Great Wolf Lodge has locations all over the United States where families can spend time together to strengthen their pack!
We’ve taken many trips to Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells, but we visited Gurnee, Illinois’s Great Wolf Lodge for the first time this month!
**Disclaimer: Our trip to Great Wolf Lodge was sponsored by Great Wolf Lodge. Our opinions are our own**
We were familiar with the fun experience and great quality that Great Wolf Lodge typically offers, but the Gurnee location took it up a notch!
The Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee opened for business in 2018. It is located less than two miles from Six Flags Great America. It’s a great place to stay if you’re visiting the theme park, but there’s so much to do at Great Wolf Lodge that it could easily be its own vacation, or staycation, destination!
The Gurnee Great Wolf Lodge is updated and beautiful! There are 414 rooms that sleep from four to 12 people. They have theme rooms including the Wolf Den Suite which has a cave-themed sleeping area. We stayed in a Deluxe Queen Suite that was spacious and very clean and included a small table and chairs, couch, and coffee table.
When you arrive at the Great Wolf Lodge to check in for your stay, you will see a giant fireplace where activities are held, a spotless lobby, the Barnwood restaurant, and large windows looking into the massive indoor waterpark.
This waterpark was so impressive! It spans 80,000 square feet and has more than a dozen water attractions inside! We spent most of our visit in the waterpark, enjoying all of the cool features. The waterpark was manned by many lifeguards who kept a close eye on each station. Kids’ height is checked at the door before entering and they are given a colored wristband to wear that indicates which rides they can go on. Kids need to be a minimum height of 42” to ride most of the slides.
Waterpark features include:
Fort Mackenzie – a four story water fort treehouse with four slides of varying heights and lengths. On top of Fort Mackenzie, there’s a giant bucket that dumps 500 gallons of water over the whole structure every five minutes or so. The water around the fort ranges from 6-12 inches deep. Kids from ages one and up can enjoy this structure. The slides are big enough to accommodate adults and are quite fun!
Slap Tail Pond – a zero-depth entry wave pool with a maximum depth of five feet. A warning signal sounds before the waves start. There are waves every 5-10 minutes. We had a blast jumping in the waves.
Crooked Creek – a large lazy river that circles the entire waterpark and gives you a view of all of the features. Grab a tube from the Crooked Creek before you head to the tube slides.
Alberta Falls – a four story tube slide that takes you on a fast ride outside the building then back in again.
Otter Run – a body slide with gentle twists and turns that ends in a smooth stop.
River Canyon Run and Double Whirlwind – two raft rides for 2-5 riders (riders must be 42 inches tall). These two rides are immediately noticeable when you walk around the waterpark. The slides reach the top of the ceiling. River Canyon Run (blue tube) is a fun and slower ride designed to feel like riding the curves of a river while Double Whirlwind (orange tube) is a fast ride with two vortexes and several drops. Our whole family rode both of the slides and we loved them! The Double Whirlwind was our favorite because of the speed and twists and turns.
Coyote Cannon – a fast double tube slide with a forty foot drop into a spinning vortex that reminded me of getting flushed down a toilet! You swirl the bowl for a minute or so before dropping into another tube and exiting into a pool that connects to the Crooked Creek. My 8 year old and I went on this ride together and it was an absolute blast!
Whooping Hollow – an area with three slides that kids can enjoy and a 1.5 foot depth pool. There were families both enjoying the slides and lounging on the edges of this pool.
Cub Paw Pool – a kiddie swimming pool for the youngest visitors. This is an indoor splash pad with ride-on toys, waterfall mushrooms, and water less than 12 inches deep. This section is also conveniently fenced in.
Chinook Cove – a family pool with water basketball hoops. The pool is four feet deep.
Racoon Lagoon – an outdoor water playground and family pool. Racoon Lagoon is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day so we did not get to try it out during this visit.
We spent hours enjoying the waterpark which is open from 9 am – 9 pm on weekends.
Besides the waterpark, the lower level of Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee is packed with fun things to do.
