Is the Cost Worth it?
If you are thinking about planning a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge, or any other water park hotel, the first thing you should think about is the cost; you may be wondering if it is worth it to go if you have a baby or toddler. The admission is pricey but there are ways to get in for less. Unless you are constrained by dates, I recommend subscribing to their deals email list. They often send emails offering stays for well below their normal online prices. Groupon also has regular deals on places like this so check that out too. Keep in mind that children under 2 years old are usually free so that helps ease the cost.
We have gone to the Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs and one in Anaheim, CA. When we went to the one in Colorado, Beau was 3 years old and Laelle was 3 months old. We had one of those special deals from the emails that they send out regularly. Obviously we go swimming a lot, so we were pretty excited to hit the pool when we arrived.
We went again for an event in Anaheim this last year, so our dates weren’t flexible and there weren’t any other discounts available. Beau was 5 and Laelle was 2.
Making Sure You Aren’t the Cause of a Pool Evacuation
Our first time at Great Wolf Lodge, Beau was 3 years old and potty trained. We still put him a swim diaper for the security and peace of mind that it provided us - we did not want to be the cause of a pool evacuation! Laelle was still an infant and was too little for some of the pool fun. We kept her in a regular diaper when she was out of the pool since swim diapers don’t contain urine, but we would switch her into one of our Beau and Belle Littles swim diapers when it was time to bob around in the big pool or dip her toes in the baby pool. What is awesome is that when we went to Great Wolf Lodge when she was 2, she was able to wear the same diaper! Its adjustable legs and waist snaps as well as the quality fabric and design made it a lasting solution for our swim diaper needs! (Tip: when bringing a baby who is exclusively breastfed to the pool, the chances of a poopy diaper leak are higher. We recommend doubling up the swim diapers for extra protection.)
Fun for All Ages and Comfort Levels
At just 3 years old, Beau was tall enough (36” is the minimum) to go on some of the water slides, but not all of them. The bigger slides require heights of 42” and some are even 48” but he is pretty cautious, definitely not an adrenaline junkie, so he didn’t mind. As it was, we were still able to explore 90% of the water park with him.
Since Laelle was so little we really didn’t swim with her much that first time. Paul and I took turns holding her or playing with Beau. It was actually really nice because both kids got one-on-one time with each of us and it felt like a mini-vacation.
Our second time going to Great Wolf Lodge Beau was 5 and Laelle was 2. Each time was a very different experience but we all still had a lot of fun. There are definitely more activities geared toward older kids, but Great Wolf Lodge does a good job of having options that keep everyone entertained.
The baby and toddler areas have zero entry pools, slides, and splash features that will entertain your Littles of any age for hours. Beau actually liked hanging out with his sister some in the baby area and cheering her on when she went down the slides. Laelle is more adventurous than her cautious brother, so she was game to do the slides when she was tall enough. It also helps that the staff is great with helping you get the kids on the slide while you go down and wait for them at the bottom.
In Anaheim there were two larger slides at the top of Totem Towers so Laelle (our fearless wonder!) and I could go down at the same time, almost racing to the bottom. She loved it! I’m sure not every two year old will be into going down big water slides, and you can’t go down while holding them, but you never know how brave your Little might be!
Older kids will have to wait until they are at least 42” to go down the bigger water slides, but there are so many other water activities that it isn’t a big deal if they aren’t. Just make sure to give them a heads up before you get there so they aren’t disappointed when they find out after seeing the slides. There will be other slides they can do and between those, the wave pool, the features in the baby/toddler area, and the bigger pool that has basketball hoops and lily pads to climb on, no one will be bored!
What Should You Pack?
- Swim Suits
- Swim diapers, OF COURSE!! (at least 2 in case one gets dirty)
- Goggles (our kids absolutely LOVE Frogglez goggles)
- Wet Bag
- Waterproof Case for your phone
- PJs for evening character story time
- Travel laundry soap (affiliate link to sea to summit on amazon)
What You Don’t Need to Bring
- Floaties or life jackets - those are provided on a first come-first serve basis
- Towels - those are provided but they charge you for unreturned towels so make sure to give those back!
- Sunscreen: unless you are going to a water park that has an outdoor pool
- Coolers for the water park- you can bring outside food into the hotel, and most rooms have mini fridges and microwaves, but you can’t bring it into the water park. You’ll need to plan a swim break to eat out of the water park or plan on buying and eating there.