The water park at Great Wolf Lodge. Courtesy Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge, located in Grand Mound, Wash., has been a popular getaway destination for Northwest families since it opened in 2008. Kids love the lodge's water park — and because it's indoors, it's fun in any weather. Even in summer, we don't have very many theme parks in the Puget Sound area, so Great Wolf definitely adds a welcome year-round option.
The catch with Great Wolf Lodge, however, has been that guests must stay overnight in the hotel in order to access the water park. With lodge rooms priced at roughly $200–$500 per night, depending on season and number of guests, cost can be a prohibitive factor for many families.
But Great Wolf announced this summer that it is now offering day passes to its water park. Families who can't or don't want to spend the night at the lodge can now access the water park with an advance-purchased ticket.
Day pass cost
While you don't have to book a room, day passes to the water park are far from cheap. Great Wolf indicated in a statement that day-pass prices start at $50 per person.
A recent search for day passes for an upcoming weekend day revealed a price of $90 per person, per day. At that price, a family of four might consider booking a lodge room anyway, which includes access to the water park. A search for a lodge room the same date yielded a standard room available for $399.99 per night (including water park access) compared with $360 for four day-pass tickets to the water park.
A search for day passes on an upcoming weekday revealed a price of $70 per person.
Day passes must be purchased online and at least one day in advance. Passes are not available to walk-up visitors. Children age 2 and under are free with a paid adult.
By comparison, a day visit to Federal Way's Wild Waves costs $31.99–$45.99 per adult or child 48 inches in height or taller; a ticket for a child under 48 inches in height costs $24.99–$45.99. Pricing depends on advance online purchase vs. gate admission; other discounts are available. Ages 3 and under are admitted free. Wild Waves is a seasonal outdoor water park.
Day pass limits
Great Wold Lodge visitors might fear that the water park will become overcrowded with the addition of day-pass holders in addition to overnight guests. Great Wolf indicated in its statement that the number of day passes offered on a given day will be managed in relationship to the number of lodge rooms booked to ensure that the water park won't become too crowded.
Day passes available at all locations
Great Wolf Lodge has 16 locations across the United States and Canada, with two more locations planned to open later this year and next year. All locations offer day passes to their water parks.
The town of Grand Mound, Wash., is located just off Interstate 5, about two hours south of Seattle or Bellevue, or 25 minutes south of Olympia.