How to save Money at Great Wolf Lodge

Years ago we wanted to take the whole family to Great Wolf Lodge, which is an indoor waterpark, but after researching the prices, on our tight budget I couldn’t see how it would work. I needed to know how to save money on a Great Wolf Lodge vacation if I had any chance of taking my family.

how to save money at great wolf lodge

Good thing I don’t give up too easily . I decided I would research my little heart out until I could somehow figure out how to take my family on our minimal income at the time.  I was convinced that I could find a good deal.

Great Wolf Lodge is awesome for kids and parents alike. I totally recommend planning a family trip sometime.  Today I’m going to share with you some great ways to save money on a family vacation at Great Wolf Lodge.

Did you know there are quite a few locations?  Chances are there’s one not too far from you.  Check out these Great Wolf lodge locations in the United States and one in Canada:

  1. Fitchburg, Massachusetts
  2. Charlotte/Concord, North Carolina
  3. Williamsburg, Virginia
  4. Grand Mound, Washington
  5. Traverse City, Michigan
  6. Sandusky, Ohio
  7. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  8. Kansas City, Kansas
  9. Bloomington, Minnesota
  10. Grapevine, Texas
  11. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  12. Scottsdale, Arizona
  13. LaGrange, Georgia
  14. Manteca, California
  15. Niagara Falls, Canada

We went to the one in Canada for our first visit since that’s where we live, but we recently moved and it is actually closer for us to go to Traverse City than to Niagara Falls, so that’s the one we will check out next time.


Look for Great Wolf Lodge deals on Groupon. Can we just talk for a minute about how awesome Groupon is? We were able to get a discount through Groupon for Great Wolf Lodge when we went which saved us quite a significant amount of money.  

But, don’t forget to keep an eye on the Great Wolf Lodge website as well.  You never know where and when you will score a better deal.  Scour any place you can on the internet to possibly find some promo codes or coupon codes for a great deal.

Go during off-season. We went the week after Halloween. Summer holidays are long gone, school is still in, and Christmas celebrations are not yet started. This is why we were able to find a Groupon for some of the cheapest rates they offer. They were offering a discount because it was off season. You can most likely score a lower rate if you don’t go during peak season.

how to save money at great wolf lodge

Go in the middle of the week, not a weekend. Because we homeschool, we were able to take our kids to Great Wolf Lodge during the week, instead of waiting for the weekend.  I realize not everyone can do this, but if you are able, you will actually save money, even on the Groupon if you can go during the week. The Groupon discounts usually give you a choice of dates to pick, and if you pick a weekend you will pay a little more.  

Buy the Paw Pass. I know, I know. this kind of advice goes against what I usually give. but hear me out on why buying something will save you money in the end. When you go to Great Wolf Lodge you will quickly discover there are so many “extras” that are calling your children’s names to buy.

They aren’t cheap, either. My friend recommended the Paw Pass to us which gives the kids a bunch of “extras” on top of the waterpark. Trust me, you are going to want a break from being in the water, and the alternative is all the other things going on at the resort.

The Paw Pass saved my family money because I know had we gone there without a plan, we would have been overwhelmed and spent money that we didn’t want to.  

It allowed us to take a break from the waterpark and play a round of bowling, or a bunch of other things like Magiquest, an interactive game that the kids LOVED!  They were able to take home their magiquest wands that they got as part of the game as well which was a great souvenir to bring home.

With the Paw Pass that we purchased beforehand, we told the kids that whatever was in the package of the Paw Pass is what they get, and to not ask for anything else. It worked perfectly. My kids enjoyed a few extra perks, and no one whined or asked for more. So, is the Great Wolf Lodge Paw Pass worth it? In my opinion, it definitely is.

They also have the pup pass and the wolf pass.  The Wolf Pass is quite costly, and the Pup Pass didn’t offer enough in my opinion.  The Paw Pass is definitely my pass of choice.

Don’t give in to all the extras. Even with the Paw Pass, you will quickly see that there are a ton of extra things that you could buy that would compliment their Paw Pass items. For example, the Paw Pass includes the opportunity to play Magiquest which includes a basic wand, but there are a ton of accessories you could buy for it. If you want to save money, don’t do it. Your kids can be more than happy with the basics which are fun and exciting on their own.

​Take your kids to story time.  Story time is every day, often morning and evening, where they have a story they share with the kids.  There is no extra cost and your kids will most likely enjoy listening to the adventure!

​Skip the themed room.  I’m not gonna lie, themed rooms can be fun, but they are usually not the best deals.  The truth is your kid will still enjoy their family getaway just as much with a standard room.  Unless you can get a really great room rate for a themed room, pass on that option to save you money.

