The Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas is a large and impressive installation. My wife, young son, and I piled into our car on Christmas Day and drove from Midland to Grapevine to visit the highly-recommended indoor water park and enjoy a day of fun. A look at the pros and cons of the one-night stay, which cost about $330 for the most basic two-bed hotel room.
The lodge was big and clean. Unlike many places where the interior doesn’t live up the pictures posted online or printed in the glossy brochures, I found the interior of the Great Wolf Lodge itself to be spacious, clean, and nicely decorated. Impressive.
Plenty of helpful staff on duty. When in the water park, and in the lodge, there were plenty of Great Wolf staffers on duty. Lots of lifeguards, all of them actively keeping watch, were on duty in the water park. Staff in the gift shop and restaurants were friendly and helpful, as were the front desk staff. This was a big relief after visiting a few places in my life where employees were extremely scarce when you happened to have a question!
Our room was nice. Unlike a place like Las Vegas where rooms are intentionally shoddy to get you to spend more time in the casino, the Great Wolf Lodge actually has nice hotel rooms. The beds were nice, the couch was nice, and the television was easy to operate.
The water park was a little small for a one-day winter stay. While the water park has stuff both inside and outside, during the winter you’ll be forced to remain indoors. The place is big but, as you might discover, perhaps not big enough for a full day of activities. With a young son we quickly exhausted all options open to visitors under 42 inches tall. While there were several additional water slides open to older kids and adults, I can see visitors becoming bored before too long. The place is advertised as a family-friendly place but could have had a bigger, better “lazy river” where families could have floated in multi-person inner tubes.
The indoor water park was a little chilly on a blizzardy day. Though a normal winter day in Grapevine may have been warmer and made the indoor temperature of the water park a bit warmer, the 25-degree weather of the evening of December 25 and morning of December 26 might have given Great Wolf Lodge’s heaters a challenge. Whatever the reason, it was a little too cool in the water park for my taste. My wife and I were getting a bit chilled after several hours and were ready to leave.
Crowded. Very crowded. The place was crowded, with people milling about the halls and main floor. This may have just been because of Christmas Day, however. My wife and I incorrectly assumed that the place would be less crowded on a day when most people would be staying home with hearth and kin.
Hard to navigate to. It turned out that the Great Wolf Lodge was well off the interstate, necessitating a winding route of various state highways to find. We were coming from the west, heading into the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex on I-20 from Midland, and found the road construction in Fort Worth to be, in a word, horrendous. Perhaps coming in from the north or east might be simpler for travelers coming from east Texas or from out-of-state.