When traveling with kids for an overnight trip, the biggest requirements are cleanliness, fun, a variety of good food and of course spacious accommodations. Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara hits all of these with flying colours.
Attention to Food and Offering A Variety Hits the Mark
For some families, fussy kids or allergies can play a huge role on the desire to even travel away from home and what struck me most about Great Wolf Lodge is the flexibility and variety when it comes to food. The resort encourages families to check out the website prior to arriving to get insight into the food offerings but better than that, you can email the chef with any questions at askthechef on the site. The lodge carries a full line of gluten free products, which aren’t necessarily put out for everyone but can be brought out for those who require it.
The food facilities accommodate all allergies and for more technical questions about allergies you can also write to the ‘ask the chef’ address. What’s wonderful for families with special needs when it comes to food is that resort doesn’t think it’s a ‘chore’. They even meet with a guest/parent when they arrive at the lodge to walk through what they’d like to see and what they have planned.
I love the fact that they allow you to connect with them and ask for what you need to make your meals enjoyable. Very few places I know allow that. In fact, just after I had interviewed, Joel, I was approached by a South Asian family at the dinner buffet, looking for vegetarian options. A mother asked if I knew if there were any other options other than vegetables and salad for vegetarians. I pointed her to the pasta making station and also told her that the chef is more than happy to accommodate custom requests (usually with a bit of notice but she should try!). She did just that. Later I noticed their table had a slew of different vegetarian offerings on their table and they were quite happy. They even have a vegan cupcake which is also nut-free and dairy-free.
For more on what food options are available, watch this video interview with Joel Gelwarg, Food and Beverage Director for Great Wolf Lodge.
“Our chefs really enjoy connecting with the guests and they love cooking special,” says Joel Gelwarg, Food and Beverage Director, Great Wolf Lodge. “Great Wolf Lodge takes pride in the fact that they cater to every palate and the reason is that they do their homework. Our chefs and myself go to a lot of trade shows and our chefs are very proud in making sure that they are on the cutting edge of cooking. We take a great deal of pride in the food we produce. Our chefs’ jobs are to stay current and we change our menus every season. Everyone also gets to bring in a recipe and we do a taste panel which includes some of our guts and our corporate team.”
Gelwarg adds that the food team look at the presentation of the item, talk about taste and how guests would receive each of the recipes.
Waterpark Promises Hours of Fun in a Safe Kid-Friendly Environment
The waterpark is the highlight of course and my kids did not want to leave. They have 11 different varieties of areas in the park with a pool for every age range.
Here’s what you should know:
- Upon entering the park each child is sized to determine which are of the park they are allowed to be in based on height and then they are given a coloured wristband to match (this allows staff in the park to keep a watch on who is where and keep everyone safe)
- Waterpark attendants check wristbands
- There are 32 lifeguards and waterpark attendants in the waterpark at all times
Some of our favourite water park areas were:
Kiddie Slides These specialty slides, designed for the little ones, are perfectly sized and perfectly safe for them to get in on all the water slide playtime. My kids never wanted to get off!
Fort Mackenzie: Experience a multi-story, splash-loaded interactive treehouse – Fort Mackenzie. Suspension bridges, swinging cargo nets and dozens of kid-activated water effects fill every step along the climb to the top of this water park favourite. And if you’re still not drenched, just wait for the gigantic bucket to tip from the treetops.
Frog Pond: perfect for young kids! Balance on logs and lily pads as you make your way across this agility course set in a pool of course! Kids (and parents alike) get excited to take a turn, testing their skills on this challenging crossing. Frog Pond comes complete with nets above to swing from or grab for more stability. And in case you take a false step, a warm water landing is always waiting below.
As a spa enthusiast, I was thrilled to see a spa for moms on site and one for kids! Now we didn’t have time to check out the spa because my kids never wanted to leave the waterpark! I am actually looking forward to coming back and checking it out.
Here’s a peak:
Kids can’t sleep and driving you nuts? No problem, you can come out in your pjs into the lobby for story time! It’s great for little ones as they listen to a Great Wolf Lodge storyteller share night time stories. My kids were pretty tired out after the waterpark and dinner but they got excited on the way back to our room after seeing lots of children reading stories in the lobby. As a mom it’s great, you can have them sit down and not have to entertain them at a late hour!
Accommodations for Families at Great Wolf Lodge Offer Different Options and Themes
To be perfectly honest, I rarely jump at the chance to stay anywhere where the accommodations are anything but a multi-bedroom suite because my kids cannot sleep in the same space. So I was actually hesitant to stay the night. I was pretty impressed by the Majestic Bear Suite at Great Wolf Lodge and I have to say it was probably one of the largest hotel-room style accommodations I’ve ever stayed in with my kids.
Here is what the suite features:
- Master bedroom with a king bed with 37″ Flat Screen TV
- Main portion of the suite includes 2 queen beds
- Full-size sofa sleeper and 37″ Flat Screen TV
- Breakfast bar area with seating for 4
- Suite may include a private balcony or patio (the balcony or patio type is determined at check-in and is based on availability)
- Mini fridge
- Coffee maker
- Hair dryer
- Free Wifi
If you’re done watching your kids drench themselves in the waterpark, the arcade area and bowling area (Ten Paw) will definitely give kids the chance to exercise some of their other muscles. There are mini merry-go rounds for little ones, race car games for older ones and games with prizes too. Our favourite was the bowling alley because we could do a group activity together and just enjoy family time before our next meal.
One of the most unique aspects of Great Wolf Lodge is MagiQuest®.
It’s an adventure kids get to try out the minute you check into the lodge. Kids get to be a ‘Master Magi’ as they explore the lodge and their way to their room as if it were an an enchanted kingdom. Using guidance from the legendary Book of Wisdom, kids ‘gain magic powers’ to befriend pixies and battle a dragon. You an customize your adventure by using special wand toppers to help give you hints or let you fast-forward through adventures. MagiQuest® is a unique fantasy-themed scavenger hunt that sets your imagination free and takes you on a journey throughout the resort!
Check out this video:
- Your wand not only makes a great souvenir, you can use it over and over again when you come back to the lodge to purchase your next adventure.
- You can play until late hours! Depending on the number of quests you decide to go on at one time, you can play from 30 minutes or three hours at a time. You can also take a break for lunch or dinner and come back to finish your quest.
The one main issue I had with the rooms and the lodge in general was that it was really too dark. The waterpark area was so bright and lovely that it really didn’t make me want to go to my room. But I imagine MagiQuest® requires some special lighting to accommodate the quests so lights need to be low.
Location is Perfect
By using PROMO CODE MMOMFUN you’ll be able to receive 20% off the best available rate until June26, 2015! Head over to www.greatwolflodge/niagara to book!
Disclaimer: We stayed as guests of Great Wolf Lodge, but all opinions are my own.
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