Monday, October 24, 2016
Great Wolf Lodge is the Indoor Water Park that Southern California Didn't Know It Needed
For the Blogger Kid 2.0's birthday in August, we gave him a choice: Throw a party with his friends, or go to the new Great Wolf Lodge in Orange County with his family. He chose Great Wolf -- with no regrets.
The idea of an indoor waterpark... in Southern California... in the middle of a drought... seems, well, a little odd. And indulgent. But Great Wolf Lodge is not the only water park in Southern California (it's actually smaller than many)... and because it's indoors, there's less evaporation -- so it loses less water than other parks. For parents, it's nice to know that the only people in the park are staying at the hotel (so there's a bit of a safety factor there), and no one's getting a sunburn.
We spent two nights at the Great Wolf, which is almost necessary in order to enjoy a full day at the park, as well as parts of the other days. (Actually, on the days you check in or check out, you can also utilize the park for the full day). The hotel rooms are fine but average; the food options include a decently priced restaurant, a breakfast buffet and even a Dunkin' Donuts outlet. (There are other choices nearby outside the hotel).
Many of the water slides are for multiple riders; there is also a wave pool, a body surfing pool, a lazy river and more.
Outside of the water park, the lodge also includes a small miniature golf area, an arcade and other games. At night, kids run around the hotel halls with wands in hand, playing the game "MagicQuest." It all costs extra, of course.
And that's one of the things about visiting a place like Great Wolf Lodge: You end up spending a lot more money than you thought you would spend.
At 105,000 square feet, the Southern California outpost of Great Wolf Lodge is the chain's largest water park.
The water park also closes at 8 p.m. on weekdays -- a little too early for people actually staying in the park (but I suppose they need time to clean it up for the following day).
Great Wolf Lodge
12681 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Here's a video from one of the larger water slides: