The Great Wolf Lodge is one of 5 major indoor waterpark hotels in Wisconsin Dells. It has a huge waterpark and plenty of activities designed with kids in mind. We had a blast! Sometimes certain details can be hard to find on the website. Isn’t it easier to talk to someone who has been there? Here is what we learned on our trip that may make your trip planning a bit easier. I’ve included a bunch of details that I wished I had known before coming.
The waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells has activities appropriate for a wide range of ages, from fenced-in baby areas to the adrenaline-pumping Howlin’ Tornado. The whole park is connected and divided into three main rooms. Towels are located inside the entrance, and you must use your wristband to check them out. You get only one per person, so you may want to bring your own. They also have different sizes of life jackets available to use for free. The website does a decent job of describing the water features; however, sometimes, it was hard to find out if the “minimum height” was the true minimum height or if that was the minimum height to ride without an adult. Also, not all the photos on the website are from the Wisconsin Dells Great Wolf Lodge, so there are sometimes some differences.
Access to the waterpark is included for all hotel guests. You can enter the waterpark as early as 1 pm on the day of arrival. You can stay in the park until closing on your departure day. Depending on the day and time, they sell individual day passes for $40-$100.
Waterpark-the Main Room
The main room hosts the lazy river, which they call Crooked Creek. Single and double tubes are available. My kids always have fun with these. A tube water slide, Look Out Mountain, empties into the lazy river. The minimum height to go without an adult is 42 inches. If kids are less than 42 inches, they can ride in a double tube with an adult as long as they are big enough to sit in the front. I watched two kids, both right at 42 inches, try to ride themselves. The lifeguard tried to help, but they just weren’t big enough to stay upright in the tube and ended up having to wait for an adult.
Next to the lazy river is a Frog Bog Log Walk, which was popular with my five-year-old, who was 42 inches tall. He had a great time navigating across. His younger brother is only 37 inches, and he wasn’t tall enough to grab the ropes, so he had to crawl across and didn’t enjoy that as much.
One of our favorite parts of the Great Wolf Lodge was Whooping Hallow. It includes five slides designed for those under 52 inches and the sign at the park says those over 52 inches are not allowed. No lap riding is allowed. The slides are gentle and short and end in a pool with various depths, the deepest being around 2’6″.
There are two hot tubs, one designed for adults only, which actually did appear for adults only. A pool is also equipped with basketball hoops. There are two additional slides listed on the website as MineShaft. These are both completely enclosed slides that are dark and fast, but the website shows them as open. I tried them out once, but they were surprisingly scary and clearly not for my kids’ age group. They did not have a minimum height.
Waterpark-Fort Mckenzie and the Tornado
Near the kid-friendly hot tub is a very short walkway that goes past some locker rooms, a changing room, and a bar and leads to another large room of the waterpark. The main attraction here is Fort Mackenzie, a huge climbing structure with plenty of steps, bridges, and water cannons to explore for the kids. At the top, there are two open water slides called Totem Towers. There is no minimum height, but lap riding is not allowed, so kids must be able to slide down alone. The bottom of this slide flattens out rather than ending into a pool, making it more kid-friendly. If your kids aren’t ready to go down the slide, there are still plenty of places to explore and ways to get wet. This includes a big bucket that dumps periodically.
If you are looking for thrills, check out Howlin’ Tornado. The minimum height is 48 inches, regardless of adult supervision. This multi-person tube ride shoots you down a steep tunnel and into a huge funnel where you slide back and forth before being spat into a short and fast water slide to the bottom. My husband was watching our kids, and since they don’t accept solo riders, a Dad with two middle schoolers kindly allowed me to join them. It was so much fun and certainly gets your heart pumping!
The final area in this room is designed for the littlest parkgoers. It is fenced in and has a small slide, water geysers, a small 4-inch deep pool, and plenty of places to explore. While it was designed for the youngest set, my 3 and 5-year-old did enjoy spending some time here, probably partly because they had so much freedom from us with the fence and shallow water.
The Waterpark-Wave Pool Room and more
The final section of the park has an entrance in the back of the main room. On the way to this section, you will pass an a la carte food cart with grab-and-go food such as chips, fruit, and sandwiches. You also pass a small “essentials” store with swimsuits, water diapers, towels, goggles, and other helpful things that you may have forgotten to pack.
The wave pool is generously sized for an indoor wave pool called the Slap Tail Pond. You know the waves are coming when you hear the howling of a pack of wolves! The waves start and stop every 5 minutes. The deep section of the wave pool is still shallow enough for most adults to touch, but as with most wave pools, the waves can feel strong for new or hesitant swimmers.
To the left of the wave pool is another kids’ section-the Cub Paw Pool. It has several jet ski toys, complete with sprayers. The deep end is 18″ and includes several small slides.
Behind the Cub Paw Pool is the Mountain Edge Raceway-a group of mat slides. Two are light enough to see where you are going, and the other two are really dark. The minimum height is 42 inches and kids have to be able to ride alone and keep themselves in position on the mats. These were faster than I expected, and the adults in our party had a blast! The final ride is Alberta Falls-a tandem tub slide with a big drop! The minimum height to ride is 42 inches, and the minimum height to ride without an adult is 48 inches.
The Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells was well-kept and comfortable. There are a lot of different room options so you can pick what works best for your family or traveling group. Some of the rooms fit up to 16 people! When you make reservations, you get to see a map of the room, which is great. We don’t have a pack N play user anymore, but when we did, it was always nice to see the layout of the room ahead of time.
