California’s first indoor waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge, is officially open in Garden Grove. We were invited to the grand opening for a unique staycation where we slid, played and ate well for the weekend. Best of all – access to the massive water park is included in your resort stay. Why an indoor water park in Socal? Why not? It’s different, is open rain or shine. The water park is kept at a constant 84 degrees no matter what the temperature is outside. Escape our heat waves or winter rain! Everything is under one roof and makes it easy to get away for a night or a week!
Here’s what you have to look forward to…
We stayed in a standard family suite which fits 4-6 people. Our room was spacious, clean and equipped with two queen-size beds, pull out sleep sofa, full bath and large, flat screen TV. Other amenities included a microwave, mini fridge and coffee maker. I have to say that the beds were extremely comfortable. Thankfully so, since we were exhausted by the end of each day. We melted into our beds. We were on the 9th floor and had a view of the city. Unfortunately, we did have a lot of hallway noise from kids running up and down the halls. The water park closes at 9:00pm, so there was foot traffic in our hallways late at night. If you are looking to enhance your Wolf Lodge experience request a theme suite – bunk beds, dens and special animations make these room interactive and cozy!
The Water Park
First, every child is checked at the entrance of the water for height restrictions. Safety is definitely a priority there. There are many lifeguards on duty and safety drills were taking place throughout the day. The water park area is kept at a tropical 84 degrees. Initially, the air feels extremely warm, but that will change after you’ve been playing. It gets chilly once you exit the water.
Second, you’ll never bore here. Fourteen water slides, lazy river, splash pools, and wave pool will keep you exhilarated and busy during your stay. And I can’t forget the gigantic tipping bucket. The bell sounds and my daughter scrambled to stand below it every time! There is fun for kids of all ages (and adults of all ages.) If you’re a thrill seeker, head to Wolf Tail. The floor drops below you while you drop 20 feet into a highspeed tube! Ahhh! My 8 year old conquered this slide. She was scared out of her mind, but went for a second run immediately after the first. I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to slides. The lazy river is more my speed. I tried the Howlin’ Tornado and was I howlin! Riders are dropped six-stories into a funnel!! HOLD ON! Have you always wanted to bodyboard or floorboard? Hang ten on the Wolf Rider Wipeout! Instructors will have you catching a wave in no time! There’s also splash areas for little ones.
If you do want to take an outdoor break, head to Racoon Lagoon. Rent a cabana, sit back and relax while the kids splash under sprinklers.
Great Wolf Lodge offers various guest dining options. The chefs use the best ingredients – locally sourced from farmers within 30 miles of Garden Grove. Dine in Lodge Wood Fired Grill for steaks, seafood and more. As an East Coast girl, I was happy to see that Dunkin Donuts was on the premises to give parents that caffeine kick they needed, as well as a yummy glazed donut. We dined in the The Loose Moose Family Kitchen, a delicious buffet, with a sandwich bar, cheese bar, cutting table and a variety of selections ranging from oysters to fried rice and fabulous salads. Hungry as a Wolf is a wood-fired pizza eatery on Main Street if you’re want to dine in or order to-go. Another option that I recommend is Grizzly Jack’s Bar and Grill. I recommend the grilled shrimp tacos. Chipolte shrimp is served on corn tortillas, topped with slaw and a spicy aioli. Happy to see a good amount of gluten free options on the menus too. If you have a concern or a dietary allergy make the staff aware, and the cooks will be happy to accommodate you.
When the kids aren’t splashing around the water park they’ll be running through Main Street! Games, shops, spa treatments and more take on the resort feel. Start off at the wand shop on Main Street, pick up a magic MagiQuest wand (additional fee) and topper to participate in a virtual scavenger hunt! Pick a quest and interact with computer stations throughout the lodge (from the bottom floor all the way to the 5th floor). If arcade games is more their speed, the Northern Lights Arcade (24 hour) offers car racing, air hockey and other cool games that will keep you refilling Paw Cards. Howl at the Moon Glow Golf and Lazer Frenzy (additional fees) are two other memorable activities! My daughter’s favorite was Ten Paw Alley. Candlepin sized balls are perfect for small hands. Surprisingly, my favorite activity was the Howly Wood XD Theater, a motion thrill ride and it was a blast! Just a warning, you do see cowboy skeletons, so if your kids are sensitive to certain imagery they might be scared. There are two movie options.
Also on Main street is the Scooops Kid Spa. It smells so good! Sit back and relax on an ice cream shaped bench, wrapped in a pink bathrobe while you wait for your mommy and me pedicure. Or give the girls’ a quick princess moment with the Sprinkled in Scooops service includes a sash, princess crown, lotion sampling and more for only $9.99!
Have your kids met Wiley and Violet the mascots? They can take home a mini-version. Your wolf cubs can bring their favorite characters to life and choose clothing for them (think Build-a-bear). The Creation Station is where this happens! And there are other cool souvenirs to choose from!
Each child receives a wolf headband upon arrival! Make sure to wear them for Story Time and the Forest Friends lobby show (nightly)! The headband is adorable. If parents do need to squeeze in work the hotel offers unlimited free Wifi, as well as a fitness center. On-site parking is available – free parking one car per room. Expand the excitement by visiting nearby theme parks including Disneyland. Shuttles are available to Disney from the entrance of Great Wolf Lodge.
This was our first experience at a property run by the Wisconsin based company. Our getaway was memorable and a different experience than our other staycations The employees were extremely courteous and helpful, and I really appreciated their safety-conscious regulations. One other activity that I enjoyed was the Social Adventure pass. This adventure is exclusive to Garden Grove and you will receive instructions upon check-in. If you are active on social media follow the steps to collect six buttons that are distributed in the water park and Main Street.
Also, check out the Great Wolf Lodge website for the latest deals and packages.