The family-focused, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Lodge opened its first resort in Wisconsin Dells in 1997. Over the next two decades, it slowly expanded with more properties around the Midwest, moving into the Northeast, South, West and Canada. And this summer, the greater Chicago area will get its first resort from the brand.

Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, slated to open July 1 in Gurnee, will include the hallmark giant waterpark, family-friendly dining options and woodsy décor. The property will also have 7,800 square feet of meeting space, 414 guest rooms (including 14 suite styles) and a separate entrance for meeting guests to avoid the waterpark. It’s the result of a $40 million makeover to the former Key Lime Cove property.

Though the waterpark plays second fiddle to meeting groups looking to get business done at the resort, it has a nice perk: Guests have access to the waterpark at 1 p.m. on the day of check-in, so they can arrive early or with families in tow to take advantage of the fun facilities.

Meeting planners can also get creative with events at Great Wolf Lodge. They can use the 38,000-square-foot adventure park for teambuilding, or rent it out for “waterpark after dark” cocktail hour.

“How often can you have a cocktail party with these elements available to you?” says General Manager Emilio Fabico, noting the Illinois property will also have a lazy river, the funnel-like Whitewater Whirl waterslides and the Wolf Rider, for daring guests only.

Another attraction of Great Wolf Lodge Illinois is the brand’s newly revamped F&B program, which includes the farm-to-fork restaurant Barnwood. Guests will find fresh dishes made with locally sourced ingredients alongside a craft cocktail menu, also available to meeting groups.

The property is holding a job fair for nearly 600 positions at College of Lake County in Grayslake this week through May 18 (details), and is accepting reservations starting July 1, 2018.

Formed by President of Detroit’s Display Group Rick Portwood and Owner of Fairway Productions of St. Clair Shores Michael McConnell, Audio Visual Lighting (AVL) Creative is a joint venture designed to fill a void in the meeting industry for all-inclusive event support.

 

Detroit and Grand Rapids are showcasing some fun new dining options this spring for all occasions.

In Motown, the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau released its third in-your-face YouTube video exploring the city’s vibrant dining scene.

Three Eats in The D videos were posted this spring and run about four to eight minutes long. They feature sports bars, fancy hotspots, trendy stops and pizza traditions. Each YouTube page offers a list of all the eateries featured in each show.

 

Anticipated to open in Fall 2018, Shinola and Detroit-based real estate company Bedrock announces plans for the first Shinola Hotel located at 1400 Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. This new boutique hotel incorporates a new lifestyle concept and combines the best of both brands – Shinola’s high-quality, American built craftsmanship and Bedrock’s development and urban revitalization expertise.