Munch, Splash and Flash at Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, Ohio

A cookie, a box of cookies actually, that’s all it took to melt our worries away.  Concerns such as: what’s for dinner tonight, who’s taking the girls to sports practice, was that report finished for work – all those thoughts drifted out of our mind like a raft on a lazy river.  And it was a box of cookies that was the first thing we saw when we opened the door to our suite at the Great Wolf Lodge.  Continue reading for our quick weekend family getaway as we munched, splashed, and flashed our way through the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, OH.

We were invited to Great Wolf Lodge (GWL) as a “Father’s Day” present.  The invitation’s wording noted we would feel like walking into a “Northwoods adventure.”  They didn’t exaggerate – well, as much as one could feel like the Northwoods on a scorching 90 degree Ohio day.  The rustic timber framed building harkened back to the “Park-itecture” of grand hotels of America’s National Parks.

I mentioned to our daughter Maggie (age 14) the place reminded me of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World and she quickly added, “but this is better, it has a waterpark!”  Check in was smooth, seamless, and we received the keys to our family fireplace suite on the 2nd floor.

We LOVED our room. It had two-parts, a sleeping area with 2 queen beds, and a living room with a sofabed separated by a half wall divider.  The living area had a corner fireplace with a flatscreen TV hung above it.  As it was nearly 100 degrees, we opted not to use the fireplace during our stay, but it was a homey feature.  The room also had a good sized balcony for additional space.  The suite fit our family just fine.  My wife and I took one queen bed, Evie (age 11) took the other queen, and our teen, Maggie, enjoyed her semi-private room on the sofabed.

GWL had plenty of small touches to make guests feel like part of the “pack” such as, “Do Not Disturb” signs that read cubs hibernating.  However, our favorite touch was the box of delicious chocolate chip cookies sitting out along with two bottles of skim milk in the refrigerator.  The cookies & milk were a perfect Munch before bedtime.

The beds were comfy, the room was spacious, and allowed everyone in the family to rest and relax.  So much so, when I took the girls to Cedar Point, Mom opted to hang back and read.  She said, “I was perfectly comfortable, relaxed, and able to do just what I wanted to do.”

Dining – Munch

After unpacking and washing up, we made our way to the Gitchigoomie Grill for dinner, and were surprised to find that kid’s meals at GWL come with adorable, fuzzy Wolf Ears.  Note: they’re available for purchase too ($4) for kids older than 10 (or Dads).

We ate both lunch and dinner at the “Gitch,” and thought lunch was a much better meal than dinner.  The burgers were absolutely HUGE – including one that used grilled cheese sandwiches instead of buns,

and the one I had was a half pound burger smothered with pulled pork BBQ.

For breakfast, after a solid night sleep playing in the water park, we woke up hungry.  Well, Lumber Jack’s Cook Shanty, was certainly the place to head.  It’s part breakfast buffet and part family style meal.  There’s a chef cooking made-to-order omelets and waffles.

There’s an all-you-care-to-eat buffet filled with cereal, fruit, yogurt, and mini-muffins.  And if that wasn’t enough, the waitress plopped plates (the good stuff, she said) overflowing with fresh bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, and French toast sticks.  The food was plentiful and hearty.  The French toast sticks tasted like carnival fried dough (not a bad thing, but you knew it wasn’t good for you).  The breakfast munching was so good that when the girls and I headed to Cedar Point for the day, we didn’t even need lunch.



We made good use of the water park tickets included with our room.  From getting drenched by the 1,000 gallon dump bucket of the Fort Mackenzie splash ground, to sliding down every tube and body slide, to floating in the lazy river, to swimming in the outdoor pool, to soaking in the hot tub – we did it all.

The water was so warm – 84 degrees in fact – everyone’s muscles relaxed and made sleeping even that much easier.  When we were tired from hiking around Cedar Point all afternoon, a Splash in the water woke us right back up to head out again until the amusement park closed.


We took a break in the middle of the day for the girls to get a manicure in the brand-new Scooops Kids Spa.  They were draped in robes, donned tiaras, and picked their favorite nail colors.  After a hand massage and a little painting, Flash! it was time to show off those nails (or claws) with Violet.  Keep watching the blog for a more detailed review from one of the manicure recipients themselves.

& More Flash

From the flash of nails to the flashing of lights, the girls enjoyed hanging out and playing in the Northern Lights Arcade.  They swiped fruit like ninjas, cried “tickets please!” like train workers, and moved like Jagger – no wait, that didn’t happen.  The games of the Northern Lights Arcade kept the kids perfectly entertained while Mom and Dad enjoyed a quiet tête-a-tête in the lobby.

The activities at Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky certainly kept us entertained for the weekend, but also left us hankering to try some of the other newer experiences across the resort family.  Our budding wizards are particularly eager to try the MagiQuest wand adventure game.  Sandusky does not have MagiQuest, so we may just have to plan a visit to another GWL resort to give it a whirl.

The weekend escape to Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky was a great way for our family to celebrate the end of the busy school year. I think Evie said it best with her own blog entry on June 30th titled VACATION!!!!

Right now, I am sitting in the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio (room 272).  We are going to go to Cedar Point today, but come back at 3:30 for our manicures!  Oh, this is the life!

Evie’s post pretty summed it up for us.  The best thing about our GWL escape was having that unscheduled time to spend with each other in a safe, fun, environment.  Well, I guess the manicure was scheduled, but that’s OK, right?

Keep your eyes out for discounts and promotions from Great Wolf Lodge.  For example, right now at the Sandusky GWL kids eat free all summer.  There are also 15% off deals on a two night stay, and a Summer Countdown Sale that can save you 20%.  The deals vary by property location.  Therefore the best way to find out about the deals is to sign up for the ePack mailing list for your destination, and offers will be e-mailed directly to you.

For more photos of our visit to Great Wolf Lodge, click here or on any of the images in the gallery below.

Disclosure – Adventures by Daddy was hosted by Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, OH, and received one night’s accommodations, meals, and complimentary manicures at the Scooops Spa.  However all opinions expressed in this review are our own.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.