Since it’s only 1.5hrs away, we’ve been to Niagara Falls a million times! Although the actual tourist area basically consists of a main strip and the main attraction is the view of the Falls, Niagara is the closest thing we have for a themed-style family vacay. There’s a ferris wheel and bumper cars, mini-golf and video games, ice cream and fudge and haunted houses galore! Our gang is usually totally satisfied by simply walking around and checking out all the sites, that we never pay to actually go in to any of the “attractions” like the Ripley Believe it or Not Museum/Dracula’s Mansion/Sponge Bob 3D Ride (besides, if you’ve been once, you really never ever have to go again).
This however was our first trip to Great Wolf Lodge, a pricier resort-style hotel (part of a large chain) in Niagara Falls that completely caters to families. There’s an awesome water park in the hotel, complete with water slides and pools, a few restaurants and shops and activities for the kids. There are a ton of add-on activities and a thousand ways to spend your money!
1. The Great Lobby is set up like a cozy lodge cabin situated deep in the backwoods. Animated wolves sit and howl atop a huge fireplace that’s surrounded with rustic furniture; huge antler chandeliers hang from exposed beams overtop the forest-theme carpeting throughout. The lobby is completely child-friendly – there’s even realistic, animated forest creatures on a stage that talk, tell jokes and read stories to the kids! (At 6:30 a.m., Baby X and I hung out in the Great Lobby so as not to wake everyone and we had a great time running around and checking everything out).
2. When checking in, every family member conveniently receives a micro-chipped wrist band which when scanned opens the door to the hotel room – I love this! On this trip, we stayed in a spacious standard family room with 2 queen beds, a couch that’s separated by a partition wall and a crib – perfect! But at Great Wolf Lodge, there are many rooms for many expansive budgets – you can opt for suites, bars, whirlpools, bunk beds and even multi-levels!
3. I’ve stayed in two other ‘water park’ hotels in Niagara with kids, but this is definitely the best – however, it is simply reflected by the price. I can honestly say that the other water parks are also decent, but you get what you pay for and here at Great Wolf Lodge, it was decent guests, parents that really watch their kids and not having to worry about distracting other guests that impressed me.
1. Now I have heard this is not common, but one of my biggest peeves on our visit was the overwhelming smell of chlorine. I could be sensitive, but it was quite strong.
2. When children and adults are running around having fun, they don’t have a chance to feel any chill – however, when penguin-walking with a tot, everything feels cold! I think I was just worried that Baby X was cold and it made me chillier, so next time I will be sure to bring him a bathing suit shirt too.
Great Wolf Lodge is a great place to bring the kids. Pricey yes, but if you can find a deal and bring lots of food and snacks, it can be affordable. It is the most expensive indoor waterpark hotel combo in Niagara, but the price reflects the quality and just as important, the quality of the guests which can really add value to a getaway.
Want More? Click here to read about another one of our overnight stays at Great Wolf Lodge including info about the meal plan >