If you’re looking for a fun-filled family getaway, Great Wolf Lodge is always a great option! We recently visited the Niagara Falls location as a family and had an awesome time. This water park hotel is a great place to stay when you’re visiting Niagara Falls – although if you have young kids, they may not want to leave! In this article, I’ll give you an inside look at what the Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge has to offer.
- Check In at the Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge
- The Water Park – The Star of the Show
- Northern Lights Arcade
- Other Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained
- The Guest Rooms at the Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge
- Restaurants and Dining at the Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge
- My Key Takeaway
Check In at the Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge
Check in was straightforward. I had pre-registered in advance but I’m not convinced this saved me any time.
At arrival, I didn’t realize there were two lines. Those that were pre-checked in online and those who hadn’t. It worked out that the line for those who hadn’t checked in was shorter. I had to wait a few minutes as it was peak check in (just after 1PM when you can enter the water park on your day of arrival). I didn’t notice any real difference in speed between the line that had pre-checked in and the line that hadn’t.
Also, a small pet peeve of mine is that when I checked in, they asked me for some of the same information I already provided when I pre-checked in online, like my license plate.
I don’t think the pre-check in saved me any time. Even still, I always worry I’m going to show up to a massive line and regret not checking in before I arrived. There is a cut off for pre-check in of 10AM on the day of arrival, so if you skip it and arrive to a massive line, you’ll regret not checking in before you arrived.
At check in we got our wristbands. I love how these are your room key and allow you to pay for things around the resort easily. It’s so great to not have to carry a wallet or cards/cash around the water park.
After check in, it was off to the water park!
The Water Park – The Star of the Show
When you think of Great Wolf Lodge, you likely think of the water park. I hope to share with you that it’s actually so much more than that… but yes, the primary reason we went was for the water park.
This location has 11 slides and a bunch of pools for kids of all ages which are all located inside the 100,000 square foot indoor water park. Great Wolf Lodge is typically on the tamer side when it comes to their slides and attractions as they’re targeted for younger kids. It’s less appealing for thrill seeking teenagers although I did see some during my stay and they seemed to be having a great time too.
We went on a weekend in January 2022 and it was pretty busy, but not uncomfortable. The lines for some of the marquee rides like the Wolf Tail and Niagara Rapids Run were probably 15 minutes which doesn’t seem that bad for a weekend day.
My little guy isn’t the strongest swimmer but had an incredible time at the kids pool where he could walk without assistance through the water and play with all the water features. He must’ve spent at least 30 minutes playing with a fake tree which was spraying out water!
On your day of arrival, in the middle of the Canadian Winter, it was a little annoying to have to leave all our winter clothes in the car while I dashed through the parking lot carrying our swim gear. The lockers were $5 for a small locker, $10 for medium and $15 for large.
We paid for the medium sized locker and were able to cram our boots and clothes in, but that’s about all the room we had. The winter jackets and thick sweaters had to stay in the car – that made for a cold run into the hotel!
Once we were able to get into our room it was really convenient to have our room so close by. We were able to pop back and forth from the room to the water park. Once we settled in, we never left the resort until check out. Everything is on site and there is no need to leave, unless you’re staying for longer than two nights.. in that case, you might go a little stir crazy and need a break.
While the water park is the main reason we came to Great Wolf Lodge, it’s not the only way to entertain your kids. Great Wolf Lodge has done a fantastic job at offering things for kids to do away from the water and still have a blast.
The most popular activity (outside of the water park) is Magiquest which is exclusive to Great Wolf Lodge. It is highly recommended for any kids old enough to participate. The full game is for kids five and up but they have an adapted version for kids under five called Mini Magi Mode.
Essentially, they’ve put checkpoints throughout the resort which the kids have to find. Once they’ve found them, they wave their wands to see the magic! That can be a talking character on a screen or a treasure box opening.
Northern Lights Arcade
They strategically located the arcade across from the entrance to the water park, so your kids will undoubtedly see the arcade when going to and from the arcade and if they’re like mine, will immediately ask to visit the arcade.
The arcade is jammed full of games for kids of all ages as well as prizes where you can redeem your tickets.
Other Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained
Great Wolf Lodge has a bunch of other activities to keep the kids busy and entertained. These include bowling, mini golf (outdoor, so only in the warmer months) laser tag and even a recently added Virtual Reality game which we didn’t try, but heard was really popular.
