For my son's 4th birthday we took him to the water park at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort. Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort is located right near Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL. We decided to stay in a 2-bedroom villa with my parents and 2 kids.
We arrived at Grizzy Jack's at around 4:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Upon checking in, we learned that the water park was going to be closed for the evening due to an "incident." The clerk informed us that due to the inconvenience that the amusement park would be open until 12 midnight and that we would receive a voucher for one free night in the same type of accommodations. We later found out that the "incident" was that someone had an accident (feces) in the water park.
Once check-in was complete, we drove to our villa. The villa was 2-stories and 1800 square feet. It can sleep up to 9 people. On the main floor is a laundry room, a bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet, a kitchen, and a living room. In the living room there are two pull-out couches, a TV, and a gas fireplace. Upstairs there are two bedrooms. The master bedroom has a king size bed, a sofa sleeper, a TV, fireplace, vanity, a decent size closet, and a whirlpool tub. There is also a door into the shared bathroom.The bathroom opens to the master bedroom and the hallway. It has a vanity, sink, tub, and toilet. The second bedroom has two queen size beds, two closets, and a TV.
Since we were unable to visit the water park on our first night, my son and I decided to visit the amusement park while everyone else got settled in. The amusement park is named The Enchanted Forest. The Enchanted Forest is a 36, 000 square foot amusement park. There are tons of games, rides for all ages, and a restaurant. The amusement park and waterpark are included in the cost of your room and you only need to pay for games - not rides. I was impressed with the rides and my 4-year-old son was able to go on many rides by himself. He needed to ride with an adult on a few of the rides.
The only sit down restaurant is located in The Enchanted Forest. It is very loud in there and wasn't the most enjoyable meal. I wish the restaurant would have been more closed off from the arcade and amusement rides. The prices were average, as was the food.
There is a small snack shop located in the water park. There is also a small cafe where you can get a buffet breakfast on the weekends. The buffet breakfast was only $5.99 plus $2 if you wanted an omlet. They had sausage, biscuts, gravy, scrambled eggs, fruit, and french toast sticks. I was pretty impressed for only $5.99.
On Saturday morning, the water park reopened. The water park is 24, 000 square foot. They have a wave pool, 2 big water slides, a lazy river, a kiddie pool, a hot tub, and a kids' play area with that dumps water every 10 minutes. They needed to close the entire water park after the "incident" since all the areas except the kiddie pool and hot tub are interconnected. Since I am pregnant, I did not go down the water slides. No one in our party ended up on the water slides. We mostly stuck to the kiddie area, wave pool, and lazy river.
There is a strong chlorine smell in the water park but that is pretty much expected at a waterpark. My son's eyes did start to bother him after a while. The locker rooms were rather small and didn't have much of a changing area. There was a small changing area with lockers, toilet stalls, and a few showers.
The villas are located quite a distance from the water park and amusement park. Thankfully, they have a shuttle bus that will take you from your villa to either the water park or amusement park. We never had to wait long for a shuttle and it was a nice service.
We did receive the voucher for our free night stay a few weeks after we returned home. We were disappointed to find out that we have to use the voucher before June. When we were told we were going to get a voucher, we were told there were no restrictions other than it had to be used within a year - not 3 months.
Overall, we were happy with our experience at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort and we will be visiting again.