Make your own food. The rooms are equipped with a fridge and a microwave. I made cold taco salad to bring for dinner the first night which could be stored in the fridge until we were ready to eat. We made oatmeal, and sandwiches,  and macaroni and cheese in the microwave.

We did eat out once while there because we are huge foodies and one of our favorite parts of vacations is eating out, but we made sure to limit it just to one time the whole weekend we were there.

Book your last night at a cheaper hotel. The morning you check out of your room at Great Wolf Lodge you still have access to the indoor water park the whole day. We spent most of the last day there before we went to a different hotel we had booked for our last night that was not as expensive.  This is one of those Great Wolf Lodge hacks that really helps stretch your dollar.

All in all our family had a great weekend at Great Wolf Lodge and we hope to do it again one day when our kids are a little older. While I am glad we took our kids while they were little, I look forward to not having to watch them so closely in the water if we take them as teenagers.

It does get pretty packed in there, even during the off-season, so be prepared to be watching your kids like a hawk (which we all should be doing when they are in the water, anyways.  Don’t forget to pack life jackets for your little ones if they need them.)

how to save money at great wolf lodge

You can Spend Extra Time at the Waterpark

On The day of check-in, even though you can’t get into your hotel room until 4 p.m., you are allowed to use the pool area, water slides, and all the other fun stuff like the wave pool as soon as the water park opens.  So why not go at least a few hours earlier to take advantage of every extra minute you can have at Great Wolf Lodge?

What to Pack for Great Wolf Lodge


  • Swimsuits for water park activities.
  • Swim cover-ups or lightweight clothing to wear to and from the water park.
  • Comfortable clothing for lounging around the lodge.
  • Pajamas for everyone.
  • Extra sets of clothes for kids, especially if they tend to get messy.


  • Water shoes or flip flops for walking around the water park.
  • Comfortable shoes for walking around the lodge.


  • Travel-sized toiletries to save on space and costs.


  • Snacks to have in your room (this will save you a lot of money and your room will have a mini fridge where you can store food.)


  • Books, games, and small toys for downtime in the room.


  • Chargers for all devices to avoid buying them on-site if forgotten.
  • Portable chargers for your devices to keep them charged throughout the day.

Reusable Water Bottles:

  • Stay hydrated without constantly purchasing drinks.

Medicine and First Aid:

  • Basic first aid supplies.
  • Any medications your family needs.

Laundry Bag:

  • Pack a laundry bag to keep track of dirty clothes and potentially do laundry if necessary.

Food for Meals:

  • If you have an option, cook and pack some simple meals and snacks that can be prepared in your lodge’s microwave or kitchenette.

Lodge Essentials:

  • Confirmation documents, reservation details, and any tickets or passes you’ve purchased in advance.
  • Identification and payment methods.

Remember that the exact items you’ll need can vary depending on your family’s preferences, the duration of your stay, and the specific amenities provided by the Great Wolf Lodge location you’re visiting. Always check the latest details on the Great Wolf Lodge website before your trip to ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Dining at Great Wolf Lodge

Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing dining experiences at Great Wolf Lodge! We ate most meals in our room, but we did enjoy a meal out at one of the restaurants at the resort.

While the lodge offers a variety of dining options, there are savvy ways to enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank. Opt for the Lodge’s Pizza Hut Express, where you can savor affordable and convenient pizza slices and combos. For a quick and budget-friendly breakfast, head to Dunkin’ Donuts Express, where you can grab a coffee and a breakfast sandwich to start your day right. Another wallet-friendly choice is the Buckets Incredible Craveables, offering a variety of comfort food at reasonable prices.

If you want a buffet style meal, consider a breakfast buffet as opposed to lunch or dinner.  Contact the location you are visiting for up to date Great Wolf Lodge buffet prices.

With a little planning, you can savor tasty dining experiences without overspending during your stay at Great Wolf Lodge.

Cheaper Options

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, I’ve come across many discounts on Groupon for smaller lesser known waterparks. Consider checking those out if Great Wolf Lodge Resort just isn’t in the budget but you’d love to take your family to a waterpark.

Taking your family to Great Wolf Lodge will still require a bit of preplanning and saving your money beforehand, but you can save money at by applying some or all of these Great Wolf Lodge tips and ideas.  And don’t forget to have your kids all grab their free wolf ears at the front desk when you check in!  Wearing those ears are the highlight of the car ride back home.  

Related: How to Afford the cost of Having a Child



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