We decided to surprise the boys and take them to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX for a night away.  We secretly packed everything we would need and snuck it into the van.  We told the boys we needed to run some errands so we loaded up and took off. When we were about a half hour away they started questioning what our errands were and where we were going.  We danced around their questions and when we pulled into the parking lot they were confused and surprised at the same time.  I’m so glad we were able to keep it a secret!  I’ll always remember their expressions when they realized a boring day of errands had just turned into a two day water park adventure!

great wolf lodge http://familytravelonashoestring.com

I was excited for the two days of getting away from the everyday mundane tasks and getting to spend it uninterrupted with my family. However, I was not looking forward to two days of water parks because public pools gross me out a little bit and I get motion sickness on rides. I was pleasantly surprised with Great Wolf Lodge and actually enjoyed the water park! My husband is even thinking of making it a yearly trip and one of my boys wants to live there.


-We went in the beginning of April during the week and the lines were very short for every ride and the pools were not overcrowded. I’m pretty sure if you go during the Summer or on the weekends it would be packed.

-Very family oriented.  They have everything you need to have a great getaway.  No need to pack a ton of stuff, they have plenty of towels in the pool area and offer life jackets for the kids.  The life jackets are clean- nothing like the nasty ones offered at canoe rental places.

-Offers family suites so our family was able to get one room instead of two.

-Very clean, other than the bathrooms in the water park being wet (obviously) every thing was well taken care.

-Full breakfast buffet with plenty of the traditional breakfast fare as well as healthy and gluten free options. There was something for everyone in our family. By no means gourmet dining but it was filling.

-Most of the restaurants had a good selection of gluten free options.

-There is a spa for moms.  I didn’t get to have any spa treatments but it would have been wonderful to have a massage and pedicure on our get away.


-Expensive if you don’t have a Groupon or some other sort of discount.

-They offer all kinds of extra attractions at a premium price.  We all know that arcades are a scam and a huge waste of money.  You spend $20 bucks and your child walks away with a mini tootsie roll. Great Wolf Lodge brings the arcade scam to a whole new level.  $5 buys a game card with 16 points on it.  Most of the games cost 6-8 points per play which means for $5 your child plays two games.  Yep- two games, maybe three and that’s it folks.

-While most of the restaurants offer gluten free selections, the pizza restaurant didn’t.  At a place that is targeted at kids you would think they would offer a gluten free crust.  We thought about trying it but with no gluten free option we passed.


My MIL gave the boys $200 for Christmas to use for a trip.  We thought we could get a Groupon and go for around that much.  By the time I ordered our Groupon the six guest package was sold out and we had to buy the seven guest package.  The package included our room, breakfast buffet, and water park passes for two days.

Groupon: $249

Taxes and Fees: $70

Ice Cream: $22

Arcade: $20

Dinner at Red Robin: $70

One day locker rental: $15

Grand Total: $446

What We Would Do Differently Next Time

-We packed a dinner and snacks to take with us.  I grossly underestimated how hungry swimming would make us and I didn’t take enough food.  Next time I’ll pack more food that is a little heartier with less carbs and more protein.  We were so hungry after swimming we went for ice cream and spent a whopping $22 on six scoops.  My husband says the ice cream was worth the $22.  I’m not sure I agree.

-Skip the arcade.

-Pack something to take for lunch the next day.  We were starving by the time we left at 3:30.  We had a refrigerator in our room and I could have easily brought sandwiches or chicken salad for our lunch the second day.  We ended up stopping by Red Robin on our way home.

great wolf lodge http://familytravelonashoestring.com

We had a great time at Great Wolf Lodge and recommend it and will probably go back.  It was relaxing for us and we enjoyed some great quality family time.