Our family had a chance to check out the recently opened Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove last month and boy did it exceed our expectations! The company who created this amazing Water Park really thought of just about everything a family might want to experience. From the water slides, water park for little ones, to a 24 hour arcade and mini bowling alley – there really is something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite activities and restaurants we enjoyed while staying at the Great Wolf Lodge.
I am not usually a fan of buffet-style restaurants because I don’t find the food to be very good but this is not the case at Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove. In fact, the chefs in charge of the restaurants have gone above and beyond providing delicious meals for the families staying there. From the buffet-style vast selection of food to sit-down restaurants, everything has been well-thought out. They try to support local farming communities and much of the food you try has been purchased by local farmers. We had a chance to try out their mushroom risotto and it was so delicious! They told us that the mushrooms had been sourced from a local mushroom farmer less than 50 miles away.
You can really tell the menu has been carefully designed to appeal to all palates and diet restrictions. They offer gluten-free meals, Paleo, dairy-free and just about any diet restriction is covered. Just be sure to ask any of the employees and they will go out of their way to make sure your diet needs are met. Each restaurant is family-friendly and some offer poolside (cabana rental) or is actually located in the pool area: Lodge Wood Fired Grill, The Loose Moose Family Kitchen, Hungry As A Wolf, Bear Paw Sweets & Eats, Buckets Incredible Craveables (poolside family picnics), and Grizzly Jack’s Bar and Grill (poolside plaza at the outdoor Racoon Lagoon – seasonal Memorial Day through Labor Day).
Swim, Splash & Slide:
Where do I even start? The water park at Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove is family fun for all. We had the best time! No matter the age of your child(ren) or yourself, there’s something for everyone. One great feature is that the onsite lifeguards measure the height of each child and based on those results they get a color corresponding wristband to wear (that way they won’t end up going down the wrong slide for instance) – by the way those same wristbands can be used to charge/shop at any of the offerings on-site with the charges reflected on your room invoice (no more soggy money or wallets/purses to keep up with) – don’t worry if you don’t want your kids charging ice cream and sweets as you can let them know which wristbands in your group are allowed to have this feature turned on. Back to the water fun!
Head to Fort McKenzie for some splash-crazy fun for the whole family (all ages). They have a water fort tree house, kid-activated features along with interactive water toys. Need a quick exit then head out via the Totem Towers (family/children & toddlers) and when the bell rings the HUGE bucket of water up top is ready to tip over soaking all who stand beneath and in range. The Howlin’ Tornado (family/teens) will get your blood pumping! It is a raft that accommodates four through tilting twists and turns when all of a sudden you drop into the six-story funnel of fun where you’ll have your raft trying to take high banks (as you know your kids are down for it) up on the side before you splash it out at the end! This is a family favorite at all Great Wolf Lodge water parks. The River Canyon Run (family/teens/children) is a raft-riding slide that makes you feel like you’re careening down and through a river of fun. How about a tandem tube ride down their Alberta Falls (f/t/c)?! This super fun water slide starts inside and takes you outside and back in then you drop in the inside pool! My family convinced me to try it out and boy was it fun!
Just for teens there’s Coyote Cannon which has them dropping four-stories in a matter of seconds! That’s right, a 40-foot drop and when they hit the swirling and whirling basin going no-idea how many trips around the center until they make a splash landing! Yes, not for the faint of heart for sure. Last time I checked, I was out of the teenage years and glad for it – although my daughter wanted to do this she was not yet age appropriate. Good thing as I’m not sure my heart would have withstood that either; so a couple more years is more than fine by me (to her complete and utter dismay). Another four-story drop on the Mountain Edge Raceway (family/children & toddlers) for the whole family to slide head first down. You can challenge one another or just enjoy the ride.
The Wolf Tail (family/teens) is an exhilarating 20-foot free fall! Wolf Rider Wipeout (f/t/c) offers endless waves for bodyboarding or flowboarding. Slap Tail Pond is great for all ages (f/t/c) as you will love the wave pool with the feeling of the ocean’s surge. The Crooked Creek (f/t/c/t) lazy river is a great way to unwind and relax no matter your age from youngest to oldest. An obstacle type endurance course awaits at Big Foot Pass (family) where a a soft landing in the water awaits you in case you’re unable to maneuver as well as your children. Chinook Cove (family) is water basketball – float on the boards and enjoy a little pick up game with the fam! For the family that has younger kids 48-inches and below there’s Whooping Hollow (family/children & toddlers) that has slides, a play pool with attractions just for the youngest in tow.
