Guest Author - Barb Conley
According to Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound in Western Washington, the air temperature at its indoor Bear Track Landing water park is 84°F. all year round. What a great concept for the Pacific Northwest. At 60,000 sq. ft., the water park is billed as one of America’s largest, offering six waterslides with varying degrees of thrills and age appropriateness.
Before you grab your bathing suits, you should know that you can’t day visit the water park. Access is for Great Wolf Lodge overnight guests only.
I recently joined my son and six year old granddaughter there for a weekend vacation, courtesy of my son’s employer who was rewarding him for many hours of overtime on an important project. Lucky me!
Location & Accommodations
Located 30 miles south of Olympia, near Chehalis, the 39-acre Great Wolf Lodge Ground Mound is impressive. Its north woods theme is immediately obvious by the giant sculpted wolves that guard the entrance to the eight-story 389-room hotel.
Room options range between $179 and $519 per night and include unlimited water park access for the duration of your stay. Meals and dry fun entertainment are all extra. We stayed in a KidKamp™ Suite, featuring a kid’s area designed to look like a north woods tent with bunk beds and its own TV and desk. The main area of the room included a Queen-sized bed and sofa sleeper, as well as TV, refrigerator and microwave.
Our first stop was the large area specifically for toddlers and young children, where they can walk into the water or play on the island kiddy slides. We all went down the slides a couple of times before my granddaughter wanted to move on to more thrilling fun.
The most challenging slide is the Howlin’ Tornado™ - a wild tube ride that starts six stories up. Daddy loved that, but my granddaughter I stuck to a less intimidating tube ride and two body slides. All three of us had a fun time riding a tube in the enormous wave pool, and some relaxation time floating a log in the recreational pool.
We spent a lot of time too at the Fort Mackenzie™ tree house where we climbed stairs, rope bridges and cargo nets. Here a gigantic bucket atop a 48-foot tower is constantly filling with water and dumping a 1,000 gallon shower on everyone in the vicinity.
The lodge offers several other entertainment options that don’t require a bathing suit.
“MagiQuest”, a live-action fantasy game, is kind of like an electronic scavenger hunt. Players purchase wands and game access. Then they use a touch screen to choose their quest and receive clues that are given in the form of riddles.
A 100+ video game arcade lets players accumulate point tickets that can be traded for prizes.
A technical center offers Internet access, karaoke staging, movie and musical entertainment.
The Elements™ Spa offers adults and teenagers several massage selections, manicures, pedicures, facials and body wraps. Scooops™ Kid Spa offers kids 12 and under manicure and pedicure treatments in ice cream flavors like Chocolate Covered Strawberry and Gummy Bear.
Six restaurants and cafes at the lodge offer full-service dining, buffets, snacks and coffee. To make it a little easier on our budget, we brought things for breakfast and lunch and stored them in our room refrigerator. There are also several nearby community restaurants ranging from fast food to fine dining.
Conference Center and Meeting Space
If you find yourself needing to organize a company or large family event, the Great Wolf Lodge also features a 30,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art conference center that includes a board room, 11 meeting rooms, a business center, a grand ballroom and full catering facilities for groups of eight to 800.
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