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Great Wolf Lodge is like Las Vegas for kids; it’s amazingly fun, the food is great, you’ll never run out of things to do, and you go non-stop the entire time you’re there. But if you can get on board and go big, it will be the best weekend of your parenting life!
We spent the weekend at Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee, IL and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Lots of hotels cater to families, offering relaxing spas and great restaurants for the parents and fun arcades and play areas for the kids. Great Wolf Lodge is not like that; the entire hotel is geared towards spending time TOGETHER as a family, not each person doing their own individual thing. The four of us spent the entire weekend having fun together, and it was amazing. (And now I need a vacation from my vacation…cuz I’m exhausted!)
Great Wolf Lodge is probably best known for their indoor water park, but they also have an entire indoor adventure park on the grounds, including mini golf, mini bowling, a ropes course, a climbing wall, an arcade, character appearances, and fabulous restaurants. They also have MagiQuest, a live-action Dungeon & Dragons style adventure game where kids use interactive magic wands to discover relics and runes needed to
defeat a fierce dragon. Great Wolf Lodge has 17 locations across the entire country, and are planning two new locations in the next two years.
We went the first weekend in March; it was 15 degrees outside and snowing the entire weekend. But it didn’t matter, because everything we needed was inside the resort and we never had to leave. The 80,000 square foot indoor water park was heated to 84 degrees and we completely forgot that we weren’t outside while we floated down the lazy river or slid down the water slides. More than once I happened to glance out a window or door, saw the snow on the ground, and did a total double-take.
I was a little worried at first because our kids are young (3 years old and 6 months old) and when I think of “amusement parks” or “water parks” I usually think of older kids. But Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee has stuff for kids of all ages! There is an entire toddler water park area, including two family water slides that ended up in a little wading pool, perfectly sized for toddlers. But even outside of the toddler water park, our toddler loved floating down the lazy river in the life vest the lodge provided, playing in the wave pool, and climbing all over Fort McKenzie and getting water dumped on her by the giant bucket. (Even the baby loved splishing and splashing in the toddler water park area!)
There are two restaurants inside the indoor water park, plus a bar for the adults, so you can literally spend your entire day there if you want. But if you want to take a break, you can do the ropes course, climb the climbing wall, play mini golf or mini bowling, spend time in the arcade, or join in any of the fun character activities going on throughout the resort. We started our days with Yoga Tails in the great hall, spent lunch having tea with Violet the wolf, and finished off the day with story time and a bubble-themed pajama dance party!
And at the very end of the day they have a “Wine Down” service where they deliver wine and snacks to your room for the adults after the kids are asleep. BRILLIANT!
Great Wolf Lodge is like Las Vegas for kids; it’s amazingly fun, the food is great, you’ll never run out of things to do, and you go non-stop the entire time you’re there. There’s so much to do we didn’t even get to try everything. And I did not get to relax in a hot tub by myself while the kids were off having fun, but it was, without a doubt, the most fun experience of my parenting life, and I know the kids agree!
Disclosure: Great Wolf Lodge invited our family to stay with them for the weekend in exchange for my participation in this campaign, and my honest discussion of their resort. But our weekend at Great Wolf Lodge Illinois was seriously amazing and all opinions in this post are 100% my own. I would never write a post about something I didn’t think was useful or interesting for you guys, and Practically Functional will only publish sponsored posts for companies or products I love and believe in! 🙂