“It’s Las Vegas for kids!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard this at the Great Wolf Lodge, I’d be writing this from a cabana at the Venetian. But the description is apt. There is so much to do and the kids will never want to leave. “I want to stay here forever,” said my four-year-old. The secret about Great Wolf is that it’s massive fun for parents as well.
Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs is the 14th property for the adventure/water park hotel chain. I can’t imagine a better setting. With gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains and the Air Force Academy, simply sitting in your room is a breathtaking experience. It’s apparently the best seat in town for the Academy’s annual air show. We woke up to sky divers falling from the clouds. Not only that, but the in-room TVs are first class HD with Youtube access as well. But there’s only so much time to spend in your room when the resort calls.
Great Wolf’s water park does not disappoint. A warm 84 degrees year round, there are multiple pools and some insane water slides. The Wolf Tail is a free-fall for speed freaks. You stand on a platform and then “3, 2,1!” drop straight down. It is not for the faint-hearted, but a thrilling ride. Hold your nose! There are also a couple of fun raft-based slides the kids may prefer. You can even go head-to-head on the Mountain Edge Raceway. A day at the water park will tire you and your kids out, which is the idea. My little one fell asleep at story time, which is a nightly event. And there’s dancing later in the lobby for the more energetic.
Great Wolf also gets super festive for the holidays. We were there for Snowland, the winter celebration, which included an appearance by Santa, carolers, and snowfall in the lobby. Snowland also features a house made of real candy and treats. It took them two weeks to make it! You can eat in it (just don’t eat the house!) for a $20 reservation fee. The best part—the fee goes to the Ronald McDonald house. Great Wolf is a huge supporter.
We need to talk about the food at Great Wolf—it’s great and surprisingly sophisticated for a kid-themed resort. There are the typical burger and pizza places, which are fine. But the real culinary stars of the resort are the buffet (better than Vegas!) and Barnwood, a farm-to-table locavore haven. The buffet has so much to choose (the short ribs rocked) and even has a kids buffet. Kids eat free too. My son was in heaven with mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and dinosaur trees (broccoli). My vegetarian daughter was even happy. Barnwood is also excellent with a killer daily happy hour. The polenta was superb. The wine and cocktail selections rival Larimer Square’s finest.
Speaking of dietary restrictions, like my daughter’s self-imposed avoidance of meat, Great Wolf is extremely sensitive to kids’ individual circumstances. The property is nut-free, so no worries there. If you do have allergies or other dietary concerns, a chef will work with you for your entire stay. And once the kids are in bed, they will even deliver wine and chocolate to your room. Happy parents indeed!
Great Wolf also has some sweet room options. You can get a den, where your kids will sleep like wolves with their own TV. The suite has the option of a king size bed. But even the basic rooms are very comfortable. And you won’t be spending that much time in your room with all the fun outside.
If you thought Great Wolf was just a water park, you will be in for a big surprise. You could spend a whole day in the adventure park and not even get in the water. Magiquest is a virtual medieval scavenger hunt where the kids get cool magic wands. They can spend up to four hours completing the tasks. Mini golf and bowling are fun, as are the climbing wall and large ropes course. There’s also a mining experience for little geologists in training. The kids find different minerals and learn where they come from around the world. Fun and educational!
Safety is also a major focus at Great Wolf. There are lots of lifeguards and they are remarkably focused. Everybody gets a wristband, which gets you access to the water park and serves as your room key (no lost cards!). If your kid gets lost, the wristband immediately identifies them. You can relax and feel safe as your kids play.
While Great Wolf is not the Venetian, there are pool cabanas for rent so you can watch football while your kids slide and splash. A cold drink is never that far away, Dunkin Donuts and Ben And Jerry’s offer their treats, and the staff is focused on making sure all ages have a blast. While not cheap, nothing seems terribly overpriced and activity passes range from $34-$99 per stay. Great Wolf Lodge is awesome! Your kids (and probably you) will not want to leave.
Please note, our writer Mike B. was part of a group of writers who had the opportunity to experience Great Wolf Lodge to facilitate this article. However, all of Mike’s opinions are his own.