Family Life Travel

What Makes Great Wolf Lodge a Great Place to Celebrate Birthdays?

Kay just celebrated a very special day – the big SEVEN! But since her birthday is in August, many of her friends are away on summer vacation when it’s time to throw a party. (Other summer birthdays might relate to the disappointment.) I knew this would be the case again this summer, so for this year’s birthday we decided to do something extra special at an extra special place.

A few weeks ago at the breakfast table we broke the news…we’re having a Great Wolf Lodge birthday!

Great Wolf Lodge birthdays are extra special. Here's why!

Once the screams of excitement and jumping up and down had wound down, the kids ran to pack their swimsuits and floaties. We don’t have a Great Wolf Lodge in Vancouver, but there is one in Grand Mound, Washington, about a four hour drive away. We packed up the car, added some favourite books, colouring books, a couple of tablets, and a game of Spot It!, then headed out on the road.

Birthday Package Add-ons

Since we were there to party, we started by adding a birthday package to our stay. The Birthday Basics package comes with a happy birthday poster on the door, balloons, a birthday card, and a set of birthday ears, plus a $10 Paw Points game card (for the arcade) and a coupon for a free scoop of birthday ice cream. Other birthday packages add cake, pizza, and a 2 liter bottle of pop. Kay felt so special when she discovered these little touches celebrating her big day!

Indoor Water Park Fun For All

Everyone knows that Great Wolf Lodge has an amazing indoor water park with attractions for every age. There’s a large baby/toddler pool area with slides and spray toys, a two-level adventure playground with twin water slides for older kids, and an all-ages activity pool, wave pool, and hot tub.

And then there are the water slides! Riders 42″ and taller can ride the Alberta Falls tandem tube ride and go down the River Canyon Ride with the whole family on a big raft. For daring riders over 48″ tall, there’s the six-story Howlin’ Tornado funnel water slide.

In the summer, the hot tub extends outdoors with more seating and a small toddler spray park. But since the water park is kept at a balmy 84 degrees year round, Great Wolf Lodge is perfect for birthdays anytime!

Of course the kids love the water, but that’s just a small part of what makes Great Wolf Lodge the perfect destination for celebrating a family birthday.

All Day Activities at Great Wolf Lodge

There’s something going on at here pretty much every minute of the day. From yoga in the morning to face painting, balloon animals, origami, games, or an impromptu hula hoop contest in the afternoon, the fun never ends!

Kay won first place in the hula hoop contest!

There are Clock Tower Shows and character meet and greets throughout the day, and every evening brings story time and a pyjama dance party before bed.

In between all that, kids can explore a mirror maze in Moonstone Mine, “pan” for gems hidden in a bag of sand at Oliver’s Mining Co., play a round of black light mini golf, or play a few games at the Northern Lights Arcade.

And then there’s the outdoor Howlers Peak aerial rope course. To celebrate Kay’s big girl status, we spent an afternoon three storeys up in the air balancing on ropes, crossing narrow beams, and flying through the air on ziplines. Kids under 48″ need an adult to accompany them, so she and I went together. There were definitely some scary moments, but we faced our fears and did it anyway!

But our favourite thing to do at Great Wolf Lodge was play MagicQuest, a live action, fantasy-themed scavenger hunt played throughout the whole resort. We all worked together, adults and kids, to search for hidden clues, solve puzzles, and fight dragons. The kids never got tired of waving their magic wands to open treasure chests and trigger special effects hidden in certain paintings and decor around the hotel.

MagicQuest was so much fun for all of us, and the bonus was all the exercise we got running around the place and racing up and down the stairs.

Dining at Great Wolf Lodge

There are plenty of food options in the hotel so you don’t have to leave the resort unless you want to. Get your morning caffeine fix from Starbucks in the lobby. The Loose Moose Cottage has buffet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with more than enough choices that everyone will find something to love. Then there’s pizzas and pasta at Hungry As a Wolf, and a la carte meals at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill. In the water park itself, you can grab a burger or sandwich at Buckets, and a drink at Grizzly Rob’s Bar. Ice cream, fudge, and more treats are available at Bear Paw Sweets & Eats until 10:00 pm.

For Kay’s birthday dinner we went to the Lodge Restaurant for food and presents, then sang “Happy Birthday” over a shared chocolate chip skillet cookie with ice cream.

Kay wants you to know that our trip to Great Wolf Lodge was the best birthday surprise ever. I agree!

Visit Great Wolf Lodge

Head over to the Great Wolf Lodge website to find a location near you and plan your special birthday celebration. If you sign up for Great Wolf Lodge emails, you’ll get regular deals and discounts in your inbox on your next stay. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, or follow their Instagram feed for more glimpses into all the fun at Great Wolf Lodge.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay and media rate to facilitate this post. All opinion expressed are completely honest and my own. Your experience may differ.

Leave a Comment


  • I would love to take my grandson , Nixon, to Great Wolf Lodge for his 7th birthday! What an amazing place , it looks like so much fun for the whole family! Even grandma lol .

  • I’ve never been but looks and sounds fun,I’ve drove by one though across from crackle barrell it was in wisconsin.

  • Maybe someday I can afford to bring my family to Great Wolf Lodge. The birthday party looks like and sounds like it was great.

  • We’re doing my daughter’s 7th birthday there this fall! I was lucky enough to get the special $84 rate that was offered this summer, so we’re very excited to be going soon for 3 days. My kids have wanted to go forever!! I wish I’d know about the birthday package when I booked, but I was so nervous about getting my booking done for the dates we wanted before the rooms sold out that I didn’t look at any of the extra options. Oh well, she’s still going to be thrilled! Her birthday is also hard to plan for since it’s near Thanksgiving – lots of people are away, or are busy with family events, so this trip is going to be a great alternative to a birthday party.

    • Wow, great deal! I’m sure you could contact them now to see about adding the package. You could always ask at reception when you check in too, but if you book it earlier, then the poster will be on the door before she gets there!

  • Happy Belated Bday to Kay!!! Hope you enjoyed your magical adventure!!! This sounds like it would be such a wonderful way to celebrate. Thanks for the indepth breakdown of all the fun! Will definitely put the bug in my sister’s ear to celebrate my niece’s upcoming 8th birthday!!!

  • Definitely want to go to Great Wolf Lodge on day! We’re waiting until the kids are a bit older to get the most out of the experience.

  • Oh wow to be a kid again, that is the most awesome birthday present ever, sounds like a great time and lots of fun for the whole family!!

  • We have never been to GWL .Looks amazing and hope ti take my 4 granddaughters one day .Loved the read.Thank you

  • We have a great wolf lodge 30 minutes away and we have never been! Have wanted to take my kids for years. The water parks alone look amazing, nevermind the beautifully done rooms. Looks a great way to celebrate a birthday!

  • Now that I have a grandson, I find any excuse to take him to Great Wolfe. I love that the rooms are large and the microwave and fridge sure makes life easier with a little one.

  • We went to Great Wolf Lodge for a few nights. Treated by my mother in law. It was so much fun! Good for adults and children!

  • What a great place for a party. Endless water fun and for sure will make them tired. I absolutely love Great Wolf Lodge.

  • This looks so much fun. We have gift certificates to use this year and totally going to use them to celebrate some family moment there. I cant wait to hit the water slides with my kids. Love the little ears.