Summer is a time of adventure. Every year, parents across the U.S. pack up their cars. They cram the kids, games, snacks, the dog, and anything else they can fit, into the family car to take trips across the country; sightseeing and experiencing adventure along the way. Some families travel to state and national parks, while others are thrill seekers – chasing theme and water parks across the country.

What all of these families have in common are the memories they make together along the way. We see these memories every day. Families take pictures of their adventures at Great Wolf Lodge and share them with us on social media. We enjoy seeing their photos of journeys soaring down Mountain Edge Raceway, getting soaked by the Tipping Bucket, wielding wands on their quests to become Master Magi’s, and enjoying family time along the way. These memories are kept forever, whether they are storied in photo albums and smart phones or in their hearts.

Family memories made during summer trips are special, and we believe they should be cherished. That’s why this summer we’re challenging you to document the family fun. We want you to take pictures of all the fun things your family does together; whether at Great Wolf Lodge or elsewhere, we want to see how you spend your summer, and give you the chance to spend part of it with us.

Take pictures of it all. Document the fun times, because having pictorial reminders of the adventures will provide a lifetime of reminders as to why the summer of 2015 was the best summer yet. Then, choose your best photo and post it to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter using #GWLMakeMySummer for the chance to win a two-night stay at the Great Wolf Lodge of your choice (U.S. properties only).

We’re excited to see all of the fun times had, and we thank you in advance for sharing your family adventures with us. Have a blast this summer! We hope to see you at the lodge soon.

Sweepstakes Details:

Post a photo of a summer activity to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #GWLMakeMySummer between July 1, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. and July 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. to enter the sweepstakes. The winner will receive a voucher for a two-night stay in a family suite at the Great Wolf Lodge of his or her choice (U.S. properties only). Official Rules: http://gwld.gs/1R4yD4I

I recently went on quite the adventure. I was hangin’ at Great Wolf Lodge, minding my own business, when Waymb the Woodchuck was up to no good. He was causing trouble all over the resort and it was my job to find him! Luckily, with the help of Wiley and the other Great Wolf Kids characters, I was able to track down Waymb and officially join the Clubhouse Crew. Seriously, I have a photo to prove it!

OK, so maybe this isn’t exactly how it happened – but as part of our new Clubhouse Crew adventure, guests can work “hand-in-paw” with their very own Great Wolf Kids character to join the rest of the Crew in an adventure that takes place throughout the resort. Your Clubhouse Crew experience starts at the Creation Station. After bringing your favorite Great Wolf Kids character to life, Wiley informs you that Woodchuck Waymb is creating mischief and it’s up to you to find him. Wiley instructs you to visit different stops around the resort to see where Waymb has been causing trouble. At each stop, you must solve puzzles or complete different activities to receive your next “clue” from a different Great Wolf Kids character. 

With a number of checkpoints, the Clubhouse Crew adventure is a great way to explore the resort while completing your “mission.” Sammy the Squirrel even takes a photo of you and your Great Wolf Kids character. The photo is instantly emailed to you and is the perfect souvenir. 

For the many guests, young and old, who love the Great Wolf Kids characters, this is the newest experience our resorts offer to have fun with your favorite Great Wolf friend during your stay. There’s no limit to how many times you can play the Clubhouse Crew; once you complete the adventure, you can do it over and over throughout your stay.

The Clubhouse Crew experience is opening at many Great Wolf Lodge resorts this spring. It has already opened at Great Wolf Lodge resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Pocono Mountains, New England, Grapevine, Williamsburg, and Grand Mound. Guests will also be able to play the game this summer in Concord, Mason, Kansas City, and Traverse City. 

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer activities. Families across America will pack up their cars and take the first trips of the season. Some trips will be annual traditions and others are to new ​destinations and experiences.

While many families equate summer travel with camping, families who prefer hotels have avoided the activity. However, the new trend of glamping, or “glamorous camping,” has been adopted by many hospitality brands as a way to bring the experience of the great outdoors, indoors.

At Great Wolf Lodge, glamping is not new at all. In fact, we are the leaders of the hotel pack! We like to think we started the trend in 1997, long before the name glamping was created.

Families visiting Great Wolf Lodge resorts have made memories glamping in our KidKabins, KidKamps, and Wolf Dens. Millions of children have slumbered in themed suites, dreaming of the adventures they took while playing in the waterpark and dueling MagiQuest dragons. They made one of a kind memories together while glamping “fort-style” in their suite.

As the summer travel season begins, we want to see how your kids glamp at home. We know that your children love to build forts by gathering every available blanket, pillow, flashlight, and even the family pet to build unique structures and tents, often right in your living room. Now – we want to see them!

