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Great Wolf Lodge Arizona: Complete Guide

Great Wolf Lodge Scottsdale AZ

Great Wolf Lodge Arizona is now open! The family-focused resort and accompanying indoor water park can be found in Scottsdale in the Talking Stick Entertainment District, which is only a 2 to 2.5 hour drive from Tucson!

If you've never been to a Great Wolf Lodge property, prepare to be mesmerized by the immersive wilderness decor, the attentive customer service, and the kid-friendly attractions. There is so much to do and see!

Below you will find a complete guide with information about rooms, the waterpark, the ropes course, on-site restaurants, insider tips and secrets, and so much more! This page contains everything you want to know.

ROOMS

Great Wolf Lodge has an inviting mountain theme that the whole family will love - outdoor scenes, warm wood accents, and paintings/sculpture of forest animals. Some of the rooms even have cabin motifs and bunkbeds.

Bigger family? No problem-o. Great Wolf Lodge is one of the few resorts that offers a plethora of room configurations that sleep 6 to 8+. In fact, standard guest rooms sleep 6 (two queen beds and one full size pull-out sofa sleeper) - which is hard to find at many hotels.

All in all, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona features 350 suites designed to accommodate families and groups of all sizes. Families can choose from eight suite styles, including kid-focused Wolf Den and KidCabin suites, complete with bunk beds and GreatWolf Kids character theming. Even standard guest rooms have super neat wilderness-inspired decor, which makes you feel like you are tenting out in the great outdoors - without creepy crawlies or frozen toes! If you are planning a multi-generational trip or a trip with friends, book a premium suite with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. All suites come equipped with an in-room refrigerator and coffee maker.

WATER PARK

Most people book a stay at Great Wolf Lodge because of the water park (which is included with your room cost!).

The waterpark at the Arizona resort is a whopping 85,000 square feet and it offers similar areas and slides as the other GWL properties -  body slides, tube slides, raft rides, activity pools, and splash areas for every member of the family.

There are splash zones and mini slides for toddlers, medium-sized slides and splashy treehouses for younger children, as well as thrill rides for older tweens/teens and adventurous spirits.

In total, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona's waterpark has 13 water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and other water-fun attractions for children of all ages. GWL Arizona is the only Great Wolf Lodge to have Diamondback Drop, a four-person, high-speed raft ride that is filled with serpentine curves and high-bank thrills. Riders drop into an overlapping 360-degree coil before plunging into the belly of the snake. (It's actually not as scary as it sounds, but the height requirement is 48"). 

Other "thrill ride" slides include:

  • Alberta Falls: Travel four stories of exhilaration on this tandem tube ride. Children must be 42 inches tall to ride alone. Guests between 42 and 48 inches tall must be accompanied by a supervising companion, who is at least 14 years old.
  • River Canyon Run: a family raft ride, which has some similarities to Diamondback Drop. Children must be 42 inches tall to ride alone. Guests between 42 and 48 inches tall must be accompanied by a supervising companion, who is at least 14 years old.
  • WolfTail: the floor drops from underneath the rider to a nearly 20-foot vertical free fall. Height requirement is 48".

If you have younger children who are looking for smaller thrills, they'll love Talking Stick Treehouse, a multi-level water play structure featuring suspension bridges, slides, and spray stations. Atop Talking Stick Treehouse sits a massive 1,000-gallon tipping bucket that pours out every three to four minutes to the glee of the guests waiting below. Attached to the play structure are five water slides, two that originate from the top of the structure for more adventurous young ones and three at a lower-level for toddlers and preschoolers.

Three huge benefits of Great Wolf Lodge's waterpark are (1) No sunscreen! It's indoors! (2) Lots of lifeguards, and (3) there's something for everyone.

Climate controlled to a comfortable 84-degrees, the waterpark is an ideal place to beat the summer heat or to escape from chilly winter weather.

Note that Great Wolf Lodge Arizona also features an oversized resort-style outdoor pool so families can take advantage of the year-round sunny weather.

GREAT WOLF ADVENTURE PARK

Great Wolf Adventure Park is the centerpoint for all kinds of family-friendly fun including Howlers Peak Ropes Course, Rustic Ridge Rock Wall, Howl in One Miniature Golf, Northern Lights Arcade, and Ten Paw Bowling. See below for a list of each of the attractions in the park and then read on for extended details.

