Archive for Thursday, May 22, 2003

Rustic resort/waterpark makes a big splash

May 22, 2003

State, county and city public officials expect economic growth as the Great Wolf Lodge opens its doors and services to the public.

The lodge, 10401 Cabela Drive in Kansas City, Kan., will begin taking reservations Thursday, May 22.

Cindy Cash, president and CEO of the Kansas City Kansas Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke of the resort's effect on Kansas City, Wyandotte County and Kansas.

"The real economic development is what happens after today," Cash said Tuesday at the grand opening ceremony. "It's the goods and services, the products that people will continue to buy."

Although the 38,000 square-foot indoor water park will be available only to overnight guests, the lodge offers meeting rooms, a restaurant, a gift shop, a cafe, an arcade and a full-service spa, available to the public.

"I don't think it gets a whole lot better than this," Cash said.

Leading up to the grand opening ceremony, VIPs and invited guests, such as families of the lodge's employees, stayed overnight at the lodge.

"Their feedback will help us work out the kinks before we open to reservations," said Lorie Walker, who works in the human resources department.

Students from Kansas City, Kan., also did their part to provide feedback.

The lodge distributed 150 passes to the water park to Kansas City, Kan., schools, and the students who received them were enjoying the eight water slides, treehouse water fort, five pools and other features during the grand opening ceremony.

The two wings of the lodge have four floors of 281 all-suite guest rooms, available in eight varieties. The price of each room includes at least four water park passes.

The entire lodge has a nature-theme decor--with some surprises. The Camp Critter Bar & Grille offers booth seating under a tent-like canvas, and a tree in the middle of the room houses life-like animals, such as an opossum hanging from a branch.

From 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 23, the lodge will hold an open house for the public.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who was also among the guests at the grand opening, said the lodge would improve Kansas' image as a place for tourists.

"We need to stop thinking of ourselves as a stop on the way to Colorado," Sebelius said. "We look forward to having more opportunities for Kansas as a destination for tourism."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.