Beginning May 23 through June 6, we invite your family to show us your best household fort. It can be indoors or outdoors and it should celebrate your children’s wildest fort-building dreams. Grab all the blankets and pillows you can find and spend quality time together with your family as you build your fort and glamp in your home. Share a photo with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #GWLFort2Win and your family could win a one-night stay at the U.S-based Great Wolf Lodge resort of your choice. Let us help you glamp, Great Wolf-style.

We’re excited to see your children’s ideas come to life. And who knows, your family could be our lucky winner for the chance to start a new summer travel tradition, with our pack at Great Wolf Lodge.

The contest:

Between May 23 and June 6, 2015, post a photo of your best homemade fort to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #GWLFort2Win. After the contest concludes, a panel of judges will choose one winning family to receive a complimentary one-night stay at any of our U.S. locations. Please see official rules for details.

May is National Water Safety Month. At Great Wolf Lodge, water safety is on our minds every single day. Each year more than one million families visit our resorts to make memories together. The waterparks provide hours and hours of fun. And that fun is closely watched by our dedicated and diligent aquatics teams. Our lifeguards keep a close eye on all of our guests, ready to assist at a moment’s notice if anyone needs an extra hand.

As the weather gets warmer, families start to plan vacations that involve swimming, boating and all kinds of water fun. This is also the time when we encourage families to take a moment to think about staying safe while enjoying such activities.

In honor of National Water Safety month, we asked our talented team of Great Wolf Lodge Aquatics Directors to share their thoughts about water safety. Each of them was asked to share one important tip about how to safely enjoy the water.

“The tip I always I tell my friends and family is they should never take a lifejacket off their child until they are certain they are done with all water activities. Wearing a lifejacket can mean the difference between life or death.” 

- Keenan Weiss, Grapevine

“Knowing how to swim is very important. Parents should put their children in lessons as soon as possible. Learning how to swim at an early age, and wearing a lifejacket around water can truly be a lifesaver.”  

- Adrianne Newman, Wisconsin Dells

"My most important tip is that you should stay calm when in the water and master the simple skill of treading water. While knowing how to swim may come naturally to many, it can be tough for those who might be afraid of the water. Knowing how to tread water can make all the difference.”  

- Brett Garrett, Kansas City

“No one should ever swim alone. Period. Parents should participate with their children while they are in water and everyone should remember that even the most experienced swimmers may need unexpected help.”

- Justin Yacob, Sandusky 

“It is important to understand the dangers of COLD water! I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have a lot of glacial and snow runoff. Even in the summer, bodies of water can be as low as 40 degrees. Cold water constricts the body’s blood vessels, causing a person to have trouble breathing. Before you jump in the water, be sure to check the temperature to ensure it is safe you to enter.  

- Cory Wynn, Grand Mound

“Parents should ALWAYS be with their children. Children often think they are better swimmers than they really are.  It only takes a second or two before a child can find themselves in water over their head and slip below the surface.”  

- Jason Arthur, Mason  

“Lifeguarding is a shared responsibility. Lifeguards do their absolute best to ensure the safety of all of their guests however parents know their child’s swimming abilities. Parents should always keep their children within arm’s length at all times.”  

- Adam Jones, Pocono Mountains

“Research has shown that struggling swimmers cannot stay above the water surface for more than ten seconds and can be difficult to recognize. They rarely call for help or splash at the surface. When enjoying water activities with your friends and family, continually verify that each swimmer can comfortably keep his or her head above the water. If someone’s head is below the water, even if they appear to be playing, that individual may actually need assistance. If you are not sure, notify a lifeguard right away.”  

- Nick Licastro, Concord

“The most effective way for parents to watch their children is not from the pool deck; rather they should be in the water within arm’s reach of their child. This is by far the safest and much more fun way for both parent and child.”  

- Charlie Mullaney, Williamsburg

 

 

 

There’s no doubt that the classic grilled cheese sandwich is a favorite amongst most families. With a warm, gooey center and perfectly golden buttered bread, there’s simply nothing not to like about a simple grilled cheese. In order to properly honor this delectable delight this Sunday for National Grilled Cheese Day, we’re sharing our Grilled Cheese Shooters recipe.

The Grilled Cheese Shooters’ appetizer-sized portion makes it perfect for sharing with the whole family. With warm, crisp, buttered bread filled with melty cheese and the perfect amount of tomato soup for dipping, we’re sure it will give you something to howl about.

