Last weekend we packed up the whole Warner crew and headed off to the new Great Wolf Lodge SoCal in Garden Grove for their grand opening weekend. We splashed, we laughed, there were magic wands and donuts a plenty.
Craig headed to the office to squeeze in a half day of work while I packed up all of our stuff and wrangled some overexcited children. Kayla let me know that my shirt had a typo. Kids are awesome! We dropped Charger off at grandma’s which was *almost* on the way and then unloaded our party crew and checked in.
Blake was the first one to take to the 105,000 square foot water park in Great Wolf Lodge SoCal. Yep, the place is huge. If you want a really cool panoramic view of the park, head up to the third floor. You can get a nice glimpse from the lobby as well, but the 3rd floor gives you an aerial view and will have your kids with their noses up against the glass.
We spent most of our time within the water park in the Cub Paw Pool which is designed for younger kids. It maxes out at 2 feet deep and has a beach entry so it makes getting acclimated easy for the tiniest guests.
As you can tell, Blake loved playing in the small fountains near the edge of the pool and with the different water table style features within the pool. Seriously, I think he would have stayed in ALL day long if we let him. In the last 7 years I’ve logged quite a few hours at splash pads, kiddie pools and the like. The most noticeable difference here was the lifeguards.
I could not believe how many lifeguards there were and how fully focused on doing their jobs they are.
This is not the whistle twirling lifeguard scene we all probably grew up with. I want to say there were three or four lifeguards in continuous movement scanning the Club Paw Pool at all times. It’s seriously a sight. You will see their heads bobbing up and down as they walk their assigned area of the pool.
You may receive the occasional very brief smile as you look at them with deep gratitude for their service but really, they are entirely focused on the water and the tiny people in it. I’m not kidding, if there was a lifeguard tip jar I would have thrown a twenty in.
As you may have noticed, Great Wolf Lodge offers free life vests to use while in the water park. You can grab them off of racks spread throughout the park and there are some helpful guides on the racks to find the right size and style for your child. If you’re visiting with multiple children, especially ones who aren’t experienced swimmers you’ll be grateful for these.
Kayla was more timid than Blake at first. It was nice that the Cub Paw Pool at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal offers a couple of smaller water slides to let kids warm up to the feeling of being on a water slide. While we have a pool at home and are in it all summer, it had been a couple of years since she had last been on a slide.
Blake splashed around with Craig and I watched Kayla work up the courage to try a slide. It took her a bit of time and I started to feel like it might never happen but at last she went down this yellow slide and never looked back!
Eventually she built up the courage to try a couple of bigger slides outside of the Cub Paw Pool area and Craig took some time to go check out the faster slides. If you have older children, trust me there are things for them to do. We saw quite a few tweens and teens having fun on the big slides and one of them was so intense many of my mom friends were like, no thank you! Of course if we were 15 we would have been all about it.
After a day of water fun, we made some stuffed animals at the Creation Station. Basically it’s a Great Wolf version of Build A Bear. They have some adorable themed outfits that go with the characters and Kayla loved this.
There are also kiosks around the property where the character your child creates can interact, similar to the MagiQuest game but pared down for younger children. Kayla was far more excited about cuddling and dressing up her new furry friends so we skipped this part.
We had a Wolf Den Suite which is one of the themed suites available at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. Basically there is a kids room within the room with bunk beds. Kayla’s eyes lit up when she saw it. I was happy that I could fit Blake’s travel crib in the Wolf Den as well.
At night I gave kayla this little camping lantern since the kids area in the themed rooms are pretty dark with the light off and I wasn’t sure if there would be an outlet for a night light. This little battery operated lantern was perfect! Naturally she fell asleep clutching her new friend Violet the wolf.
I’m a native New Yorker so the appeal of Dunkin Donuts in the lobby (open at 6am) was not lost on me. Blake was up early and while I was trying to clean up a bit, he helped himself to a donut. Mom fail. It was so cute I just let him go for it.
We spent about two days at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal and they were crazy, amazing and fun. Kayla met a new friend, I got to see a few old friends and made some new ones too. Blake and Craig thoroughly enjoyed the water and I had a parenting aha moment or two. Kayla and Blake made memories as siblings.
The only thing Craig and I agreed was really missing from this property was a non-water related outdoor playground for young children. That would have helped us out a lot with Blake since he was on the young side for some of the activities. Here in SoCal we’re used to being outside a great deal. Our family is constantly visiting the beach, park and just cruising around since the weather allows for it most of the year.
I shared more about our family trip to Great Wolf Lodge on Instagram. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you probably know I tend to share special moments in real time and interact quite a bit there. If you’re new, come follow along and say hi!
Think you’re family is ready for a Great Wolf Lodge SoCal trip? You can learn more about the property, rooms and activities here. Also be sure to check out the special offers tab. You might just snag a great discount!
** Thanks so much to Great Wolf Lodge for hosting our family at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal for the weekend! #GWLSoCal **