Whether it’s your first trip to an indoor water park for toddlers with your first child, or your fourth trip with your fourth, the idea of traveling with a toddler is always a bit overwhelming. There are concerns about safety, transportation, food, and even lodging—the list goes on! It’s important to find a destination that will work for your kids, keep them busy, and minimize the number of tantrums.
At Great Wolf Lodge, we guarantee we’ve thought about it all. From luggage carts near the front door (we know that having a toddler means tons of stuff!) to wristbands that are also room keys (so you can’t lose them), we try to make it as easy as possible for your family to travel without a hitch.
So, whether you’re in or out of the water park, there are tons of toddler-friendly activities at Great Wolf Lodge. Read our toddler amusement park guide to find out!
First off, the water park. You may think the slides and tube rides are for older kids—and there are certainly some that are—but our water park is geared just as much toward toddlers. Remember how we talked about wristbands? Our Wiley the Wolf measuring sign is color-coded, and each child receives a colored wristband based on their height. (Who said safety can’t be fun?!) The color designates which attractions they can go on, either alone or with a parent. Here are a few suggestions for toddler water slides!
1. Fort Mackenzie: Picture a tree house that’s also a water fort. That’s what Fort Mackenzie is! Your toddler will love every level of this place—and whether you admit it or not, you probably will too. There are interactive water toys, splash features, and even a gigantic bucket that tips every eight minutes. Hint: Wait for the bell to ring so you know when the bucket’s going to tip!
2. Cub Paw Pool: As the name suggests, this one’s just for tykes and toddlers! There are kiddie slides and rainbow colored jet skis that’ll keep them entertained for hours. And with a zero-depth entry and a mere 18-inch “deep” end, you won’t have to worry quite as much.
3. Crooked Creek: What day at the water park would be complete without a float on the lazy river? Grab a tube with your little one and let the gentle current carry you along for as long as you’d like.
And while we’re on the topic of the water park, you might be wondering about water safety. For starters, life jackets for various age ranges are provided free of charge at all Great Wolf Lodge locations. They’re located right at each park’s entrance, along with lifeguards who can help you determine the proper size and fit for your child’s life jacket. As an alternative to the traditional life jacket, a limited number of puddle jumper life jackets (they provide more mobility but are still U.S. Coast Guard approved) are available.
And, of course, what would our water park be without lifeguards? At Great Wolf Lodge, the 1,000+ members of our aquatics team are highly trained, constantly moving and scanning the water. They can be found at just about every attraction—indoors and out! And don’t worry—this isn’t just any old summer job. Our lifeguards are certified by a third party, complete 24 hours of lifeguard training with us, and go through individual tests, drills, and mandatory “in-service” trainings each month.
When your toddler is tuckered out from all the fun at the water park, there’s plenty to do to unwind. We recommend taking a look at the activity schedule ahead of time so you can plan your days around your toddler’s naptime! Here are some dry land toddler activities you won’t want to miss.
4. Story Time: If your toddler loves story time at home, they’ll love it at the Lodge just as much! Story Time is the perfect ending to your fun-filled day at the water park where your wolf pups will get to put on their favorite PJs and get cozy for a story told by our very own Ambassadors of Fun. Tip: Bring his or her favorite stuffed animal or blanket to make it all the more enjoyable.
5. Wake Up with Wiley and Friends: Studies have shown that physically active kids are more likely to be active as adults—so keep those little feet moving! Whether it’s finding your inner zen at Yoga Tails, exploring nature on a Wolf Walk, or stomping your paws at Wolfercise, we always find ways to keep your little ones active (and give you a better night’s sleep when they’re all tuckered out at night). Tip: Don’t forget sneakers!
6. Ten Paw Alley: You may not think bowling is the best activity for toddlers—and you’d be right most of the time! But, our bowling alley is specifically made for kids! The lanes are shorter, the bowling balls are smaller, and there are no special shoes required (that’s a win for you!).
Traveling with toddlers is no walk in the (water) park. But for every time you question your sanity (and there are many!), there’s a priceless family moment to remind you why you came. So, don’t forget to have fun yourself! It’s sometimes easy to forget, but this vacation is also for you. Celebrate your parental wins with a glass of wine or a grande latte (we have those, too!).