Our Midwest Travel Expert, Marcia Frost, is back with tips on a family vacation to Gurnee!

Head to Gurnee for a Family Vacation
By Marcia Frost

Visiting Six Flags Great America was always a good reason to take the family to Gurnee, Illinois, but now you can begin the fun right at your hotel with the opening of Illinois’ first Great Wolf Lodge. 

Great Wolf Lodge Illinois is the newest property in a line of one of the most recognizable family friendly hotels. All ages can enjoy the non-stop waterpark and activities. 

Keeping the family playing together is one of the themes of Great Wolf Lodge. In the water park, three slides, Double Whirlwind, Alberta Falls, and River Canyon Run, have rafts large enough for the family to go down together. 

Additional slides are available for adults and teens, as well as play areas for younger children. You can rent a cabana for the family to gather in for snacks and pool breaks (there is an outdoor heating pool adjacent to the waterpark). 

When you are ready to get out of the water, this resort still has plenty to do, including the Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall (with four different levels of difficulty), Howl in One Mini Golf, Ten Paw Alley, and Howlers Peak Ropes Course. 

You can get the kids an all-inclusive bracelet so it doesn’t get too expensive to pay for each attraction. All-Inclusive packages can also include credits in the Northern Lights Arcade and Magic Quest wands, which can be used throughout the hotel as you “follow the quest.”

Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee has 13 different types of suites, some big enough to sleep 12, like the Deluxe Wolf Den Suite and Deluxe Cabin Suite. They also have the amenities you will find at the other locations, such as the evening story time and character appearances. 

Another thing Great Wolf Lodge has available is plenty of family-friendly food. Campfire Kitchen has different items each night, with very large portions. We really enjoyed the BBQ Ribs. Hungry As A Wolf has family-size specials for pizza, pasta, and salads. 

Candy & Company has a selection of chocolates, fudge, and candy for purchase in small or large quantities. The hotel also has its own Ben & Jerry’s and Dunkin Donuts to satisfy cravings. You can also pick up snacks at Freshwoods Market. 

Barnwoods is a sit-down restaurant where you can get more specialized fare. You’ll find a menu that includes Wisconsin Cheese Curds and Grilled Octopus, as well as a NY Strip Steak. It’s also a good spot to have breakfast. 

For grownups taking a break, there are full bars inside the waterpark, in Barnwood, and at the Outpost, between the restaurants. Keep an eye out for special deals at the hotel during the fall and winter. They are currently offering 30% off select dates through February, if you book soon.  

New Holiday Celebration at Six Flags Great America
While you are in Gurnee, it’s a great time to plan a visit to Six Flags. This time of year can be a great time to go, without the heat and crowds. 

The park is open weekends all year. This year they are also starting something new for the holidays. Holiday in the Park will take place on weekends November 23-December 23, and every day from December 26-31.

The park will be open for rides, shows, light displays, and family friendly activities such as decorating cookies in the Sugar Plum Cookie Factory and creating arts and crafts in Santa’s Workshop. For hours and more information, visit the Six Flags Great America website. 

Be sure to Like Midwest Travel with Marcia Frost on Facebook for more information on her trips, and read her stories on her Wine And Spirits Travel blog. You can also follow Marcia @Spiritstraveler on Twitter and Instagram.