Last year we took our family to Great Wolf Lodge in Mason Ohio for $100 and it was such a cool experience. The six of us can’t even go to a water park for a hundred bucks let alone get all the extras that come with a Great Wolf Lodge Resort getaway. The way we scored this deal was through online coupon codes from a homeschool group on Facebook. I’m sure any hotel or resort is willing to slash their standard rates for those that are traveling off season though.

The first time we went was in November and then again in May. There is a deal going on next week for the Mason (Cincinnati) location for Homeschool Spirit week!


It really is $99 no strings attached! The resort fees are waved and while you can always upgrade or do add-ons you don ‘t have to! I know this low-cost vacation planning isn’t for everybody, but if you are like me and you have a large family and a small budget you may want to check out some of my tips. This is how we had a great time on a dime.

First of all, the day of check-in you can arrive as early at 1:00 pm to start your water park fun. Check-in isn’t until 4:00, but you can get your water park passes and leave your stuff in the car until it’s time to go to your room.

There are lots of “dry” activities like mini golf, arcades, and more but it all costs extra. Our kids knew ahead of time we were going to be spending most of our time at the water park, which wasn’t a problem because it’s hours of fun for all ages.

On top of the water park everyone gets free wolf ears all you have to do is ask for them at the gift shop. You can also get a free button if it’s your birthday.

There are also activities like puppet shows and pajama parties.

When we went we had to sign up for these things ahead of time. Your receptionist will probably offer the schedule, but if they don’t you can ask what free shows and activities there are. There are usually several throughout the day.

Another way we cut cost was bringing our own food. You certainly can eat there. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, but they have the amusement park prices too. We packed our own food in a cooler and it was perfect because even the smallest family suites are a decent size with a table, microwave, some counter space, and mini fridge.

I used my camping tricks and pre made croissant sandwiches to heat in the microwave for breakfast.

My kids loved them and one said “No offense mom, but these are even better than yours!” They thought it was take out because we were eating in the hotel! That’s how good it was. I also had preportioned fruit salad and Hawaiian roll sandwiches.

No coolers are allowed in the water park, but you can bring insulated bags and that worked great for us.

You could rent a cabana and honestly that would not be a bad idea! Early in the day the tables and chairs are extremely hard to come by. One time we just stacked our bags against a wall and played in the water until something became available. The point is you don’t HAVE to spend the extra money. We did four days of Great Wolf Lodge just fine with the basic package. Even towels and life vest are included!

While researching how to spend less at Great Wolf Lodge I saw a tip online about bringing a stuffed wolf so that your kids don’t beg to buy one. First of all, just say no, ha ha or don’t. The wolf stuffed animals are cute and kind of like build-a-bear if that’s the route you want to take. I decided for our birthday girl that I would do the tip that I saw online and got a wolf from Walmart for way less and she still loves that toy she affectionately calls Little Howler.

We don’t ever go to hotels as a family so my standards probably aren’t high, but I was very impressed with the rooms. My oldest slept on the couch and was also able to do his school work while we were there.

You could easily spend $1,000 on a two day/one night trip like this for a family of 6. We were able to do for 10% of that!

If you are homeschooling and can swing an off season trip like this I highly recommend you take advantage of it. I have several friends who have and everyone said the same thing. This Homeschool deal is a steal!