There are so many things to remember when traveling with young children.  Parents must pack several changes of clothes, extra bottles and sippy cups, the treasured lovey, snacks, and above all else, diapers. As the parent of a toddler, I have a tendency to over-prepare. I pack each day’s clothing in its own plastic bag. I include extra socks, extra sets of clothing. I check and re-check that I have my son’s favorite stuffed toy. I pride myself in thinking ahead.  

However, I  admit it wasn’t until I took my son on his first overnight trip  - incidentally to the  Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells - at the age of seven months that I encountered something I had not prepared for.

After getting settled in our suite, I changed his diaper. He was giggling and happy and clean. I, on the other hand, was left standing with a used diaper. Of course, I did not want to leave it in our suite. Nor did I want to stick it in the hallway. We definitely had quite the stinky conundrum.  In the end, I bagged the diaper and took it down the hall to the garbage near the vending machine (apologies to anyone who got a late night bucket of ice during our stay).

After our amazing visit, the diaper debacle was quickly forgotten. That is until earlier this year, the Great Wolf Lodge team discussed a new idea to ease the stress – and smell – of traveling with children in diapers.

Each and every day, our pack members strive to provide exceptional guest service and help our guests make special memories together.  As family-focused destinations, our twelve resorts were designed to help bring families closer together while having fun.  Half of our guests are under the age of ten and we know they have unique needs. Pack ‘n plays are provided free of charge and every suite comes with a complimentary fridge and microwave so parents can easily store snacks and prepare baby food and formula. And of course, the resorts feature entertainment options and activities for guests of all ages.

Now, Great Wolf Lodge has launched a new service to make family travel even easier for parents and our youngest guests! This month, we introduced the Diaper Den Service to each of our res orts. Re cognizing used diapers are not a fun part of vacation; our resorts now provide parents with young children an in-room Diaper Genie Elite for easy disposal of dirty diapers during their stay.

To bring this new service to life, we are proud to partner with Playtex, makers of the original Diaper Genie. As millions of parents already know, the Diaper Genie Elite is the perfect solution for the disposal of diapers. The all-in-one diaper pail features a 7-layer refill bag and double-lock design to seal away stinky diaper odors. It is also the perfect solution for families staying together in a resort suite.

How do families take advantage of the Diaper Den Service? It’s simple. Families can easily request to borrow a Diaper Genie at time of booking or during resort check-in. In addition, to help ensure our youngest guests fully enjoy everything Great Wolf Lodge has to offer, families also receive a voucher for a complimentary swim diaper redeemable onsite at the resort’s Bear Essentials Swim Shop.

The Diaper Den Service was first introduced at the Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains earlier this summer and we are excited to now fully share it with all of our guests.

I’m almost sad my son is now fully potty trained. Almost.

The days are slowly getting shorter, temperatures are starting to dip, and kids are heading back to school. One of the age-old first assignments for back to school is to tell classmates about summer adventures. We’ve made this assignment a breeze this year.

Kids can use this show and tell book to show how Great Wolf Lodge made their summer. Whether they decide to attach photos from their trip or take a more interpretive approach and doodle, a trip to Great Wolf Lodge is sure to be the talk of the class.

And, if for some reason the teacher doesn’t ask the question, “What did you do this summer?” the book can still serve as a scrapbook of memories from an awesome summer vacation.  

Click here to download the show and tell book.

Travel is a treasured tradition. It’s a great time to bond, loosen up, get away, and enjoy time together. For many parents, travel can also be stressful. As a mom of two, and the CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., Kim Schaefer knows all about traveling with kids: the good, the bad and the really great. Recently, Mashable asked Kim to share some of her best tips to help parents make traveling with their children easier. Once she started sharing, she just could not stop. As summer winds down and we begin to look ahead to holiday getaways, we hope Kim’s tips will help make your next trip one to howl about:

