Travel

Our Howlin’ Review of Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN

By
on
January 9, 2020

If you’re looking for a tell-all review and want to find out absolutely everything that you can expect during a stay at Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN, you came to the right place!

This article features all that you need to know about the resort, rooms, dining, waterpark and other activities at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, MN. Due to its plethora of kid-friendly activities, a stay at Great Wolf Lodge is truly a vacation in itself!

Read on to check out our full review of Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN and to get all of your questions answered!

In fact, be sure to read until the end in order to access our exclusive, top-secret tips that cannot otherwise be found online.

*All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This is not a paid post nor was our stay hosted, endorsed, or sponsored by the resort brand.

Top U.S. family travel blog features their howlin' review of Great Wolf Lodge, Bloomington, MN!
Great Wolf Lodge, Bloomington, MN

Great Wolf Lodge Resort Details

With over 19 locations (and counting!) in the U.S. and Canada, the Great Wolf Lodge resort brand has become a family favorite of many!

What started as a small indoor water park hotel in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, Great Wolf Lodge now features a line of family resorts each complete with a water park, restaurants, arcades, spas, and children’s activities.

Part of Great Wolf’s appeal is that it offers a weatherproof getaway where visitors can swim and wear bathing suits regardless of the time of year. For this reason, the resorts are hugely popular as a destination during the cold winter months.

Last, all of the properties offer similar rustic, deep-woods themed decor. In addition, you can expect to find resort mascots Wiley the Wolf, Violet the Wolf, and Oliver Raccoon roaming around all of the locations.

Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota is located steps away from Mall of America, the U.S.’s largest shopping mall. The dozens of kid-friendly Mall of American attractions are already a huge draw to this area.

With the addition of nearby Great Wolf Lodge, families can find themselves busy in this area for 3 days or longer!

Read: Another amazing indoor attraction steps away from Great Wolf Lodge, is Nickelodeon Universe in Mall of America. You can’t go wrong in visiting the nation’s largest indoor theme park inside of the nation’s largest shopping mall!

Wave pool: Top U.S. family travel blog features their howlin' review of Great Wolf Lodge, Bloomington, MN!
Wave pool: Great Wolf Lodge, Minneapolis (photo by Preston Mack / Great Wolf Lodge)

Great Wolf Lodge: What works for families

  • Unlimited use of the waterpark included in your stay.
  • The waterpark is indoors and is a delightful 84 degrees year-round.
  • An abundance of on-site entertainment and activities.
  • On-site dining options, an ice cream shop, coffee shop, and gift shop.
  • Every room comes with a mini-fridge, microwave, free wifi, and lots of USB charging outlets.
  • Rooms have 2 queen beds (vs. double beds). Pack-n-plays and rollaway beds are available upon request.

Great Wolf Lodge: What doesn’t work for families

  • A $29.99/night resort fee is added to the already high nightly room rates.
  • The water park and activity areas are very crowded during peak times. Limited seating in the waterpark may leave you without a gathering place for your group and belongings.
  • The ropes course, arcade, MagiQuest, and several other on-site activities cost extra money in addition to the already pricey room rates.
  • There are no rooms with kitchenettes.
  • Day passes are available at this location, meaning that the water park is not exclusive to hotel guests.
Kids' water park area: Top U.S. family travel blog features their howlin' review of Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington MN!
Fort Mackenzie: Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge, Bloomington, MN

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

The biggest highlight of Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN is the on-site water park!

Complete with a wave pool, lazy river, family tube ride, and surf simulator, there is something to do here for everyone!

The body slides, single or double tube slides and huge children’s play space with an iconic tipping drench bucket, maintain the classic water park vibe that we all know and love.

Water park wristbands are given to you upon check-in and are color-coded by child and adult. Scanning your wristband is required upon entry into the water park area and only again if you choose to rent out a towel.

Though towels are free of charge, there is a $25 fee if you do not return your towel at the end of your day in the waterpark. Because of this, be sure to both scan out, and scan back in the resort towels at the marked towel stations.

Top U.S. family travel blog features their howlin' review of Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington MN!
Alberta Falls water slide: Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

Additional water park details:

  • The Great Wolf water park is staffed by multiple, attentive lifeguards.
  • Both child-size lifejackets and puddle jumper floatation devices are available and free to use in the water park.
  • The longest -and slowest- lines accumulate for River Canyon Run (the family tube slide) and Wolf Rider Wipeout (the surf simulator ride).
  • The busiest times of the water park are between the hours of 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM.
  • During the park’s busy times, it is difficult to find an available tube for the lazy river. There just doesn’t seem to be that many available tubes, so do not give yours up unless you know you are done with it for a while.
  • Poolside cabanas are available for rent. Though we did not rent one, they appeared very small and did not seem ‘worth it’.
  • Outside food and beverages are not allowed in the water park area. No one is patrolling this, however.
  • Half-day (4pm-close) water park passes for visitors not staying at the hotel can be purchased online for $20/person. Full day (open-close) can be purchased online for $25/person.
  • Though check-in is not until 4:00 PM, guests may start using the water park earlier on the day of arrival. Check-in as usual. The front desk will issue you your water park wrist bands and text you when your room is ready.
  • Though check-out is at 11:00 AM, guests may continue to use the water park for the entire day until close. Simply utilize the water park locker rooms for changing.
  • Continue reading until the end of this article for our exclusive secret tip on how to gain free early entry to the water park!
Ropes Course: Top U.S. family travel blog features their howlin' review of Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington MN!
Ropes Course: Great Wolf Lodge, Minneapolis (photo by Preston Mack / Great Wolf Lodge)

Great Wolf Lodge Entertainment & Activities

Another area in which Great Wolf Lodge MN takes family fun to the next level is in the additional entertainment and activities that they provide.

