Last weekend we ventured to the Starved Rock area where we spent some time reconnecting and unwinding. (Read about our hiking adventure here.)  Our home base was Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort located right across the street from Starved Rock State Park – literally. Our main goal was to check out the newly renovated waterpark at the resort, Grand Bear Falls. Not only did we have a fantastic time at the waterpark, but we all had a fun time enjoying the resort as well as the rest of the area.
A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock
Disclosure: Our family was provided a complimentary stay at the Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort. I was not required to express a particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.

Room highlights at Grand Bear Resort:

We stayed in a Deluxe Family Suite on the 3rd floor.

  • Cozy. The Northwoods-themed room felt as if we were in a cabin. My kids were particularly enamored seeing all the bears. The fireplace was a welcome addition. We arrived during the evening and found the room very dark even with all the lights on. It may have added to the cozy ambiance but a little frustrating trying to get our bearings in order.
  • Plenty of room to move about. We stayed in the spacious Deluxe Family Suite which had a private King master bedroom, a separate living area with a small kitchenette, two queen beds, and even a whirlpool.

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

  • Nice view. Our suite looked out into the forest, as well as a glimpse of the playground.

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

  • A variety of options to stay. Other rooms you can find at Grand Bear Lodge include a Kids Cabin Suite with bunk beds….

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

….a King Whirlpool suite. (I totally adore the “canopy” bed!) 

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

They also have Cabins and Villas if you have a larger party.

Cabin at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort

Cabin

Grand Bear Resort Highlights:

  • A fun rustic theme.  The Northwoods theme is seen throughout especially the lobby with wood, bears, and more.

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

  • Arcade Games. The kids love playing arcade games and love it more when prizes are at stake! They had such a fun time at Cave Arcade, a Namco arcade. 

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

  • Mini golf. The kids had a great time challenging each other to 18 holes of mini golf at Canyon Creek, located behind the resort.

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

  • Playground. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t in our favor during our stay so we couldn’t enjoy the playground. It did look really fun and it was right next to mini-golf.

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

  • Plenty of food options. They offer a breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sundays at Jack’s Place located just on-site. (adult – $9.95, Children under 11 – $6.95) Since we happened to be visiting during Mother’s Day weekend we even tried their Mother’s Day Brunch.

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

If you’re in a pinch, Jack’s Place also offers pizza. After a few hours of having fun in the waterpark, we made the right call with pizza — and they brought it up to our room. (If you’re looking for other dining options stay tuned to hear about the other places we tried.)

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

Honey Pot Sweet Shop has all sorts of sweets including cupcakes, coffee, and of course ice cream. Honey Pot was hands down our favorite place to eat at the resort. (If it’s there, you must try their Blueberry Pie ice cream!)

A Family Fun Stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock

  • The little things. Loved that families could “borrow” board games at the front desk as well as watch a movie or catch a bedtime story in the evening.

Grand Bear Falls Waterpark Highlights:

  • Not too small and not too big. My kids were happy exploring the 24,000 square feet of fun at the newly renovated Grand Bear Falls. 

  • Wave Pool. The wave pool is always a blast and the one here was no exception. I liked that the area wasn’t too large so that I could easily keep on eye on my kids.

  • Kiddie areas. Little kids can choose from a water area with a small slide with water only 1 feet high. There’s even a seating area for adults to watch the young ones splash. The kids got a kick out of the bear “throwing up” water. 

  • Fun, water playground. The kids had a fun time at Ranger Station, their water playground. With water geysers, buckets, fun slides – the kids had a great time. 

  • Relax on the lazy river.  We loved floating away on the lazy river, and it was the right length – neither too short nor too long.
  • Hot tub action. My husband and I had a relaxing time at their pretty large whirlpool hot tub.

 

We wish:

  • …there was a fitness facility on-site. Not a big deal since we essentially got our workout on by hiking at the Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Park.
  • …they had automatic sliding doors. It was a difficult task trying to bring a luggage cart inside while holding the doors (especially if it’s just one person!)
  • …the lighting was brighter in the rooms.
  • …wi-fi would work better. I connected to their Wi-fi but found that I would get kicked off after a few minutes. Eventually, I just stopped trying which may have been a good thing trying to stay “screen free.”

Bottom Line:

What a fun time!! If you’re looking for an all-around fun option that includes a great waterpark, mini golf, an arcade and all the amenities a family could want, then Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort is a great option.

Nitty Gritty:

Website: https://www.grizzlyjacksresort.com/
Location: 2643 IL Route 178, Utica, Illinois 61373
Lodging Prices: Start at around $109.99/night during the weekdays and 179.99/night on the weekends. During summer months, rates will start at $179.99/night on the weekdays and $209.99/night on the weekends.
Waterpark: Day passes are available for Thursday afternoon to Sunday only (excluding holidays and black out days). Call to make sure of availability.
Check-in and Check-out:  4 p.m. and 11 a.m.
Parking: Plenty of free parking in lot

A family fun stay at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Starved Rock. Here you'll find Northwoods-themed lodging, a newly revamped waterpark, mini golf, an arcade, and more family fun activities.