  1. Plan ahead. Spontaneous travel always sounds adventurous and fun, but it can be more expensive. Go during an off-peak time of year. Surprise your family with a mid-week getaway, or start your stay on a Sunday.
  2. Stop along the way. Plan your drive to include time for quick meals as well as places to burn off energy. Letting your kids run around a playground or park for 30 minutes can give you a couple hours of quiet time in the car
  3. One size really does fit all. Pick a destination that offers entertainment for everyone in the family. At Great Wolf Lodge, our indoor waterparks include toddler play pools, attraction the family can do together and high-thrill water slides for teens. Everything is under one roof, so we’ve taken the stress out of planning, and created a place the entire family can enjoy together.  
  4. Snacks. Snacks are a traveling mom’s best friend. Whether its drink boxes, or sippy cups, finger treats and crackers or fruit such as grapes and apples, sometimes the best entertainment while en route, is a snack. Snacks can also help minimize how many stops your family will make along the way.
  5. Take it old school. While it’s very easy to hand your kids iPads and portable DVD players, the same car games you played as a kid are still just as fun. The license plate game and the “I’m going on a trip” memory game are both examples that get your kids talking. Technology can work in your favor, too. “Heads Up” is a favorite for everyone – just make sure the driver isn’t playing!
  6. Wipes, wipes and more wipes. Cars are tight spaces and kids can be messy. Having wipes on hand is not just for changing diapers. You never know when you need to wipe sticky fingers or quickly clean up a juice spill. It doesn’t matter if you are in a car; traveling with wipes is just smart travel.
  7. Don’t pack the kitchen sink. Think about what you really need, and what is provided at your destination. In our waterparks, towels and life jackets are provided free of charge, so families don’t have pack them or figure out how to bring damp towels back home.
  8. You can keep your schedule. Naptime and bedtime routines are important for children, and your schedule can be kept while on vacation. Consider booking a hotel with separate sleeping area for your kids. At Great Wolf Lodge, our themed kids’ suites offer children their own space, right in the suite. They can go to bed on time, and you don’t have to sit in the dark.



With summer road trip season in full swing, we created a DIY project sure to make your pups howl about summer travel. The Great Wolf Kids luggage tag is a simple, yet, creativity-inspiring craft that will also help focus all of their pre-trip excitement! It's a great way to announce an upcoming trip as a fun surprise, too.

Have your kids pick their favorite Great Wolf Kids character, customize the look, and attach it to their bag. That's it! Now they're ready for a fun-filled adventure at Great Wolf Lodge! They may even meet their friend in real life at Great Wolf Kids events like Story Time or Wolf Walk.

The PDF template, which can be found here, features each of our Great Wolf Kids characters.


Step 1: Gather your supplies. You’ll need a few different items you probably already have around the house.

  • Paper to print the template (we recommend heavy stock paper for durability)
  • Adhesive (we used glue sticks and glue)
  • Colored pencils, crayons or markers
  • Single hole punch
  • Ribbon, yarn, or string

Step 2: Color your luggage tag. Get creative, or stick to your character’s signature look. The choice is yours! If you’re wondering what Wiley, Violet, Oliver, Rachel, Sammie, or Brinley look like, you can find out here.

Step 3: Cut out all three pieces of your luggage tag.

Tip: follow the dotted lines rather than the solid ones for an easier cutting path.

Step 4: Using the adhesive of your choice, attach the name badge and character to the base circle in the location of your choice.

Tip: Attach the name badge to either the bottom, or the back of the tag. This allows for plenty of room for your Great Wolf Kids friend.

Tip: For added durability, consider laminating the tag with a laminator or packing tape.

Step 5: Locate the small dotted line circle on the base of the tag. Use your single hole punch to punch a hole over the dotted line.

Step 6: Cut a six inch piece of ribbon, yarn or string. Thread one end of the ribbon through the hole made in step 5. You should now have about one half of the ribbon on either side of the tag.

Step 7: Thread one side of the ribbon through the handle of the luggage. Tie a knot in the ribbon, fastening the tag to the luggage.

Step 8: Sport your new luggage tag on your next trip to Great Wolf Lodge, or wear it on your backpack!

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:

Father’s Day is fast approaching; the day to celebrate dads and everything they do. From changing diapers and fixing “boo boo’s” to checking tire pressure and babysitting grandchildren, dads show their love in many ways. Their support is invaluable. So, why limit Father’s Day to a one-day celebration? Let’s celebrate dads this summer by showing them how much they’re appreciated with quality time.

Sure, gifts that can be unwrapped will be a physical reminder of the love shared, but there’s nothing more special than memories made and time spent. Let’s create memories wearing wolf ears and laughing while getting absolutely soaked by the tipping bucket. Let’s conquer dragons together on a quest to become Master Magi’s. Let’s take photos that will last a lifetime.

The Summer Bucket List is meant to help you show dad just how much he means to you with every item. Print out this PDF and bring it along on your next Great Wolf Lodge adventure with dad. Try to check everything off the list and make sure to talk, ask each other questions, and most importantly, laugh. You’re sure to make lasting memories, and maybe even learn a little something new about each other along the way.

Download the GWL Adventures with Dad Summer Bucket List.

Share how much dad means to you by posting memories from your Summer Bucket List to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using #GWLMakeMySummer.