Prices really vary based on season, type of room, and day of the week. They are much more affordable on the weekdays! I know this is usually a given, but I was surprised at the difference. Sometimes the rooms were 2-3x more expensive on the weekend. If you go to the website and check the Deals and Special Offers section, you can see places to save a couple of bucks. The deals vary, but you can often save pretty significant amounts (30-50%) by booking well in advance, booking more than three nights, or reserving during a special promotion. You can also get deals as a AAA, or AARP member, or a first responder.
The whole resort is “cashless.” A nice benefit of this is that you can link your credit card to the adult wristbands, allowing you to buy things throughout the resort without bringing your wallet. This is especially handy at the waterpark, where there never seems to be a great way to keep your wallet safe!
We stayed in the Wolf Den Suite for only $160 on a Sunday night in January, with a promotion from the deals page. It included a queen bed, a pull-out sofa, and bunk beds which our kids loved. The bunk beds are up against the wall, making it safer for my 3-year-old, who isn’t as experienced with beds without railings. The bunk beds were open to the rest of the room but felt a bit secluded and special for the kids. There was a separate TV in their bunk area. Our room had a mini fridge and a microwave. The room was clean, and despite the number of children in the hotel, I didn’t hear a lot of noise from the hall or other rooms. Generally, the best place for more information about the rooms was either the reservation page or the FAQ page.
The staff at check-in was more friendly than I would have expected. They offered to accommodate preferences for which floor of the hotel we wanted to be on and were able to answer any questions I had.
As a hotel resort focused on kids, the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells has hourly activities in the main lobby. These vary from morning yoga and bedtime stories to an animate clock tower show and arts and craft time. The easiest way to find the schedule of events on the day when you will be there is to download the app. We went to story time, but it was a bit too active for us that close to bedtime. The clock tower show was fun to see but not essential if you have a lot of other things going on. It lasts 10-15 minutes.
At check-in, each kid is provided with a headband with wolf ears. It was a fun way for the kids to feel special. In Wisconsin Dells, the wolf ears are picked up at the store in the main lobby. They also sell typical souvenirs such as clothes, magnets, toys, and snacks.
This fun and interactive play area allows young wizards to wave their wands and work to complete a quest and battle the dragon. It is connected to Great Wolf Lodge but you don’t have to be a guest there to use MagiQuest. Check out my review of our time at Magiquest for more information.
Wolf, Pup, or Paw Passes
When you make your reservations at the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells, you can get a pass for the kiddos. I knew we wouldn’t have time for everything, so we went without the passes.
|Pup $60||Paw $60||Wolf $80|
|A small candy cup||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|A scoop of ice cream||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|$5 at the arcade||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Build a Bear (no outfit)||Yes||NO||Yes|
|Great Wolf Goggles||Yes||NO||Yes|
|One Magiquest Game||NO||Yes||Yes|
|Wand, topper, or belt||NO||Yes||Yes|
Food at Great Wolf Lodge
If you don’t want to leave the Great Wolf Lodge for food, there are several options. As stated previously, the water parks sell some basic food and snacks a la carte style. In addition, they sell burgers and french fry-type meals. The main lodge has a sit-down restaurant called Lodge Wood Fire Grill. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with American-style entrees.
In addition to the Grill, they have Hungry As A Wolf and Bear Paw. Both of these are in the same storefront and sell to-go pizzas, salads, coffee, cookies, muffins, and ice cream. The pizza was decent and took about 25 minutes when we ordered on a Sunday evening. Unfortunately, delivery isn’t an option, but it isn’t a far walk from anywhere in the hotel. If you download the app, ordering food is super easy. I downloaded it while planning and found it nice to have access to the menu and prices as well.
Food in Wisconsin Dells
There are also plenty of other places to eat in Wisconsin Dells if you are willing to leave the Great Wolf Lodge. My top kid pick is Buffalo Phils because the food is delivered by train! Check out more recommendations here.
Nearby State Parks
Do you want to get away from the crowds for a minute? Would you like to experience the natural beauty that first made Wisconsin Dells a tourist destination? There are two beautiful state parks within 15 minutes of the Great Wolf Lodge!
Mirror Lake is the larger of the two and is less than 5 minutes away! It is a large park covering over 2,000 acres! There is a calm lake with picturesque shorelines. The park has something for everyone and features camping, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, and swimming. For short but scenic hikes, we love Echo Rock and Pulpit Rock trails, which are less than a mile long and have cool rock features/overlooks. There are lots of options for longer hikes as well.
If you want a smaller and less busy park instead, Rocky Arbor State Park is less than 15 minutes away and is just as beautiful. It features a single hiking trail which is about a 1-mile round trip. it takes you past some of the rocky ledges where the park gets its name. There is a playground right next to the parking lot. We are nature-loving Wisconsinites and find the park enjoyable in the winter as well as the summer.
We tend to go to indoor water parks in the winter, but there are still other activities to do. As animal lovers, one of our all-time favorites was the VIP tour at Timbavati Wildlife Park! There were so many hands-on experiences! If your kids loved Magiquest, head downtown and try Wizard Quest. More downtown fun includes Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and some old-time photo booths. For a fun and interactive way to explore science, check out the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory. If you prefer magic over science, check out the Rick Wilcox Show-a live magic show with rave reviews.
Wisconsin Dells has so many options for a trip with the family! We have explored a number of different options and would rate the Great Wolf Lodge at the top of the list for a group with kids. The water park had plenty to do but it didn’t feel overwhelming. The rooms were well thought out, with different options for discounted prices. Finally, the Magiquest was a ton of fun just for our young kids to run around. I can’t wait to go back when they can complete the quests! What other helpful information would you add?