Take note, however, that some of the activities are included in your stay, while other activities require money (“Paw Passes”) in order to participate. This is important to remember when you’re gearing the kids up for what they will be getting to do at Great Wolf Lodge.

Additional planning tip: Times of these activities vary daily. Upon check-in, you will be given a schedule of events that lists the time and locations of the following activities.

Nightly story time in the lobby at Great Wolf Lodge
Storytime: Great Wolf Lodge, Minneapolis (photo by Preston Mack / Great Wolf Lodge)

Included entertainment and activities:

  • Character appearances
  • Great Wolf Kids lobby activities
  • Wake Up With Wiley and Friends
  • Lunch Time Line-Up
  • PJ Party With the Great Wolf Kids
  • Nightly storytime (8:00 PM)
  • Iron Horse Fitness Center (for teens and adults)

Additional activities that are NOT included and cost extra:

  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Howlers Peak Ropes Course
  • MagiQuest
  • Ten Paw Alley (bowling)
  • Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall
  • Oliver’s Mining Company
  • Northern Lights Arcade

Tickets for the dry land activities listed above can be bought individually or in bundles called “Paw Passes”. Paw Passes are issued in the form of a paw print-shaped lanyard to be worn while participating.

Paw Pass Bundles

Pup Pass – Perfect for Toddlers: $44.99 + tax per person

  • 1 candy cup from Great Wolf Candy Company
  • 1 scoop of ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s
  • 20 Paw Points at Northern Lights Arcade
  • 1 mining experience at Oliver’s Mining Co.
  • 1 furry friend from Build-A-Bear Workshop (outfit not included)

Paw Pass – Best deal for children ages 6+: $44.99 + tax per person

  • 1 game of MagiQuest
  • 1 MagiQuest want, standard topper or Magi belt
  • 1 candy cup from Great Wolf Candy Company
  • 1 scoop of ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s
  • 20 Paw Points at Northern Lights Arcade

Wolf Pass – Best value: $59.99 + tax per person

  • 1 game of MagiQuest
  • 1 MagiQuest want, standard topper or Magi belt
  • 1 candy cup from Great Wolf Candy Company
  • 1 scoop of ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s
  • 20 Paw Points at Northern Lights Arcade
  • 1 mining experience at Oliver’s Mining Co.
  • 1 furry friend from Build-A-Bear Workshop (outfit not included)
  • 1 admission to Howler’s Peak Ropes Course
  • 1 climb on Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall
  • 1game of bowling at Ten Paw Alley

Additional planning tip: It is important to decide if you are willing to pay the additional fees required for the above activities. By letting the kids know ahead of time they can set their expectations accordingly.

We did not do any other the extra-cost activities except for that we bought Paw Points for them to play arcade games. They absolutely loved the arcade games and felt that the prizes were generous.

Guest room: Top U.S. family travel blog features their howlin' review of Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington MN!
Great Wolf Lodge Guest Room: Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge Rooms

Another great family-friendly perk about Great Wolf Lodge, MN is the awesome array of room options! Choose between standard suites, bunk-bed suites, themed-suites, premium 2 bedroom suites, and more!

After a $30 million dollar renovation in 2017, all rooms are now clean, bright, spacious, and tastefully decorated.

There is also plenty of storage located throughout the room.

Additional room details

  • The adult water park wristbands (only) also serve as your room key/card. There is a chip reader embedded into the wristband that grants access to your guest room.
  • The bathrooms have a large sink and counter area located outside of the toilet and shower area.
  • All rooms include a large mini-fridge and microwave.
  • Many rooms include a table and chair, couches, and/or bunk beds.
  • Suite-style preference is booked at the time of making your reservation.
  • Balcony or patio suites must also be requested at the time of making your reservation.
Dining room at Great Wolf Lodge: Ropes Course: Top U.S. family travel blog features their howlin' review of Great Wolf Lodge, Bloomington, MN!
Campfire Kitchen at Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN

Great Wolf Lodge Dining

Despite that there are no kitchenettes available at Great Wolf Lodge MN, there are plenty of on-site dining options available.

Whether you’re looking for a casual dinner, pizza, ice cream, or appetizers and a beer, you’ll find everything you need at Great Wolf Lodge.

Campfire Kitchen and The Outpost are located in the lobby area, whereas Buckets Incredible Craveables is located directly in the water park.

The Wolf Wakeup breakfast buffet at Campfire Kitchen comes at a steep cost of $13.99/person regardless of age. Consider bringing along some yogurt, bagels, fruit, and juice to save yourself the cash!

