Friday, June 25, 2010

Chevy Tahoe and Great Wolf Lodge

Last March, I was offered a truly amazing gift: the chance to take our family to Great Wolf Lodge. Great Wolf has 12 locations across the country, and we visited the one in Grapevine, near Dallas.

And for the ride up there, Chevy provided us with a beautiful clean shiny new Tahoe.

A Tahoe which drove so smoothly all the way up to Grapevine. With a DVD player, which we do not have. And OnStar, which I need attached to me daily. Y'all. You push a button and a genie's voice appears, asking you how she (or he, if it is a he-genie) can help. I need one of those fulltime.

Chevy set us up with tons of snacks and a movie for the ride. After spilling goldfish and Dr. Pepper on the floormats to make us feel at home, we dropped Ike off at my inlaws', asked the OnStar genie for guided directions, and set off for Dallas.

Of course this didn't happen until about ten minutes before we pulled into the parking lot.

Great Wolf Lodge is a huge indoor waterpark. It is basically a Club Med for kids. The most fun thing about this vacation was that the kids were pretty much in control, for once. Each day they would ask, "What are we doing today? What are we eating for lunch?" and we would answer "What do YOU want to do today? Where do YOU want to eat?" The whole place was geared towards pleasing them. They were in heaven. And we were in heaven watching them be in heaven.

Here's how it works. You book a room at the lodge. The cool thing is, say you book Saturday night. For the price of the one night, you can arrive at 9am Saturday morning, swim all day, go to bed, and then swim all day Sunday. It really is a great deal. Since we could not get up there until late on Saturday, we stayed Sunday night too. But if you were truly on a budget, one night is totally doable.

You arrive to the sounds of wolves howling, and the interior has the total lodge feeling. Since it was March, the fireplaces were going and it was very cozy. The bedrooms are also designed for the kids, with faux cabin bunkbeds and a TV and Nintendo which you won't need to rent.

On the other side of the wall is the mom and dad area. There is also a kitchenette, so you could plan ahead and make breakfast or sandwiches in your room.

There are several restaurants at the Lodge - and of course there's a Starbucks - and none of them are inclusive with your hotel room. We ate one night at the Camp Critter Restaurant. The food was not bad, but you wanna know the best part? Your kid can drop a plate of spaghetti all over the floor and the staff just swoop in and clean it up like they do that all day long, which they do. No embarrassment, no dirty looks, because every table is full of children.

We decided that the best place to eat was in the waterpark at the snack shop. The food was priced reasonably, and it was good, and very kid friendly.

Okay, on to the best part. The indoor waterpark is The. Coolest. Thing. Humongous, and so much fun. (There is an outdoor waterpark too, but it was not open for the season yet.)

Kids are given bracelets based on their height that determine what attractions they can go on. Both Shep and Eva Rose got the highest bracelet and could do everything. Little Maggie could do everything but the big slides.

(In my opinion, a child needs to be at least four to enjoy the waterpark. We were very glad that we had left 2 year old Ike at home.)

The Wavepool

The wavepool is huge

and has see-through innertubes, which were always easily available

Every ten minutes or so, the wolves would start howling which was the warning that the waves were about to begin. The wavepool was probably the kids favorite part.

The Big Contraption

has water flowing all over it and the kids climb up and down while the mom and dad sat on the sidelines sipping margaritas.

There are two slides there that were just right for Maggie.

At the top was a giant bucket of water, and when the bell began to chime, it's the sign that it is about to dump water on the fools who stand underneath it. Like the one in the orange swimsuit.



The Baby Pool

This pool was shallow enough that I could relax with Maggie,

but still plenty fun for the big kids.

Behind the baby pool was the Secret Hottub, which we did not discover till the last day, dangit. The kids played, the parents relaxed, and the No Beverages signs were blissfully ignored.

Behind the Big Contraption is a pool that is really for the older kids, but had some fun things in it too. It was really the only place I would be concerned for my kids because it was a little deep.

The Waterslides, aka, The Most Fun Things Ever

See those tubes shooting out from the top? They are HUGE HIGH raft waterslides. One of them has a tornado in the middle where you SPIN around and get SUCKED down a hole - oh my gosh. So fun!!! Shep and Eva Rose did each twice and they were done. Which meant I spent the rest of the day whining, "pleeeease go with meeee? Just one more tiiiiiime?"

Great Wolf Lodge is also famous for its MagiQuest game, which is a very cool interactive scavenger hunt that goes up and down all eight floors of the hotel.

We bought one wand ($25) for the whole family and played about an hour, but my children were a bit too young for it. And all the head-scratching parents were a bit too old for it. But I can see how a kid 10 or older would be love MagiQuest.

We also visited the art shop and colored a tshirt (for another fee, of course.)

Great Wolf Lodge has so many things for so many different age levels, including teens, that any child would love it there.

Two things I loved about the waterpark:
  1. The lifeguards, all cute college aged kids, were very, very alert. I never saw them talking, laughing or cutting up. They spent the entire time with their eyes scanning the water, as if they actually were worried about a child drowning and took their job very seriously. I was so impressed and it helped me to relax to know that they were on my team.
  2. Every dad had a beer gut and every mom looked as though she had birthed and nursed a baby or four. My muffin top was among friends. This greatly added to my enjoyment as well.
On Sunday Jenna and her kids came to visit

so that Jackson could flirt with Eva Rose a little more.

Gracie + Mags =

Double. Trouble.

On Monday, sadly, we left. And several days later the Chevy people took away our Tahoe. Which made us cry.


I can't say enough good things about Great Wolf Lodge and Chevy. We had such a spectacular time, the worst part was leaving.

My kids ask at least once a week when we can go back, Maggie still howls on a regular basis, and we will definitely be returning. Walker and I have already fantasized about planning a weekend with several other families!

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!

Disclosure: I was provided with services at no cost by GM-Chevrolet and Great Wolf Lodge in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on them. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.


  1. My husband won a free night at Great Wolf lodge and I can't wait to go! We will definitely take one of his siblings along so that two can do slides and one can stay with our little guy (14months). Great review!

  2. That sounds really fun! That hotel opened while we were still living in DFW and we always wanted to try it. I think Jackson would freak out with happiness.

  3. We LOVE the Great Wolf Lodge! My 11 yo usually takes a friend with her so she can go do all the slides with her and the Magic Quest. We felt absolutely comfortably letting them run around the water park and the hotel doing the quest. And we are VERY protective parents!
    The restaurants are a little more expensive, but with the water park included in the cost of the room, you still get a great deal. And most of the time there are great restaurants close enough to the lodge.
    We LOVE it! Planning our next trip!

  4. I've never heard of this place. I'm going to have to check it out.

  5. Another bit of info - we had read reviews that said to buy water shoes. Almost no one had any and as I was thinking, well, maybe they were unnecessary, a little boy slipped and whacked his head right in front of us. Walker had to carry him to his dad, he was so disoriented, that I bet he had a concussion. I was then VERY grateful for my kids' water shoes!!

  6. very fun! what a fun gig to get to write and experience all that!

  7. we went to the location in Kansas City last year. it was a little smaller, which for us right now is nice, because i felt like we could let our 6 yo wander around the rides and we could find him easily when we needed too. we all had a BLAST. my kids have asked to go back about every other week for an entire 11 months. we have a trip booked in august--shh! don't tell them! :)

  8. I LOVE my Tahoe! It's a 2008 and can I just say? that DVD player is SOSOSO worth it :) Glad you had an awesome trip! What fun!

  9. That looks like so much fun! I hope we can go one day!