I know what you’re thinking. Great Wolf Lodge and I simply don’t go together. It’s a lot of sensory input. It’s a lot of people. It’s a lot of junk food. It’s a lot of chlorine. It’s a lot of me standing around in a bathing suit.
But, my 6 year old has been begging to go for almost a year. And a friend sent me a Living Social deal (more than 1/2 off plus a $50 resort credit!) for Great Wolf that I couldn’t pass down. Then I heard how Great Wolf was especially fun during the Holiday Season. The final push was that “Professionals Day” that our schools tagged on to Thanksgiving Break. All the stars aligned.
We surprised the kids with the trip the Sunday-Monday after Thanksgiving break. The timing was great because:
- They Lodge was decorated for Christmas (“Snowland”), which made it feel extra special
- Santa made nightly appearances, there was a special “North Pole” mailbox, and a giant gingerbread house
- There weren’t many people there because it was a Sunday-Monday stay (I hear otherwise it’s bananas).
If you don’t know, Great Wolf Lodge is an indoor waterpark with arcades and other games/attractions catering to families with children.
Here’s the run down on what we did and what I thought:
- We arrived around 2:00 p.m. on Sunday (check-in is 4:00, but guests can arrive to use the water park starting at 1:00). It was very busy in the lobby, but there were staff members making balloon animals and face-painting, which the kids loved. I’m not sure that face paint and water park are a great combination. .
- The water park (included in cost!) is split into two sides, so you need to walk across a (rather cold) hallways/lobby to get from one side to the other. This was challenging for us because we were trying to stay together as a group.
- One side (pictured above) has a large play structure with small slides and lots of water play, designed for younger kids. It also has a pool with basketball nets, a small lazy river and two large water slides. There is also a bar and takeout food. The water was cold on our first day there. Great Wolf states it will be 84 degrees. NO WAY. Ava and I were both freezing.
- The other side has another water play area, a wave pool (big hit with my boys), and two more large waterslides, including one with a raft for up to 5 people. My twins were not tall enough for any waterslides. They were very unhappy about this. I would love for there to have been something bigger than the play structure slides that they used.
- There are 2 large arcade areas. You have to walk through the larger arcade to get ANYWHERE in the resort. This was annoying to me because it was hard for Logan, and led to a fight over and over again.
- However, one of the arcade areas has a ropes course that is included in your stay. There is even a small ropes course for little kids. This was a lot of fun. Jackson (with Matt) completed the large ropes course a few times and Ava and Logan did the small ropes course. I wouldn’t have even known about it, though, if I didn’t see it in a review on Yelp.
- The room was the best and worst part of the stay. Our Living Social Deal was for a “Wolf Den Suite” which had a little area carved out with Bunk Beds for the kids. They loved that part. The room wasn’t particularly cozy, but it was clean and the bunk beds were cute. That’s the good part. The bad part is that the guest rooms over look one of the large arcade/game areas (ours overlooked the one with the ropes course). This meant it was SO LOUD. I get that we were on a mini vacation, but people were screaming and running until 10:30. Not to mention the annoying noises from the arcade and the “Magiquest” game that the older kids were playing all over the resort. We couldn’t get to sleep (despite a sound machine cranked up!) until late.
- Food wise, my options were sparse, but they did have a few salads and even hummus. We wound up doing takeout pizza and salad for dinner (my family said the pizza was surprisingly good. The salad was surprisingly small since they said it would feed 2-4 people), and then takeout by the pool for lunch the next day. I would recommend packing snacks & maybe breakfast food (we did!) as well as water bottles or other drinks (I wish we did). We couldn’t even find a water fountain.There is a Dunkin Donuts in the resort, but the lines are long, the quality is bad, and the people were somewhat rude (plus, no almond milk!).
So overall, what’s my verdict? I’m still not sure. My kids had fun, but they also didn’t sleep, were always thirsty, and my littles wanted a slide for them. I was cold in general and annoyed that the arcades were always part of our walk from our room to our destination. I thought the staff was very friendly (especially at the “Wolf Walk” scavenger hunt), and the food was halfway decent. We won’t be rushing back anytime soon, but I’m glad we could check it off the list and make Jackson’s wish come true. Have you been to a Great Wolf location? What did you think?