In lieu of lots of presents, for my daughter’s second birthday we decided to gift her with an experience . . . and what better way to do that than a mini vacation as a family to Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio. We loved that it was just a quick two hour car ride from our house and the themed hotel rooms really wowed our kids. They loved having their own personal area in the room.
This was our first time staying in a hotel as a family of four, and we loved that Great Wolf Lodge offered everything we could need without even needing to leave the hotel if we didn’t want to. So come along with us and experience our mini vacation at Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky!
We chose to leave right before naptime. This allowed the kids to sleep for most of the two hour drive and they woke up ready to go once we got to the hotel.
Arrive at the hotel. Check-in was not until 4:00 p.m., but our room was ready for us when we arrived. My husband was able to pull up to one of the designated “unloading” zones up front. We loaded up the wagon and headed up to our room. On our way up to the room, we made sure to make a stop at the gift shop to grab a pair of complementary wolf ears.
With our swim suits on, we decided to head down to the water park!
After a day of travel and swimming, we decided to keep dinner simple and eat at the hotel. My husband ran down to Hungry as a Wolf for a pizza that we shared up in the room while the kids watched the Great Wolf Lodge cartoon. After dinner, the kids decided to use the first of the items on their Pup Pass and get an ice cream cone at Bear Paw.
We ended our first night by heading down to the clock tower for bedtime stories followed by the dance party.
After a cup of coffee in the room, we headed down to the hotel restaurant, Gitchigoomie Grill. We added on the “Wolf Wake Up” breakfast package which was an all-you-can-eat family-style breakfast. It featured cinnamon rolls, pancakes, hash browns, sausage, bacon, fruit, and eggs. The kids each got a souvenir cup. After breakfast we headed over to Build a Bear where the kids were able to use the second item on their Pup Pass. There were about five different animal options for them to choose from.
With our bellies full, it was time to head back to the water park. We stayed at the pool until lunch time. We used one of the kiosks to order our lunch at Buckets, which is the quick-service restaurant inside the water park. With a tap our of hotel wristband, our food was ordered and paid for. Along with the breakfast package, we added on the silver dining plan which was a $50 dining credit for $45!
By day three, the kids were quite tired, but we went down to breakfast and decided to opt out of the water park before heading home. Instead, the kids used up the last two items on their Pup Pass. First, we went to the arcade and after, we went down to the candy shop where the kids were able to fill up their cups with lots of different candies. With the kids all sugared up and gamed out, we packed up the car and headed back up to metro Detroit.
RESTAURANTS YOU'LL LOVE
Great Wolf Lodge is located off Milan Road, which features a plethora of restaurants and food shopping establishments. You also have Meijer, Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Aldi within a two mile drive.
Casa Real | 3307 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 609 9225
Chet and Matt’s Pizza | 1013 E. Strub Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419)-626-6000
My Vegan Soul | 2903 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 625-1296
Sandusky Pancake House | 4710 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 625-2614
Soba Asian Kitchen | 2904 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 502-2030
ATTRACTIONS YOU MUST VISIT
African Safari Wildlife Park | 267 S Lightner Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452, (419)732-3606
Take a drive into the wild and come face-to-face with several wild animals from the comfort of your car.
Ghostly Manor | 3319 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 626-4467
Don’t let the spooky façade fool you . . . aside from the haunted house, Ghostly Manor features an escape room, laser maze, roller skating, mini golf, and bounce houses.
Lagoon Deer Park | 1012 Martins Point Rd, Sandusky, Ohio 44870, (419) 684-5701
Allow your family to walk along over 200 animals and be able to feed them by hand. The park also has four ponds that can be used for fishing. Reopening in May.
Merry-Go-Round Museum | 301 Jackson St, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 626-6111
The museum is built around their merry-go-round, “Stargazer”. Also check out the historic merry-go-round animals!
Sandusky Children’s Museum | 133 E Market St. Lower Level, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 502-0263
It is recommend to make reservations so that your group is seamlessly able to take the structured tour and have your family complete the science activities.
FAVORITE DONUT AND COFFEE SHOPS
House of Donuts | 2236 Karl-Ann Dr, Sandusky, OH 44807, (419) 625-3400
Jolly Donut | 2815 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 626-6071
FAVORITE PLACES FOR SWEET TREATS
Doughin’ Crazy | 133 E. Market Street, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 502-1206
Joe Sundae Ice Cream & Coffee Shop |1119 W Washington St, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 502-0207
Mikey’s FROYO | 414 W Perkins Ave, Sandusky, OH 44807 (419) 502-9999
FAVORITE DATE NIGHT SPOTS
Barra | 142 Columbus Ave, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 239-0827
Everwild | 212 Hancock St, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 408-3281
Noble Fun Co. | 127 E Market St, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 502-1245
Small City Taphouse | 202 Columbus Ave, Sandusky OH 44870, (419) 502-0099
BONUS TIPS FOR GREAT WOLF LODGE
- If your child is not a strong swimmer, bring your own Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Wear water shoes to protect your feet from the rough pool bottoms and for easy walking to and from your room.
- If staying in a Kid’s Cabin Suite or Wolf Den Suite, bring a large tension rod and a curtain to give some added privacy between you and your kids’ sleeping areas.
- Bring a least one swim suit for each day you are there. I tried my best to hang them as soon as we got back to the room, but a few times they were still damp when we went to get dressed.
- Bring your own glow sticks, bubble wands, and special room decorations to save money.
- Bring hooded towel ponchos for little ones to make for easy and warmer walks back to the room.