Story Time / Talking Animals
There are also other activities which are included in the price of your room. These include morning yoga for the kids in the grand lobby which was pretty popular, as well as the headline event – story time. Every night there is a show at 7:30PM where the animatronic forest friends do a small skit and sing. After that, there were two stories read to the large congregation of kids and parents.
For the older kids, there was a dance party after the little kids vacate the lobby following story time.
They have a bowling alley which is kids-sized but mimics your typical bowling alley. This was busy every time I walked by in the afternoon and evening although we never tried it as my son is a bit too young for this.
The Guest Rooms at the Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge
Overall, we had a blast and were really impressed with so many elements of Great Wolf Lodge. The biggest miss for us were the guest rooms. I know they have some really cool suites with bunk beds for kids, but the accommodations for the parents are pretty weak. Describing the hotel rooms as a three star would be generous. The rooms were clean and had everything you’d need.. including a patio which is always much appreciated.
The rooms are likely designed to take a beating from all the kids that are staying there, but as an adult I was pretty underwhelmed with the room. Thankfully, with all the fun things to do around the resort, you end up spending very little time in the actual room.
Restaurants and Dining at the Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge
During our stay, we never left the resort to find food. We ate at a bunch of the different eateries and there was quite a range. Some far exceeded our expectations, most were exactly what we expected from water park food and then we also had one really disappointing meal.
Let’s start with the best. We were nervous about eating really disappointing food, so when we arrived, we booked a reservation at the nicest restaurant they had. We knew it’d be expensive, but didn’t it expect to be as expensive as it was! It was full priced fine dining prices with most entrees being $37+ (although, Canadian dollars so my American friends will need to adjust for currency).
We were shocked at the prices because 1) it’s in a water park hotel for kids and 2) it’s located in what appears to be an old broom closet that was converted to a restaurant. While it was a really small space, it was a really comfortable environment and nicely appointed.
The other interesting observation was that the entire waitstaff seemed to be under 20 which is extremely uncommon for fine dining. We were served by a college freshman – in Canada you can serve alcohol at 18. She was incredibly friendly and attentive. It was a great experience, but was still odd to pay $40 for an entree (without sides included) and have it served to you by someone who looks 15 years old!
Nevertheless, when the food did arrive, we were blown away. Yes, our expectations were pretty low but the food was actually pretty good! Was it overpriced? Possibly, but it was so refreshing to have a good meal after eating snack bar water park food the rest of the time we were there.
If you have the budget, I’d suggest making a reservation and checking it out.
This spot is open for breakfast and dinner and is located just off the main lobby. It’s a buffet restaurant which helps serve the huge volumes of guests who all want to eat around the same time.
We ate breakfast here and it was decent. Nothing special, but the food was pretty good and the selection included everything you’d expect at a breakfast buffet. Omelette station, pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, fruit, yogurt… and even three types of breakfast pizza! I didn’t know that was a thing…
The price was $19 for each adult and our son was free since he was under three years old. Not cheap, but I’ve been gauged for much worse before. Also, remember that’s Canadian dollars.
The Other Food Options
We also ate at Northwoods Pizza and Buckets. Both were average and fit the bill when we were hungry. I actually felt that Buckets was pretty reasonably priced given it was inside the water park. It didn’t feel like I was paying extra for the convenience. We had a burger and chicken sandwich and both were quite good.
The one lowlight was The Watering Hole. This is also located in the water park and has a bunch of adult beverages available. While the drinks were a nice touch, the food was tough. We ordered a taco salad and tacos. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it had zero flavour and was pretty bland. Maybe Great Wolf Lodge isn’t the best spot to get Mexican food? Shocker, I know.
My Key Takeaway
All in all, we had a great time. The entire experience is set up to facilitate a great time for kids under about 12 years old. It’s easy to jam in lots of activities and I like how Great Wolf Lodge is always improving their properties. The water park hasn’t changed too much over recent years but there are some new attractions, restaurants and they even re-designed the lobby to have a better design.
Great Wolf Lodge does a great job and we’re looking forward to checking out a bunch more locations soon! If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, head over to the Great Wolf Lodge website and book a stay.