Great Wolf Grilled Cheese Shooters

You’ll need:

  • 2 slices of white bread, crust cut off to square the slices
  • Butter, melted and warm
  • 2 slices of American cheese
  • 4 oz. Campbell's Healthy Choice Tomato Soup (hot)

Directions:

  1. Evenly butter both slices of white bread with butter and place on a flat top grill, butter side down.
  2. Place 1 slice of American cheese on each slice of bread for 1 minute, or until evenly browned and the cheese is melted.
  3. Remove bread from flat top grill and place slices together, cheese side together.
  4. Cut finished sandwich from upper left corner to lower right and then cut the opposite way upper right to lower left, creating 4 perfectly shaped triangles. 
  5. Using the hot tomato soup, fill 4 shot glasses about ¾ of the way.
  6. Place 1 sandwich triangle on top of each to the shot glasses. The flat side of the triangle should be up, with the tip of the triangle just touching the soup.
  7. Place each on a rectangular plate in a straight line. Serve immediately.

 

 

It’s cold outside… it’s snowy… and the groundhog has officially predicted six more weeks of winter.  We’re tired of the bitter cold, and we know you are, too, so we’re showing our appreciation for our loyal social media fans and followers by warming you up this FeBRRRuary with a cup of Howlin’ Hot Chocolate.

All of our social media fans and followers that visit Great Wolf Lodge during the month of FeBRRRuary can redeem a complimentary Howlin’ Hot Chocolate from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats (US) or Bear Claw Café (Canada). Just how do you redeem your complimentary Howlin’ Hot Chocolate? You need to prove that you’re a fan, of course!

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Become a fan of Great Wolf Lodge on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.
  2. Find this image: 
  3. Visit Great Wolf Lodge and show the social media post mentioned above to a pack member in Bear Paw or Bear Claw.

In just seconds (or however long it takes you to drive to Great Wolf Lodge), a delicious Howlin’ Hot Chocolate can be yours! Oh, and we should mention that this isn’t just any old hot chocolate…it’s our uber secret recipe for the best hot chocolate (in our humble opinion).

Unfortunately, we can’t change the weather, but hopefully this little bit of scrumptious chocolately goodness will ease the winter weather blues, even if just for a moment.

Promotion is valid now through February 28, 2015. Please limit one Howlin’ Hot Chocolate per person per family.

As we're heading into Super Bowl weekend, there are three important decisions we all must make:

  1. Who am I going to cheer for?
  2. What am I going to eat?
  3. What am I going to drink?

If you haven't thought about the perfect beverage to serve your Super Bowl party guests, may we suggest our Smokey Bloody Mary? This Lodge Wood Fired Grill® specialty is sure to be a game-changer and not to mention a crowd-pleaser. Not down for the alcohol? No worries – just eliminate the vodka from the recipe and we promise the end result will be just as delicious. Cheers!

You'll need:

  • 1.5 oz. Grey Goose® Vodka
  • 1 tender celery stalk, with leaves (from center of celery stalk)
  • 10 oz. Great Wolf Lodge® Bloody Mary Mix

Great Wolf Lodge® Bloody
Mary Mix

  • 1 qt. tomato juice (unseasoned)
  • 3 tbsp. chipotle sauce
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 2 tsp. grated horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Combine all ingredients, mix well, and chill for at least 4 hours before using.

To serve:

  1. Squeeze fresh lime into a mason jar, rub the lime along the rim of the glass, dip into sea salt, reserve lime.
  2. Fill mason jar with fresh ice.
  3. In a mixing tin, add ice, Grey Goose Vodka, and 10 oz. of Great Wolf Lodge Bloody Mary Mix.
  4. Shake well and strain into the prepared mason jar.
  5. Garnish with celery stalk and reserved lime.

It’s that time of year! The 48 Hour Sale is BACK and this time around, you can save up to 25% on your family’s next getaway. This sale only comes around a couple times each year and offers the best savings on one or multiple night stays at Great Wolf Lodge. If you’ve never taken part in one of our 48 Hour Sales, here are a couple tips to make your experience as simple as possible:

Once the sale is announced, the clock starts ticking. You’ll have 48 (or so) hours to book a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and take advantage of the savings.  To make sure you’re ready for every 48 Hour Sale, sign up for our ePack to receive deals and promotions straight to your inbox.  You’re probably familiar with the saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, in this case, ePack members are the birds and the 48 Hour Sale is the figurative worm. Members of our ePack are the first to be notified about the 48 Hour Sale. If you want to be among the first to receive deals and promotions, sign up here.

Do you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter? Following Great Wolf Lodge on social media is another easy way to stay in the know about upcoming deals. We post information about promotions on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. If you ever have any questions about the 48 Hour Sale (or any other promotion), social media is a great place to ask.  One of the most common questions we receive is, “Are you having a 48 Hour Sale anytime soon?” Although we can’t always share this information, as it would take the fun out of our “pop up” sale, here’s an insider tip: when we encourage you to sign up for our ePack, there’s usually a good reason for it!

