With the increase in COVID-19 cases, family vacations have come to a halt in many locations. A staycation or a close-to-home trip, such as Great Wolf Lodge, in Grapevine, may be the perfect solution for many families, especially since you can get there on a single tank of gas.

Located only 170 miles from Marshall, the Great Wolf Lodge is not just a hotel but an all inclusive resort showcasing entertainment, kids activities, restaurants and a water park.

Unlike other resorts, the lodge includes free wifi, free waterpark passes and free kids activities. Additional kids activities are available on a Paw Pass and include MagiQuest games, a Great Wolf Lodge Candy Shop candy cup, a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and a card for the Northern Lights Arcade as well as other activities.

Water Park

One of the highlights of Great Wolf Lodge is the 80,000 square feet indoor waterpark. Many attractions are featured including Alberta Falls, Fort Mackensie, Raccoon Lagoon, Slap Tail Pond, Coyote Canyon, River Canyon Run, Whooping Hollow, Crooked Creek, Cub Paw Pool, Chinook Cave, Totem Towers, Big Foot Pass and the Howlin' Tornado.

Some popular attractions are featured below.

Alberta Falls includes four stories of exhilarating, fast-water fun that takes you through swiftly banking turns and steep pitches in a tandem tube ride. The perfect take on a trip for two, the Alberta Falls water slide takes you right outside the building and back in again before your final drop into the plunge pool. The attraction is recommended for families, teens and children and has a 42-inch height requirement.

At Fort Mackensie visitors can delight in an interactive water toys and kid-activated splash features. The best water fort treehouse is appropriate for families, children and toddlers and has a 42-inch minimum height requirement.

In Raccoon Lagoon, kids and adults alike can enjoy some outdoor pool time with an all-around three-foot, six-inch deep water play area, with fountains and plenty of poolside seating for soaking up the sun. There are no height restrictions for this attraction and it is suitable for families, teens, toddlers and children.

At the Slap Tail Pond, visitors are able to catch a wave in the wave pool and play as the swells sweep in from the five-foot deep end to the zero-depth-entry shallows. The rollers flow in every five minutes to lift and transport visitors to the beach. Their is no height restriction for this attraction and it is suitable for all ages.

In the Coyote Cannon, adults and teens can enjoy a 40-foot drop into a water-jet-fueled vortex. Once you drop four stories into the whirling basin, you’re in for who-knows-how-many trips around the center before spinning on your way to a splash landing. This attraction is suitable for adults and teens and has a 42-inch height requirement.

Families may want to join together their wolf pack for a trip on River Canyon Run, a water slide with large rafts that can send an entire family careening through the dipping, bending curves of a river. This attraction is perfect for families and their is a 42-inch height requirement.

Whooping Hollow is a perfect attraction for those under the 42-inch requirement for some of the more intense attractions. This kid-sized water slide offers gentle slopes and tiny dips. There is a maximum height requirement so those over 52-inches cannot play. The Cub Paw Pool also offers pint-sized fun for those under 52-inches and features water cannons and Splash Pad type attractions.

In addition to many other safety measures, the CDC continues to state “there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds” and that “proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection of pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Though masks are required throughout the resort, they are not recommended for attractions where they may get wet.

Dining options

Dining options inside the resort offer a wide variety of food at eateries including Bear Paw Sweets and Eats, Buckets Incredible Craveables, Grizzly Jack's Bar and Grill, Hungry as a Wolf, The Watering Hole, Lodge Wood Fired Grill, The Lodge Moose Cottage and Starbucks.

Hungry as a Wolf, one of the lodge's most popular attractions (for obvious reasons), features an array of pizza, pasta and salads.

Those looking for a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner may want to check out culinary creations made by Executive Chef Cokima at The Loose Moose Cottage. Character breakfasts are also available at this eatery.

Those wanting to adventure outside the lodge will find endless eating establishments in Grapevine, especially since Grapevine Mills Mall is within driving distance.

Sleeping Accommodations

With staying at the Great Wolf Lodge sleeping accommodation choices are endless. Whether families want basic lodging or a more fun experience for kids, the choices are endless. All options include water park tickets.

Themed suites for kids may feature log cabin decor, a Wolf Den or a KidKamp. Larger bear themed suites are available for large groups and families.

Safety measures

Parents who are concerned about the spread of coronavirus can be reassured that the Great Wolf Lodge has put many safety implementations in place.

Additionally, the lodge introduced its new Paw Pledge program, a company-wide initiative focused on keeping families healthy and safe while they play together at the indoor waterpark resort, and developed based on guidance from heath authorities and public officials.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of our guests, pack members and community has long been our guiding principle at Great Wolf Lodge. We have been working to develop and implement comprehensive reopening plans based on guidance and protocols recommended by the government and CDC, and we’re excited to get families back to having fun with confidence because of the new safeguards we put into place across our resorts,” said Murray Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer for Great Wolf Resorts. “During our closure we heard from countless families who said the destination they’re most looking forward to reopening is their local Great Wolf Lodge, and we’re elated because there is nothing more precious to us than providing a joy-filled escape for families.”

Great Wolf Lodge collaborated with medical experts, sanitation specialists and industrial engineers to develop customized health and safety procedures for the 605-room resort. The reopening plan focuses on disinfection and sanitization, physical distancing, personal protection, and minimizing surface interactions in all guest areas across the resort. This includes the water park, various eateries, attractions, grand lobby area and all guest rooms.

• Great Wolf Lodge partnered with disinfectant experts to determine the best virus eliminating agents for use in its resorts and the most effective sanitization methods. Resort staff will sanitize all frequently touched surfaces in the waterpark, attraction areas, restaurants and all other public spaces continually using hospital-grade disinfectants.

All guest rooms are disinfected and sanitized prior to check-in, with room attendants paying special attention to high touchpoint areas such as door handles, light switches, in-room phone, thermostats and television remotes.

Great Wolf Lodge will initially reduce occupancy levels to 50% or less to provide an abundance of space so families can easily navigate the resort with a minimum of six-feet of separation from those outside of their traveling party and the indoor water park will initially operate at 25% of its maximum capacity. 

For those interested in more information or booking a howling good time go to https://www.greatwolf.com/grapevine. The resort is located at 100 Great Wolf Drive in Grapevine.