  • Build A Bear Workshop ($) - children can create stuffed animals and outfit them with clothes and accessories 
  • Howl in One Miniature Golf ($) - 9 holes of indoor interactive play
  • Howlers Peak Ropes Course ($) - an invigorating aerial adventure that will have you balancing on ropes, crossing bridges, and climbing through obstacles: all from the safety of a climbing harness!
  • MagiQuest ($) - Great Wolf Lodge’s exclusive live-action adventure game where players use interactive magic wands to assist pixies and battle dragons and goblins.
  • Moonstone Mine ($) - an interactive mirror maze
  • Northern Lights Arcade ($) - family-friendly arcade
  • Rustic Ridge Rock Wall ($) - a climbing wall suitable for every age and skill level
  • Ten Paw Alley ($)- Bowling alley that features half-length lanes and low-weight bowling balls

The best way to experience the Great Wolf Lodge Adventure Park is by purchasing a Paw Pass ($49.99/person) or a Wolf Pass ($69.99/person).

PAW PASS includes ($49.99/person):

  • One MagiQuest game
  • Choice of classic/color wand, standard topper, or Magi belt
  • One Great Wolf Lodge Candy Shop candy cup
  • One single scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry's
  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade ($5)

WOLF PASS includes ($69.99/person):

  • One MagiQuest game
  • Choice of a classic wand, standard topper, or Magi belt
  • One Great Wolf Lodge Candy Shop 16 oz candy cup
  • One game of bowling at Ten Paw Alley
  • One round at Howl in One Mini Golf
  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade ($5)
  • One climb to Howler's Peak Ropes Course
  • One double climb admission to Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall
  • One single scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry's
  • One admission to Moonstone Mine

A PUP PASS ($49.99) is available for toddlers and preschoolers, which includes:

  • One Creation Station animal (outfit not included)
  • One Color-Your-Own T-shirt or pillowcase at Cub Club
  • One Great Wolf Lodge Candy Shop candy cup
  • One single scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry's
  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade ($5)

HOWLERS PEAK ROPES COURSE

Howlers Peak is so cool that it deserves a subtitle of its own. The indoor adventure ropes course is actually two distinct levels and is harder than it looks from the ground. Most people take between 30-40 minutes to complete the entire course, although first-timers may be slower and experienced climbers may be able to zip right through the obstacles. 

Guests must be 48 inches tall or be accompanied by a responsible adult to participate on the main ropes course. Smaller children can climb on the smaller structure.

Be sure to bring shoes for climbing. Shoes must be closed-toe and closed heel with rubber soles. Athletic shoes are ideal. 

During our recent visit, we saw children as young as six taking the challenge as well as adults of all ages. 

In our opinion, the ropes course is equally as cool as the waterpark. If you're going to splurge on one activity, we recommend this one. A single climb is $14.99/person. Unlimited climbs is $19.99/person (that price includes unlimited climbs for one guest throughout your stay). A Family Climb for up to 6 people is $44.99. 

HOWL IN ONE MINIATURE GOLF

Howl In One Miniature Golf is located directly beneath Howlers Peak Ropes Course. The 9-hole course is super charming and is in keeping with the resort's overall theme. Target age range is probably 4 to 8 although families can certainly enjoy the (small) course together.

OLIVER'S MINING COMPANY/MOONSTONE MINE

Oliver's Mining Company is directly across from Howlers Peak Ropes Course and Hole In One Miniature Golf. You may be sensing a theme here. Essentially, all of the activities and attractions are in one giant room in Great Wolf Adventure Park. 

The mining company has two distinct activities. First is a mining adventure. You enter through metal doors into a mirror maze where you proceed through a short adventure (15 minutes or so?). Short, but super fun too! Geared to ages 7-10.

The second activity at Oliver's is panning for gold. Purchase a bag and you can find "jewels" in a gold-panning apparatus located directly outside the shop.

TEN PAW BOWLING ALLEY

Ten Paw Bowling Alley is adorable in size and design. The lanes and balls are miniature - designed for small hands. Don't expect this game to be quite like traditional bowling. For example, there are no finger holes in the balls and bowling shoes are not required. Even so, this is a fun family activity to enjoy together!

RUSTIC RIDGE ROCK CLIMBING WALL

This climbing wall is also in the same giant area as all other attractions. It is suitable for both adults and children of all ages (the little boy pictured above is only 3 years old!). There are several different levels of difficulty if you are seeking a challenge.

MAGIQUEST

MagiQuest turns Great Wolf Lodge into a live-action game. You choose a special magic wand ($12.99-$16.99+) and set off on a quest. Play for a few minutes or all day. 

Immerse yourself in Vellara as you help the Guardians to protect the realm portals. Along the way, befriend the Treetop Pixies, battle the evil dragon Charlock, fight to defeat the Goblin King, and earn the title of Master Magi.

You get to decide how much time you want to spend on MagiQuest. Each quest takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete and you can choose how many quests you undertake at a time. With unlimited play during your stay, you can always take a break and come back later. Also - You can take your wand home as a souvenir and bring it back to use on future trips with the purchase of new adventures. Your wand will remember all of your completed quests to pick up where you left off at your next visit to any Great Wolf Lodge around the country!