Our 48 Hour Sale is a deal that you definitely don’t want to miss out on. Have you ever wanted to visit Great Wolf Lodge during Howl-o-Ween? This is your chance! The 48 Hour sale can save your family up to 25% on stays now through October 31st. Want to learn more? To view the details for your lodge, visit greatwolf.com/48hour.

For July 4th weekend we did what so many other families did: visited Great Wolf Lodge! And while there is always so much to see and do there is no denying the waterpark is the only thing that REALLY matters to my three year old. Waterslides, spray features and swimming are the perfect water trifecta for myin his eyes.

My son is fearless and he loves the water. He jumps in, he tackles waterslides and he moves fast. There are so many “tips” for “Keeping your child safe in the water” and while some tips seem so obvious, is not always easy in real life.

At Great Wolf Lodge, safety is the number one priority. As both a proud pack member and “helicopter mom” – here are a few things I share when describing how Great Wolf Lodge keeps the waterpark safe and fun.

Life jackets

Life jackets for various age ranges and sizes are provided FREE of charge at all Great Wolf Lodge waterparks. Located at each park’s entrance, lifeguards help parents choose the proper size and fit for their child.

If you have a stubborn child like I do, a limited number of puddle jumper life jackets are also available. My son refuses to wear a life jacket, but with a puddle jumper, he has more mobility. These jackets are U.S. Coast Guard approved, are sized for children weighing 30-50 lbs. and have an adjustable buckle on the back for a snug, secure fit.

And while no device is a substitute for mom or dad – having access to these safe life jackets is just one way Great Wolf Lodge helps make vacation a little less stressful.

Wiley’s Safety Club

Great Wolf Lodge removes the guesswork, as well as potential tears, from determining if your child can safely ride certain attractions.

As soon as they enter the waterpark, children can stand by the Wiley the Wolf® measuring sign and receive a color wristband based on their height. Each color designates what attractions they can go on either alone, or with a parent. Signage throughout the park reflects this color coding system, and together, you and your child can see what color they can ride before reaching the top of the stairs. (And if your child is disappointed their color band limits them - you can say Wiley is keeping everyone safe and as he or she gets taller – you’ll keep coming back.)

Lifeguards

This may seem obvious, but I always look at the lifeguards no matter where we travel. Again, lifeguards are not a substitute for a parent, but knowing a trained aquatics team is constantly watching the water means a great deal. At Great Wolf Lodge, they are constantly moving and scanning the water, ready to assist at a second’s notice and they can be found at just about every attraction – indoors and out. Company-wide, Great Wolf Lodge employs over 1,000 lifeguards. Wow!

Becoming a Great Wolf Lodge lifeguard is not easy. Candidates must be at least 16 years old, eligible for employment by Great Wolf Lodge, pass a background check, complete a minimum of 24 hours of lifeguard training and earn certification from a third party company. Once hired, the Aquatics Team layers in tests, drills and mandatory “in-service” training each month for each lifeguard. Phew! This is no easy summer job.

 

You

As I helped my son down the kiddie slides hundreds of times on July 4th, I was also reminded that safety is a shared responsibility.  As parents, we know our children’s abilities; we know what they are drawn to, and we can often anticipate where they will go. If we have concerns or questions about whether or child should try something, it is our job to read the posted safety signs, talk to the aquatics supervisor and even listen to our inner parent voice. I don’t leave my son when he’s in the bathtub at home – why would I at a waterpark?

Summer is here, and this July 4th, we had the happy smiles and the wrinkly skin to prove it. More water-filled adventures are ahead of us – at Great Wolf Lodge, at the beach, at the pool. And if there is something we can all agree on – a safe summer is truly the most fun of all.

When I got my first job - a number of years ago - I never dreamed I’d have a career I’d one day “howl” about. I just knew I loved four things: planning events, speaking, writing and always being on the move. Working in the hospitality and entertainment industry was perfect for me.

PR and event planning quickly became my niche. Most people don’t understand how many steps go into planning an event. Or that each step, often has many steps. But I admit – I love it.

This year has been filled with Great Wolf Lodge events. So far, the biggest and most exciting event has been planning the official grand opening of Great Wolf Lodge New England, which will take place in just a few short days. The debut of our first new resort in four years is thrilling news for our company.

For me, its been about tapping into my creative side, juggling many, many projects at once, planning a party for hundreds of guests, telling our story to the media and trying to appear organized and calm through it all.

