Saying goodbye is bittersweet. Minnesota will always remember Waterpark of America as a family getaway for multigenerational fun, but sometimes good things get even better. We think that’s the case here because there are plans for a bigger, better waterpark coming soon!
Iconic Waterpark of America Closes
Waterpark of America, the largest indoor waterpark in the country, closed its doors on the last day of January 2017. For us, this is meaningful because it was the destination of our first road trip of any distance as a family of three. Our firstborn was just a year and a half old. It’s how we became a waterpark family. Since our inaugural trip down the big slides at Waterpark of America a handful of years ago, we’ve had many flumes, body slides, and even a trap door slide in our repetoirre of wet and wild action rides and slides. However, there will always be a spot in our hearts for Waterpark of America!
On a spring visit in 2016, our family found Waterpark of America to be quite busy. The last time we’d been there was just before Christmas in 2012 and the park seemed a little more inviting and less crowded. Before the closure, Waterpark of America was open to not only Radisson hotel guests but also the general public, based on a calendar for each month.
Part of the fun was the area place names of rides in the waterpark – Fort Snelling zero-depth kids area, St. Croix River, Lake Superior wave pool and the Cascade Falls FlowRider. The waterpark was also home to the nation’s tallest indoor waterslide, the ten-story Eagle’s Nest family raft ride.
Water Park of America — A Brief, Fun Part of Minnesota History
The massive waterpark opened its doors in 2006 and had been an essential part of surviving Minnesota winters thereafter. Attached to the Radisson hotel, the building was a one-stop vacation mecca for families. For a decade the park brought joy to many families in the Midwest and those passing through. With fond memories like wiping out on the Flowrider and over confidently jumping aboard the 10-story waterslide with our toddler, we bid Waterpark of America ado. The final weekend to make memories under this name was the last weekend in January of 2017. Many families DID turn out to do just that.
Howling About the Northland
There is more than a cold wind howling in the northwoods this winter – and the rumors are true! Great Wolf Inc. is working to purchase Waterpark of America AND the attached Radisson hotel and rebrand both as one Great Wolf Lodge complex.
In a recent trip to the flagship Great Wolf Lodge property, we found out just how magical the Great Wolf Lodge experience is for families. We fell in love and will be back! In fact, we’ve already set aside tentative dates to visit the brand new Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, MN!
With quintessential brand experiences likely to follow suit at the new property, we’re expecting great things, like complimentary wolf ears for all the members of your pack and special gaming and retail opportunities geared toward children. If the scuttlebutt holds true, this property will add a bowling alley, ropes course, and rock climbing wall to the already massive 443,000 square foot complex. This is according to plans submitted to the City of Bloomington for approval.
Great Wolf Lodge – The Future of Twin Cities Family Fun
One characteristic of the Great Wolf Lodge brand which will be a welcome change to the waterpark is the exclusivity of admission to hotel guests only. The Waterpark of America formerly sold tickets to the public and crowds did not go unnoticed by hotel patrons in recent years.
Amazingly, only ONE hotel room will be added to the multi-level hotel. Both the guest rooms and the waterpark will receive makeovers to match the outdoorsy motif of the Great Wolf standard. The exterior will welcome a log cabin feel. Currently the building sports a more industrial, cube appearance.
Rest assured, we’ll be there to give you the insider scoop on the new Great Wolf Lodge location when it opens. If planning and approvals prove successful, the site is forecast to welcome families in November of 2017. Something new to be thankful for this year!