by Karon Warren
Built in 2001, Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky carries on the theme of rustic elegance married to family fun. One of 14 Great Wolf Lodges around the country, the Sandusky property features 271 guestrooms that accommodate between four and eight guests. Spacious guestrooms are just the start of what makes this non-smoking hotel the perfect family vacation destination. The obvious draw would be the indoor water park filled with a variety of waterslides, splash attractions and even a lazy river.
But there’s so much more, from the hotelwide MagiQuest experience and the variety of onsite family dining options to the always-popular Great Clock Tower Show and Story Time. For more family fun, there’s also a daily schedule of activities taking place around the property. Essentially, Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky is a one-stop-shop for your next family getaway.
Our Editor Loves
- Indoor water park
- Many onsite dining choices
- Large arcade
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
All guestrooms contain refrigerators, microwaves, coffeemakers, flat-panel TVs and free Wi-Fi. Complimentary Pack n' Play cribs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be sure to reserve when booking reservations. In addition to regular amenities of conditioning shampoo, lotion and soap, you'll also find kid-specific amenities that include Suave Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo, Boogie Wipes and Scooops Body Wash. All rooms also include water park passes for each guest.
Accommodating up to six guests, this room includes two queen beds, a nightstand, dresser, desk with chair, full-size sleeper sofa, coffee table, side table and bathroom with tub/shower combo. The refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker are set up on a bar near the room entrance. The beds and sitting area are separated by a partial wall, giving some privacy for each area. Many rooms also include a private balcony or patio.
Double Queen Suite
This guestroom for up to four guests features two queen beds, a nightstand, a chair, a side table, a dresser, a table, a full bathroom with tub/shower combo, and a private balcony or patio.
Queen Sofa Suite
For up to four guests, this ADA-accessible guestroom features one queen bed, two nightstands, a sofa, a coffee table, a dresser, a table with chairs, a full bathroom with tub/shower combo, and a private balcony or patio.
Family Fireplace Suite
Able to accommodate up to six guests, this room includes two queen beds, a nightstand, a dresser, desk with chair, full-size sleeper sofa, chairs, coffee table, side table, corner gas fireplace and bathroom with tub/shower combo, along with a private balcony or patio. The beds and sitting area are separated by a partial wall, giving some privacy for each area.
Wolf Den Suite
Sleeping up to six guests, the majority of this guestroom is traditional, with a queen bed, a nightstand, a full-size sleeper sofa, coffee table, dresser, desk, chairs, private balcony or patio, and full bathroom with tub/shower combo. However, it also features the Wolf Den, a cave-themed sleeping area with bunk beds and a TV -- perfect for kids.
Whirlpool Fireplace Suite
This guestroom for up to four guests comes with a king bed, a nightstand, a sitting bench, a full-size sleeper sofa, coffee table, desk and chairs, dresser, a corner gas fireplace, an in-suite whirlpool tub, a full bathroom with tub/shower combo, and a private patio.
Available for up to five guests, this suite actually contains a cabin-themed "room" for the kids that contains a set of bunk beds, a daybed and a TV. In the remainder of the guestroom, you'll find a king bed, two nightstands, a dresser, and table with chairs. This room type also features ADA-accessible variations.
Loft Fireplace Suite
For up to eight guests, this two-story suite features two queen beds, a nightstand, a dresser, a full-size sleeper sofa, coffee table, table with chairs, two TVs, full bathroom with tub/shower combo, a corner gas fireplace, and a private balcony or patio. In the upstairs loft, there is a queen bed, two nightstands, a TV, and a half bath. There's also a ceiling fan. This room type also features ADA-accessible variations.
Royal Bear Suite
The only true two-room suite, this ADA-accessible guestroom for up to six guests includes a master bedroom with king bed, two nightstands, a dresser and chairs. In the main room, there is a queen bed, a nightstand, a full-size sleeper sofa, a dresser, table with chairs, a full bathroom with tub/shower combo, and private balcony or patio.
We've been here as a family three times prior to this visit. This time we had some annoying issues to deal with.
We were here 9 months ago. In the water park, I counted at least 9 fountains that were working last time but not this time (see picture). Some of the fixes were as simple as installing a new rope, ugh! This is the central focus of the entire resort for the kids... Everything should really be in working order.
Our TV was out for hours. I called the front desk and they couldn't provide an ETA. Eventually I discovered on my own that they decided to install a new satellite dish in the middle of the day (pictures). Maybe a better idea would be to install off hours?
To celebrate good report cards I bought my two kids a $30 arcade card each. When checking in, they told us the arcade was open all night so we waited to go until just after the water park closed. The kids were pumped up and literally 5 minutes after purchasing the cards, they shut off all of the games (picture)! They said they were installing new carpet and that we could come play video games tomorrow in the morning, nice.
As a side note, the MagiQuest game is hopelessly outdated... I haven't seen a new addition in all of the years we've been coming here.
Otherwise, we had a good time at the water park. A little bit of off-hours planning and maintenance could have prevented all of these issues. At a minimum, just mention these things to us while checking in. It shows that this property values cost and their convenience over the total satisfaction of their guests.