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




Today the Great Wolf Lodge pack is celebrating and saying, “Thank you!” We are thrilled announce Great Wolf Lodge has earned the designation as Best Family Resort in the 10Best Readers’ Choice poll sponsored by USATODAY.

Families across North America chose Great Wolf Lodge as their favorite, and we are howling with excitement.

Earning the top spot is quite an honor for our resorts. After learning we were voted Number 1, we reached out to Dave Parfitt, founder of the family travel website,, and member of our Ask-A-Mom panel for his perspective why Great Wolf Lodge was chosen as the leader of the pack in family resorts. Dave travels extensively with his family and visited many of the resorts nominated in the category. In addition, he has stayed at four Great Wolf Lodge resorts, most recently our Williamsburg property. Here’s what he shared:

“Great Wolf Lodge rightly deserves to be listed among the top family resorts in the country. The signature indoor waterpark is just the beginning. The many recreational attractions including MagiQuest, indoor bowling, and mini golf; and one-of-a-kind experiences such as Scooops Kid Spa, mean there truly is something to please everyone in the family.  And after a full day of play, there’s nothing like relaxing together in one of the large, comfortable suites. With 12 different resorts, many located near popular national kid-friendly destinations, Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect home base for a family vacation.”

All of us at Great Wolf Lodge couldn’t agree more. Of course, we could not have earned this honor without our loyal guests. Whether you are one of our dedicated repeat guest families or are planning to visit us for the first time this summer, THANK YOU for making Great Wolf Lodge your family's favorite destination.


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)


  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.

To kick off the holiday season, we had a special guest visit four Great Wolf Lodge resorts and he arrived in a grandiose way –not his typical sleigh to say the least.  You guessed it; our special guest was indeed Santa Claus who came to town riding in the Coca-Cola Caravan!  (You have to see it to believe it – the 18-wheeler is decked out from bumper to bumper in holiday lights and festive décor.  A truly amazing sight.)  He also brought a very special friend, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, with him to join in the fun.  Santa, the Polar Bear and the Coca-Cola Caravan made their way up the east coast visiting Great Wolf Lodge resorts in Concord, Williamsburg, Pocono Mountains and New England.  The first stop they made was in Concord, North Carolina.  Not only was it the first stop at a Great Wolf Lodge, but it was also the very first stop for the Coca-Cola Caravan this season. 

The Caravan spent two days at each resort. While there, guests were able to get a photo taken with the big guy and see the Coca-Cola Caravan.  The photos were a great souvenir for our guests, as they were printed right on-site and were ready to take home within seconds.  The caravan even stayed lit outside the resort after Santa turned in for the night. (He needs lots of rest this time of year, you know.)

Guests at the Pocono Mountains must have been on the really, really nice list this year because the weather cooperated and they were able to get their photos taken with Santa outside next to the enormous Coca-Cola Caravan big rig! 

During the four resort stops, over eight days, Great Wolf Lodge had over 4,200 guest photos taken with Santa and the Caravan!  It was an amazing experience for all to see that’s for sure.

There was also a very special treat during the Williamsburg visit; Santa himself was there to help light the holiday tree in The Grand Lobby, signifying the official Snowland® kickoff. He also took tons of photos with all the wolf pups and joined in the first indoor snowfall of the season. 

We had such a great time sharing the Coca-Cola Caravan experience with our guests this holiday season.  Wishing you and your pack a Happy Howlidays from all your friends at Great Wolf Lodge and Coca-Cola. 

Ask any child under the age of ten and they will tell you no party is complete without balloons. They’ll also tell you vacation is more fun with balloon animals. Every day, our Kids Experience teams at each Great Wolf Lodge resorts create cute animals and figures out of colorful balloons. This month, in celebration of  Howl-O-Ween, the Kids Experience team in Traverse City decided they wanted to show off balloon art in a new way.

Halloween has its own cast of character and creatures: jack o’lanterns, ghosts, bats, witches, vampires and skeletons to name a few. And anyone who has ever seen the Skeleton Dance from 1929’s Silly Symphonies knows, skeletons can be fun and silly. The Traverse City team thought of something else that skeletons are great for: really cool balloon structures. To help bring this idea to life, they reached out to Magic Galaxy Entertainment from Euclid, Ohio and challenged them to create a friendly skeleton to fill the entire Grand Lobby.

With Howl-O-Ween beginning on October 9, work on the enormous skeleton began at 9:58 a.m. on Monday, October 6. Think that balloon-twisting experts never break a balloon? Not true. A mere ten minutes later, the first balloon popped!

