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Great Wolf Lodge general manager lays out the water resort's details in advance of September opening

Special to WGCU

A big-name water park is finally opening its doors in Collier County later this year. Southwest Florida Business Today Publisher Karen Moore recently heard the details at a Southwest Florida commercial real estate conference.

We’ve been hearing about this Great Wolf Lodge attraction coming to Collier County for a few years now. Recently, General Manager Jason Bays gave some details about this new tourist attraction and provided some background on the project.

"We were looking for land in Florida for a very long time, about a decade, looking for development planning areas that we could develop... This will be our 21st lodge in our portfolio. We're owned by Blackstone, a private equity firm and they bought us in 2019 for about $2.6 billion," he said.

Bays then described more about the all-indoors water park which will have 500 hotel rooms, and entertainment features with names like Ten Paw Alley and MagiQuest.

"So our waterpark, 84-degrees year round, it’s about the size of two football fields. So 93,000 square feet in there. And...it's weather-proof," he said.

"In addition to the water park, we'll also have a 61,000 square foot Game Board Adventure Center as well. That's gonna provide a lot of different fun attractions for our for our guests to enjoy too," Bays said. "We will have five restaurants onsite that are also open to the public that are going to be highly immersive themed attractions."

Bays also said that the Great Wolf Lodge will have a major impact on Collier County’s economy.

"Collier County did a study on the economic impact of the Great Wolf Lodge over a 30-year-period," he explained. "And it showed Great Wolf will have a $5 billion impact over the next 30 years on the county with the spending and economic impact."

 Mays said the lodge will have over 100 suites that will be specific to multigenerational families.

“ I wanna share that at Great Wolf, there's a couple of things that we're going to do. I’ve met with every single high school principal ... in Collier County. We're going to set up workforce development (and) on-the-job training. We will build relationships so that we can provide not just jobs, not just full-time jobs, but career paths and career growth,” he said. “And I'll share that one of the most critical things that we're going to be able to do is have some really great pack members who are ready to bring joy to families.”

Mays continued speaking about the project in wolf terms, where the term pack members refers to employees.

“The South Florida project will be about a $275 million investment and we'll have about 600-700 pack members. So everyone here will be talking the wolf language after today,” he said

The grand opening for Great Wolf Lodge is planned for September 2024.

Karen Moore is a contributing partner for WGCU and the publisher of SWFL Business Today.