Midwesterners in search of chlorinated fun have a new destination in the Chicago suburbs.
Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, the 17th outpost in a chain of Northwoods-themed indoor water park resorts across North America, has opened in Gurnee, the same town (located about 40 miles north of downtown Chicago) where you'll find Six Flags Great America.
The new Great Wolf occupies space once belonging to another water park, the now-defunct KeyLime Cove. But as the Chicago Tribune points out, the place has been completely redone, from the topmost tipping bucket to the deepest plunge pool.
As at other Great Wolf Lodge resorts, the indoor water park at this one is huge (80,000 square feet) and kept perpetually heated to a just-shy-of-uncomfortable 84 degrees Fahrenheit, providing visitors to Chicago a reason to pack a swimsuit in wintertime. A reason other than clinical insanity, that is.
Features include slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a multilevel aqua play structure, and, outside, a pool surrounded by cabanas for the warmer months.
On dry land, kids can take on a ropes course, go bowling or mini golfing, play an interactive wands-and-wizards game, and win prizes in the arcade.
All of that is in line with other Great Wolf properties, too. Where the Gurnee resort aims to distinguish itself is in its dining options, rising above the usual buffets and sub-DiGiorno pizzas.
Those are still available in Illinois, mind you, but there's also Barnwood, a farm-to fork restaurant that uses locally grown ingredients. The handsomely rough-hewn dining room has a glass wall overlooking the water park. Seems like a good spot for parents on a date night to share a bottle of wine while savoring romantic views of cannonballs.
(Great Wolf Lodge Illinois)
The resort has 414 guest rooms with a range of sizes and styles. Some have bunk beds and kid-size log cabins.
Nightly rates start around $199 for four people, and that includes water park access. Check availability or make a reservation at the Great Wolf Lodge website.
Click here for our slideshow feature on the ups and downs of a Great Wolf stay.