Is Great Wolf Lodge Pet Friendly? What You Need to Know

Great Wolf Lodge has been around since 1997 and is a popular resort location. There is plenty of fun for the whole family; many locations even have water parks, indoor games, and much more. Plus, for the price, the accommodations are quite nice, and a stay at the Great Wolf Lodge is well worth the trip. That said, if you plan on vacationing here at this resort, it’s important to understand their stance on pets.

The Great Wolf Lodge is not pet-friendly, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see dogs, cats, or other animals at the resort. There are plenty of exceptions within the resort’s policies that can help you bring your companion.

Read on to learn more about whether or not the Great Wolf Lodge is pet-friendly.

What Is the Great Wolf Lodge?

The Great Wolf Lodge used to be an indoor waterpark and resort. There were rides, games, and plenty of activities that entire families could participate in. Today, the Great Wolf Lodge has changed slightly compared to what it used to be. Now, the Great Wolf Lodge is known as Great Wolf Resorts, and there are a handful of locations across the United States and even some other countries.

Like the Great Wolf Lodge of the past, these resorts are centered around their water parks. When you want to go to any Great Wolf Resorts, it’s a chain now so that most locations will maintain the same identity, rides, and even foods or beverages. Still, each Wolf Resort has some unique aspects, so it’s worth exploring some other locations if you’ve already been to one.

What’s the History of the Great Wolf Lodge?

The Great Wolf Lodge started in 1997 and was known in the past as Black Wolf Lodge. At this time, it was a small indoor water park that was founded by Jack and Andrew Waterman. While the two brothers owned the company for a few years, it changed hands two years later in 1999 when the Great Lakes Companies Inc. purchased it. Once the new ownership took over, the first name change occurred, and it went from Black Wolf Lodge to Great Wolf Lodge.

Due to initial success and popularity, Great Wolf Lodge started to expand. A second location opened in Ohio (Great Bear Lodge), and a third one opened in 2003 but went back to Great Wolf Lodge, which everyone agreed would be the name for each new location.

Sometime around 2012, the company was renamed to Great Wolf Resorts because of the large number of locations.

How Many Locations Does the Great Wolf Lodge Have?

Great Wolf Lodge has many locations. In fact, part of the reason that the name was changed to Great Wolf Resorts was the growing number of locations. That said, some locations still have the Great Wolf Lodge name and logo.

Today, Great Wolf Resorts can be found in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The most notable locations include:

  • Anaheim (California)
  • Colorado Springs (Colorado)
  • Grand Mound (Washington)
  • San Francisco (California)
  • Scottsdale (Arizona)
  • Baltimore (Maryland)
  • Boston (Massachusetts)
  • Niagara Falls (Ontario)
  • Atlanta (Georgia)
  • Charlotte (North Carolina)
  • Dallas (Texas)
  • Houston (Texas)
  • Naples (Florida)
  • Williamsburg (Virginia)
  • Pocono Mountains (Pennsylvania)
  • Mashantucket (Connecticut)
  • Kansas City (Kansas)
  • Chicago (Illinois)
  • Cincinnati (Ohio)
  • Minneapolis (Minnesota)
  • Sandusky (Ohio)
  • Traverse City (Michigan)
  • Wisconsin Dells (Wisconsin)

As time goes on, be on the lookout for new Great Wolf Resort locations as the company continues to grow.

Does the Great Wolf Lodge Have Accommodations for People With Disabilities?

The Great Wolf Lodge takes caring for its guests seriously, and there are many amenities that people with disabilities can benefit from. Depending on the type of disability and the specific Great Wolf Resort location, the amenities may change, so keep that in mind.

Still, you can expect to find the following amenities at a Great Wolf Resort:

  • Pool and slide areas with sloped entry points and low-depth entries
  • Waterproof wheelchairs are available for free, but they are limited in availability
  • Closed captions for entertainment that require audio

The Great Wolf Lodge also partners with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), which helps people with autism and other mental disabilities enjoy their time at the park.

What Is the Great Wolf Lodge’s Pet Policy?

The Great Wolf Lodge does not allow pets to enter the resort for the health and safety of its guests. Whether you want to bring a dog, cat, or a small hamster, they’re not permitted on the premises, and you will be asked to remove them if you choose to do so. While this pet policy might sound harsh, pets can damage the equipment, poke holes in liners, and cause distress to guests who are enjoying the water park.

On the other hand, service dogs and other service animals are allowed at Great Wolf Resorts. These are not classified as pets, and they’re protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Can You Bring Pets If You’re Part of the Great Wolf Lodge’s Voyager Club?

Many vacation chains offer exclusive memberships that give you members better deals. Sometimes, these deals include access to more amenities, larger rooms, or more privacy. Great Wolf Resorts offers a membership like this to the GWL Voyager Club. This club is exclusive for guests and allows you to redeem points for free stays and other redeemable perks.

