Great Wolf Lodge holds grand opening

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BY LOREEN BERLIN: Prepare yourself for non-stop fun at the Great Wolf Water Park, which just opened in Garden Grove.

A mere six months after a hard-hat tour, the Great Wolf Park held its grand opening March 4.

Love water? There's plenty of water activity at the indoor water park (and some outside water activity, too).

Love good food? Everyone can enjoy a selection the water park offers for registered guests as well as local residents looking to have a meal or a snack from Dunkin' Donuts.

BY LOREEN BERLIN: Prepare yourself for non-stop fun at the Great Wolf Water Park, which just opened in Garden Grove.

A mere six months after a hard-hat tour, the Great Wolf Park held its grand opening March 4.

Love water? There's plenty of water activity at the indoor water park (and some outside water activity, too).

Love good food? Everyone can enjoy a selection the water park offers for registered guests as well as local residents looking to have a meal or a snack from Dunkin' Donuts.

Surprisingly, many registered guests are from as close as Huntington Beach, and as far away as Temecula and San Diego. During the summer, when school is out, guests will arrive from near and far to enjoy water, food, games and all sorts of activities.

Like bowling or golf? There are both in florescent miniature style in the lower portion of the facility with a kids spa and Magi-Quest where youngsters (and adults) can select their sword and outfit of choice to play games throughout the park.

The Great Wolf Water Park is the largest one constructed so far, and first of its kind in California bringing countless days of water enjoyment in a weather-proof inside environment for those who attend.

The facility at 12681 Harbor Blvd., has been in the planning stages for more than nine years, with a collaboration between the park and the City of Garden Grove, which began back when Bruce Broadwater was still mayor. It has been described as an example of perseverance, with a lot of people working very hard to make it all come together.

Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui was on hand for the grand opening.

"We hope in the future to have one or more theme parks in Garden Grove, which would put our city on the map as a theme-park city," said Bui. "When this idea first came to Garden Grove, I was chair of the Planning Commission and so it's exciting to not only see this 700-room hotel come to fruition, but to also be the first resort-theme park in Garden Grove.”

Yes, there’s a hotel on the site. That is why Great Wolf leaders encourage patrons to become registered guests. There are many perks.

Great Wolf Park General Manager Phillip Cunningham said, "For us to have opened this Great Wolf Water Park in Southern California, that is already inspired by family attractions, we are excited to bring our unique destination to this area. We'll make you proud.”

The employee/tour-guides were so enthusiastic during the private tours that it's hard not to catch that same enthusiasm and enjoy being there; it's easy to see that they all love their jobs, of being ambassadors to the one-of-a-kind destination lodge and water park that focuses on a vacation for children.

Mike Foley, with employee relations, was a tour guide both on the hard-hat tour and the grand opening and what a pleasant experience he provided both times, answering questions and patiently letting everyone on the tour take-in the surroundings, ambiance and total experience.

In the bottom level, there is an 84-degree indoor Great Water Park that includes slides, pools and activities that continue throughout the lodge with the lodge's interactive adventure games that start or continue to the kids’ sleeping rooms.

There's "Story Time" in the evening in the middle of the lobby for pajama-clad guests, with Great Wolf Lodge characters on board for the stories, a kids’ spa and a place for the young ladies and their mom's to have a "Scooops" sugar-whip strawberry moisturizing body scrub too.

And it's all under one roof, so guests can play at the lodge, eat, shop, rest and sleep there.

The third-floor is set up for business meetings and conferences.

The lodge is 100,000-square-feet of indoor water park, with 10 unique water slides and five pools. There are 603 suites, which includes the exclusive Great Wolf Kids suite (a cabin inside the room) that houses bunk beds and a TV monitor on which to play a myriad of MagiQuest games with lighted wands.