Cincinnati Family Magazine

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December 4, 2022

Mom Report: Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge is a vacation destination right in our backyard. Booking a stay at Great Wolf Lodge (GWL) in Mason, Ohio insures every member of your family will have a great getaway, because there is something fun for everyone! From thrill seeking adventure lovers, to youngsters who love snuggly animals, to parents wanting to kick back and relax… GWL is for you. 

A trip to GWL has been on my family bucket list for years. Now that we have spent a wonderful weekend at Great Wolf, “go back to Great Wolf” is at the very top of our family to-do list. We had an amazing getaway, and so can you! Book your stay today at  and enjoy the following!

Daily Family Programming

Spring-A-Palooza has flowers blooming, birds singing, and the lobby of GWL beautifully decorated! There is a lot to see in the grand lobby during Spring-A-Palooza, but there is also a lot to do! Start off the day with yoga, complete a mid-morning scavenger hunt, enjoy a spring picnic in the afternoon, bust a move during a bubble dance party, and finish the night in your pajamas with clock tower story time! Spring-A-Palooza is through April 15th, but GWL has year round daily activities. Come back in fall for Howl-o-ween (make sure to pack costumes for trick-or-treat trail, and the Monster Bash Dance Party), or next winter for their Snowland Event (there is a real gingerbread house, half a million twinkling lights, carriage rides, visits with Santa, AND it snows in the lobby! How magical!!).


An Award Winning Water Park

GWL’s Water Park is USA Today’s reader voted #1 best indoor water park for a good reason. It boasts 13 thrilling water slides, a splash park, hot tubs, wave pool, lazy river, basketball, and more- all included with your GWL reservation! Little minnows will love the perfectly sized Cub Paw Pool, the geysers at Fort Mackenzie, and my son loved testing his strength as he swung on the net of Big Foot Pass. Adventure seekers will feel right at home on rides like Alberta Falls and Coyote Canyon, as they take the plunge down 4 stories! The water park is open from 10am-8pm, so you have all day to work up your courage to ride the indoor water roller coaster, Hyrdo Plunge. 

If relaxation is more on your wavelength, feel the sway of the tide in the Slap Tail Pond wave pool, take it easy as you float down Crooked Creek lazy river, melt your troubles away in one of the Hot Springs, or book a cabana and take your relaxation to the next level with beverages, lounge chairs, playing cards, and a TV! 

Water Park Tips: as you enter the park, be sure to have your child measured by one of the highly experienced, highly trained lifeguards (in fact, lifeguards at GWL are certified at the highest level, safety first!). Your child will be given a color coordinated bracelet, so they don’t have to be re-measured every time you go on a slide! 

Vests are provided; puddle jumpers are also allowed. 

Don’t worry about bringing a towel down from your room- warm towels are provided!

Themed Suites

All GWL rooms are spacious, clean, and delightfully decorated. But the themed suites are down right adorable! The Kid Kamp Suite is tent themed, with a sweet bear mural, the Wolf Den Suite would make a wild home for your pups during your stay, and the Kid Cabin suite features a rustic wood cabin. All themed suites have bunk beds, and separate televisions! 



Looking for fun on dry land? Purchase a wand, and protect the land of Vellara from goblins and dragons! This immersive scavenger hunt takes you throughout the many halls of GWL as you discover hidden treasures, including a knight in shining armor, chests filled to the brim with gems, and gold coins. MagiQuest was my 4 year old son’s favorite part of GWL. He loved waving his wand to make discoveries, and brought his wand with us wherever we were going to collect coins along the way. Now at home, he enjoys going on scavenger hunts around our house with his wand. He definitely can’t wait to go back to the enchanted world of Vellara. 


Wine Down Service

A day of swimming, sliding, and questing at Great Wolf Lodge is super fun, but also exhausting! Once the kids turn in for the night, parents can “wind down” with the wine down service ($35). Choose from different wine and side pairings ranging from sweet to savory, or create your own! I would definitely recommend the “Rekindle the Bonfire” pairing,  which comes with a bottle of Prosecco, and dark chocolate covered strawberries with white chocolate Wolf prints. The wine down service is a perfect way to end a perfect day at Great Wolf! 

