Can you go to Great Wolf Lodge waterparks without staying the night? What to know

Updated

T-minus two months until Floridians can finally get a break from the beach and retreat up to the mountains – so to speak.

The state's first Great Wolf Lodge resort is set to open in Naples at the beginning of the fall season, with the $250 million endeavor housing an indoor waterpark that's kept at a warm 84 degrees year-round.

Sitting near the Interstate 75 and Collier Boulevard interchange, the 20-acre resort includes 500 suites, multiple eateries and hosts several family-friendly attractions, including the 100,000-square-foot indoor water park. But is there an option for local residents who don't want to necessarily book a room every time they want to race down the water slides or relax along the lazy river?

What is Great Wolf Lodge?

A visitor takes photos in the Grand Lobby during the grand opening of the Great Wolf Lodge in Perryville, Md., Thursday, June 29, 2023.
A visitor takes photos in the Grand Lobby during the grand opening of the Great Wolf Lodge in Perryville, Md., Thursday, June 29, 2023.

Great Wolf Lodge is a family-friendly resort that features an indoor water park and other activities for all age groups.

According to its website, Great Wolf Lodge is "North America's largest family of indoor water park resorts." It was originally started as a small indoor water park resort called Black Wolf Lodge, founded in 1997 by brothers Jack and Andrew "Turk" Waterman in Wisconsin.

It has since grown to 22 Great Wolf Lodge resorts in the U.S. and Canada, including two new locations opening this year in Naples and Houston.

When does Great Wolf Lodge open in Naples?

South Florida's Great Wolf Lodge seeks to open on Sept. 25. The new Florida Great Wolf Lodge will be at 3900 City Gate Blvd., Naples.

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What will the waterpark look like at the Great Wolf Lodge resort in Southwest Florida?

Rendering of the Great Wolf Lodge South Florida water park
Rendering of the Great Wolf Lodge South Florida water park

Sitting near the I-75 and Collier Boulevard interchange, the 20-acre resort includes 500 suites and a 100,000-square-foot indoor water park with 12 slides, three pools and two interactive water play zones.

Here are the highlights, provided by Great Wolf Lodge.:

◾ Breakaway Bay: This is the first of its kind for Great Wolf Lodge. You'll get in a five-rider raft and be accelerated into a cone-shaped "tornado" before exiting into a 360-degree loop. Then, you'll enter a giant bowl, be spun around, and freefall into the splash channel.

Otter Cave Waterworks: Multilevel interactive water playground with a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket.

◾ High Paw Roller: This body slide races you through enclosed flumes as you twist and turn before splashing down into a water-filled runout.

◾ Forest Flume: This is a body slide that accelerates riders through 360-degree loops, sharp turns, and drops.

Rapid Racer: Side-by-side slides you can race your loved ones down.

◾ River Canyon Run: Family raft ride that sends you down one of the park's longest slides. There are no steep drops on this one.

Slap Tail Pond: Family wave pool that produces waves up to 3 feet.

Crooked Creek: Relaxing lazy river.

Otter Springs: Play pool with gentle slides for toddlers and young kids.

Chinook Cove: Activity pool with basketball hoops and floating obstacles.

Big Foot Pass: Lily pad obstacle challenge.

Great Wolf Lodge South Florida will also have an outdoor zero-entry pool and hot tub area surrounded by outdoor cabanas.

Are all Great Wolf Lodge water parks the same?

Though all Great Wolf Lodge locations offer slides and pools, the exact type and number of water attractions vary by location.

What slides and pools are kid-friendly?

All of the Great Wolf Lodge water attractions are kid-friendly except the North Hot Springs, which is an adult-only hot tub.

Can Florida residents buy a day pass for the indoor water park?

Rendering of the Great Wolf Lodge South Florida water park
Rendering of the Great Wolf Lodge South Florida water park

Yes, but hang tight, it won't be available immediately when it opens. Officials said there are more than 800 parking spots for the 500-room resort but they want to understand what the guest pattern is first.

"The best way to experience Great Wolf is to stay overnight, and be able to enjoy our restaurants, our 61,000-square-foot adventure park, in addition to the water park," said Jason Bays, the Great Wolf Lodge South Florida general manager who comes to Florida after leading the chain's Atlanta area site.

"That being said, a few months after we open, we will have some limited day pass opportunities for guests who want to just join us for the day. Absolutely."

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How much are day passes to Great Wolf Lodge?

While a price has not been set locally for Naples, day passes in more recent resorts have been priced at $80 for a weekday pass per person and $120 for Saturday or Sunday.

How popular are the day passes at Great Wolf Lodge?

In an interview for "In The Know," Great Wolf Resorts Vice President Jason Lasecki shared that the popularity of day passes depended on location.

A lot of the day passes at the resort's Georgia location were coming from guests staying at a neighboring hotel who saw Great Wolf Lodge and said, 'Hey, let's go there for the day' kind of thing, Lasecki said.

"But what you'll find is that guests who spend the overnight do end up getting a richer experience. The water park is definitely the most marquee attraction."

Contributing: Kendall Little, Naples Daily News

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Florida Great Wolf Lodge: Can you buy day pass to new water park?

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