbq person!). Adrian is still talking about going back for their cheesecake and flan desserts! 😋
FIRST TIMER TIP: Get here early (breakfast starts at 7:30am) and take a picture with the Great Wolf Lodge characters — Wiley, Violet, and Oliver!
Hungry As A Wolf
The kids, of course, could not say no to pizza and I loved that this place made it all fresh when you order. It’s conveniently located right next to the waterpark so perfect for filling up grumbling bellies. Salad and pasta options were also available (I can personally vouch for the Italian salad!).
WHERE TO STAY
Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine recently completed a renovation of all its rooms and everything felt clean, new, and fresh! We stayed in their standard family suite room but if I had to do it again, I would definitely recommend splurging for one of their themed suites for the kids. The themed suites offer a separate area just for the little ones with bunk beds, a 32″ tv, as well as painted wall mural featuring the Great Wolf Lodge characters! These rooms do get booked very quickly (they were almost completely sold out the weekend that we went!), so reserve early.
FIRST-TIMER TIP: Ask for a room away from the elevators and central hotel areas. Those areas typically have MagiQuest stations and can get noisy even at night.
WHAT TO PACK
I know I personally looked this up myself so I figured I’d share what I found most helpful to have on this trip. In case you do forget something though, there are a couple stores on-site to help out!
- Bathing Suits: I recommend bringing at least 2 since most likely you’ll be going back to the waterpark on multiple days and putting on a wet bathing suit is never fun.
- Swim Cover Up: There is a changing room in the waterpark area, but have a cover-up with you if you’d prefer to change back in your room.
- Athletic Shoes: You’ll need closed-toe shoes for the ropes course and recommend athletic shoes just for that added grip.
- Casual Clothes: None of the restaurants require dressy clothes so just bring outfits that are casual and comfortable.
- Beach Towels (optional): Towels are available at the water park and while you can take them back to your room, you’ll need to remember to return them or else they are $5 each.
- Water Shoes (optional): The water park area can be kinda slick and water shoes may be a nice option.
- Waterproof Phone Pouch (optional): You don’t want to miss all the photo-ops at the waterpark so keep your phone in a waterproof pouch and keep on snapping!
HOW TO SAVE MONEY
Great Wolf Lodge is an incredible value for what you get but there are also so many ways you can save money too!
- Take advantage of free entertainment. The waterpark is included with your stay and there are so many other free entertainment options for the kids throughout the day including morning yoga, animated shows, storytime, and an evening dance party!
- Sign up for a package deal. Great Wolf Lodge offers so many different bundle discounts depending on what you’re looking for. One that I highly recommend is picking up one of their 3 different activity passes: Pup Pass, Paw Pass, and Wolf Pass. It’s a great way to get access to all your favorite activities such as MagiQuest, a Paw Points arcade game card, a Creation Station stuffed animal, and more! We did the Paw Pass and it really let them get the full experience of Great Wolf Lodge!
- Get on their email list. Great Wolf Lodge sends out frequent deals to their email subscribers!
Staying at the Great Wolf Lodge is like an all-inclusive resort vacation, but right in your backyard! There is so much to do for everyone (babies and adults included!) and we’re already talking about making it a regular staycation option for us!
I’d love to know if you’ve ever been to one of their 16 locations. Did I miss any tips?
I was provided with a complimentary media weekend stay in return for my Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine review. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank you so much for your support!