Mari's Moments

What’s new and surprising at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine

Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine offers a lot of family-friendly activities.
Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine offers a lot of family-friendly activities.

Sometimes, the whole family needs a little break.

Still a few weeks away from summer break, our family took a much-needed staycation at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine.

It’s been a few years since we ventured to the 80,000-square-foot indoor water park and resort just off Texas 121 in Grapevine.

The 1.4-acre water park includes a children’s pool with slides, wave pools, a lazy river and a variety of slides that are suitable for small children and teenagers. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, a smaller outdoor water park will be open during the summer months.

While the water park access, available exclusively to guests, was the main attraction for our weekend getaway, it was surprising to learn of all the included activities and new services offered to guests.

Great Wolf realized families were looking for activities before the water park opened and after it closed, said Andrew Dorough, general manager for the Grapevine resort. “Now, there’s too much to do in one day.”

A quick glance at the daily activities sheet given to guests at check-in proved Dorough’s point. On the sheet were 10 included activities, beginning with “Yoga Tails” at 8:30 a.m. and concluding with the “Hustle and Howl Dance Party” at 9:30 p.m.

Here are a few of the new and surprising experiences guests can enjoy at the Grapevine resort:

Round-the-clock fun

My 6-year-old son was willing to spend all day and night exploring every nook and cranny of the resort. During our stay, he had his choice of Great Clock Tower Show, an eight-minute animatronic show; Howlin’ Wiley Bingo in the Cub Club; or the Jammie Jamboree, a raucous dance lesson and party. Those activities are included with a guest stay.

While most guests opt to purchase the popular scavenger hunt game MagiQuest (Wand prices start at $15.99 and activating the game is $14.99), there are plenty of included activities that families can enjoy. One perk is the Cub Club, a nice, quiet spot for children 8 and younger to do crafts and have some down time away from the hustle-and-bustle of the resort. Note: A parent is required to stay with a child during club activities.

A four-story challenge

This was the first time we had experienced the four-story Howlers’ Peak Ropes Course, which offers fun for all levels. (Admission is $9.99 for guests under 48 inches; $12.99 for over 48 inches) There’s an entry-level course for the 48-inch-and-under crowd to get accustomed to the harness.

My 6-year-old started on the child’s course and was able to go up to three levels on the main ropes course, which includes bridges, zip lines and the option to jump from a four-story platform at the end of the course.

During our experience, children of all ages and adults were enjoying the course, which requires guests to wear closed-toe athletic shoes.

Wine and dine

Starting Memorial Day weekend, Grapevine will be one of two Great Wolf Lodge resorts launching a “Wine Down Service.” Adult guests will be able to choose from one of four wine and food packages, starting at $35 (including delivery to your room). Pairings include a bottle of wine with sweets, cheeses or fruits.

“The concept for Wine Down Service was developed as a way to provide parents with a wine experience they can savor after their children have fallen asleep,” Chris Hammond, the corporate director of food and beverage for Great Wolf Lodge, said in a news release.

While we weren’t able to experience the new service, we did eat breakfast and a dinner at Loose Moose Cottage in the resort. The restaurant offers a gourmet dinner buffet ($20.99 for ages 12 and older, $7.99 for ages 4-11 and free for 3 and younger with paying adult) that includes a salad and baked potato bar, variety of meat and vegetable entrees, and a children’s bar with favorites such as pizza, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets.

The breakfast ($14.99 for ages 12 and older, $7.99 for ages 4-11 and free for 3 and younger with paying adult) includes a made-to-order omelet station and waffles in the shape of paw prints.

There are more casual and formal dining options in the resort, and don’t forget that Grapevine has a lot of food offerings on Main Street and along Texas 121.

Spa service for all ages

The Scooops Kid Spa is a popular spot for kids to get ice cream-themed manicures, pedicures and facials, but did you know that the adult version has teen packages?

The Elements Spa Salon offers a variety of services, including massages, facials and waxing services. For teens ages 15 to 18, there are specially designed packages, including a teen facial, mani/pedi and massage.

Our 16-year-old son took time out of the fun to study for his AP exam during our stay. To reward him and provide some stress-relief, we booked a 30-minute teen massage ($55) that focused on his neck, shoulders and back. He was all smiles after the massage. By the way, he thinks he nailed the exam.

That fuzzy feeling

The Great Wolf Lodge resort has its own set of loveable mascots, including Wiley the Wolf and Violet. It was surprising how quickly my 6-year-old picked up on all the characters.

Not only has he started a stuffed animal collection of his favorites (available at Creation Station, starting at $29.99), he was able to meet Wiley and Violet. Characters can be found throughout the lodge for hugs and photo opportunities.

You know it’s been a successful family trip when your son says: “I don’t ever want to leave.”

Maricar Estrella blogs at Find her on Twitter @mymarimoments +

Great Wolf Lodge