The other day a colleague came into my office and burst out laughing while looking around. Who can say their office is home to: 100 pairs of wolf ears, 100 beach towels, over 500 wooden sticks that are actually pens, homemade packets of Howlin’ Hot Chocolate, thousands of Lincoln Logs, hundreds of printed resort photos, paw-shaped USB drives, glitter sipper cups, folders, stationary, glue dots, envelopes and a seemingly endless supply of Mike and Ike Candies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? I can.

And each of those items has been an essential part in the planning and execution of the full campaign to tease and entice writers around the country about Great Wolf Lodge New England. (The candy? Well, that’s to thank (bribe?) my colleagues for when I need a little assistance. 

A key component to the planning process has been department “stuffing” parties. Everyone comes together and helps with a make-shift assembly line stuffing envelopes, labeling mailers, counting Lincoln Logs, packing boxes, dubbing flash drives and more. Pizza, pop and iTunes complete the mission.

Many years ago, while working at my first internship, I remember stuffing a large quantity of envelopes and thinking, “One day, when I’m in management, I won’t need to do this.” And with each subsequent job, title and position, I have continued to stuff, sort, dub, print, label and assemble.

It’s a key part of “a day in the life of a PR professional.” And to me, it’s one of the fun parts. Now with just a few days to go, as we count and sort and assemble everything we have spent months planning for, I could not be happier to see it all come together.

My role in the day-to-day operation at Great Wolf Lodge sometimes feels like a small one. But now, as we get closer and closer to our grand opening event, I remain honored and thrilled to be a part of this new chapter for Great Wolf Resorts. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more flash drives to burn.

Oh - and if you’re at Great Wolf Lodge New England this summer, you just may find me finally relaxing at Slap Tail Pond, planning our next big event.

If you have been to any of our lodges over the last few months you may have received a Boogie Wipes Plush at one our weekend dance parties, or an in-room sample of Boogie Wipes Gentle Saline Wipes.

Didn’t have a chance to make it to the lodge? You can still partake in the benefits of this partnership.  Great Wolf Lodge® and Boogie Wipes® have teamed up to bring you a family getaway this summer! You and your family can enter for a chance to win a 2-night stay at any of the Great Wolf Lodge locations, plus a $150 gift card to use during your stay.  Entering is easy at boogiewipes.com.  Saturday, May 31st is the last day to enter, so hurry!

Boogie Wipes, part of Little Busy Bodies, Inc. are the first ever saline nose wipes and were developed to help kids’ sore, red, runny noses.

To learn more about this great sweepstakes and Boogie Wipes visit boogiewipes.com. 

What do you get when you simultaneously bring together hundreds of families across three time zones under the glow of a full moon? An event that is truly something to HOWL about!

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, our ten Great Wolf Lodge resorts across the United States offered a unique challenge to our guests: come together for the chance to set a new world record for the most people howling at the same time.

Earlier this year, we read about a record attempt in St. Cloud, Minn where students from St. Cloud State University gathered together to set a record for most people howling. Their event attracted 296 people.

Howling is a fun tradition at Great Wolf Lodge resorts. Guests stomp, clap and howl alongside Wiley the Wolf and his cast of lovable characters every day. It is a part of the Great Wolf Lodge experience.

Each October the resorts also all celebrate Howl-O-Ween, complete with trick or treating through the lodges, Monster Bash dance parties and more. After reading about that record attempt in Minnesota, we knew we could not only beat that record – but also set a new one that would REALLY have everyone howling!

When planning a world record attempt, in order to “beat” the existing record, you must re-create the same circumstances as the original. For us, that meant bringing everyone together in one spot, outside and having them howl for 60 seconds. The full moon provided the perfect setting across the country for everyone.

Of course, we still had to put our own unique Great Wolf Lodge flair on our record attempt: as a special surprise, we gave everyone who took part a limited edition set of bright orange wolf ears to wear while howling at the moon!

At exactly 8:45 p.m. EST our resorts counted everyone down and the howling began. 4,341 people of all ages howled for one minute! I’m sure wolves in the wild all paused and perked their ears at that time, wondering just what was inspiring so much howling that night!

Were you at one of our resorts? Curious how many people howled alongside you? Check out our totals below. And next time you see a full moon, take a moment to howl, Great Wolf Lodge-style!

Great Wolf Lodge Concord, NC – 605

Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains, PA – 615

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, WA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City, MI – 381

Great Wolf Lodge   Kansas City, KA – 346

Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells, WI – 261

Great Wolf Lodge Mason, OH – 492

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, OH – 478

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, TX  - 339

A popular vacation destination’s blog recently asked, “How old were you the first time you visited us?” I found myself smiling and thinking of two answers. First I answered for myself; I was 11. Then I found myself answering about the first time I took my son; he was six weeks old.

