Great Wolf Lodge Turns 25 – Time to Celebrate w/ 25% Off Your Stay + $25 Dining Credit!

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

More Travel

Here are the latest Great Wolf Lodge deals and how to save on your trip!

front of the Great Wolf Lodge

Make a splash on your next family vacation, not on your bank account, with this HOT vacation deal!

Still deciding on a family summer vacation? The Great Wolf Lodge Resorts are all-inclusive when it comes to family time and fun! AND through May 29th, you can save up to 25% off your purchase and a $25 dining credit per night when you use promo code A25BDAY at checkout!

Although they are most known for their EPIC water park (only for resort guests!), every one of Great Wolf’s nineteen lodges is packed with activities for the whole family including arcades, interactive MagicQuest (at select locations), spas, specialty restaurants, bowling, and so many more activities (including tons of free children’s events 🙌🏼)!

Water you waiting for? Book your stay at the Great Wolf Lodge Resorts and score your $25 dining credit and discounted prices!

Note that all locations are making accommodations to protect you and your family by following all applicable guidelines concerning COVID-19 safety.

woman pointing to laptop screen with groupon deal

Not planning a trip before May 29th? Keep your eye out for Groupon deals!

I always book through Groupon when we stay at the Great Wolf Lodge! It was soon-to-be our third annual visit to the Lodge (in August), but when a hot Groupon deal popped up, I had to book our trip early to take advantage of these HUGE savings!

Best of all, I get to share with you the most up-to-date tips & tricks on how to stretch every one of those vacation dollars for the most fun (& frugal) visit to the Great Wolf Lodge! 🙌🏼

great wolf lodge with kids

Note that additional taxes and fees may apply in order to provide additional services that are often charged individually by other resorts. This fee covers services such as wireless internet, self-parking, fitness center access, in-room coffee and two bottles of water, life jackets and towels in the water park, access to fax, wolf ears, local phone calls, and a concierge service.

Keep in mind that Groupon also offers free cancellation up to 9 days before your reservation. 🙌🏼

great wolf lodge

And, if those HOT prices aren’t enough to convince ya, here’s why my family & I absolutely love our yearly Great Wolf trip (3 years & counting)…

I’m a Disney fanatic myself, so with countless of my core childhood memories being at Disneyland, I feel like I’m an almost-expert on magical experiences 😉 . Thus, I can confidently say the Great Wolf Lodge gives families a truly MAGICAL experience, on a smaller, more budget-friendly, and yet unforgettable scale!

Our most recent trip, just weeks ago, was the best one yet! It started with incredible staff members that were more than efficient and helpful with one of our issues and ended with countless hours of fun (I think my kids are still catching up on sleep! LOL). Although we never tire of the waterpark itself, we’ll never go back without grabbing the kids passes! The MagiQuest kept them entertained & in awe for hours, plus even with just 1 wand, all 3 of my kiddos were able to share and join in on the magic!

IDK how the Wolf Lodge does it, but somehow even for a small hotel room, the layout was ideal for a little parent and kid relaxation (and separation 😆). The kids had their own ‘room’ including a TV, but best of all the ‘bunk bed suite’ included THREE beds- one for each of my kiddos! 

I can’t say enough amazing things about the Great Wolf Lodge, but just know that the water is always the perfect temperature, the lines have never been ‘too long’, and there is SO MUCH for kids of every age to do! I recommend this trip at least once to every family! ❤️

great wolf lodge ears in front of hotel

And now without further ado, before you plan your stay, here are a few tips & tricks on how to save BIG on everything from food to fun, along with my family’s most recent experience/ quotes from my fellow Hip sidekicks!

1. Look for available Groupon deals first!

water pad at great wolf lodge

While there are no current deals on Grouponit’s usually the first place I check! Three years ago (before my Hip days), we stumbled upon a Groupon deal for the Great Wolf Lodge that was able to help us plan an unforgettable (and affordable) trip for my son’s birthday, which has now become a yearly tradition.

Unfamiliar with Groupon? I can honestly give my complete stamp of approval to using Groupon! Although we had NEVER had a single issue using our Groupon at the Wolf Lodge, during our most recent stay, I noticed an email that our reservation was refunded the DAY OF our trip. AND when I called the Lodge to double-check, we truly had no reservation under my name. 😱

AMAZINGLY, I was able to grab a new Groupon that same day and within minutes I had saved on a new room without having to change the date of our trip. On top of that, the new Groupon deal was even better than the one that was refunded – a blessing in disguise! 🤩

laptop on luggage

No Groupon? Plan early, save BIG!

If you’re not seeing a Groupon deal, consider booking at least 60 days in advance through the Great Wolf Lodge website directly to save up to 50% on a three or more night stay.

