We've hit the official beginning of winter and sadly that means months of cold and snowy weather are ahead. If you want to escape for a night or two from the Midwest winter without traveling to the Caribbean, you'll want to make plans for a visit to Great Wolf Lodge, which opened in July in Gurnee, Illinois.
The Great Wolf Lodge has so many features and activities that there's something for everyone - no matter what age. I was there shortly after they opened with three teenagers and they had a blast.
The attractions include mini-golf, bowling, gemstone mining, ropes course, Creation Station (where you make your own stuffed animal), arcade and more. The biggest hit with them was MagiQuest, which I enjoyed myself. Each player gets a special wand and it's like a virtual scavenger hunt where you have to stop at various portals for clues.
The Snowland celebration in underway and runs through January 4 with daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby and visits from Santa Claus. There’s also a life-sized gingerbread house constructed from more than 600 pounds of gingerbread dough and 1,300 pounds of sugar.
Guest can enjoy Hot Cocoa with the Great Wolf Kid, Cookies with Mrs. Claus and the Polar Wolf Walk. There will also be holiday movies playing in the decked out Grand Lobby. Kids can attend North Pole University to earn a Snowploma.
Other fun everyday activities such as kids’ yoga, story time and family bingo will keep the kids busy when they're not in the water. And in the water park are pools and slides and play areas for splashing. There's a four-story tandem tube ride, a family raft ride, wave pool, a lazy river, kids’ play pool and more. Cabana rentals are also available.
Keep in mind that when you reserve a room, you get access to the water park for both the day you check in and the day you check out. If you want to arrive early and splash around you can do that and if after you check out, you're not quite ready to head back out into the cold, you can stay and enjoy the water park until closing time. For more info on rooms and amenities go to GreatWolf.com.