You’re little wolf pups will prance about happily when they arrive at Great Wolf Lodge. Located in Garden Grove, this national water park is like staying at a dream resort, where sleep and play are nearly one and the same. Parents will appreciate that there’s so much to do, and it’s all under one roof. Just wave the magic wand and walk from the water park to the room. And who wouldn’t love the fun of an outdoor water park without the sun and sunscreen! From checking in to magic scavenger hunts and a way-cool water park, this resort makes a splash with the whole family.

Photo: Nikki Walsh

The Main Attraction
Families will love the variety at the Great Wolf Lodge water park area. The play area features climbing structures, pools, several water slides and inner tube tunnels, and the super fast thrill rides for the more daring water enthusiasts. For the more laid back members of the pack, check out the Crooked Creek lazy river where it’s all about floating around on an inner tube. Kids can practice their balance on Big Foot Pass where they “walk” on giant logs from one side of a pool to the other. Kids will feel like they’re in the ocean when playing in the wave pool, a swimming pool in with artificially-generated large waves. And for the littlest fish, there’s a magical tot without scary waves or big rides. Every area is within eye-shot, so parents can pull up a lounge chair while the kiddos splash to their heart’s content.

Photo: Leah Singer

If you’re hungry, grab a seat and set-up at the tables. Use your wristband to grab a freshly cooked burger that falls on the gourmet side with a slightly sweet bun and special tangy sauce (they’re yummy). Or for a healthier treat you can munch on some carrots and celery. Have a finicky eater? Head to the pizza joint through the gift shop and grab a slice for your little ones.

Know Before You Go: The Great Wolf Lodge indoor park is heated year-round. The temperatures, coupled with the water moisture, makes for a warm and humid environment. Be prepared for warm and humid temperatures inside that you don’t encounter at the outdoor SoCal water parks.

Photo: Leah Singer

Easy Check-in and Lodging
Every trip to Great Wolf Lodge includes at least one night of lodging in their awesome “dens.” Parents will love the efficiency of the hotel check in (especially when you have little ones who are begging to play in the water). Kids will do a little wolf dance when they first view the water park from the great room. We recommend spending a little extra money on the upgrade for a Paw Pass for the littles. It saves you money (on things you’ll probably buy anyways), and your little explorers will think you’re the coolest parent ever when they get to experience the MagiQuest wand treasure hunt (which they get to keep and take home).

In the morning, kids can rise and shine with Wiley and Friends where they can take part in yoga, hikes and watch the interactive Forest Friends Show. The PJ Party with Great Wolf Kids is an evening tradition. Families gather in the great room for games, storytime and a jamboree. And pajamas are encouraged!

Photo: Leah Singer

But Wait. … There’s More!
There’s also the Howly Wood Theater where you’ll love the full-immersion, 4-D ride. There’s a bowling ally inside the lodge, and the Northern Lights Arcade is almost as exciting as the water park. Kids will squeal with delight making the stuffed animal of their choice at Creation Station, and good luck getting your little princess out of the Scoops Kid Spa, which is a salon that features everything from pedicures to hair styles, complete with a scoop of ice cream at the end.

Photo: Great Wolf Lodge

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Trip

  • The parking structure has a 24-hour drive-around security and cameras, so you can be sure your vehicle is protected while you’re having fun.
  • Everything is paperless. The wristbands (for grown-ups) are linked to your credit card. They also serve as your room key, and lets you in and out of the park.
  • Need a breather? Head out to the outside pool. It’s perfect for the smaller crowd as it’s quieter, and there’s a pool bar for parents.
  • An overnight stay is required to have fun at the Great Wold Lodge water park. Plan to arrive early (before noon) because you can use the water park on the day you check in, and the day you leave. The busiest time to check-in is from 12 to 4 p.m. It still runs smoothly, but be prepared for a short wait (about 20 minutes).

Have you checked the new Great Wolf Lodge? What did you enjoy?

—Nikki Walsh

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