Guide to Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs

Navigating the Water Park with Littles

Great Wolf Lodge Fort Mackenzie
Fort Mackenzie is an interactive water tree fort that is fun for kids and adults alike.

If you’re planning a staycation at Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs or just considering a day trip, this comprehensive guide will ensure your experience is smooth and enjoyable. There are a few things you should know to make your trip a splashing success, especially if you’re visiting with little ones for the first time.

Get a Deal

First and foremost, Great Wolf Lodge can be expensive, with accommodations, attractions, and meals quickly adding up. However, if you know where to look, deals are always available. I recommend booking your stay as far in advance as possible and avoiding weekend visits to get the best deals.

Check out the Deals page on their website for offers on overnight stays, day passes, and specific discounts for select groups. Alternatively, you can create a free account for the Great Wolf Lodge Voyagers Club and subscribe to their emails to receive special offers.

If you only want to spend a day at the resort and save some money, the day pass is a great option, as it’s under a two-hour round trip from Denver. Day passes include unlimited access to the water park, life jackets, and towels. You can also opt for a bundle, which provides access to other attractions within the resort, which would be great for older kids or teens.

Before You Go

Before you go, there are a few things you can do to ensure you are fully prepared. For example, if your children are under five, I recommend having a 1:1 ratio of kids to adults at the water park, as it can be loud and crowded. If your tiny humans outnumber you, consider reaching out to Grandma and Grandpa (there is an AARP discount available) or trusted family friends to share your adventure and help wrangle the kiddos so you don’t have to be on high alert all day.

Small children might need time to get used to the water park and build confidence. Introduce them to similar experiences beforehand at local splash pads or rec centers. You can also show them YouTube videos of the water park, so they know what to expect and get excited about their upcoming trip. Remember to practice using flotation devices like puddle jumpers before your trip, or you may end up enduring a full-blown two-year-old tantrum within the first five minutes (this may or may not have happened to us).

If you’re staying overnight, plan to bring a cooler with snacks or light meals for quick and easy breakfasts, snacks, or even lunches in the room. Remember to pack cutlery, plates, and napkins! You cannot bring outside food into the water park, but you can purchase food from Buckets, the restaurant inside. Check out the dining options onsite and the surrounding area before you leave so you can plan according to what is best for your family.

What To Pack

While Great Wolf Lodge is generally an all-inclusive experience, I recommend making sure to pack these things to ensure a better experience at the water park:

  • Swim towels and life jackets/puddle jumpers (although they are provided, bringing your own can avoid confusion and save you from constantly having to readjust)
  • Water shoes or non-slip sandals
  • Swim goggles
  • Water bottles
  • Coverups and an extra change of clothes
  • Toiletries (if staying overnight or wanting to freshen up in the locker rooms before heading home)
  • Gallon-sized Ziploc bags or wet bags for wet clothes and swimsuits
  • Waterproof phone or camera
  • Swim diapers

Final Mom Tips

It’s a good idea to arrive early (the water park opens at 9 a.m.) to maximize your splashing fun and snag a great spot with tables to serve as your home base for the day. We set up near the Cub Paw Pool (the kiddie/toddler area) and the restrooms, and it was perfect for our crew. Our party had five kids under four years old, and we had to consider nap times, feedings, diaper changes/potty breaks, snacks, and times of the day when we were more likely to avoid meltdowns.

Though we opted for day passes on this trip, our travel buddies stayed overnight, and we were able to use their room. We could return to the room if the kids became overstimulated or needed naps. The room provides a private space to spread out, keep your belongings, change, and contain the excited kids during transitions – for these reasons, I would 10/10 recommend getting a room at the lodge.

My final words of wisdom for Great Wolf Lodge newbies: Don’t try to do it all! You’ll likely spend most of the day (if not the entire day) in the water park, so plan accordingly. My kids were slightly disappointed that they couldn’t do everything, but ultimately, it was too much for our kids (and us, if we’re honest) after a fun-filled day at the water park. We had a wonderful experience as first-time visitors, were sufficiently exhausted after our day, and we are already talking about what we’ll do next time we visit!

What are your tips/tricks for visiting GWL?

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Nicole Bonaire
Nicole lives in Parker with her husband, three kids, and beloved dog, Louie. She is a former middle school science teacher currently navigating the ups and downs of stay-at-home mom life. Nicole is a Colorado Native, born and raised in Colorado Springs, a CSU and Regis University graduate, and a long-time lover of the mountains. She lived and worked in Chicago for about ten years, earning an appreciation for city life and the Chicago Cubs (sorry, Rockies fans!). She stays busy chasing her twin two-year-olds with the help of her four-year-old and they can be found on adventure days throughout the city or at a local playground most days.


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