The blog’s question got me thinking about the vacations we take first as children, as adults and as parents. Vacation comes in different forms. It can be a road trip touring national parks. It can be time relaxing on a warm sandy beach. It can be an annual reunion with family. Vacation can be a multi-week excursion or a weekend getaway. There is no right or wrong answer. All that matters is that you are spending precious moments together with those who mean the most. 

When people learn I work for Great Wolf Lodge, they often ask, “How old should kids be before they visit?”  Friends will tell me they are waiting for their child to be the “perfect age” before they take a family vacation.

Before I became a mom, I thought that way, too. I was practical; why spend money on a vacation a baby will not remember? Why lug all the baby's gear the entire time? How would I enjoy such a vacation?

But as they say, a child changes everything. And I no longer look at family vacation as a milestone to aspire to. Instead, I look forward to visiting new places with our son, on new experiences we can do together and I focus on the joy we find in these special outings. Even if he doesn't remember them all yet - my husband and I do.

Aiden was eight months old when he visited his first Great Wolf Lodge. Our stay was brief – just one night. But, during that time, I heard a first new laugh, we learned he loves the wave pool just as much as the older kids, and we saw that he has no fear of smiling wolves! (He literally dove out of my husband’s arms into Wiley’s waiting paws.)

While at the resort, we met other families with little ones. One family was visiting with their four children – and their youngest was six months old. No one talked about lugging diaper bags or rearranging nap schedules or struggling to pop open the stroller. Instead, they talked about how their toddlers giggled in the kiddie pools, delighted at the singing animals during Story Time and best of all, how the entire family cuddled together during their special getaway to Great Wolf Lodge.  

If there is one thing I have learned as a mom, it’s that I don’t have to worry about planning the perfect vacation, waiting for the perfect age or going at the perfect time. All I need to focus on is the time we’ll spend together. And isn’t that truly what vacation is all about?   

 

As Communications Director for Great Wolf Resorts, I’m proud to serve as point of contact between our company and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Since 2009, we have partnered with this national charity, coordinating events through our resorts to help BBBS in its mission to provide mentors for children in the community. My favorite part of working with BBBS is when I have the chance to actually take part in one of these events.

All month long, BBBS agencies across the country are holding the annual Bowl for Kids’ sake national bowling fundraiser. And, nationwide, our resort teams are taking part. On May 2, the Corporate Team and the Customer Contact Center Team from Great Wolf Resorts all joined together for a howlingly good time!

With a super hero theme this year, our offices got creative with everything from their team name, to the friendly (yet competitive) weekly fundraisers around the office to the costumes worn at the event. (Yes! Costumes!) We spent the month of April getting ready for the Bowl for Kids’ Sake evening. Bake sales, an in-office pancake breakfast and a weekly ice cream social helped everyone get in the spirit to raise money. (Too bad we also didn’t think to practice a few frames.)

Once again, we had a great time! Combined our twelve teams raised $8,782 for BBBS; a new fundraising record!

The event in Madison is just the beginning. The Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells will be taking part in their local Bowl For Kids’ Sake event later this month. The Great Wolf Lodge Mason had a great time and earned more for their local BBBS agency than last year. Throughout the country, our resorts are bowling alongside local businesses in a united goal to help Big Brothers Big Sisters.

While Bowl for Kids’ Sake is the signature event for our pack members, there are many ways our guests help, too. The Big Splash is the annual program each resort hosts, selling a limited number of waterpark passes to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. Our waterparks are exclusive to resort guests, but on select days each year, the public can enjoy the water thrills by purchasing a Big Splash pass. If you live near the Great Wolf Lodge Kansas City, Big Splash passes are on sale through May 23, and tickets are still available. The Great Wolf Lodge Concord is on its way to another successful year; its Big Splash tickets have already sold you!

Looking ahead, we have a new event that will take place at all of our lodges during Howl-O-Ween and once again, families will have the opportunity to dine in our life size gingerbread houses during the month of December as part of our Snowland festivities. Both activities will benefit BBBS.

In 2012, we raised over $275,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Only from the generous gifts of time, talent and resources from our pack members and guests were we able to reach this amazing total. We look forward to reaching a new goal in 2013. And I’m looking forward to bowling again next spring.

14
Mar
2013

Last fall we launched a nationwide search inviting moms and dads to join our 2013 Ask-A-Mom panel—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  After reading every submission and watching every video (there were a lot) we’ve finally made our selection. 

Here they are folks, our new Ask-A-Moms (and Dads)!

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts introducing you to each of our panelists.  In the meantime, head over to askamom.greatwolf.com to ask them a question.

I love theming. While I am not very artistic, I do have great admiration for places that understand theming and create immersive environments. My husband and I love to visit theme parks, water parks and resorts, not just for the attractions and rides themselves but also for the overall look, feel and even smell that is created to help “transport” you to another place.   

