Great Wolf Lodge — staycation fun for the family


(Monisha Washington)

If you are looking for family-friendly resort-style fun, take a break from Minnesota-cold and your usual routine and plan a “staycation” at Great Wolf Lodge. The popular Wisconsin Dells Great Wolf Lodge resort made its grand opening debut in Bloomington on December 12, 2017. It is the brand’s 15th location in North America.

The intent was to create a first-class, year-round family destination. You may be familiar with Water Park of America, which was previously in this location; but this offers much more than a water park — it is a family-friendly adventure for all ages.

Great Wolf Lodge renovated and expanded this space to create family-friendly fun that not only includes the 75,000 square-foot indoor water park experience, but also an indoor Great Wolf Adventure Park and arcade.

My family and I enjoyed the games in the arcade. (Monisha Washington)

Although the suites were not fully renovated, they have added decor and wood finishing giving it that unique log cabin feel. Families can choose from 13 suite styles, including the kid-focused Wolf Den and KidCabin suites, complete with bunk beds and Great Wolf Kids character theming. Rooms can hold up to 12 guests.

The highlight for children is waiting for the bell to sound to signal the park’s tipping bucket which pumps one thousand gallons of water every four minutes. My son especially liked shooting hoops in the water. And I liked how the kids have so many activities to keep them busy, which give parents some alone time.

There are several lifeguards on duty and complimentary lifejackets to keep your little ones safe. The water park is exclusive to resort guests, which makes the lines much shorter. This is included in your stay and you have all day to continue the fun even after you check out.

The adventure doesn’t end once resort guests dry off. Warm up by the fireplace in the Grand lobby where a lot of fun happens with daily character appearances, Bingo, kid’s yoga, singing, and dancing. Before you go to bed join the Pj party as you wind down to listen to a story and watch the Northwood’s Friends Animated Show, which includes a projected interactive experience engaging the children.

Guests can also search for keepsake gemstones at the brand’s exclusive mining experience; Oliver’s Mining Co.; bowl a strike at Ten Paw Alley or explore a variety of games at the Northern Lights Arcade.

A unique fan-favorite is MagiQuest — the brand’s exclusive live-action adventure game where guests use magic wands to go to defeat dragons to advance to different levels and win treasures.  This was my daughter’s favorite part of her experience at the resort.  The MagiQuest adventure can continue if you decide to visit the other Great Wolf Lodge.

If you forget the swimsuit or trunks at home, don’t worry,  just visit the Paddle Bay Outfitters conveniently located by the water park. Take home a keepsake by picking your Great Woods character stuff it and dress it.

The food options vary and are reasonably priced; choose anywhere from a buffet which includes, but is not limited to, BBQ ribs, shrimp, lobster mac & cheese and delicious desserts to an XL pizza that can feed a family of four.

If you have a sweet tooth, no worries, visit two favorites Ben & Jerrys and Dunkin Donuts located on-site or fill up on candy at Great Wolf Candy Company. Great Wolf Lodge did a great job in making this a peanut-free resort due to it being one of the number-one allergies for kids. For the health gurus out there, it has healthy eating options as well.

Everything you need is under one roof; you do not have to leave the resort if you do not want to so go on this wonderful staycation without the cost of travel.  As Angela Reed, the resort’s general manager said “Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota encompasses everything that today’s families are looking for — from the towering water slides and the gentle lazy rivers to our diverse dining options — guests will be immersed in a one-of-a-kind family vacation experience from the moment they walk in our front doors.”

Great Wolf Lodge and their partners Nemer Fieger provided a great experience for me and my family.  I will definitely be back for another adventure.

Pricing varies. I recommend looking online for the best deal. One tip upon check out is to look for the stairs exit. The wait for the elevator can take time depending on the number of guests.

I hope you get to experience the adventure of Great Wolf Lodge in Minnesota and enjoy it as much as my family and I did.


Monisha Washington welcomes reader responses to