By Octavio Serrano
With electronic devices dominating dinners and vacations, Great Wolf Lodge is aiming to bring families back together with its new location in Scottsdale.
“Our goal is designed to help families reconnect and create those special memories that are really going to last a lifetime,” says Brian Johnson, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona general manager.
The water-themed resort will open its doors September 27 with 350 rooms, a waterpark, a dry playground and restaurants. The largest attraction is the 85,000-square-foot indoor waterpark with 13 slides. Kept at 84 degrees year-round, the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park keeps families cool during Scottsdale’s scorching summers.
Great Wolf Resorts also has lodge locations in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Texas, Washington, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia and Illinois.
A Scottsdale highlight is a bucket that soaks bystanders, according to Murray Hennessy, Great Wolf Lodge’s chief executive officer.
“That bucket, which contains 1,000 gallons of water, will drop the water every 3 or 4 minutes,” Hennessy said.
While designing Great Wolf Lodge, the staff kept Arizona in mind. An attraction is the Diamondback Drop.
“It’s a first for Great Wolf Lodge, but it’s also a first for North America and indeed it’s the first of its kind anywhere,” Hennessy says. “It’s called the Diamondback Drop, and it starts with serpentine curves, some 360-degree coils and it drops them (guests) into what we call the belly of the snake.”
Great Wolf Lodge’s traditional water slides have made the resorts popular with families.
“We also have our classis Wolf Tail, which is like a glass tube that you stand in and after a few seconds, the floor drops away and you free fall onto a slide and then end up in the pool below,” Hennessy says.
Kids who want to take a break from the water can take on obstacle courses and be part of a live-action adventure.
“We have a 27,000-square-foot dry play area and it’s called Great Wolf Adventure Park,” Hennessy says. “You will find a rope course, climbing wall, mini golf, 10-pin bowling and MagiQuest, which is our in-house signature interactive game.”
At MagiQuest, kids—armed with a “magic wand”—can participate in adventures like battling dragons and befriending pixies. If they don’t finish their game before checking out of the resort, they can resume when they return with their wand.
Other activities include the “Moonstone Mine,” where children can be part of an interactive mining experience with mirrors. The “Northern Lights Arcade” is an interactive video and redemption game where guests can redeem their points for prizes.
The Great Wolf Lodge rooms range in size from five to 13 people. The Family Suite is a traditional room that sleeps up to six guests and features two queen beds and a full sofa sleeper.
The Wolf Den Suite sleeps up to seven guests and features a queen bed and a full sofa sleeper. The key is the Great Wolf kids-themed cabin with bunk beds in their own section of the room.
The Deluxe Wolf Den Suite is for larger parties, and sleeps up to 12 guest. It has an in-suite cave-themed sleeping area with a queen-sized bed, a private bedroom with two queen beds and two bathrooms.
Great Wolf Lodge has put just as much effort into the nine food offerings. Chef Grant Baker was appointed as the executive chef to deliver a menu to lodge guests that stays true to Arizona’s culture.
“This has always been the dream, and I mean that literally because cooking is my passion and guest service is my passion,” Baker says.
Campfire Kitchen serves an a la carte breakfast menu of traditional tastes like farm-fresh eggs, Applewood smoked bacon, signature wolf paw-shaped waffles and fresh fruits. Kid-friendly dinner items like mac and cheese and chicken tenders are available.
Hungry as a Wolf has made-to-order handcrafted pizzas, fresh salads, chicken wings, pastas and sandwiches.
Grown-ups can imbibe at the rustic themed Barnwood, with indoor and outdoor seating and an evolving menu. Cocktails, wines and craft beers will be available to accompany meals.
For dessert, Great Wolf Lodge will feature a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dunkin’ Donuts.
“We are excited to bring a diverse variety of dining options to families visiting Great Wolf Lodge Arizona,” says Mark Nelson, food and beverage director.
“With an electric array of restaurants, dishes that address common allergies and dietary restrictions, and menus featuring fresh ingredients from local purveyors and farmers, we are confident family members of all ages will love the culinary offerings at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona as much as the water slides.”
Great Wolf Lodge Arizona, 7333 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, 480.948.9653, greatwolf.com/Arizona