Great Wolf Resorts

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Great Wolf Resorts
Type Private
Industry Hospitality
Predecessors Great Bear Lodge (Sandusky, OH), Black Wolf Lodge (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
Founders Jack and Andrew Waterman
Headquarters Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Number of locations 12 (One under construction and two under consideration)
Area served United States and Canada
Key people Kim Schaefer, CEO
Services Family Waterpark Resorts
Parent Apollo Global Management

Great Wolf Resorts is the world's largest[1] chain of indoor water parks which owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge brand.[2] The company is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to a water park, each resort features specialty restaurants, arcades, spas, fitness rooms and children’s activity areas.[3]


Great Wolf Lodge was founded by brothers Jack and Andrew "Turk" Waterman, the original owners of Noah's Ark water park.[4] The first Great Wolf Lodge location opened in 1997 in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.[3] The chain has since added eleven additional locations and has two in development.[5][6]

On May 1, 2012, Great Wolf announced they were adding a new amenity or attraction to each of their resorts in time for the summer season. In addition, they spent over $4 million renovating the company's first two locations – Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky.[7]

Apollo acquisition[edit]

On March 13, 2012, Apollo Global Management announced an agreement to acquire the company for $703 million.[8] Following the announcement, an investor group filed a complaint in Delaware Chancery Court stating that the deal, in which Apollo would pay $5 a share, undervalued the company. On April 12, 2012, KSL Capital Partners made an unsolicited offer of $6.25 a share, and Apollo followed suit raising its bid to $6.75 a share.[9] KSL then raised its cash offer to $7 a share on April 8, 2012, beginning a rare public bidding war.[10] After Apollo upped its offer again to $7.85 a share on April 20, 2012, KSL Capital Partners later announced it would not be making additional offers.[11]

The company's shares traded as low as $2.18 in October 2011, but they climbed above $5 following the announcement in March 2012 and reached a 52-week high of $7.50 during trading in April 2012.[12][13] Despite increasing revenues in recent years, the company has not been able to turn a profit since 2004.[8]


Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, located next to Kings Island amusement park
Rendering Image of the proposed Great Wolf Lodge in Southern California

Great Wolf Lodge locations:[3]

City Year Opened
Wisconsin Dells, WI 1997
Sandusky, OH 2001
Traverse City, MI 2003
Kansas City, KS 2003
Williamsburg, VA 2005
Pocono Mountains, PA 2005
Niagara Falls, ON 2006
Mason, OH 2006
Grapevine, TX 2007
Grand Mound, WA 2008
Charlotte/Concord, NC 2009
Fitchburg, MA[14] 2014

Previous locations:

Locations under construction:

Future locations in consideration:

Other brands[edit]

Great Wolf Lodge also manages the following brands:[18]

  • MagiQuest - Action adventure scavenger hunt for fun or competition which electronically captures achievements with a tracked score
  • Cub Club - Fun and educational craft and activity center with nature-themed programming
  • Scooops - Spa experience created just for kids with ice cream themed treatments

In pop culture[edit]

Great Wolf's CEO Kim Schaefer was featured in the U.S. version of TV's Undercover Boss, which included visits to several lodges where she worked alongside a lifeguard supervisor, front desk clerk, and restaurant waitstaff as well as participated in the children's program.[19][20]


  1. ^ "New Attractions Announced for New Great Wolf Lodge". Business Wire. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Corporate Profile". Great Wolf Resorts. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "History". Great Wolf Resorts. 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "For generations, Andrew Watermans run Dells hotels". 14 December 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Great Wolf Resorts Announces License and Management Agreement for New Great Wolf Lodge in Pittsburgh, PA". Great Wolf Resorts. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Great Wolf Resorts Announces License and Management Agreement for New Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove, CA". Great Wolf Resorts. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Great Wolf Lodge Invests in Family Fun in 2012". Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. May 1, 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Ahmed, Azam (March 13, 2012). "Apollo to Acquire Water Park Operator for $703 Million". New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  9. ^ State Journal Staff (April 6, 2012). "Deal to buy Great Wolf approved by board after Apollo increases offer". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  10. ^ De La Merced, Michael (April 8, 2012). "Private Equity Firms Duel Over Water Park Operator". New York Times' Dealbook. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Harden, Mark (April 23, 2012). "KSL Capital cries uncle in Great Wolf bidding war". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Lachapelle, Tara (March 23, 2012). "Leon Black’s Bid Gets No Respect as Great Wolf Surges: Real M&A". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  13. ^ TheStreet Wire (April 11, 2012). "Great Wolf Stock Hits New 52-Week High (WOLF)". The Street. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Luna, Taryn (May 22, 2014). "Great Wolf Lodge to open in Fitchburg". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Great Wolf Resorts Announces Sale of Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI". Reuters. March 24, 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Great Wolf plans water park near Pittsburgh". La Crosse Tribune. 
  17. ^ Antrim, Doron (November 16, 2011). "Great Wolf under scrutiny". Hudson-Catskill Newspapers. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "'Undercover Boss' returns to area". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  20. ^ Huff, Richard (4 October 2010). "Great Wolf Resorts CEO Kim Schaefer works all over the company on 'Undercover Boss'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 

External links[edit]