In all likelihood, we'll be visiting Kalahari next time.
Room: was clean and ready!
Food: breakfast was good. Burgers from buckets were terrible but tenders good! Pizza was just that pizza!
Waterpark is on smaller side but was well staffed and great for kids under 10! Magi quest was fun but needs some updating. Sometimes it was hard to get wand to register and made it frustrating. Overall it was a good experience and definitely would visit again!!
Indoor Water Park
Water park access is exclusive to guests of Great Wolf Lodge and is available from 1 p.m. on the day of arrival until the water park closes on the day of departure. Hours of operation for the water park are usually 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but are subject to change based on occupancy. Towel service is provided, and lockers, bathrooms and changing areas with shower facilities are available. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the water park during water park hours. Life jackets are available for use and are highly recommended for all children 48 inches and shorter, and for those who are weak or non-swimmers. All children age12 and younger require adult supervision. The water park maintains 84 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
This multi-level treehouse includes more than 40 water features, including a 1,000-gallon water bucket that dumps water every three to five minutes on bystanders below. There is no age or height limit for this attraction.
The indoor water park includes nine waterslides in four different sections: Alberta Falls, Totem Towers, Otter Run and Whooping Hollow. Height and age limits vary by attraction, so check posted requirements at the entrance of each slide.
Using the tubes provided, set afloat on 132,000 gallons of water in this lazy river. Guests less than 42 inches tall must be accompanied by an adult. Maximum water depth is 3 feet.
Big Foot Pass
Test your balance as you walk across logs in this 4-foot-deep pool.
Strike up a game of water basketball or swim with the giant snake in this large swimming pool. Maximum water depth is 4 feet. Children less than 48 inches tall must be accompanied by an adult, wear a life jacket or pass a swim test.
Soak'n Oak Springs
For the toddlers, this splash area includes a mini-treehouse and waterslide, plus water sprayers and dumping buckets. Maximum water depth is 18 inches. Maximum height is 54 inches.
The water park includes two hot tubs, a lower hot tub and an upper hot tub. The lower hot tub reaches a maximum water depth of 3 feet deep. The upper hot tub is for adults only. No lifeguards on duty.
Outdoor Swimming pool
Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day, the zero-entry heated swimming pool features splash fountains at the entrance and water basketball goals at the opposite end, which reaches a depth of 4 feet, 6 inches. There are tables, some with umbrellas and chairs, as well as loungers spread around the pool area.
MagiQuest is Great Wolf Lodge's exclusive live-action, interactive game that takes place throughout the lodge. Many of the MagiQuest "elements" are located in the hallways between the lobby and the guestrooms, so it can get a bit crowded making your way through the hall when a lot of children are actively playing the game. The MagiQuest game is $11.99 per game per person; wands range from $15.99 to 19.99. A Master Magi Package is available for $44.99; it includes one game, a classic or color wand, choice of standard topper, and a Magi cape.
Northern Lights Arcade
This game room contains more than 100 games ranging from skeeball and air hockey to the most intense racing games. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in low season and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. in peak season. Guests purchase a Paw Points card and load with points to activate games. Cards can be reloaded. Guests earn tickets at each game, which can be redeemed for prizes.
Scooops Kids Spa
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., this spa, targeted to kids ages 6 to 12, features ice cream-themed manicures and pedicures served up in seating that looks like a banana split. The spa menu includes an ice cream manicure ($19.99), ice cream pedicure ($24.99), a mani/pedi combo ($39.99), a Mommy & Me Pedicure ($54.99), and a Neapolitan Combo -- manicure, pedicure and facial ($59.99). Nail toppings are available starting at $1.50 per nail. Kids also can get "Sprinkled in Scooops," a quick treat featuring a take-home tiara and sash, a signature ice cream-flavored lotion sampling, hair scent, and lip gloss application ($9.99). All services include a free scoop of ice cream. Prices do not include taxes or the recommended 20-percent gratuity. Reservations are recommended. Appointments cancelled within 24 hours incur a $25 cancellation fee per service. To maintain polish, guests are encouraged to book their services after enjoying the water park.
Make your own stuffed animal souvenir, choosing from one of the Great Wolf Lodge characters or selecting your favorite animal. Prices vary by animal and outfit.
This free activity takes place daily at 10:15 a.m. in the lobby, where guests go on a "nature" hike, learning about wildlife and how to do the Great Wolf Lodge howl.
The Great Clock Tower Show
This musical show takes place in the lobby four times each day: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Join Great Wolf Lodge characters Wiley, Violet, Brenley and Oliver each night at 8 p.m. to hear a great bedtime story.
This kids' activity space is the place for arts, crafts, games and more. Some activities, such as painting ceramics or Color-Your-Own T-shirt incur a fee. Geared to children 12 and younger, the Cub Club generally is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, although hours do vary by season. Note: This is not a drop-off children's program; parents are required to be with all children ages 12 and younger.
Great Wolf Lodge Kids Activities
The hotel offers a variety of free kids activities, such as face painting and making character face masks throughout the day in the lobby. A current schedule of activities is available daily at the front desk.
