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Great Wolf Lodge is the Mini-Vacay We Need

By Lindsay Keller, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Skokie, Niles, Park Ridge, and Far Northwest Chicago. The author and her family were given a complimentary night's stay at Great Wolf Lodge. However, all opinions expressed are her own.

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Great Wolf Lodge--it's every kid's dream. And honestly, I couldn't contain my excitement either. Maybe we've just been stuck inside too long avoiding COVID, but I had to jump at the opportunity to take a mini vacation at Great Wolf Lodge. There is so much to do and I didn't have to do any of the planning. It's the perfect vacation for busy parents, like me. For a limited time, our sister site, CertifiKID, is offering Up to 30% Off a Great Wolf Lodge Overnight Stay at 14 locations throughout the country! We chose the Gurnee, IL, location - which is only half an hour away from our home.

This was my daughter's first time at a water park and she was so excited! I loved watching her eyes light up as she explored the park and found new fun things to try. After exploring the whole park, my excited little girl said she wanted to try River Canyon Run, a huge tube ride that holds up to five people. We climbed all the way to the top before her fear kicked in. She started making excuses as to why she couldn't go just yet, but there was no turning back. The only way down was in a tube. So she got in and off we went, twisting and turning down the slide. And she absolutely loved it! She wanted to go again and again, and by the time we left, she had tried almost every slide she could.

Wiley's Water Park passes are included in all bookings and they are good starting at 1 pm the day of check-in and end at 8 pm the day of check out. So, of course, we got there early and stayed late! The water park has something for everyone: from a toddler water play area to tube slides, body slides, a lazy river, and Fort Mackenzie, a huge water playground ready to dump a huge barrel full of water on your head at any moment! And we could literally stay in the water park all day. There is a restaurant and a drink stand inside the water park, so we didn't even have to leave for a meal--unless we wanted to.

Although face masks are not required while playing in the water park, there are other safety measures put in place to help keep guests safe and healthy. Face masks are still required when ordering food and drinks. There are sanitizing stations throughout the park--including a life vest and tube sanitizing station. Chairs are also positioned in small groups at least 6 feet apart from others. And the lines for the water slides all have markers to keep guests six feet apart.

We opted to buy my daughter a Paw Pass when we booked our room so that she could participate in some of the extra activities at a discounted rate. With three different passes, there's an option for everyone. Our Paw Pass included credits at the Northern Lights Arcade, a MagiQuest wand, a cup of candy from the Great Wolf Candy Company, and a scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry's.

MagiQuest is a fun-filled game for the whole family. We carried our wand wherever we went. My husband worked on quests by finding different objects and delivering them to the right mystical creature, while my daughter just loved pointing the wand at different objects to make them light up and talk.

But the fun didn't end there! Great Wolf Lodge has a mini golf course, a climbing wall, a ropes course, bowling lanes (only smaller), a Build-A-Bear Workshop and a mining company. And that doesn't even include their regularly scheduled activities like story times, character appearances and so much more!

The best part about going in October was that we also got to participate in Howl-o-Ween activities!

When the day's fun was done, we hit the hay in one of Great Wolf Lodge's themed rooms--the Wolf Den Suite. With a separate room for our daughter, it was the perfect way to put her to bed while we stayed up to watch some TV.

E-learning was also super easy for us while we were away. We just asked for a late checkout and set my daughter up at the table in our room so she could still attend class, even while we were on vacation. But that's not the only way to participate in virtual classes at Great Wolf Lodge. They also offer a Howl 'N Learn package, where kids have a dedicated classroom and supervision by Great Wolf Lodge staff, so parents can have a much-needed break.

My family and I had a great time making memories we will never forget. Ready to start making memories with your family? Book your trip to Great Wolf Lodge today!


CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!