If your kids are 5 and up, we’d highly suggest playing MagiQuest while you are there. MagiQuest turns Great Wolf Lodge into an interactive live-action game. What’s unique about this Great Wolf Lodge is that the game is spread out throughout the entire lodge. During the game, you will have to explore each floor to find treasures, open trunks, and make paintings come to life with your wand.
There is also the Northern Lights Arcade on the lower level which includes games of chance, classics like skeeball, and interactive video games. Many of the games give out paper tickets. All of the games are played by swiping an arcade card that you can load with money at a kiosk. You can also put your tickets into the ticket reader as often as you want so that the balance is stored on your card and you don’t have to carry around the paper tickets.
Right outside of the arcade is a gift shop to redeem your tickets and a candy store! The candy store had a great selection of jelly beans, powdered sugar tubes, and other assorted candy.
If you want to get active, Howlers Peak Ropes Course reaches up three stories and includes a bridge and obstacles to navigate. Participants are strapped in with safety harnesses while they navigate the course. Right next to the ropes course is the Rustic Ridge Rock Climbing Wall.
Ten Paw Alley is just like bowling, only miniature-sized! The lanes are shorter and the balls are smaller so kids of all ages, and parents, can enjoy playing!
The Howl in One Mini Golf course was the perfect size for mini golfers of all ages! The course is cute and forest themed with animals peeking out of various obstacles. Playing a round of mini golf could take anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes depending on your party size and whether there was a wait to play.
One of the attractions that we were familiar with from the Wisconsin Dells location was also at the Gurnee location – Oliver’s Mining Co. Kids can sift through a bag of sand to look for gemstones. Each of my kids found more than a dozen gemstones in their bags.
Build a Bear Workshop is also located downstairs and has Great Wolf exclusive stuffed animals that you can customize, buy clothes for, and stuff. If you’d prefer another stuffed animal, the gift shop upstairs has a wide selection of toys, clothing, and other souvenirs.
If you plan to do several activities while you’re there, getting a Wolf, Paw, or Pup attraction pass is your best bet! These passes include a bundle of activities for one price. We get Paw or Wolf passes every time we visit Great Wolf Lodge.
One of the best parts of staying at a Great Wolf Lodge is how focused they are on providing opportunities for quality family time. Every night, families are invited to come to the lobby and enjoy storytimes and dance parties. The story time involved audience participation and told the story of the newly updated wolves – Violet and Wiley and their friends. Get ready for your trip, and meet the updated characters, by watching the new movie “A Call to Adventure” on YouTube.
The dance party was a great time with popular songs being played – all songs were radio-friendly versions. The kids were encouraged to dance in the space and the energetic hosts of the dance party danced on a small stage set up near the front of the fireplace. For everyone’s safety, the fireplace is not on during the storytimes or dance parties. You could also buy glow sticks and bubble blowing devices to use during the party.
When you’re hungry for something to eat, you don’t have to go anywhere! Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee has five dining options as well as an on-site Dunkin’ and Ben and Jerry’s. Download the app and you can order a pizza from Hungry As a Wolf to eat in your room! We got a cheese pizza and some drinks and enjoyed dinner in our room before going back downstairs to play in the arcade. It only took about 15 minutes from ordering on the app to picking up our pizza.
We loved our trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee and would highly recommend it to other families looking to take a staycation or short road trip! During the month of October, Great Wolf Lodge celebrates Howl-O-Ween with all sorts of fun Halloween themed festivities including the Trick or Treat Trail, Monster Bash Dance Party, Howl-O-Ween trivia, and crafts. The lodge is also decked out in fall leaves, pumpkins, and other festive decor like a giant balloon spider. Great Wolf Lodge is a fun-filled year-round escape that has special celebrations throughout each season like Spring Breakout, Summer Camp-In and Snowland.
Here’s a video of the giant spider that will be Gurnee on October 1st!
If you’re ready to book your trip, use our link to save up to 50% on your stay! We hope you have a howling good time!