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The Best Guide for One Day at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal

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We were recently invited by Great Wolf Lodge SoCal to celebrate Día de los Niños because, well, what better way to honor our babies than creating family memories! GWL is a place where parents can show up, slow down and soak in the beauty of childhood magic without a ton of fuss. But for those spending only one day at Great Wolf Lodge its best to get a plan in order. You might think GWL is just an indoor water park, but it really offers so much more!

Here I’ve listed out our best guide for one day at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal. It has everything we do to make the most of our time at GWL. The next best option is to just book more than one night, and if the great deals and incentives you can find on their special offers page (like 50% off!), you might reconsider your plan.

Guide for One Day at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal

Our Best Guide for One Day at Great Wolf Lodge

Arrive: Check-in is at 4pm, but you can arrive as early as 1pm on your arrival day, giving you a head start on your one day at Great Wolf Lodge! For Southern California locals, this is a fantastic perk. Instead of heading straight to the water park, we spent that time getting acquainted with the resort attractions. Did you think Great Wolf Lodge was just a water park? Oh, no! You can have a spa date at Scooops with your little girl, go mini-golfing, “make” a new friend at the Creation Station or spend hours in the arcade. Not to mention the fun you’ll have with MagiQuest. If you think your kids will enjoy all the extra activities, consider getting a Paw Pass!

Plan your day’s activities: At check-in, you’ll receive The Great Wolf Kids Daily Activities list. Review it! This list is a great tool in planning your day to include all the extra fun your kids will love, such as character appearances, face painting, crafts, balloon twisting and, of course, DIY ear decorating. Just because your visit is short, doesn’t mean you should miss a thing.

One Day at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal

Great Wolf Lodge SoCal

Wake up with Wiley! Rise and shine has never been so easy. Join the friends of GWL for early morning activities before for the water park opens. Activities include Yoga Tails, a family yoga session along with stories, and a Wolf Walk. A perfect way to start your day!

Ready, set, splash: The water park opens 9am and you’ll want to soak up every minute of the day! Great Wolf Lodge takes water safety very seriously (and I’m so glad they do) and the slides a child is able to ride will depend on which wristband they’re given (depending on height, age, and swimming abilities). There are also life jackets available at every pool area and lifeguards, too. My youngest child wasn’t cleared to go on all the rides, but he was never without a fun place to explore. Research the full list of Great Wolf Lodge water park rides and slides so you can plan ahead, but don’t worry: there is plenty of fun to be had for kids of all ages.

Eat! Have lunch at Grizzly’s Jack Bar & Grill next to Raccoon Lagoon. Both are just outside the water park. The food is seriously delicious (try the elote!), they have refreshing IPAs on tap and you can kick your feet up for a bit while the kids keep play in the outdoor pool/play area.

Another midday option is to join the Lunch Time LineUp for Paws-on Projects. Check the events calendar for details.

One Day at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal Loose Mosse Family Kitchen: After a long day in the water park, gather the family around the table for a relaxed buffet at Loose Moose Family Kitchen. We love this tradition because, honestly, it’s easy! We clean the kids up, head down for dinner and EAT! No need to figure out what everyone wants off the menu. The buffet has so many choices and is super yummy, plus plenty of options to accommodate any picky eaters or allergies.

PJ Party + Story Time! Once the sun goes down, your little cubs will still be howling for fun. After a full day of adventure, come downstairs for kids’ activities at Great Wolf Lodge, including games and dance parties. My babies love ending their day at GWL with a Story Time.

Arcade the night away: Did you know the Northern Lights Arcade is open 24 hours? If your cubs are still restless for fun, play a few games!

Saying goodbye: Check out is at 11am, but you’re welcome to stay and play all day long. Just ask the front desk to hold onto your luggage!


So there it is, our best guide for one day at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal…. although I have a feeling that, after experiencing all the family fun, you’ll be booking a return visit real soon!

Be sure to keep an eye out on Great Wolf Lodge Special Offers page for deals!

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5 Discussions on
“The Best Guide for One Day at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal”
  • My concerns
    First check in should not be a 2 hour process. That’s just ridiculous!!
    Second They waterpark was hot, smelly and humid with no where to sit and relax.
    Third after receiving a text message via phone your room is ready you should not have to wait in another line to recheck in.
    Fourth Not anyone of the staff members explained to us the activities available for the children to enjoy.
    Fifth I received a $13 dollar vending machine bill on my check out invoice because no one explained that the children’s wristbands also had access to charging.
    Sixth after a long day of checking in we finally had a chance to eat at the buffet for $24 some dollars I excepted it to taste good on the contrary it was basically a salt feast and the dessert station was embarrassing to say the least!
    Seventh After dinner decided to go and enjoy the pool but it closes at 8PM way to early for a hotel!
    Eighth finally after checking out and missing the breakfast cutoff at 11am we went to your onsite hotel restaurant finally our stomachs were full and decide to go to our car to retrieve bathing suits for a few more hours in the waterpark as we begin to exit it hit us, this awful smell of your septic tanks being flushed or cleaned. Who knows but it made us all very sick and my last meal being ruined.
    To sum it up you really need to take another look at this facility and make changes and improvements. If you are paying 50 to 80 a night ok I get it but with you are paying 500 a night it better be a 5 star experience!

    • Hey Marci, so sorry to hear about your experience! We didn’t deal with many of those issues during our visit (I did notice the giant check-in line at around 4pm!) but I completely agree: if a guest is paying $500/night, they should leave happy! Maybe try reaching out to customer service or guest relations? Also, I’m with you on the indoor water park being humid, which is why I recommend taking a break mid-day to eat lunch and play in the outdoor pool area. My kids LOVE GWL and I liked that you didn’t have to worry about sun exposure, etc, but I can’t stay inside all day either. I hope you reach out to them and let them know your concerns, though! Overall, the people I’ve met from the company are super focused on helping families create long-lasting memories and traditions.

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