As the skeleton came to life, excitement filled the lodge. Guest families stopped to watch in wonder as balloon after balloon was connected and twisted into place. It was like watching  the Macy’s Day Parade come together in many, many pieces. 2,104 pieces to be exact; that is how many balloons were needed to bring the skeleton to life.

It took a full 72 hours to build the skeleton, right in the Grand Lobby. Next, the team brought in a large lift to assist in (carefully) raising him high above the floor for a true bird’s eye view of guests as they arrived. “Standing” at 69 feet tall and stretching more than 24 feet across, Traverse City’s skeleton was the true centerpiece for Howl-O-Ween all this month. And tonight we’re sure he’ll be moving and shaking with guests during the Monster Bash Dance Party – just like one of those dancing skeletons that so inspired his creation.

When I accepted my first job (many) years ago, a friend told me my career would take me to “new heights.” This week, that prediction came true during a visit to Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine.

Earlier this year, Great Wolf Resorts added an all-new and unique guest experience to four resorts: the Howlers Peak Ropes Course. With an indoor version debuting in New England, and three outdoor courses added to the Pocono Mountains, Grapevine and Grand Mound respectively, these attractions took fun to an entirely new level. This week, I got to try the multi-level balancing experience myself.

My first thought when I saw the ropes course was focused solely on its height. It is tall. Rising 50 feet into the sky, Howlers Peak is four levels of fun. Zip lines allow you to fly through the air from one side to the other, while strategically placed ropes, steps, and small wooded shapes, create pathways that require some concentration, some balance and a sense of adventure.

The highlight of Howlers Peak is the “quick jump” or as I jokingly called it, “the death drop.” It sounds simple enough, 45 feet above the ground, you step right off the platform and sail on down to the awaiting landing pad – complete with a signature Great Wolf Lodge paw. Friends and colleagues had told me the quick jump experience was a lot of fun and as I watched several people glide down, I decided I was next.

Happily, I zip lined toward that corner of the attraction. Then I balanced on a thin rope and “crab crawled” my way across to the platform. A pack member calmly adjusted my harness, told me what to do, checked in with his partner below, yelled, “Jumper!” and opened the gate. Bravely, I smiled, headed to the edge and….nothing. I couldn’t do it. I stood for about five minutes and could not find my courage. Apologetically, and with my proverbial tail between my legs, I unharnessed and zip lined away.

Internally, I negotiated with myself. I decided I didn’t need the quick jump; I could zipline, and balance, and walk and climb with the best of them. But my inner voice nagged and said, “This is not over.”

Suddenly, a movie reference popped in my head. I grew up crushing on Harrison Ford, and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” started playing in my mind. Remember the scene with Indy standing at the edge of the cave, with no path or bridge ahead of him and a huge abyss below? It was the “leap of faith” scene. If he took one step forward and believed he would be alright, he would. He just needed to move forward. (Spoiler alert – he took the step and a bridge magically appeared beneath his feet.)

I knew a bridge would not appear under my feet at the quick jump site, but I also knew that if four year old kids (YES!) could do it, I could, too.

So, with thoughts of Hollywood magic in my head, I went back up to the platform. Moments later, I took a bold step forward - ok, more like, slight stumble and ungraceful trip – and WHEEEEEEEE! A moment of flying, couple seconds of floating and a HOWL of delight. I did it! I conquered Howlers Peak.

Everyone clapped, a few cheered, and I promptly removed my harness. Check the box for another amazing, unexpected Great Wolf Lodge moment. And a quiet thank you to Indiana Jones.

Early this month, I co-hosted a #GWLchat with Great Wolf Lodge. For anyone who missed it, here’s a recap of the lively and fast discussion that took place during the interesting hour!

We started the conversation discussing Fall Family Fun and activities families take part in each fall. Most participants agreed their favorite fall activities included a pumpkin patch or apple orchard to pick their own pumpkins or apples. My family recently visited a local pumpkin farm and enjoyed a hayride to the patch to pick the perfect pumpkin and several other family-friendly activities including a corn maze, zip lines, a “not-so-scary” haunted house, a petting zoo and a shop to purchase fresh apple cider, pumpkin pies and other goodies!
Participants also shared how much they loved the simple pleasures of fall: crisp, fresh morning air, family hikes, car rides to look at fall foliage and playing in the leaves.
Next we chatted about all things Halloween, including pumpkin carving, costumes, annual traditions and much more. Dave, my fellow 
Ask A Mom Panelist from @AdventuresByDad said his family looks forward to watching "The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown." Clarissa,@Clarissa_xplain said her family loves to check out different costume stores and trying on costumes, while lLonaB @iLonaB1980 said ordering pizza before trick or treating with extended family and friends is a Halloween must!