DINING

Great Wolf Lodge Arizona offers nine distinct dining experiences throughout the resort to appeal to every age and palate. You will never be more than a few feet away from a delicious meal, snack, or treat.

  • Barnwood: locally inspired seasonal menu and craft cocktails in a rustic-themed setting
  • Ben & Jerry's: Arizona only Ben & Jerry's shop
  • Buckets Incredibles Craveables: burgers, sandwiches, fresh salad {try the sweet potato fries!}
  • Campfire Kitchen: interactive a la carte café for breakfast and dinner
  • Dunkin' Donuts: a popular spot for a grab-and-go breakfast
  • Freshwoods Market: grab and go meals
  • Hungry as a Wolf: made-to-order handcrafted pizzas, wings, pastas and fresh salads
  • The Watering Hole: Inside the water park; serves soft drinks, iced tea, blended drinks, cold beers
  • Timbers: Southwest fare such as nachos, soups, salads, and a la carte street tacos as well as churros, horchata, signature margaritas on tap, Mexican beers, and Coke

Dunkin' Donuts is a hot spot for breakfast and you can expect to wait in line on weekend mornings. A single donut will run you $1.29 or you can opt for 1/2 dozen for $6.59 or a dozen for $10.49. Munchkins are another favorite - $6.29 for 25 or $10.49 for 50. Breakfast sandwiches are also on the menu, ranging in price from $3.99 to $4.39. When we inquired if gift cards were accepted at this location, the woman behind the register said that she "didn't think so." Adults can order lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and espressos - either hot or cold - $1.99-$4.89. 

A small cup or cone at Ben & Jerry's is $5.29, while a large is $6.09. Add a freshly made waffle cone for an additional $1.49. Alternatively, you can opt to buy a handpacked pint for $7.19. You'll find most of your favorite B&J flavors - Cherry Garcia, AmeriCone Dream, CinnDOUGHrella, etc. Shakes ($6.19/small; $7.19/large), smoothies ($5.99/small; $6.99/large), and sundaes ($6.99-$8.29) are also available for purchase. 

For guests with food allergies, all kitchen facilities at Great Wolf Lodge are peanut and tree nut free. The culinary team at the resort are extremely well-versed in common food allergies and dietary restrictions, and can accommodate guests’ needs as necessary. Guests who wish to discuss their dietary needs prior to their stay are encouraged to email the culinary team at food.arizona@greatwolf.com.

MORE INFO ON ARIZONA GREAT WOLF LODGE

Great Wolf Lodge Arizona is a year-round family destination filled with attractions and amenities for all ages.

Some other highlights of the resort that have not yet been mentioned include:

  • A first-of-its-kind animated show in the lobby called the Northwoods Friends show, which utilizes projection mapping technology on a moving, three-dimensional multiplane surface to immerse children into the world of the Great Wolf Kids characters.
  • A collection of complimentary family events and activities including Yoga Tails, a program that combines tales of the Northwoods creatures with yoga poses, and Great Wolf Lodge’s signature Story Time event, where children gather around the fireplace for a bedtime tale.
  • Meeting and event planners can also look to Great Wolf Lodge Arizona for their meeting and event needs. The property boasts nearly 6,500 square feet of flexible conference space with breakout rooms, built-in A/V technology, customizable catering options, and a team of dedicated industry professionals to tend to every meeting need.

WHAT TO PACK: GREAT WOLF LODGE ARIZONA

Besides the basics of clothing and toiletries, you will want to pack the following for each member of your family:

  • At least one swimsuit. Preferably two. If you pack two, you can avoid having to put on a wet swimsuit on the second day of your stay. 
  • Water shoes or flip-flops. Some people prefer to wear water shoes or aqua socks to protect their feet, but you'll see plenty of children and adults enjoying the park in bare feet. If you have water shoes, bring them! If not, don't sweat it. Flip-flops or sandals to wear to and from the waterpark will do. 
  • Goggles and/or nose plugs if your child prefers swimming with them. Don't bring along any inflatables or pool toys, however. They are not permitted. 
  • Closed-toe athletic shoes if you plan to try Howlers Peak Ropes Course. They are required.
  • Pajamas for little ones if you plan to attend the nightly story times or dance parties
  • Water bottles. If you are driving in, bring a flat of water bottles for cost savings. 
  • Snacks and/or small meals. There will be a mini fridge in your room. Feel free to stock it with any favorites in case you get the late-night or early morning munchies.
  • A bag to carry wet swimsuits in after you check-out

You may also want to purchase and wear a waterproof phone case if you plan to keep your phone with you as you swim and slide. 

No need to bring towels (they are provided). Same goes for life jackets (a complimentary amenity for your use while in the waterpark area) and climbing harnesses (provided for guests who are experiencing the ropes course and/or rock wall). 

GREAT WOLF LODGE ARIZONA WITH A BABY

Little ones are more than welcome at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona! In fact, one of the wonderful aspects of the resort is that there are activities geared to every age group from toddlers to teens and beyond!