Keep in mind that additional taxes and fees may apply in order to provide additional services that are often charged individually by other resorts. This fee covers services such as wireless internet, self-parking, fitness center access, in-room coffee and two bottles of water, life jackets and towels in the water park, access to fax, wolf ears, local phone calls, and a concierge service.

2. Enjoy the water park for FREE on check-in day (wear your suits 👙)!

water pad at wolf lodge

We always head to the resort decked out in our swimsuits and cover-ups as you can gain access to the water park as early as 1 PM even though check-in isn’t until 4 PM. (Psst! My Hip Sidekick, Lina, once got into the waterpark as early as 11AM on her check-in day – how awesome is that??) Then, on the day of check-out you can stay until it closes (usually around 9 PM).

That means you can essentially enjoy two full days in the water park for just a one-night stay! 🙌🏼

Hip Tip: On check-out day, if you plan on staying at the water park until it closes, be sure to be out of your room by 11 AM (which is easily done contact-free through their convenient text-out service) and store your luggage at the front desk or in your car.

It would also be very helpful to pack a smaller bag with a change of clothes that you can take into the water park and store inside their lockers (available for rent). You can also use their showers and dryers inside the water park.

3. Save luggage space! Don’t pack life jackets or beach towels.

life jackets at great wolf lodge

Worry about one less thing and leave the beach and extra bath towels behind! Both are provided by the water park, however, you may want to bring a swimsuit cover-up as the beach towels must stay in the water park area (and bath towels must stay in your suite). Inflatables are also not allowed.

Also, Coast Guard-approved life jackets are available in a variety of sizes so you won’t need to bring your own unless you want to.

NOTE: The puddle jumper pictured above is NOT one provided by the lodge, for comfort reasons for my kiddo, I just prefer to bring my own. However, in addition to life jackets, they DO have puddle jumpers available on a first-come, first-serve basis! 🙌🏼

life jackets at the great wolf lodge

Wondering if the water park is suitable for your non-swimmer?

Absolutely, yes! They have an entire area designed for infants/younger kids to enjoy and parents are encouraged to go in and play with them. The indoor wave pool has 3 different settings, calm, medium, and a higher setting which was a bit much for 3 and 5-year-olds on their own, even with puddle jumpers. Plus, the outdoor pool is suitable for all ages to swim, splash, and play at their skill level!

One of my favorite attractions at the Wolf Lodge in AZ is the River Canyon Run as it is one that all five of us can ride on together! During our first ever visit, at just over a year old my youngest was able to sit on the innertube with us (no lap sitting allowed) and enjoy this HUGE & fun slide with gentle bends and curves and a fun display of rainbow colors!

4. Grab package deals before you head to the resort.

magi quest great wolf lodge

From specialty restaurants to MagiQuest or ShadowQuest (an interactive adventure game), to the Elements Spa Salon or Iron Horse Fitness Center, each lodge offers an abundance of awesome ‘dry land’ activities. The Arizona location even has an in-resort Build-A-Bear Workshop! 😍

To take advantage of these fun experiences while still saving a TON, consider bundling dining & entertainment passes with your Groupon reservation as these passes are often priced higher (& sometimes unavailable) when you purchase them in-person at the resort.

5. Save over 30% by purchasing kids passes.

paw pass 2

It’s hard to resist the excitement of all the extra activities around the resort! Kids are constantly playing MagiQuest or ShadowQuest and bringing interactive parts of the resort to life (the dragon at the Arizona resort is SO COOL)! There are also a ton of family-centered activities like miniature golf, bowling, rope and rock climbing courses, and so much more!

If your kids want to do extra activities around the resort or if you want to make the most out of your Wolf Lodge trip as a family, consider saving a TON with specialty kids passes!

The Paw Pass is priced around $59.99 (may vary by location) and includes:

    • Choice of MagiQuest or ShadowQuest game
    • Choice of classic or colored wand, standard topper, or Magi belt
    • One Paw Points arcade/attractions card (20 points)
    • One 12 oz. candy cup
    • One single scoop of ice cream from Bear Paw Sweets
    • One round of Howl at the Moon Glow Golf
    • Oliver’s Mining Co. Experience (1 bag of gems)

The Wolf Pass is priced around $99.99 (may vary by location) and includes:

    • One MagiQuest game
    • One Compass Quest game, classic wand, standard topper, or Magi belt
    • One serving of select bulk candy from Great Wolf Candy Company
    • One $5.00 Paw Points game card at Northern Lights arcade
    • One scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop
    • One round at Howl In One mini-golf
    • One game of bowling at our fun-sized Ten Paw Alley
    • One admission to Moonstone Mine at Oliver’s Mining Co.
    • One Build-A-Bear animal (outfit not included)
    • One Leather Treaty name bracelet

The Pup Pass is priced around $49.99 (may vary by location) and includes the following:

    • One Furry Friend from Build-A-Bear Workshop (outfit not included)
    • 20 Paw Points at Northern Lights arcade
    • One serving of select bulk candy from Great Wolf Candy Company
    • One scoop of ice cream from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats
    • One pair of select Great Wolf Lodge swim goggles

kids hugging build a bears

For me, the savings truly speak for themselves! If you’re doing the Wolf or Paw passes, just consider that the MagiQuest alone starts at $13.99 without tax for the game and up to $22.99 without tax for the wand. Then you add on five additional games, treats, activities, and more for as low as $59.99 – that seems like a fantastic deal to me! 

BUT my absolute favorite thing about these kids’ passes is that it makes you feel like you’re truly on vacation… from swiping your card! I don’t know about you, but swiping my card on vacation for every little thing like food, souvenirs, etc. tends to stress me out, plus it adds up SO QUICKLY! 😬

Since the passes are already prepaid with your reservation, it doesn’t make me feel like I’m spending more or overspending (in fact it kind of feels FREE 😉 since the kids just show their passes at checkout. Absolutely no swiping of your card or pulling out that extra cash!)

mother and daughter at Great Wolf Lodge

And here’s what my Hip Sidekick, Lina, had to say about the passes…

We opted for the Paw Pass because the kids were dying to do the MagiQuest. If given the opportunity, my kids that were seven and eight at the time would spend more time doing the MagiQuest than they would at the water park. It is seriously their favorite thing. They had so much fun trying to decipher the clues and complete each mission.

6. Save up to $30 with a dining pass.

great wold lodge food

In addition to the kids’ passes, dining passes are also available with exclusive discounts online only! You’ll pay just $170 for a $200 dining credit, $135 for a $150 dining credit, or $95 for a $100 dining credit. This is an easy way to save if you plan on staying in-resort or don’t have transportation to go outside of the hotel.

Hip Tip: One of the best options for feeding a hungry crew is to order a large 16″ pizza with toppings from Hungry as a Wolf, which costs around $14-$16, depending on your location. Bring a few 2-liter sodas with you to avoid paying for drinks and you’ll have a much more affordable dinner than eating at the restaurants.

7. Browse Groupons for local restaurants to save even more.

groupon deal on phone

If you don’t care to eat in-resort, consider using Groupon to save even more on nearby restaurants/ experiences! I was able to more than double my savings by using a Groupon to a restaurant that was less than 5 miles from the resort! Plus, if you are on vacation, why not take advantage and explore all that the area has to offer, instead of being limited to just the resort?

This was my favorite way to save by far! I was able to pay just $27 for $40 worth of food at this cool dinosaur-themed restaurant nearby. My kiddos loved it, there were even more choices on the menu, and I paid WAY less than what I would have paid for eating at the resort!

“We never eat there because the food is too pricey. We always bring a huge bag of breakfast foods, snacks, sandwich fixings, etc. And we eat out for dinner. So much cheaper.”

8. You can’t beat the value of bringing food & snacks from home! 🙌🏼

freezer chest

Most of us savvy-savers know that the BEST way to save on food & dining on any vacation is by bringing your own food! And yes, coolers are allowed at the Great Wolf Lodge, just not in the water park area. Rooms do have mini-fridges and some have microwaves, so you can easily save money by having a supply of snacks and drinks in your room.

Don’t have a microwave in your room? Many readers mention that they were able to acquire a microwave in their room by simply asking the front desk!

bear sandwich in lunch box

I was able to keep their bellies full while still giving them the magical feel of a ‘vacation food’ with our team-favorite Bentgo boxes

You guys, I literally made these sandwiches, in the hotel room, and cut them… with a spoon 😆! It’s true that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make lasting memories. Plus, with these fun lunch boxes in tow, I was able to keep their food fresh and ensure they were eating a nutritious amount.

*Coincidentally, I also scooped up these Bentgo boxes on sale with Groupon when we last posted the deal! Sign up HERE for text alerts and we’ll text the hottest deals (like these Bentgo boxes) straight to your phone!

9. Know everything else there is to do.

young girls getting pedicures

All resorts offer a variety of games, attractions, and activities for your family to enjoy during your stay. Be sure to ask for board games from the front desk as it is a great way to unwind whenever everyone is tired and just wants to relax in your room.

kids looking at screen

And don’t forget about the FREE kid’s activities!