While being part of the club can help you save money on your next trip to a Great Wolf Resort, it doesn’t change the pet policy. Therefore, contacting the staff beforehand is important to see if you can work something out.

Does the Great Wolf Lodge’s Pet Policy Change at Different Locations?

Yes and no. For the most part, the pet policy at Great Wolf Resorts remains the same because it’s a franchise that follows the same rules. However, the people who work at each location are the wildcards. For example, you can call ahead and work out a deal that allows you to bring your pet, but only if you keep it in your room.

If you plan on going this route, we recommend registering your pet as an ESA to further bolster your argument. Ultimately, you’ll have a better chance if the animal provides some type of service for you.

Are Service Dogs Allowed at the Great Wolf Lodge?

Yes, service dogs are allowed at the Great Wolf Lodge. This is because they must allow service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Anyone who has a disability and a service dog that’s trained to help with that disability is allowed to enter the resort with their companion. That said, there are some rules that you need to follow.

The biggest rule that must be followed is that service dogs are not allowed in any of the pools or on any of the rides. This can make it hard for people with disabilities to get on the rides, so if you need your dog to accompany you, it’s best to avoid the water park altogether. However, service dogs can stand near or around the pools.

According to Great Wolf Resorts, service dogs are not allowed in the pools because they can harm the guests, cause discomfort, or increase the risk of panic and drowning. Therefore, the resort has the right to keep them from entering these areas.

Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed at the Great Wolf Lodge?

No, emotional support animals (ESAs) are not allowed at the Great Wolf Lodge. While ESAs have protections under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), they’re not treated the same as service dogs or other service animals. Therefore, Great Wolf Lodge has the right to deny your ESA.

Still, that doesn’t mean the battle is over. With a little bit of charm, proof of an ESA letter, and some negotiation, it might be possible to bring an ESA with you to the Great Wolf Lodge. This is hit-or-miss and will require you to get approval from the staff. In other words, don’t just show up with an ESA and expect to be let in.

Are Therapy Dogs Allowed at the Great Wolf Lodge?

No, therapy dogs are not allowed at the Great Wolf Lodge. While therapy dogs are usually well-behaved and trained to apply deep pressure therapy (DPT), they’re not treated the same as service dogs. In fact, many people may mistake a therapy dog for a psychiatric service dog, but this simply isn’t the case. Therapy dogs are trained to comfort groups of people, so they’re closer to ESAs than service dogs.

That said, therapy dogs do have some leeway, and you might be able to work something out with Great Wolf Resorts. For example, if you’re bringing a group of people who have a mental health disability, you might be able to bring a therapy dog with you. Still, this is unlikely and doesn’t usually happen.

Tips for Bringing Your Service Dog to Great Wolf Lodge

You can’t bring traditional pets to Great Wolf Resorts, but you can bring a service dog. It’s a good idea to follow some of our tips to make the most out of your trip to the resort. Otherwise, you may even get into some trouble.

1. Make Sure Your Service Dog Is Well-Trained

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects your right to bring a service dog to Great Wolf Lodge locations. That said, your service dog is not immune to being removed. If your service dog is not well-trained or behaved and begins to bother or frighten guests, you can be asked to leave. Most service dogs have enough training to handle large crowds well but if you skipped out on training and rushed to register your service dog, it could come back to bite you here.

2. Don’t Allow Your Service Dog to Enter the Pools

The Great Wolf Lodge allows service dogs to be around the water park, but that doesn’t mean they can actually enter the pools. Make sure you supervise your dog and prevent them from entering any of the pools. This can result in the staff asking you to leave. Therefore, if you can’t go in the pools without a companion, it’s best to avoid the water park altogether and enjoy some of the Great Wolf Lodge’s other amenities.

3. Try New Things Like MagiQuest

MagiQuest is a new game at Great Wolf Resorts, and it’s quickly become a popular activity for guests. If you can’t get in the water and enjoy the park that way, we recommend trying MagiQuest and other games around the resort. You can take your service dog with you and complete a handful of 15-30-minute quests. MagiQuest isn’t the only game at Great Wolf Resorts, and some locations may have their own unique options, so feel free to explore.

The Great Wolf Lodge: In Conclusion

The Great Wolf Lodge might not be pet-friendly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a service dog. If you contact the staff ahead of time, there’s a good chance that they’ll let you bring an emotional support animal (ESA) with you if they don’t bother the guests. That said, the only animals that are usually permitted at the Great Wolf Lodge are service animals because of their protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If you plan on visiting this popular water park resort, understand their pet policies before arrival. Also, ensure your service dog is legitimate and consider registering them to avoid complications. Service dog registration can be done online at a low cost.