At Great Wolf Lodge, we create an immersive environment for your family. The inspiration for the look and feel of the Great Wolf Lodge resorts comes from the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Our resorts have a quiet, comfortable, rustic feel. From the color on the wall, to the wood fixtures and "log cabin-like" furniture, to the warm and inviting fireplace, the focal point of each lobby, we surround you in our forest home. As you look up at the antler chandeliers, and around at the soft earthy colors and cozy furniture—have you ever looked down? You should. We theme for your feet, too.

I love that our carpets reflect our lodge theme. Depending on which resort you visit, you may be greeted by bears, moose and “patchwork” pattern or a lighter patterned floor with leaves, soft greens and fall colors. If you haven’t really noticed the carpet—I guarantee your kids have. While visiting the Great Wolf Lodge Mason, I watched one little girl play her version of hopscotch by only touching the “animal squares.”  She skipped over the patterns and prints and moved her feet by hopping from the bear to the deer to the moose and so on. It took her family awhile to get to their room—but everyone had fun along the way!

In 2012, our resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and Sandusky, Ohio were fully renovated and that meant adding brand new carpet throughout the entire resort. The colors pop brighter than ever and little feet enjoy the plush feel as they scamper down the hallways from the family suite to the water park.

Breaking with the outdoor theme a bit, the Northern Lights arcades also got a full facelift (that will continue into 2013) and once again, feet were not forgotten. I love the new swirly design, stars and bright colors that enhance the overall look and feel of the arcade. And don’t worryWiley the Wolf left his “paw of approval” on this new floor, too. The carpet is filled with our signature Great Wolf Lodge paw print.

Next time you visit a Great Wolf Lodge resort, be sure to glance down at your feet during your stay. They just may be pretty enough for a picture!

I grew up in a family with three kids. Vacation hotel stays always presented a challenge. Most hotel rooms could only accommodate four people. Inevitably one of us slept on an uncomfortable fold-away bed that came at an extra cost, or on the floor. 

A trip to Great Wolf Lodge would not have presented this challenge to my family. No one would have to sleep on the floor and everyone could have comfortably spread out. My parents would have been happy too—they would not have had to pay for a second room so we could enjoy this comfort.

Great Wolf Lodge resorts are all-suite properties. Most families book a Family Suite, which includes two queen beds and a full size sleeper sofa, so six people can comfortably relax after their full day of water park fun! And while the Family Suite is a wonderful option, we offer so many additional others, too!  

During a visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, we surprised our son with a KidCabin suite. While he is probably too young to full enjoy it, he immediately recognized the KidCabin was just for him. The suite provides a separate sleeping area for children, complete with two bunk beds and a third bed. (It would have been perfect for my sister, brother and me.)

The KidCabin has its own TV, and while it does not have a door, the suite’s layout makes it easy to put your pups to bed, but still keep lights on in the room. (How many of us have sat in a dark hotel room because the baby was sleeping?) And, if you’re keeping score, the KidCabin suite is perfect for seven people, with its queen size bed and pull out sleeper sofa.

The KidKamp and Wolf Den are two other suites that are as fun and playful as they are spacious and comfortable. The cozy “tent” and animal-themed den feature bunk beds in a similar, separate space just for kids.

Cute theming aside, you can choose several other unique suite to meet your needs. My personal favorite is the Whirlpool Fireplace suite. Luxury king size bed, inroom fireplace, huge whirlpool tub. While this suite is for four people, nothing says vacation like a room with a fireplace. Great Wolf Lodge Suite

Our guests tell us that Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect destination for family reunions. From the Majestic Bear suite which includes a breakfast bar; to the Grizzly Bear suite and its two bathrooms; to the truly amazing Great Frontier Loft condo in Wisconsin Dells complete with four bedrooms; Great Wolf Lodge resorts have the perfect alternative to the boring hotel room.

Don’t forget all of our suites include a complimentary microwave, coffee maker and refrigerator, so sippy cups, bottles, snacks and leftovers from your dinner at the Loose Moose buffet can be saved and enjoyed throughout your stay.

For your next vacation - what suite style will you surprise your family with?

We are very excited to celebrate the recent Pack Member promotion of James Anderson to General Manager of the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. As a long-time Pack Member, James truly understands what it means to create family traditions, one family at a time.

“I’ve had the pleasure to work with some of the best leaders in the industry here at Great Wolf Lodge and I’ve learned so much from each of them,” says James. “As the new general manager in Wisconsin Dells, I’ll share this wisdom with my Pack Members. Two lessons I learned early on are: To be available and be fair, and to take care of the team, so that in turn your guests will be taken care of with the service they deserve.”

