Yes, the temperatures are climbing and the sweat-inducing humidity with them. After all, this is the Deep South on its way to a typical early summer.
That’s why it might be mildly refreshing to pause a moment to ponder a slide splashing you into a cool body of water over and over again. Or a lazy river meandering past a tree house or large tipping bucket spilling water atop you. Or perhaps a large wave pool inviting friends to frolic with big smiles on their faces, just as they might do at the beach.
Of course, this is the basic description of the indoor water park that Great Wolf Resorts is now constructing in LaGrange, Ga., less than an hour north of Columbus. It was less than a year ago that construction started on the $150 million attraction that is expected to draw nearly half a million visitors a year.
The best part? The countdown clock can now begin.
The 93,000-square-foot water park and the 456 themed hotel rooms that will make up the Great Wolf Lodge Georgia resort is only one year away from opening off Interstate 85 in LaGrange, just a short distance from the interstate’s I-185 spur to and from Columbus. Rain showers or thunder boomers? Bring them on. You’ll be riding them out inside.
It will be a truly busy time for Great Wolf Resorts. The company last month completed its corporate headquarters move from Madison, Wisc., to Chicago, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel naturally welcoming it with open arms. Calling its new home there Wolf Den Chicago, the company also bought an existing water park in the “Windy City” area and will turn it into Great Wolf Lodge Illinois.
The Chicago water park and lodge will be opening in the summer of 2018. But that will come only after Great Wolf Lodge Georgia opens for business next May in Troup County, not far from the Alabama border, with the 500,000-square-foot resort creating an estimated 600 jobs. Additional private development will be burgeoning around the attraction as the big moment nears.
“We have aggressive growth plans for our brand,” Great Wolf Chief Executive Officer Ruben Rodriguez said at his new headquarters ribbon-cutting in late April.
Those plans include Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota making its debut in Bloomington, Minn., before this year is out. The LaGrange and Chicago locations will give the company 17 locations in all, with it apparently hungry for even more. Perhaps a Great Wolf for every state? Who knows.
One thing is certain, the Great Wolf Lodge will be a popular entertainment venue tailor made for a hot Georgia summer.
Yes, folks from Columbus will motor up the highway and spend a night or two at the lodge for a special occasion. So will those water park fans from Atlanta — with the large metro area a mere hour or so away from the property — as well as Alabamians and Floridians seeking that great new water park thrill.
As the resort company says on its website, “Great Wolf Lodge Georgia (is) set to howl.”