During October, Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky celebrates Halloween with a number of family activities including a Trick-or-Treat Trail, Monster Bash Dance Party, Spooktacular Story Time, Costume Parade and the Howl-O-Ween House. Special packages are available.
For the holiday season, Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky turns into a winter wonderland with snowy decorations, North Pole University activities, a life-sized gingerbread house, Santa's letter-writing depot, and even themed guest suites outfitted with holiday dÃ©cor, a Snowland throw and a special storybook. Special packages are available.
Note: For all restaurants, hours are subject to change based on occupancy.
Located in the lobby, this onsite restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and features the usual mix of doughnuts, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and coffee drinks.
Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., this full-service restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as full bar service. Served a la carte, breakfast items range from waffles and omelets to breakfast meats, cereal, fruit and yogurt. Lunch and dinner items include appetizers, entrÃ©e salads, burgers, soups, sandwiches, pastas and entrees like barbecue ribs, chicken tenders, fajitas and strip steak. The restaurant also has a kids' menu that includes staples like chicken tenders, grilled cheese and burgers. In addition, the culinary staff is prepared to accommodate any special dietary needs or requests for allergen-free alternatives.
Hungry As A Wolf
Available for take-out, this eatery's menu selections include whole pizza or by the slice, pastas, salads, garlic cheese bread, and Italian and meatball sub sandwiches. To avoid a wait, you can call and place your order for pick-up.
Buckets Incredible Craveables
Located inside the water park, Buckets features lunch favorites like hot dogs, chicken tenders, burgers and salads, along with sides such as fries and mac and cheese. You also can choose a snack like hummus with pita bread, tortilla chips with salsa or cut fruit with yogurt dip. For the whole family, order up The Tipping Bucket, an ice cream treat with layers of ice cream, cookies, brownies and candy, topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bear Paw Sweets & Eats
Located in the lobby, satisfy your sweet tooth from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with eight flavors of fudge, Edy's Ice Cream or Dippin' Dots ice cream. Allergy-friendly treats are also available.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky charges a daily resort fee of $19.99 to cover expenses such as Wi-Fi, parking, the fitness center, pool towels and a complimentary copy of USA Today at the front desk each day.
All children visiting Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky receive a pair of "wolf ears" at check-in. If your child has a birthday during your stay, notify the staff when making reservations or checking in, and your child will receive a special pair of birthday "wolf ears." The birthday child also will receive a special wristband that entitles him or her to complimentary ice cream at Bear Paw Sweets & Eats -- one scoop per visit -- throughout your stay.
Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky features three boutiques: Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop, Bear Essentials Swim Shop and MagiQuest Marketplace. Find the perfect souvenir at Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop or pick up that forgotten toiletry. Located in the water park, Bear Essentials Swim Shop carries a selection of swimwear, as well as swim necessities like swim diapers, goggles and sunscreen. At MagiQuest Marketplace, you can personalize your child's MagiQuest experience with themed costumes, accessories and toys.
Iron Horse Fitness Center
This 24-hour fitness center will keep your exercise routine on track with free weights and a selection of cardio equipment like a stationary bike, ellipticals and a treadmill. Towel service is also provided.
Paw Pass/Pup Pass
These passes package together several kids' activities at savings of up to 30 percent over individual pricing. For $59.99, the Paw Pass is geared to kids ages 6 and older, and includes the following: one MagiQuest game; choice of classic or color wand, standard topper or Magi belt; one animal at Creation Station; one 12-ounce Mike and Ike candy cup; one pair of select Great Wolf Lodge swim goggles; one Glitz Glitter tattoo; one Leather Treaty bracelet; and a $5 Paw Points Card for the Northern Lights Arcade. For $39.99, the Pup Pass is geared to kids ages 5 and younger, and includes the following: one Color-Your-Own T-shirt or pillowcase; one animal at Creation Station; one 12-ounce Mike and Ike candy cup; a $5 Paw Points Card for the Northern Lights Arcade; and a single scoop of ice cream.
Although check-in doesn't start until 4 p.m., visitors to Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky can arrive as early as 1 p.m. to pick up their water park passes. Check-out is by 11 a.m., but guests can stay and enjoy the water park until it closes.
The Art of Smart Timing
Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky stays busy in the summer and occupancy peaks during the winter, but there are some months when it's not as crowded. These include May, September, October and November. December is not crowded before Christmas, but picks up during the holidays. If visiting in January, come right after New Year's but before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday for the least crowds.
Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky honors a number of discounts including AAA, military, police, fire, and EMT, and AARP. The hotel regularly offers packages and discounts, as well.
Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky is 50 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Although the hotel doesn't provide shuttle service, there are numerous transportation services that do. In addition, there is a Greyhound Bus station approximately 1.5 miles from the hotel, and, just 4 miles away, there is an Amtrak train station. When traveling by car, the hotel is approximately 1 mile from the State Route 2/US Hwy 250 junction.
The best way to travel around town from the hotel is by rental car.
For Mom and Dad
Parents who have the chance to spend some alone time together can enjoy a cocktail at Gitchigoomie Grill before a quiet dinner.