Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls Review!

The Gang at Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls Ontario!
We recently took a mini family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario!  We had never been before, but had heard very good reviews of the resort from friends, relatives and strangers.  From a budget perspective, we liked that no airfare was required to get to the water park, and we just drove over from Toronto.  And from a time perspective, we loved that the kids did not have to miss school--and the adults did not have to miss work days--if we were to visit on a weekend.  We took our 5 young kids aged 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7-years old!     
The Animal "Greeters" in the Great Wolf Lodge Lobby
Photo Taken INSIDE Great Wolf Lodge Lobby!
When we arrived at the lodge, right away we were drawn into the theme of a rustic log cabin deep in the woods.  The lobby was themed with a talking animatronic bear, moose, tree, wolf and wolf cub.  It really helped set the mood for the fun time the kids were going to have.  The fireplace was lit and welcoming to visitors of the lodge.  We decided to wait for our room before starting the day at the water park.
The Majestic Bear Suite at Great Wolf Lodge
As a family of 7, we opted for The Majestic Bear Suite at Great Wolf Lodge.  If featured three separate sleeping areas, a large sitting area, and a balcony.  The master bedroom had a four poster king bed made from logs, a flat screen tv and a door that could be shut for privacy.  The main room included a full bathroom, elevated sitting area with mini refrigerator, 2 queen beds separated by a half wall, a pull-out bed with a flat screen tv (on the other side of the half wall), and the walk-out balcony that I mentioned earlier.  There was a safety deposit box in the room for valuables.  Soap was provided, but I would recommend bringing your own shampoo (a sample size was provided for children). 

Bonus: the room and entire resort included free WIFI internet connection, which was great because I brought my laptop, iPad and other wired devices!     

Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark, Niagara Falls, Ontario!
When we left our lodge room to seek out the Great Wolf Lodge water park, we were in awe!  It was gigantic with so much to do.  We were impressed that before the kids could gain admission to the park, that each was measured and banded for age-appropriate activities.  Next, there were racks and racks of children's life jackets available for families to use.  We played it safe and borrowed 5 life vests for our 5 kids.          Lifeguards were EVERYWHERE, which gave my husband and I a more confident feeling, although we always watch our kids very well.
Get Wet at  Fort Mackenzie: the Leaky Water Fort!
There were so many different areas of water play for ALL ages at the Great Wolf Lodge water park!  

CHIPMUNK COVE & KIDDIE SLIDES - This section of the water park was for babies and toddlers.  It was very shallow with fountains shooting out of the floor and a water basketball area.  It also featured water slides that were appropriate for toddlers.  At its deepest, it would not come over a toddler's head.  My 2- and 3-year olds tried the slides, but were a little timid of the water rush at the bottom of the slide.
My 3 Youngest Boys Playing at Chipmunk Cove!
FORT MACKENZIE - This 4-story playground was for kids of all ages that enjoy getting soaked!  There are buckets you can dump on upsuspecting others (or yourself), squirt guns, and leaky pipes that have a way of soaking parents!  We spent a lot of time in Fort Mackenzie.  

GREAT WOLF LODGE WATER BUCKET - I was fascinated by the giant Great Wolf Lodge water bucket.  It's a bucket the size of a tepee, that dumps the water on anyone brave enough to stand below it below!  I admit it, I stood under the massive bucket of water and my family was shocked to see me get soaked from head to toe!  See footage of the giant bucket, below!
The Giant Bucket Dump at Great Wolf Lodge! 

BEAVER & SQUIRREL FALLS - These waterfalls were accessible via Fort Mackenzie and were for kids aged 4- to 8-years old, in my estimation.  No lifejackets were permitted on this ride.  My kids spent a lot of time riding these "falls", and got tons of exercise climbing Fort Mackenzie repeatedly!

FROG POND - This was very popular with my 6- and 7-year old kids!  It's an obstacle course of anchored "lily pads" floating in a swimming pool.  Kids navigate the course by crawling, jumping or walking to the next lily pad.  If they miss, they fall in the water!  There is a mesh rope canopy overhead to help with the task.  See the video below of my son navigating the Frog Pond!     
      My Son Tests His Skill at the Frog Pond!

My kids really loved the Rainbow Lake wave pool!  It started off very shallow and deepened, so was appropriate for all ages (supervised).  There were lounge chairs laid out poolside to the lake, so it was a great place to get set up at for the day.  The umbrella fountain feature offered fun for my youngest kids.  Check out my videos below of wave pool and the umbrella fountain!