During the #GWLChat, I was excited that Great Wolf Lodge shared new Jack-O-Lantern patterns featuring Wiley the Wolf, Violet the Wolf and even a paw print. Anyone can download these templates here.
We ended the Twitter chat by talking about 
Howl-O-Ween at the 12 Great Wolf Lodge resorts. There are many spooktacular events happening during this event and it's a great way to celebrate Halloween. Visit to learn more about the daily trick-or-treat trail, the Monster Bash Dance Party, Spooktacular Story Time and costume parade.

Thanks to everyone who joined our Twitter chat. A big congratulations to @sherrybracy for participating and winning the Howl-O-Ween prize pack. If you missed this chat, keep an eye out for the next #GWLChat in early December.

-Jenna Jackson, Ask a Mom Panelist for Great Wolf Lodge Mason

Make Great Wolf Lodge’s Howl-O-Ween  part of your Halloween celebration. This month, if you carve a Great Wolf Lodge-themed pumpkin, you have the chance to win a $50 Great Wolf Lodge gift card. Just in time for the start of Howl-O-Ween on October 9, we’ve created new pumpkin designs starring the Great Wolf Lodge characters. Visit your local pumpkin patch, find your perfect pumpkin  and take part in this fun-filled contest today!

Here’s how:

  • Pick your Great Wolf Lodge-themed design. Download & print one of the Great Wolf Lodge pumpkin carving templates here, or get creative and make your own!
  • Carve your pumpkin. You can find step-by-step instructions on Pinterest or on our HOW-TO: Howl-O-Ween Pumpkin Carving blog.
  • Share your photo between October 9 and October 30 using the hashtag #GWLHowlOWeen on Twitter or Instagram, or post your photo on our Facebook page.  

We can’t wait to see your amazing Great Wolf Lodge pumpkin. Official contest rules can be found here. Winners will be announced on October 31 on our blog.

Best of luck and happy carving!

Gather the Tools 

- Pumpkin carving kit (knife, scooper, carving tool, poker tool. A pushpin or thumbtack works well.)
- Pumpkin big enough to fit your pattern
- Great Wolf Lodge pumpkin carving pattern

Prepare your Pumpkin

Cut off the top of the pumpkin by cutting into the pumpkin around the stem. Scoop out the inside of the pumpkin until it is clean.




Place your Pattern

Cut the pattern out of the full sheet of paper and tape it to your pumpkin. Cut slits or pleat the paper to help it fit around the pumpkin’s curves.




Poke, poke, poke!

Use a pushpin or poker tool to poke holes around the black areas of the pattern, creating an outline of the pattern on your pumpkin.




Cut it Out

Once you’ve finished poking the outline of your entire pattern, remove the paper from the pumpkin. Using a carving tool or small knife and carve along the lines. Be sure to start with the smaller pieces, and work your way out from the middle.




Show it Off!
Add a flameless candle and share a photo of your pumpkin using hashtag #GWLHowlOWeen on Instagram or Twitter, or post it on Great Wolf Lodge’s Facebook page.

With fall in full swing, we can’t help but think about pumpkins, apple cider, cozy sweaters and trick-or-treating. With so many things to do and so little time to do it all, how do you make the most of this fall season? Join us on Tuesday, October 7 as we co-host a Twitter Chat with ideas and inspiration for fall family fun!

Join our co-host, Jenna Jackson (@Jackson5FamBLOG), a mother of two adorable boys, blogger, and Great Wolf Lodge Ask-A-Mom panelist. Jenna describes herself as a “small town girl” who loves to travel, shop, eat, and just spend time together with her family.

Other participating panelists: Dave Parfitt (@AdventuresbyDad), Annie Stow (@anniestow), Kira Riley (@757Lifestyle)

Want to make the most of your fall weekends? Learn from others and share your favorite fall activities. During the chat, one lucky participant will be randomly selected to win a Howl-O-Ween prize pack including a $50 Great Wolf Lodge gift card, candy from Just Born, makers of PEEPS, Mike and Ike candy and Hot Tamales, and even a Wiley the Wolf plush! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #GWLChat while taking part. Official rules about the giveaway can be found here

Not sure how to take part in a Twitter Chat? Check out these instructions from our last chat.

Mark your calendar now!


Tuesday, October 7

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET (11:00 am – 12:00 pm CT, 9:00 am – 10:00 am PT)