Families happily return to Great Wolf Lodge as resorts take COVID-19 precautions

The Great Wolf Lodge on Tuesday joined the Gaylord Texan as the second large North Texas family resort to reopen its doors to guests.

While many cities have yet to reopen their pools and aquatic centers, the resorts are providing a welcome respite for many families. The resorts are also trying to make sure people stay safe while cases continue to grow in Texas.

General Manager Keith Furnas says Great Wolf is limiting guests to 30 percent capacity right now and this weekend will expand to 50 percent.

“Cleaning will be a constant thing,” Furnas said. “Seating is a lot different, normally chair after chair, now set for families, six-foot separation.”

Shaun Guerra who lives in North Texas decided a close vacation would be a good way for her family to get their feet wet, before plunging back into travel.

“It’s been tough, work from home plus home schooling, it’s been tough,” Guerra said.

She was happy to see the new safety measures in place.

“We didn’t have to come into register, someone came to our car, parked went right to our room,” Guerra said.

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Guest Stephanie Hodges said after three months stuck at home, the water at Great Wolf’s park was more refreshing than ever.

“When we saw they were going to open we made reservations right away,” said Hodges. “They do feel normal again, I do hope things get back to normal, normal.”

Some employees were as excited as the guests to be back.

“I was furloughed, they asked are you ready do come back, I was like yeah, absolutely,” said Samantha Ponikiewski, who works in human resources.

The nearby Gaylord Texan just completed its first week back open. They also have also limited capacity at their waterpark, Paradise Springs, and implemented guidance from medical experts about sanitation measures.

For people who are venturing out, there is at least one bright spot.

“Not near as many people as in the past,” Hodges said.

Gov. Abbott has capped capacity at water parks to 50 percent. It is unclear, if or when, that capacity will be allowed to increase this summer.

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