Great Wolf Resorts
|Predecessor||Great Bear Lodge (Sandusky, OH), Black Wolf Lodge (Wisconsin Dells, WI)|
|Founded||Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, United States (May 1997 )|
|Founder||Jack and Andrew Waterman|
Number of locations
|18 (one under construction and six under consideration)|
|United States and Canada|
|Murray Hennessy (CEO)|
|Services||Family Waterpark Resorts|
Great Wolf Resorts is a chain of indoor water parks. The company owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge brand. In addition to a water park, each resort features restaurants, arcades, spas and children's activities. Great Wolf Resorts is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The Resorts' mascots are Wiley Wolf, Violet Wolf, and Oliver Raccoon with additional characters like Brinley Bear, Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Squirrel.
Black Wolf Lodge was founded in 1997 by brothers Jack and Andrew "Turk" Waterman, the original owners of Noah's Ark water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Black Wolf Lodge was purchased by The Great Lakes Company in 1999. Later that year, founders Marc Vaccaro and Bruce Neviaser changed the name to Great Wolf Lodge and the company headquarters were established in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2001, the company built a second location in Sandusky, Ohio, and named it Great Bear Lodge. When a third location opened in 2003, the decision was made to place all future parks under the Great Wolf Lodge banner. The name of the Ohio location was changed to Great Wolf Lodge in 2004. The chain has since added twelve additional locations and has one in development.
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.
In April 2017, Great Wolf relocated their corporate headquarters to Chicago, Illinois.
On March 13, 2012, Apollo Global Management announced an agreement to acquire the company for $703 million. 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. KSL then raised its cash offer to $7 a share on April 8, 2012, beginning a rare public bidding war. 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. 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.
Great Wolf Lodge locations:
|Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin||1997|
|Traverse City, Michigan||2003|
|Kansas City, Kansas||2003|
|Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania||2005|
|Niagara Falls, Ontario||2006|
|Grand Mound, Washington||2008|
|Concord, North Carolina||2009|
|Garden Grove, California||2016|
|Colorado Springs, Colorado||2016|
Locations under construction:
Locations under consideration:
- Squamish, British Columbia
- El Paso, Texas
- Surrey, British Columbia
- Brentwood, California
- Orlando, Florida
- Perryville, Maryland
In popular culture
Great Wolf's previous 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.
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