Northern Lights Arcade, Ten Paw Alley, Howl at the Moon Glow Golf 

Another way to fill your busy vacation itinerary at Great Wolf would be to check out their arcade. There are games of chance, games of skill, sports games, car games, dinosaur games, and more. The Ten Paw Alley is also located in the arcade, so there are bowling games, too! The lanes are pint sized, and the bowling balls are also, making Ten Paw the perfect lanes for the whole family. Then head over to Howl at the Moon glow golf to see if you can get a hole in one at the adorable critter themed course. 

The Creation Station & Wiley’s Wolf Pack Friends

Chances are you will meet Wiley the wolf and some of his forest friends during your stay at Great Wolf Lodge. There are several character appearances throughout the day. My 13 month old quickly fell in love with each of these furry friends, especially Sammi the squirrel. I would go so far to say that his absolute favorite part of our entire trip was running up to the Wolf Pack characters, giving them all BIG hugs and howling with them. The hugs and howls continue today, as we got to take home some miniature versions of Wiley Wolf, and Oliver the Raccoon that we stuffed ourselves in the Creation Station. My boys loved filling their mini friends, and picking unique outfits for them. Now that our GWL cuddle buddies are at home, the boys cuddle them nightly, and ask “when are we going back to see the real Wiley at Great Wolf Lodge?” “Hopefully soon” is always my answer. 

Elements Spa and Salon, Scooops Kids Spa, and the Fitness Center 

Couples massages? Yes, please! If you are looking to up the relaxation ante while you stay at Great Wolf, look into the services offered at Elements Spa. And if you have a princess to pamper, she will love Scooops- an ice cream themed mani pedi spa for kids- and Mom, too! As far as exercise goes, I was satisfied with climbing flights of stairs to the water slides, and walking the halls during MagiQuest. I checked my step counter and was very satisfied with my workout during my stay at Great Wolf, and felt I earned my Wine Down treats… but if you are looking to hit the weights or do some cardio during your stay- I can say that I saw the fitness center, and it looked very state of the art with a variety of equipment. 

Great Food Options

Make sure to fill your rooms mini-fridge with snacks, and don’t forget to bring some popcorn to pop in your microwave at night. The rest of the meals? Well, breakfast, lunch, and dinner options are all available at GWL at a variety of price points- there is also the option to buy meal passes when you book your stay. 

For our family, coffee and Dunkin’ Donuts are a weekend reward for good behavior… so we were delighted to see a DD at GWL. Momma’s Saturday starts better with a hot coffee and Boston Creme donut in hand. For lunch, the pizza at Hungry as a Wolf was certainly Ciani family approved, with a total 10 thumbs up. And the buffet dinner at the Loose Moose Cottage definitely hit the spot, and filled us up until breakfast the next morning. If you swim up an appetite at the water park, mosey over to Buckets Incredible Craveables for kid (and adult) favorites like hot dogs, burgers, soft pretzels, and fries. Lodge Wood Fire Grille offers delicious lunch and dinner entrees like grilled steak, chicken, and bbq ribs. If you have a sweet tooth, pick up some goodies at the Great Wolf Candy Company, or treat yourself to ice cream, brownies, cupcakes, or fudge from Bear Paw Sweets and Eats! 

If you are considering staying at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, please check out a video of our memories from our stay. Every time I watch it, I am brought back to the smiles and giggles from our trip, and I want to book another trip! If you have been to Great Wolf Lodge, leave a comment with YOUR favorite family memory below! I’d love to hear from you. 


Amanda’s Top 5 Tips to Save on your Great Wolf Lodge Stay:

  • Book your trip 60 days in advance for discounts up to 50% off (through 12/31)
  • Be flexible! Check different dates to find the best deal, weekdays often book for less than weekends
  • Sign up for GWL emails and get discount codes before everyone else
  • Run a Groupon search to see if there are current promotions (there aren’t any now, but it is a good idea to check Groupon first if you are booking a stay at GWL)
  • Stay longer. Stay 2 days or more for 25% off (through 5/22)


Great Wolf Lodge 

2501 Great Wolf Drive

Mason, Ohio 45040

(877) 602- 1516

About the Author

Amanda Ciani

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).