On-site Dunkin Donuts
Great Wolf Lodge Dunkin’ Donuts

Additional planning tip: I love that Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington has an on-site Dunkin’ Donuts! There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee (and donuts!) after an early morning wake-up from excited kids.

Be prepared however, this is a popular pit stop for adults in the morning and the line gets very long. It can take up to 30 minutes from the hours of 8:00-9:30 AM to grab a cup of joe.

Great Wolf Lodge Coupons

I’ll be honest, Great Wolf Lodge MN coupons are hard to come by!

In fact, I find that the best Great Wolf Lodge promo codes are shared with trusted Great Wolf Lodge affiliate partners. Lucky for you, that includes Travel With A Plan and you, my readers!

Book your upcoming stay here today and save 25% when you stay 2 or more nights!

I can already feel the excitement brewing!

Who’s it good for

  • Families with young children and school-age kids: Lots to do for kids of all ages; well-appointed, family-friendly rooms.
  • Multi-generational families: A great place to gather family while grandparents watch the kids swim; large suite options with plenty of gathering space.
  • Groups: The water park is small enough for groups to be able to stick together and easily find one another.

Who’s it not good for

  • Families with teens: The overall size of the water park is quite small and there are no thrill rides or activities appealing to teenagers.
  • Budget travelers: Prices are much higher than standard hotels and other water park resort brands; there are many upcharges and activities for an extra cost that can become tempting.
  • The elderly: The water park and activity areas are loud and crowded. Wet floors post a fall risk.

Exclusive, top-secret tips

Early water park entry

Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington’s check-in is at 4:00 PM. When making reservations, and when researching online, it is advertised that guests can start using the water park at 1:00 PM on the day of arrival.

Interestingly enough, guests can actually start using the water park as early as 9:00 AM on the day of arrival. (This can be confirmed by calling the front desk before your stay and posing this exact question.)

I questioned the resort why they advertise 1:00 PM when indeed guests can start swimming at 9:00 AM. Their response had to do with the fact that they don’t want guests to show up early and expect their rooms to be ready.

Needless to say, we arrived at 9:00 AM and enjoyed the water park all day until we checked into our room at 4:00 PM.

If you too are looking for these extended hours, know that they are available to you at no additional cost; just ask, and ask again if needed.

Water park seating

Upon first glance, there will appear to be little or no open chairs/tables in the water park to gather, place your belongings, and lounge at. After all, the water park area is quite small and seating is indeed limited.

Our secret hang out spot is at the back of the water park at the exit of the Otter Run water slides. Here, there is an elevated platform with a large area filled with tables and chairs galore. There are always open tables.

This spot gets overlooked because it is not located directly adjacent to the water. It is a nice central location with low traffic and a great view of the entire water park, however.

Grab a seat here the next time you visit Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN!

Great Wolf Lodge MN Conclusion

In summary, Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington is fantastic! It doesn’t get any more family-friendly than what this indoor water park resort has to offer.

Though the water park area is much smaller than other Great Wolf Lodge locations that we have visited, the smaller size makes it easier to keep an eye on the kids. Likewise, it makes it more convenient when visiting with a group.

Though there are several upcharges and activities that are not included in the room rate, this was understandable. We did not feel like we had missed out by not purchasing a Paw Pass for the kids as they were fully entertained by the included water park activities.

I would highly recommend using my Great Wolf coupon code and staying here as part of your Midwest weekend getaway!


I hope that you found our review of Great Wolf Lodge helpful! If so, click here to check out our Related Posts:

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

Pin it!
Click here to discover all that you need to know about Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN! Read a full review from Top U.S. family travel blog Travel With A Plan! #greatwolflodgebloomington #greatwolflodgeMN #greatwolflodgebloomingtonreviews #greatwolflodgecoupons
Click here to discover all that you need to know about Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, MN! Read a full review from Top U.S. family travel blog Travel With A Plan! #greatwolflodgebloomington #greatwolflodgeMN #greatwolflodgebloomingtonreviews #greatwolflodgecoupons #greatwolflodge
Join the Travel With A Plan Community!
Sign up here to receive our free monthly newsletter! Get exclusive family vacation itineraries, Disney tips, and family travel discounts!
I respect your privacy 🙂

TAGS
RELATED POSTS

LEAVE A COMMENT

Looking For Something?
    Join the Travel With A Plan Community!
    Sign up here to receive our free monthly newsletter! Get exclusive family vacation itineraries, Disney tips, and family travel discounts!
    I respect your privacy :)

    Hi, I’m Jen!  Welcome to Travel With A Plan!

    I’m an avid adventurer who is always planning the next family vacation for my husband and I, and our three boys!

    As an advocate for family travel with kids of all ages, I am a firm believer that traveling together helps keep families healthy and happy at home!

    Here is where I share our best family vacation itineraries, resort reviews, and family travel tips (incuding Disney!).

    Let’s go on an adventure! -Jen

    TMOM Travel Writer
    Planning a trip? Start here!
    Another great choice for your vacation planning needs!
    41 Shares
    Share
    Pin41
    Tweet
    %d bloggers like this: