7 Tips for Visiting Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington

Boy and dad navigating ninja water course at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota

In 2018, Great Wolf Lodge invited us with all the other media outlets around the Twin Cities to spend a weekend at their newest resort here in Bloomington. Our family had a blast spending the weekend together (with me sneaking away here and there to post on social media), and we kept our eyes open for the best deals and tips.

When Friday came, the kids hopped off the bus, into the car and away we drove. We were excited for the water park and seeing what the room was like. What we didn’t know was that most of the weekend we would spend outside the water in the Adventure Park.

Why?  Because Great Wolf was so much more than a hotel with a water park.  A list of all the attractions and logistics about the resort are located here.

Boy Meeting Wiley and Violet at the Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, MN
Meeting Wiley and Violet

7 Tips for Family Fun at Great Wolf Lodge

Here are seven tips for you to make your visit to Great Wolf Lodge enjoyable for the whole family:

Tip #1

Avoid Peak Check-in Hours

Exterior of Great Wolf Lodge at Bloomington, Minnesota
We recommend Avoiding Peak Check-in Hours –image courtesy Great Wolf Lodge

Check in is at 4pm, but the water park is open at 1pm for the guests checking in for the night. Therefore, the line is down the hall at 1:00. Again at 4pm you will find a lengthy line, so my suggestion is to check in to the water park between 2:30 and 3 or into your hotel room after 7pm.

Tip #2

Take Advantage of all the Free Activities

Family screening in the kid-friendly theater at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota
(photo by Preston Mack / Great Wolf Lodge)

Our favorite free activity for sure was Wiley’s Waterpark, but Great Wolf Lodge also offers other free activities throughout the day.  You can do yoga in the morning, make crafts, decorate your ears that you receive when you check in, listen to stories, play games. Find a full list of activities that are included with your suite here.

Tip #3

Make use of the fridge, microwave, and storage cupboards for meals

While staying the night at Great Wolf is definitely a splurge for our family, they do make it possible for you to feel at home. They provide a mini fridge and microwave in each suite.  Stock the fridge and eat for less.

Family Hotel Room at the Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota
Each suite includes a mini fridge and microwave

Tip #4

But First, Coffee

The coffee available in the different restaurants was not my favorite, and the line for Dunkin’ Donuts was incredibly long–as in down-the-hall long. There is small coffeemaker in the suites, but I suggest having a coffee plan.

Great Wolf Lodge

Tip #5

 Go Bowling

Ten Paw Alley was my favorite activity of the entire weekend. It’s mini bowling so the balls are five pounds and approximately the size of a shotput. You play 10 frames for up to six players at a time. And I just want to point out to everyone that I won!!! I SMOKED my husband! Our whole family had fun bowling together.

Mom WINS!!! bowling at the Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota
Mom WINS!!! Gotta document this for the whole world to see.

Tip #6

Enjoy the enormous wood burning fireplace

Saturday morning, I–and two of my kiddos–woke up really early (I think we were too excited to fall back asleep), so I sauntered into the lobby where I found a rocking chair in front of the gargantuan fireplace. They came over immediately and added logs to the fire and I relaxed for an hour while my kids explored the Adventure park in their pajamas. It was absolutely my most favorite part of the weekend.

Great Wolf Lodge fire in a fireplace

Tip #7

Let your kids be the experts and play MagiQuest.

Okay, this game is incredibly active. MagiQuest caused our whole family to fall asleep hard after walking probably 50,000 steps in one day.  Up and down we went going from portal to portal. There are lot of things to remember about MagiQuest, and it is on the pricey side. However, I believe of everything you can spend your money on, this is worth the cost. To play, you need a wand and a wand topper.

For the weekend, we had three quests to complete: Rescue the Pixies, Defeat the Goblin King, and Defeat the Dragon.  Each quest has a series of actions you need to take including (but not limited to) collecting money, collecting objects, finding paintings, etc.  Now what is going to cause your head to spin is the number of things your children will wave their wand at and you will have no idea why. Their are physical objects to find, virtual objects to find, treasure chests to open, stars to collect, portals to discover, paintings to locate, and more.  It’s the “and more” keep you shaking your head.

Boy playing video games at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota

It is a huge guarantee that you will wonder around not knowing what you are doing.  In fact, it will take you most of a weekend to figure it out, BUT it will be loved by your whole family.

Budget Friendly Tips for Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge is definitely a splurge, but with a little planning and budgeting, it can be a great memory-maker and not ruin your financially.  Here are my top three tips to help your budget.

1) Take advantage of the Park Passes.

The different paw passes available at Great Wolf Lodge
The different paw passes available

The various park passes bundle the various attractions and treats into an inclusive price. Pick a pass that fits your family — whether you have toddlers or teens or in betweeners, there is a package to fit your family.

2) Spend most of your time in Wiley’s Waterpark

Overhead view of the waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota

RelatedFamily Exercise Fun: Twin Cities Indoor Waterparks and Pools

3) Bring your own food.

While you will probably want to dine in the restaurant for some meals, take advantage of the refrigerator and microwave in your suite to save a little on family meals during your stay. This way you can make food you know your kids will eat.

Family Breakfast at the Campfire Kitchen at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota
Breakfast at Campfire Kitchen

And there you have it folks.  I’m excited to have this resort in the Twin Cities since I’m a huge fan of Jellystone, and since Great Wolf owns Jellystone, we felt right at home.

Looking for more information about activities around the Twin Cities?

Boy repelling the climbing wall at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington Minnesota
Climbing Wall

Disclosure: FFTC received a weekend stay and admission to the attractions. Keep reading because this isn’t so much a sponsored article as a insider’s guide to the resort.  I promise that all opinions are my own.

Originally Published January 9, 2018.

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