Simply head downstairs and there is almost always something happening in the hotel lobby. During our stay, it was the resort’s ‘Spring Breakout’ and there were so many activities for the kids to participate in, sometimes all the way up until 9 PM!

Kids can enjoy tail-shaking dance parties (with fun light shows), color their favorite Wolf Lodge critters, listen to stories and plays, they even offered fun pajama parties – all for FREE!

10. Print coupons and save while you’re there.

great wolf candy company storefront

If you’re planning to purchase items in the shops and/or take advantage of their services and entertainment options, be sure to check for coupons before heading to Great Wolf Lodge. To find coupons for your region, just click on your location and add “/coupons” to the end of the URL.

“They have extras to add on – kids salon for mani/pedi, arcades, fun souvenir stores, etc. that are decently priced, especially with their coupons!”

11. Military & first responders get discounts.

girl hugging man in service uniform

Great Wolf Lodge offers a 30% off discount to all qualifying military and first responder families through their Howling Heroes program. Note that a valid ID must be presented at check-in and you must apply promo code HEROES at checkout when making an online reservation.

“Thank you Great Wolf Lodge for offering discounts for military and first responders!”

12. Know when to avoid the crowds.

Wolf lodge with kids-2

To avoid crowds, hit the water park right when it opens (usually 9 AM or 10 AM during certain seasons) and an hour before it closes (usually closes at 9 PM or 10 PM during certain seasons). The lines at the water park are usually the longest in the middle of the day, especially for popular water slides, so try to go on as many rides as you can during non-peak hours.

All that in mind, I will say that we have been to the Wolf Lodge every different day of the week/weekend, in both April (around spring break) and August (some are still on summer break), and the crowds have never been unbearable.

Most recently, one of the staff members claimed that they were at 85% capacity, but the attractions were NOT shoulder to shoulder, we didn’t wait in line at Build-a-Bear or MagiQuest, and it was still an intimate and fun family vacation!

13. Guard your wristbands.

Kids with wrist bands

The Great Wolf Lodge wristband is an important part of your lodge stay as it acts as your room key and payment method, valid to use anywhere in the lodge during your stay. When you check-in, your credit card information is added to your wristband, so you’ll want to be sure and guard it carefully.

If you don’t want your kids to have access to your credit card, be sure to mention this at check-in and they will get a different color wristband that will deny them access to your credit card. Whenever you leave the resort, it’s a good idea to cut or shred the wristbands so no one can access your information.

wristbands in a jar

Also, if your wristband is too long, a Pack Member at the resort will clip off the tail to make it less irritating for you. Plus, in the past, wristband snips have been saved by each department and then entered in the “Great Wolf Tail Competition”.

Each little tail is collected, saved, and put in a large container as part of a monthly, spirited contest across all resort areas. The challenge is to see which department is a “cut above the rest”, and how many guests had their wristbands sized to perfection. Pretty cool!

“I loved that they had a specific wristband color based on height. This way kids that are too small for taller rides are not allowed for safety reasons.”

14. Going to California? Pair your trip with Disneyland.

child wearing minnie mouse ears

If you’re planning your trip to Anaheim, CA, consider checking out their packages that will allow you to save on Disneyland Resort tickets, too.

For instance, you can save up to $500 on your stay at Great Wolf Lodge Anaheim, CA and they’ll bundle in Disneyland Resort tickets. Plus, Great Wolf Lodge also provides a shuttle to and from Disneyland for its guests.

15. Take advantage of a free Shutterfly photo book.

shutterfly photo book

As one of Great Wolf Lodge’s partners, Shutterfly offers guests a promo code for a FREE 20-page 8×8 hardcover Photo Book ($29.99 value)! When you get to your room, look for a Shutterfly promotional card near a sample photo book with a unique promo code to redeem your offer. If you don’t see one in your room, inquire at the front desk for the promo.

“We love Shutterfly Photo Books, so this was a great and frugal way to cherish all the fun memories we had at Great Wolf Lodge!”

16. Have food allergies? No worries!

family enjoying pizza at great wolf lodge

If you or a family member has food allergies, you may be happy to know that Great Wolf Lodge takes food allergies very seriously and will do everything to accommodate your needs. The resort’s chef will personally come out and talk with you and discuss your needs for a gluten-free menu.

And, last but not least…

17. Don’t forget to grab your authentic Wolf Lodge ears as a FREE souvenir!

kids wearing wolf ears

Disneyland ain’t got nothing on these FREE wolf ear headbands! 😏 Everyone in the family can snag a classic pair from the Great Wolf Lodge gift shop. Just ask the friendly staff at the checkout counter! Limit one per person.