Rainbow Lake Wave Pool!

Zany Umbrella Fountain at Rainbow Lake

CRYSTAL RIVER - Crystal River featured a "lazy river" in which you could sit in an inner tube, and be gently carried along the stream.  For families, double inner tubes were available.  Tired parents will love sailing down the Crystal River and enjoying the ride!  Be prepared to get water dumped on your head if you're not alert!

CANADA VORTEX -  Canada Vortex is a waterslide that shoots you down a yellow and blue striped slide, dumps you in a psychedelic chamber and then pretty much flushes you down a toilet.  You can ride down in a single or double inner tube (for families).  It was amazing!  Be sure to bring an inner tube up the stairs, as none are stocked at the top of the ride.  Excuse the screaming in my video, below, but I didn't know that my waterproof case would pick up the volume! 

My Ride on the Canada Vortex With My 4-Year Old!

WOOLY MAMMOTH - The Wooly Mammoth waterslide is a giant innertube that can fit your entire family!  What a rush it was to take the kids down the huge orange slide and shoot out of the tunnel below.  Little kids going on the ride are not allowed to sit in parent's laps.  Expect line up for the waterslides, as they are quite popular!  Check out my video, below of the Wooly Mammoth.  Again, I apologize for the screams!

A Screamingly Good Time on the Wooly Mammoth!

NIAGARA RAPIDS RUN - I didn't get to try this ride with the kids, but my hubby did!  He loved that the ride is turbo charged by a conveyor belt and you get up some real speed.  I would call this a combination of rollercoaster and waterslide. This is multi-person ride, so bring the kids!

GRIZZLY FALLS, EAGLE FALLS & BOBCAT FALLS -  We did not have a chance to try out these waterslides, but we hope to next time!  

WHIRLPOOL HOT SPAS - We did not go into the indoor whirpool with the kids, but they looked like great fun!  All the people relaxing there were happy and relaxed.  Next time we hope to try out the hot spas!

LOON LAGOON - This was the outdoor party of the waterpark that we did not visit, as it was closed in the winter.  However, the Great Outdoors Hot Spa (outdoor hot tub) was available for adults over 18-years old!  This would be a great area to visit in the Summer!

OTTER LAKE ACTIVITY POOL - This was the big indoor swimming pool at Great Wolf Lodge!  My favourite part about this pool, was that it featured anchored "lily pads" that you can sit upon in the middle of the pool.  This is a deeper pool, so it was better suited to kids who can swim aged 6-years or older (in my opinion).  This pool would be too deep for toddlers.  A great place to have a swim!
My Gang Hanging Out at Rainbow Lake!
We had heard great things about the food at Great Wolf Lodge, but wanted to taste for ourselves.  When we went to the lodge in March, the main restaurants were Antler Shanty Grub and Bear Claw Cafe.  Antler Shanty was a place for sit down meals, and Bear Claw for a quick bite.  I was afraid that I would not find healthy choices at the waterpark, but I was absolutely wrong: there was an abundance of food choices for everyone!

We enjoyed sit down meals at Antler Shanty Grub, which was buffet style.  I have to hand it to them, there was food for even the pickiest kid and their mother!  Food ranged from a fresh salad bar, fresh fruit, soups, fish, mussels, chicken, meats, to macaroni and cheese, ravioli, chicken nuggets, pizza, and french fries for the kids (dinner).  Breakfast was hot and cold cereal, waffles, pancakes, yogurt, sausages, bacon, an omelette station and everything else you can dream of!  There was also a plenitude of desserts, including an icecream station for the kids.  The buffet was massive, and I was able to enjoy my meal without going off of my healthy eating regime.  

Meals at Bear Claw Cafe were simpler, with lots of grab-and-go meal choices like salads, yogurt parfaits, sandwiches and pizzas.  Of course, there were scrumptious desserts that my kids noticed at once, which you can see them grabbing in one of the photos below!
The Food at Great Wolf Lodge
The kids were really excited to receive their own pair of wolf ears at the Antler Shanty restaurant, and have a chance to meet Great Wolf Lodge mascot Wiley.  It really was a special treat for all of them, and I thought that it was a nice touch to have a meet-and-greet for the children.
My Gang Meets Wiley the Wolf!
We spent some time at the arcade during our trip to Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls.  My kids wanted to play at the arcade when we had finished for the day at the waterpark.  I thought that it offered good value for a family of 7, in terms of price per token.  For the older kids, I liked that they could collect tickets which  could be redeem for prizes like toys and sweets.  My younger kids enjoyed the coin-operated ride on toys and skeet ball.
My Little Guys Playing at the Arcade
We had such a GREAT time at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and would absolutely recommend it for families with babies up to teens.  Weeks later, my kids are still asking to go back to the lodge and talking about the wonderful time they had.  My oldest son is still wearing his Great Wolf Lodge park bracelets as a souvenir, and will not take them off!  My husband and I agreed that we'd also love to return, and are now hoping to plan our second visit!
Our Fabulous Trip to Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls, Ontario!
  Have you ever been to Great Wolf Lodge?  Does your family enjoy waterparks or swimming?


