Waterpark description: The North Woods-themed indoor waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas, is an 80-foot-tall (floor to ceiling) facility, featuring nine indoor water slides, a wave pool, zero-depth-entry children’s activity pool, adult whirlpool, family indoor/outdoor whirlpool,and Fort Mackenzie, an interactive treehouse water fort with a nearly 1,000-gallon tipping water bucket.

The “it” factor: There’s no question that the epicenter of the indoor waterpark explosion occurred in climates where temperatures regularly fall well below zero. However, the popularity of the concept has spread southward, where the weather often is more hot and dry.

So when Great Wolf Resorts decided to open a property in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area, it faced some unique aquatic design challenges. Engineers had to find a way to cool the indoor waterpark facility instead of heating it. To that end, the facility’s air-handling units were reconfigured to employ a water cooling system, assuring guests comfort while continuing to meet, and exceed, regulated safety standards.

Perhaps the key safety element of the waterpark operation is the staff of nearly 100 certified lifeguards. They help ensure guests enjoy the signature attractions such as the Howlin’ Tornado, an enclosed six-story extreme tube ride with 65-foot funnel that drops 30 feet per second. To operate that ride and the entire the park takes 435,000 gallons of heated water.

Though located deep in the heart of Texas, the Grapevine facility retains Great Wolf Resorts’ signature North Woods theming. It includes two themed family restaurants (Camp Critter Bar & Grille and The Loose Moose Cottage), the Northern Lights Arcade and Cub Club, a children’s activity room developed with a focus on edutainment. Also on site are the Element’s Spa; Scooops kid spa; MagiQuest, a live action fantasy adventure game; and an outdoor waterpark with two tube slides, a recreation pool and a family whirlpool.

Through all its amenities and operations, this facility demonstrates the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Great Wolf Resorts was the first national hotel chain to receive a Green Seal certification earlier this year, and it launched Project Green Wolf, an eco-conscious program that includes operational protocols and educational programming for guests.