Note that there are also a ton of colorful, fun, and funky ears available for purchase if you’d like to add to your collection, but the free classic pair gets the job done for howlin’ good family photos while you’re at the resort or for a fun souvenir to snag on your way out!

family sitting near pool at wolf lodge

Ready to save with a sweet Great Wolf Lodge deal? Book your stay now!

And if I might add, we had SUCH a blast on our trip that my son is still asking to go to the Great Wolf Lodge for his upcoming birthday in August. With such a great deal going on, how can I possibly say no?? 😉

Chelsey has both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree from Arizona State University with 3 years of blogging experience consisting of pieces not only for Hip2Save, but also other publications in the health, lifestyle, and education field.

Join The Discussion

Comments 22

  1. teresalynn

    It is very pricey but fun! Definitely bring your own food! The restaurants are expensive and not worth it in my opinion! Tons of add-ons but my kids spent so much time swimming, they did not miss or care about the extras that were offered. 🙂

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Thanks so much for the helpful suggestion!

  2. Kimberly

    If you own life jackets, bring them. Even though GWL provides them, there is no guarantee the sizes you need won’t all be in use by other guests when you want them.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Thanks a bunch for the tip, Kimberly! Good to know!

  3. Suzanne H

    We have never had a problem taking our pizza ordered from Domino’s to our room (we have done that twice). We just have to meet the delivery person in the lobby as they are not allowed past that point. Much cheaper than GWL food which is not good IMO but we love it otherwise!

    • delliaseattle

      Of course you can bring your own food..just like any other hotels..its a hotel with a water park..u just cant bring food inside the water park. The rules that u cannot bring food or bev or cooler are for the waterpark..other than that..its a hotel really.

  4. SuzyHomemakerGoneBad

    Ditto on the pizza. We ordered no fewer than 3 pizzas throughout our stay, picked them up in the lobby, and took them up to our room with no issues at the Minnesota location.

  5. Chris

    We’ve been and had a blast. Like others mentioned, things can add up, so budget accordingly. We brought a cooler and things for sandwiches and snacks. Also, we ordered delivery for dinner, which saved a few bucks as well.

    The resort sent a check in email or text I believe a day or two before our trip asking what time we were arriving. I put 11am. Low and behold we get a text at 10:00am saying our room was ready and we could check in. So like one of the tips above mentioned, we were able to avoid the crowds and utilize the swim areas on our first day!

  6. Noelle Collins

    We have a newer one in Gurnee/Chicago IL area. We were so disappointed last June when we went that they did not have microwaves in the rooms, as my kids have food allergies, and we usually bring food along to heat up. Just an FYI for other food allergy parents, maybe call ahead to be sure they have microwaves in the rooms at all of the resorts. It sounds like this is a great deal though. Maybe we’ll have to try visiting again.

    • Alaina

      You can ask for a microwave and they will bring one up is what I have been told.

  7. Lisa

    My friend said she brought her air fryer along & made food that way as well!

    • msfrizzle

      Electric griddle too! 😉

  8. msfrizzle

    ALSO- Bring robes or your hooded towels. They’re awesome for staying warm on the long trek back to your room!

  9. Jenni

    A note for any of the parents of kids with sensory issues- GWL was wonderful about letting our youngest (6) not wear his wristband at our last stay. He had a full blown meltdown that took us 20 minutes to figure out that his wristband was bothering him. The wonderful folks at the front desk said to cut it off and just keep it with our stuff whenever we went to the water park in case anyone asked us about it (they didn’t). Definitely made that aspect of our trip much easier!

    • Cathy

      thank you!

  10. Brittney

    We went over spring break, it is definitely a splurge! But we had an absolute blast. Our biggest concern was that we have food allergies and odd ones at that. We contacted them ahead of time, and had contact with the chef the entire time. Everyone there was great about helping us with labels or questions. I know not everyone has had this experience but we made sure to check in in-between busier times to make sure we were prepared ahead of time at the one in Grand Mound WA. We are not much for crowds and despite it being a larger place we plan to go back again.

  11. Vickit

    It’s shows Traverse City is unavailable for me.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      I am seeing limited options available for that location as I click through now if you wanted to check again. Hoping that helps!

  12. Bonnie

    If you go to the ‘Trading Post’ gift shop, you can ask for wolf ears and they will give you the basic ones for free!

    • Alli (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing, Bonnie — what a fun idea!

  13. AP

    I have been tracking the prices for Family suite at Wiliamsburg VA location for over a month now. Regardless of the applicable promos, the price per night always revolves around 399$ (including A25BDAY promo) so apart from 25$ dinner credit does not seem a great deal. Am i missing something here?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?