Vacations are hard with small people, amiright?
As it’s been best said, “vacations with kids are not vacations; they’re parenting in a different location.” And while I want to take fabulous, memory-making vacations with my kiddos, I’m not willing to shell out big bucks for something they may or may not remember and an experience that will most likely leave me exhausted.
So in these sweet “golden” years, you’ll find us embarking on road trips as weekend warriors. A road trip to visit Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, MN, is right up my family’s alley!
After a little google maps reconnaissance, I determined Great Wolf Lodge was the ideal family road trip: a three and a half hour drive from Des Moines, awesome indoor resort fun for kids and adults, a plethora of dining options, family-friendly hotel rooms, and lots of fun things to do in the Twin Cities area.
In the summer you can be protected from the burning sun and sweltering temperatures. In the winter you can warm up in the heated indoor water park. Because the resort offers such fantastic indoor fun, the best time to go is ANYTIME!
Reasons Why You Should Go
Obviously, the extensive water park attractions are one of the biggest reasons you should plan your trip to Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota. With up to eleven different areas in their swim, splash, and slide zones, there is an aquatic area for everyone age.
For example, I have a pretty timid three-year-old. Gracie likes water, but she doesn’t like getting splashed. With a zero entry depth in the Cub Paw Pool, she was set. And by the end, Gracie was sliding down a mini water slide on her own and running around like she owned the place.
Then, on the other hand, you have my seven-year-old son who has never met a risky adventure he didn’t like. By the end, Lucan was going down the tallest Otter Run water slides just as fast as we would let him!
Other Non-Water Things to Do
Sometimes fingers and toes need a break from becoming wrinkled raisins. Great Wolf Lodge has something for those down times too! We had paw passes for the kids which meant they had lots of fun extras they got to do. My son (and my husband for that matter) highly enjoyed the MagiQuest adventure. He was outfitted with a magic wand with special powers and off he went exploring the lodge, completing quests, and lighting up treasure chests and light-up crystals. While we didn’t complete the entire quest, Great Wolf Lodge staff advised the complete quest can take anywhere from three to six hours (my competitive husband really wanted to finish the entire thing).
My daughter delighted in the Creation Station where she got to pick out her very own Great Wolf Lodge animal and watch it get created before her very eyes. In fact, she told me that her “wolfie” has cotton candy inside of her. I think she was a little sad when I told her she couldn’t eat the “cotton candy” inside.
My kiddos also had a great time doing kids yoga and partaking in the Kickoff to Summer party. Not to mention, they adored the giant cup of candy they got to pick and the Northern Lights Arcade where I got to witness my husband’s need to win at the giant whack-a-SpongeBob game (think whack-a-mole). There’s also super fun things like Howlers Peak Ropes Course and a mini Ten-Paw bowling alley!
Going Above and Beyond
If taking your reluctant swimmers to a very busy water park gives you cause for concern, you are not alone. Rest assured, Great Wolf Lodge goes above and beyond to help keep everyone safe. Even before you walk through the doors of the water park, staff members are conducting height checks and administering colored wristbands indicating which areas of the water park are height appropriate.
Great Wolf Lodge also has several racks of life jackets available for kids of all sizes to use. And at every corner, there are lifeguards keeping watch over their designated area.
Fun fact #1: Even though check-in isn’t until 4 p.m. you can start enjoying the water park as early as 1 p.m.!
Fun fact #2: After checking in to our room, I received a text message from a staff member who was my “personal assistant” for the weekend. I could text her with any questions, and she sent me reminders of fun stuff was happening and check-out instructions!
Fun fact #3: My husband lost his wristband/room key on the first day. They replaced it without so much as a blink of the eye.
Fun fact #4: There was a freak power outage during our breakfast at Campfire Kitchen. Yes, not ideal but the food was still delicious (best french toast!) and the staff was accommodating despite the extenuating circumstances. Don’t let power outages get you down!
Fun fact #5: You can reuse your MagiQuest wand when you visit Great Wolf Lodge again in the future!
Learn More About Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota
1700 American Boulevard East
Bloomington, MN 55425