2020 has been a rough year. We have cancelled so many trips that we were really looking forward to. We were able to get away to the beach this summer, but even that wasn’t the same.
When the topic of Lily’s 8th birthday came up, we were at a loss on what kind of party to have. Do we invite all of her friends? Only the ones we’ve seen? It seemed more trouble than it was worth. So, we asked her what she wanted. Her answer. A trip.
Now this girl is spoiled. She seems to always weasel a trip out of us for her birthday, partly because we love to travel in the fall, and partly because going away is easier than planning a birthday party for kids. So, we researched destinations that were close and wouldn’t have us quarantining when we returned.
Great Wolf Lodge has many locations throughout the country. Luckily, we have one about 3 hours away in Sandusky, OH. Truthfully, I’ve read that this one is smaller than most and doesn’t have as many things to do, but it was plenty for the weekend and we couldn’t wait to get there!
I booked a standard family suite since we were only staying one night and figured we wouldn’t be in the room that much. If we would have stayed any longer, I definitely would have upgraded to have the wolf den bunk beds room for the kids. The standard suite had two queen beds and a living room area with a couch and table. It also had a small balcony. It was perfect for our family of 5.
The Water Park
The water park itself seemed small upon entering, but it is perfect for smaller kids. There were a variety of slides to try and splash-pad style water structures. There was also a lazy river, but there was nothing relaxing about it. It was small and the kids in there were running and pushing.
If you are looking for thrilling rides and water park attractions, this is not the place to go. It is all created to be perfect for smaller children. And it totally was. My kids had a blast! We only lasted about 3 hours in the water park and we were all done.
The best part about staying at Great Wolf Lodge was all of the activities that were included with your stay. I signed my family up for literally everything we could do so that we took complete advantage of all they had to offer.
Since it was the beginning of October, “Howloween” was in full effect. The first activity we did was trick or treating. There were 6 candy stations throughout the resort and they each handed out a little treat. I have to be honest though, they each handed out one piece of candy and maybe a sticker, so you are only getting a bag with 6 candies in it. Now granted they are free, but most places we’ve been that offer trick or treating load you up! When we did Disney’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we came home with pounds of goodies. The kids enjoyed it though.
Next was story time with Wiley the Wolf. It was cute and I’m sure it was a lot better before Covid when the workers could actually interact with you. I was pleasantly surprised you still got to take a picture with Wiley after the story. He stood on a riser and the kids stood below. Definitely something they enjoyed.
The final activity we actually got to do twice. It was the Monster Bash Dance Party. When we checked in the only available time, they had was 10pm. I took it but as the day wore on, it was clear we were not making it. To my surprise, Delaney held out and demanded we dance like monsters at 10pm after a long day at the water park. It was surprisingly fun and had a decent amount of people in attendance. Everyone else was asleep in the room.
Because of this, we registered to attend the dance again the next morning before we checked out. Kevin took the kids down while I packed up the room. Everyone loved it.
We hit the arcade on the way out to go home. Lily loves an arcade and it was her birthday trip, so I relented and gave each kid $10 which lasted approximately 8 minutes. They each earned enough to get a squishy that I will probably throw away in the next week, so mission accomplished.
Tips and Tricks To Have an Incredible Stay
I’m so glad we were able to head off to Great Wolf Lodge for a quick getaway. It’s somewhere we had been looking to go. Here are my takeaways:
If you are at all worried about Covid – skip it! The resort was mostly clean, everyone was required to wear a mask and they really limited activities, which was nice. However, once you enter the water park it was a free for all. No social distancing, no limits on how many people can be in the pool and you were smack up against the person in front and back of you in line. We were ok with this, but if you aren’t, it’s important to know before you go!
It was absolutely perfect for younger kids. I would say anyone under 10 would really appreciate everything they have to offer!
The free wolf ears all the kids get at check in is an adorable way to start your stay. Seeing all of the kids running around with the little ears really makes it fun!
This is definitely a family-style getaway. Be ready to go down slides or wait at the bottom and act like a kid again!
The food options were great, although pricey. The Dunkin Donuts in the lobby during morning hours was perfect for breakfast before check out!
You can order drinks from the bar and grill and bring it back to the waterpark! We couldn’t enjoy that perk because we were in the water, but we definitely ordered and took back to the room later in the evening!
Pack food for the room because you will get hungry, especially when the kids swim all day! The restaurants close pretty early and the price of snacks was high, so bringing a bag of snacks and drinks worked perfectly. There’s a small fridge and microwave in each room, perfect for bottled water and microwave popcorn!
Great Wolf Lodge supplies towels at the pool and life jackets and puddle jumpers. The puddle jumpers seemed to be limited, so we had to go with life jackets. Next time we will bring our own puddle jumpers just to be safe, but it was nice to not have to pack them if you are short on room!
Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect place for families with smaller children to escape and enjoy a weekend together. It was nice to leave cell phones in the room while we were playing in the water and spending time together.
It is a great way to really connect with your children and enjoy things on their level. If you get the chance, definitely take the trip!