Photos provided by Sunshine
Recently, our crew managed to get away for a little bit of luxury and a whole lot of play at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I expected it to be a getaway “just for the kids,” but I quickly realized that this place is incredible for kids of all ages! The resort featured an incredible indoor waterpark, on-site dining options, a great list of activities and attractions to choose from, and accommodations and hospitality were off the chart. They have everything you need, which is great because my focus was enjoying the much-needed downtime after such an action-packed holiday.
Get comfy in a cozy cottage
I say “our cozy cottage” because the lodging really felt like home. In fact, my little guy said just that as he walked up to the door. He’s a great traveler, but when any destination requires an overnight stay, he’ll have sad moments throughout the trip where he tells us that he misses his bed and wants to go home. But this go around, there was nothing like that. He was amazed at how cool the cottage was, how his plaid jacket matched the décor—yes, I purposely dressed our family to match—and the kids room made him feel like a big boy. On the second floor, there are two bunk beds that both my boys still fought over, a bathroom that they reluctantly shared and an additional room which they called the games room with a magnetic tic-tac-toe wall board.
The main floor space is remarkable with its high ceilings, a fully equipped kitchen, a gas fireplace and a luxury master ensuite. Their cottages can accommodate up to 10 people and for those travelling with multiple families, their semi-detached cottages have optional adjoining doors. The cottages are secluded and separate from the main building, which I really liked. To get back to the main building they offer a shuttle pick up/drop off, you can drive over, or you can walk, which is approximately five minutes. But as you know, with kids in tow, the five minutes could take between 15 to 20!
Take advantage of what your destination has to offer
I don’t know where I got this idea, but I thought I’d be spending my trip following the kids around, being their bag lady while I watched them enjoy the waterpark and activities. Yes, Great Wolf Lodge is a kid-friendly resort known for its indoor water park; however, their range of activities is quite impressive. We spent more time at the attractions and activities than the waterpark itself, and we weren’t mad about it.
When visiting GWL, I would recommend purchasing a Paw Pass. It’s great for the entire family and you get the best bang for your buck. The Paw Pass is a bundled way to save on the Great Wolf Attractions. The kids head over to each attraction listed on the pass, complete it, have it crossed off and then move onto the next. It created a friendly competition for the boys. We had a great time at the Northern Lights Arcade and Ten Paw Alley, and they picked out a sweet fudge treat at the Bear Claw Café. But the attraction that won us over as a family was MagiQuest, where you choose a magic wand with special powers and go off on a quest throughout the building. It was so interactive and engaging. We were so caught up in the magic that we completed seven of the nine quests.
Make sure there are good eats for your wolf pack
While we had a fully equipped kitchen available, we decided not to cook. The dining options were perfect for an overnight stay. A quick lunch at Bucket Incredible Craveables, which is accessible in the waterpark, was a perfect meal to tide us over until the family dinner buffet at Antler Shanty. They have a great mix of healthy options and comfort food to fill one’s plate. And of course, this mama wolf needs her caffeine, and Canoe Coffee did not disappoint.
Our family getaway during the winter season was really good for the soul. Canadian winters can be tough and honestly it didn’t take a lot to get away: just an hour and a half from Toronto, we were able to pull the trip off with minimal packing and planning. I’ll definitely be back with my wolf pack.