Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2003

Water park makes big splash

New Resort, the Great Wolf Lodge, brings water retreat, hotel to Kansas City, Kan.

March 27, 2003

The Great Wolf Lodge rolled out the red carpet Tuesday to show off the newest addition to Village West, overlooking the Kansas Speedway.

News media representatives and assorted VIP's representing banks, government, utilities, associated companies and neighboring businesses donned hard hats as they were led on tours through the cavernous interiors of the massive four-story, log-sided hotel which is taking shape on 16.75 acres in the shadow of other developments in Village West.

Eric Lund, principal and senior vice president of sales & marketing for the Great Lakes Companies, owner of the property, said the new hotel mirrors another resort opened recently in Traverse City, Mich.

The hotel, at 10401 Cabela Dr. in Kansas City, Kan., is scheduled to open May 30, Lund said.

Great Wolf Lodge is the company's fourth luxury family-suite vacation destination resort to open, after other properties in Traverse City, Mich., Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Sandusky, Ohio.

The Great Wolf Lodge's 300,000 square feet encompasses 281 guest rooms, all suites; a three-story atrium; a 220-seat family restaurant; an 800-square-foot confectionery and cafe; a 3,000-square-foot gift shop; a 2,300-square-foot spa and salon; a 7,000-square-foot arcade and game room; an interactive performance theater; and a fitness center.

But the centerpiece of the $51.5 million resort is a 38,000-square-foot indoor water park that will feature: seven waterslides; five activity pools and one outdoor pool; two hot tubs, one for families and one for adults only; and a $1 million interactive Treehouse Water Fort. Suspended from the ceiling at the center of the water park is a 1,000-gallon bucket that douses everyone underneath it every five minutes.

Keith Gilbreath, director of aquatics for the resort, told the visitors Tuesday that the interior space and the water in the park will be maintained at 84 degrees Fahrenheit so it will be comfortable year-round, he said.

The facility will have 50 to 60 fully trained lifeguards, Gilbreath said.

Most of the amenities will be reserved for resort guests, spokesmen said. However, a few areas will be open to the general public: both restaurants, the spa/salon and the gift shop.

The resort will offer educational programs to supplement the water activities, and to give guests, especially children, the chance to dry off occasionally.

In keeping with the rustic theme, many of the games and activities for youngsters focus on nature and the environment. For example, an animatronic clock tower in the center atrium features animated animals that explain about the "Rhythms of Nature" three times a day.

Room rates will place the resort closer to the upper end of the scale, with peak-season rates ranging from $259 to $399 per night. A spokesperson said, however, that specials and promotions will be available on the hotel Web site.

All the rooms are suites, and most accommodate six or more guests.

A spokesperson said reservations are now available for anytime after June 15, although that date probably will be moved forward as the time gets closer to the targeted May 30 opening. Would-be guests can make reservations on the Web site at or by calling 1-800-608-WOLF.

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