Giving new meaning to the term year-round family resort, Great Wolf Lodge defies the weather outside with an indoor waterpark experience that has young and old soaking in the fun.

Whether its 10 degrees below or raining cats and dogs, it is always a balmy 84 degrees inside the resort’s mammoth 58,000-square-foot indoor waterpark. Bear Track Landing puts the emphasis on fun with six waterslides, four pools, and a four-story treehouse waterfort.

The state-of-the-art facility utilizes nearly 380,000 gallons of water that is splashed, sprayed, waved and played in by both kids and parents alike. Bear Track Landing is Great Wolf’s signature interactive play structure with a tipping bucket, and is an ideal escape for both parents and kids offering an environment that allows for time to bond together  as well as safe and supervised — yet independent — kid-friendly fun that gives parents time to relax with children in sight.

Immersive branded elements combine rustic charm with world-class amenities and permeate all public spaces of the hotel resorts and guest rooms. These include a huge, 4-story grand lobby with massive stone fireplace and overstuffed furniture and wood tables; the Great Clock Tower, which comes to life three times daily entertaining guests with animation and song; Northern Lights Arcade with ticket redemption center; and the Iron Horse Fitness Center. Buckhorn Exchange Gift Emporium provides unique gifts. The north wood’s themed experience is extended in Grand Mound to include images from its Pacific Northwest location, such as the incorporation of native salmon into themed décor elements. 

Other amenities of the resort include the Elements Spa, featuring a full menu of Aveda treatments including facials, massages and wraps. For the 12-and-under set, it features a spa designed just for kids. Called Scoops Kid Spa, it offers ice cream-themed manicures and pedicures. Cub Club is a children’s craft and activity center featuring hands-on activities and ideas for being green at home through a unique partnership with National Geographic Explorer.  A new attraction, Gr8t Space, is a tech center with Internet stations, movies and musical entertainment aimed at the tween and teen crowds. Plus, there is MagiQuest, a live-action and fantasy adventure game that’s appropriate for all skill levels and takes guests on a quest throughout the resort. 

The lodge includes nearly 400 north wood’s themed suites, many offering forts or caves for the kids (complete with bunk beds). The largest sleeps up to eight people, with several suites featuring fireplaces, lofts, balconies and whirlpool tubs. All suites feature in-room microwaves and refrigerators. These rooms are magical to children, giving them the feeling they are in a tree house, or “tent roughing it in the woods.”

Great Wolf Lodge is the first and only U.S. hotel chain to be Silver Certified in Project Green Seal. Green Seal is a 20-year-old, independent, non-profit organization dedicated to creating a more sustainable world. Green Seal created rigorous, science-based criteria for the lodging industry, which includes nearly 30 environmentally responsible components required for a hotel — recycling, energy conservation, water conservation, and socially responsible purchasing, to name a few. Meeting these requirements means the resorts are substantially reducing their environmental impact.

As a customer focused company, Great Wolf’s management team listened to guests desires for its buildings and practices to be green.  Launching Project Green Wolf in 2007 to play a leading role in conserving the planet for future generations by educating and establishing green traditions for both guests and employees. Areas of emphasis include conservation of fresh water resources by installing low flow showerheads and using local plants in landscape beds that require less water. The laundry facility recycles 70 percent of the water it consumes. Co-mingled recycle bins are placed in all public spaces and guest rooms in the hotel.

The waterpark filtration systems use 80 to 90 percent less water than traditional filters and Great Wolf mechanically controls the humidity and temperatures in the park so there’s very little water loss from evaporation.  The resort recovers most of its water, filters it, treats it, and returns it to the waterpark, making the systems the most effective and complete in the world.  This allows the facilities to use the lowest amount of chlorine possible, while staying within the recommended local and state guidelines. Less chlorine in the pools means less chlorine released into the environment.


Aquatic space: 60,000 square feet

Year opened: 2008

Cost: N/A

Dream feature: The 60,000-square-foot Bear Track Landing indoor waterpark.


  • Dream Designer: Weber Group Inc.
  • Aquatic Design Build Contractor: Water Technology
  • Architect: GSBS


  • Filters:Neptune-Benson Inc.
  • Pumps: Aurora
  • Water Play Structures: SCS Interactive
  • Waterslides: ProSlide Technology Inc.


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