Children and toddlers will have a blast at Cub Paw Pool. With their own splash park that has geysers, slides, “jet-skis” with water cannons attached this zero to 18-inch depth of water is the perfect water playground for tykes and toddlers. If you’d rather be outside and absorb some sunshine while you splash around, play some water basketball, enjoy slides and more then make your way outside to Racoon Lagoon (f/t/c/t) where you’ll find something for the whole family. Don’t forget to inquire about Cabana Rentals which are available inside and outside with lots of amenities. By-the-way, if you’re staying at #GWLSoCal to visit family and you’d like them to join you at the water park then remember you’re able to purchase water park passes up to the amount of your guests (ex: family of 4 staying then you can purchase up to 4 guest passes) – each pass is $40 currently – verify when you make your reservations and remember the water park is available day of check-in at 1p and ends at 9p day of check-out!
After all the swimming and sliding sometimes you just want to sit back and relax. Having kids with extra energy storage where they want to go-go-go no matter how tired they are … well, let’s just say at Great Wolf Lodge you don’t have to leave the premises, however, you’ll definitely want to partake in the fun family-oriented evening activities. They offer an array of choices for the family from bingo and drawing to trivia – as I know there are some competitive families out there and you will have a great time; along with your kids. Maybe they’re still a little antsy, and if so let them get it out of their system with the Jammie Jamboree. From selfies with props to learning new dance moves; when they crash they’re going to do so ~ hard.
There’s a nightly Story Time where the whole family is invited to put on their favorite PJ’s and gather in the lobby to hear a story about one of the Great Wolf Lodge Kid characters. After the story you’re able to capture the moment by having a picture taken with the “special guest”. After 8p each evening they offer a Forest Friends Show which your littles will just adore. If this is not exactly how your older kids want to spend their evening before turning in for the night, perhaps they’ll enjoy Hustle & Howl which is a dance party for older kids with hit music and one last hoorah before you all settle in.
Let’s not forget their Lunch Time Lineup which includes: Paws On Project, Face Painting, and Balloon Twisting. If your wee-ones are getting a bit water logged or needs a break while the rest of the crew keeps going in the water park then you’ll love these offerings. Check your Lodge Life activity pack or anyone in guest services can help point you in the right direction or give you times. Note: lunch is not included in these activities
Your family will enjoy the morning’s more with Wake Up With Wiley which offers: Yoga Tails, Wolf Walk, and The Forest Friends Show. It’s quite brilliant if you ask me and you don’t want to miss – so make sure you verify the times when you check-in. Plus, these get your blood-pumping morning activities are great while you’re waiting for the water park to open.
Keep going? I am. There’s so many things. You didn’t think this was just a water park did you? By now reading all The Great Wolf Lodge has to offer you realize that is a resounding “NO”. Take their attractions – there are so many and again, something for everyone.
MagiQuest (f/t/c) offers two adventures: The Rise of the Totem Masters and Journey to Save the Light and both are great adventures where you can choose how long the quest lasts. Keep your wand and on return visits bring it with you – just purchase new adventures. The Northern Lights Arcade (f/t/c/t) is a huge arcade where the Paw Points do not expire and keep your card to use on return visits. Clubhouse Crew (c) lets your child(ren) create a Great Wolf plush toy that then becomes interactive with various characters and sights around the lodge – turning it into a giant playground. How about a 4-d multi-sensory adventure? Strap in at Howly Wood XD Theater (f/t/c) and feel like you’re part of the movie! The Creation Station (f/c & toddlers) lets your kids choose their Great Wolf Kids character and choose clothing (even matching clothing for your child) all while watching the plush toy being filled. Howl At the Moon Glow Golf (f/t/c/t) will be so much fun – especially if you’ve never played glow in the dark putt-putt before and kids love it (bonus).
A family-friendly game of bowling anyone? Head to Ten Paw Alley (f/t/c) where five-pound balls and half-lanes create a wonderful family bonding experience. Are you ready for your mission? If so, Laser Frenzy (f/t/c/t) is for you and your group. Just remember as you wind your way through this maze to NOT let the colored beams of light touch you … sounds simple. Right? Uhm, nope. You’ll be jumping and hopping and bending along with a gaggle of other things trying to rack up the most points – all the while laughing with your brood and telling them “you let them win” … this time! It’s a blast!!
Note: We were provided a trip to the new Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove but all opinions are our own.
In celebration we are offering some goodies from The Great Wolf Lodge. Prize includes: Stuffed Animals (2), three outfits, Great Wolf Lodge backpack and carrying case. Estimated Retail $120+