If you are visiting with a baby, a stroller probably won't be necessary since most activities are in one common giant area. You may, however, want to bring a baby carrier.

Pack 'n Plays are available as a complimentary amenity on a first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to request one when you book your room.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GREAT WOLF LODGE ARIZONA

Is there a fee for parking? 

Self-parking is included in the resort fee.

Can we park our RV at Great Wolf Lodge?

Great Wolf Lodge has a large parking lot and RVs are permitted as long as you are a registered guest. There are no hook ups or dumping stations.

Is there a resort fee?

Yes. Great Wolf Resorts charges a $29.99 nightly resort fee to all room reservations. This fee covers wireless internet, self-parking, fitness center access, in-room coffee, life jackets , access to fax, local phone calls, concierge service, and wolf ears for children 12 and under. Towels in the water park are included, but are subject to a fee if not returned.

What time is check-in and check-out? Can I use the water park before or after these times?

Room check-in begins at 4:00pm or as your room becomes available. However, you can arrive as early as 1:00pm on the day of your arrival to begin using the water park. There are changing rooms, lockers ($), and showers available for you.

Check-out time is 11:00am, BUT you are welcome to stay to enjoy the water park facilities until closing. The resort recommends that you pack a smaller bag with bathing suits and a change of clothes and leave the rest of your luggage locked in your car.

What exactly is included when I book a room?

Your stay includes: all-day waterpark access, unlimited WiFi, use of the fitness center, and select children's programming (storytime and character appearances). All other activities (ropes course, bowling, mini golf, mining adventure, magi quest, dining, etc) are available at an additional cost. 

Is the water park open to the public for day use? What about the ropes course and other activities?

Excluding the water park, all additional attractions are open to the public. This includes the restaurants, shops, and MagiQuest®. Locals may also book birthday party packages with or without guest rooms.

Is there a spa at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona?

No. Some Great Wolf Lodge properties feature an Elements Spa Salon (for adults) or a Scooops Kids Spa (for children). Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale does not offer spa services.

Are there shops where I can pick up a souvenir? 

Absolutely! There are four stores on the premises: Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop, Great Wolf Candy Company, Paddle Bay Outfitters, and Camp H.O.W.L. Kids Store. 

Can family members and/or friends come to visit me during my stay and use the water park?

The water park is exclusively reserved for guests. In the event you have visitors during your stay, a limited number of additional water park wristbands (valid for one day only) may be purchased. Additional wristbands are $50 each and you may purchase one guest band per registered guest (3yrs+) in your suite. Wristbands are required at all times when inside the water park facility.

What tips do you have to help us maximize our trip to Great Wolf Lodge Arizona?

  1. Pay careful attention to our what to pack list above.
  2. Decide ahead of time what you do and don't want to purchase. You can definitely have a BLAST visiting the waterpark alone, but know that there are many other enticing activities and treats that will capture your child's attention. Talk with them ahead of time about the activities that are available and which ones you plan to pay for (if any). 
  3. There are self-serve luggage carts available to help your transport your luggage from your car to the lobby to your room.
  4. The optimal time to visit the waterpark for shorter lines and fewer crowds is right when it opens in the morning. This is also recommended because pool chairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis and it's great to claim one as your "home base" to keep your belongings.
  5. Great Wolf Lodge Arizona has a great central location in Scottsdale. You can easily park your car and never leave the property if that is your wish. Note, however, that are are a number of stores and restaurants in the very near vicinity - including Target, McDonalds, Sweet Tomatoes, etc. 

TIPS FOR BOOKING A ROOM (AND GETTING A DEAL!)

Room rates are, on average, around $199/night - but this can vary widely depending on the time of year and day of the week. As is the case with most family-centric vacation detonations, Great Wolf Lodge properties tend to be the most crowded around holidays and during the summer. For better rates or smaller crowds, try September, February, or May.

Signing up for Great Wolf Lodge's email list is also a surefire way to stay on top of special discounts, promotions, and packages.

You'll also want to subscribe to TucsonTopia's newsletter and follow TucsonTopia on Facebook as we will continue to keep you posted on developments about this and other family-friendly resorts!

OTHER GREAT WOLF LODGE LOCATIONS

Great Wolf Lodge is North America’s largest family of indoor water park resorts with locations in: Wisconsin Dells, Wis.; Sandusky, Ohio; Traverse City, Mich.; Kansas City, Kan.; Williamsburg, Va.; Pocono Mountains, Pa.; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; Mason, Ohio; Grapevine, Texas; Grand Mound, Wash.; Fitchburg, Mass., Charlotte, N.C.; Garden Grove, Calif. Colorado Springs, Colo, Bloomington, Minn.,  LaGrange, Ga., and Gurnee, Ill.

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