  1. We have been there a bunch of times. We are from the area, and have family that live there still. So sometimes we go and stay. Our boys love it. We stay in the Kids Kamp rooms, and they are awesome.

    1. Shari, lucky you! The Kids Kamp rooms look awesome with the bunk beds and their own tv!

  2. I have heard so many great things about GWL! Unfortunately it is pretty far for us, but maybe once the kids are older we will make the trek out that way

    1. mamawee, I thank my lucky stars for are in-car movie centre! It helps so much for car trips!

  3. it is an awesome place to take the little ones lovely pictures and videos
    we have been there a few years ago I think it is nice :)

    1. Thank you Torviewtoronto! I bought a waterproof case for my camera so I could capture our time together.

  4. Love your detailed post! We have never been, but I really would love to.

    Glad to hear about the number of lifeguards! That part is extremely important to me, being a former LifeGuard myself!

    1. Thanks Multi-Testing Mommy! Yes, they really had it covered with number of lifeguards and proper placements of the guards at any hot spots.

  5. Looks like an amazing, family friendly place to visit! Great photos and videos that give you a real feel for what fun things are in store for your family when you arrive.

    1. Thanks Monica! It really was a family-friendly place. I'm glad that the photos and videos helped paint a clearer picture of the park.

  6. Incredible review! Your family and children are so beautiful, your one up on me, I feel capped out at 4 I don't know how you do it, LOL.

    Love the video of the frog pond I really gave me an idea of what exactly is was about. I would love to try it! Hee hee.

    Never been to Great wolf but we LOVE the FALLS

    1. Thanks a lot, Tammy! My oldest two kids enjoyed the challenge of the frog pond. It was a great example of cause and effect and so much fun to watch! If you have the chance to go, I know that your kids would love it! There are shallows for your littlest guy.

  7. What a great review Jenna! Looks like everyone had an awesome time, and your kids are SOO cute...look at those smiles!! :) I've heard a lot about Great Wolf Lodge and it's nice to read a review...we'll have to check it out some day! :)

    1. Thanks Brandi! I know that your guys would enjoy the lodge, they are definitely the right age for it. On our way home stopped by to see Niagara Falls. It was a nice trip.

  8. I am glad that I stumbled upon this blog. A few year back, my boyfriend and I traveled from Manitoba to Sudbury for a cousins wedding and then to Timmins to stay at my Aunt and Uncles. We both had never been East of Manitoba, and it was a very nice drive there and back. We have talked about going again when we have a bit more money and time and check out Toronto and Niagara Falls while being in the area. Now that we have a son, Great Wolf Lodge would be the perfect place to stay. I love the water and water slides. So far my son is loving the water, so now I am looking forward to making a lot of wonderful memories with him and his dad :)

  9. oh such fond memories I love santa village all year long thanks for the memories

  10. We live on the other side of the country but do have family in Ontario. Will have to tell them to check this place out.

  11. We would eventually love to get to Great Wolf Lodge....just waiting for the time and money to do it. :)

  12. Never been there..wishing to go there one day!! looks like so much fun!!

  13. Thanks for the great GWL review. We have been debating whether my kids are old enough to truly enjoy it. They are currently 2.5 and 4.5. My youngest absolutely loves the pool and water park. Their cousins have all gone to GWL and always said how much fun they had. Maybe it's time to take the 'plunge' with my boys?

  14. wow looks like a blast! we want to take our girls there too.. looks like its fun for everyone :)

  15. still looking forward to going here, this would be a great treat for February

  16. We are also hoping to visit niagra falls in 2016

  17. You made your trip there look and sound amazing,i love the photo of everyone in the huge chair...priceless

  18. This looks like so much fun, i've heard of great wolf lodge before, seen some of their commercials, never been there. Or to niagra falls.


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