During his 13 years as a Pack Member with Great Wolf Resorts, James has held many roles. Starting as a lifeguard at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge in 1999, he transferred to Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, and ultimately, Guest Services. In 2001, he moved to the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio. He also held leadership roles at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, Wis. and most recently, served as assistant general manager at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington.

Originally from New Mexico, James is excited to return to Badgerland with Laura, his wife of nine years, and their three children, Evelyn, 8; Hazel, 6 and Henry, six months. He is looking forward to leading the 400 Pack Members at the company’s first resort and the many new opportunities that lay ahead.

Next time your family visits the Wisconsin Dells resort, be sure to stop by and say hello to James. He is excited about his new role and continuing to ensure families like yours have safe, memorable and fun times at Great Wolf Lodge.

In my first post I wrote about being a new member of the Great Wolf Lodge Pack. I’m also a new guest to the Great Wolf Lodge experience. Recently, my husband, eight month old son and I enjoyed our very first experience at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge.

Our family suite was wonderful! Not only did we have a king size bed, but we also had an inroom Jacuzzi, fireplace and complimentary refrigerator and coffee maker. I was also pleased that we were able to borrow a safe “Pack and Play” by calling Guest Services.  

My husband and I love waterparks and we were excited to explore the Lodge’s. We started at the North and South Hot Springs whirlpools. Aiden loves to “swim” in our arms and soon he was bobbing away.

Our next stop was Fort Mackenzie. Aiden is too young to splash through the 4-story interactive tree house but he did smile big when the 1,000 gallon bucket spilled over. We all enjoyed Slap Tail Pond, the Lodge’s wave pool. Listen for the howl that signals big waves are coming!

While we did not experience the “thrill” rides this time, we had a lot of fun. I was pleasantly surprised by the relaxing atmosphere; it wasn’t loud, overwhelming or uninviting. It was a true indoor water playland!

Next we played MagiQuest®. The interactive game is part scavenger hunt, part live action, part video game. We purchased one wand, complete with a cool armillary topper, and shared it on Aiden’s behalf.

MagiQuest is quite unique. We had fun reading the quests, searching for clues, collecting coins and elevating Aiden to “High Score of the Day”. I think we also underestimated how quickly we would become competitive with each other.  

We enjoyed dinner at the Loose Moose Bar & Grill. We had not yet put away our MagiQuest wand and soon discovered we could make a raccoon swing from the ceiling. What a fun surprise - the wand even has powers in other areas around the Lodge! 

The one souvenir I wanted from our stay was a pair of wolf ears. While a set of ears comes with a children’s meal, you can purchase them a la carte. I bought three pairs! 

Our visit ended much too quickly and I can definitely see why a Great Wolf Lodge visit is best for multiple nights. There was so much to do. As a Pack Member, and as a guest, I cannot wait for our next Great Wolf Lodge getaway!

Susie

 

 

Who doesn’t enjoy slaying dragons and collecting all the runes? I sure do, and I can’t wait to try out the latest addition to MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge...Topper Powers.

When magi select their wand in the store, they have the option of adding some pizzazz to their wand with a themed topper. This spring, guest at all the properties with MagiQuest will see their wand topper gain abilities that affect the game in a various fun ways.

For example, the topper on my wand - the Majestic Pink Gem and Crown - will now allow me to win the pixie adventure in one cast. Also, when I duel the red dragon, the topper will allow one resurrection when I’m out of healing mana. I don't know about you, but any help I can get with the red dragon is great!

Some of these powers even have a chance to recharge while playing the game while others are only a one time use. While the toppers vary a little from property to property, you can expect to see some combination of the following (with powers listed) –

  • Red Dragon & Dragon Gem – Power to one Silver Dragon with the fire burst
  • Majestic Pink Gem & Crown – One cast to win Pixie adventure & one resurrection when dueling the red dragon
  • Unicorn & Horn – cause Magic to spread through the realm
  • Trixter – spread the “power of laughter” through the kingdom – will give every screen a joke and tell which Magi brought this bit of laughter your way
  • Blue Claw – Xavier’s “draining” magic; steal mana from other Magi
  • Armillary – ability to get hints at select status stations through the Kingdom
  • Skull & Dark Stone – beat back the red dragon with a laughing skull of light

Locations with some variety of the toppers listed above include: Charlotte/Concord, Cincinnati/Mason, Grand Mound, Grapevine, Kansas City, Pocono Mountains, Traverse City, Williamsburg and Wisconsin Dells.

MagiQuest has always been a blast to play, and the addition of Topper Powers increases the ways you can interact with the experience. I can’t wait to go try out my new topper power at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge. How about you?