A few years ago when I heard we were getting a Great Wolf Lodge 30 minutes from the house, I though it was somewhere we’d never go. I’ve never been one to do “staycations” and we have other water park options in our area. Well, we finally broke down and took the kids this summer… This wasn’t a “press” trip or a “blogger” deal, so you’re going to get the good, the bad and the ugly.
First of all, everything at Great Wolf Lodge is larger than life. Even the entry monument is huge. Sadly, the line to check in was larger than life as well. I stood in line for over a half hour just to get our water park passes. Thankfully, our room was also ready early. That kept me out of the line for a second time. The desk staff weren’t slow, there were just that many people coming in at once.
We stayed in a Grizzly Bear Suite. The room itself was really nice. The bedrooms were separate from the living area and there were two bathrooms. There was plenty of open space in the family area for the kids to scatter their stuff all over, and their room had two beds, so no fighting over bed space. We could have easily fit more people into our room too.
Our room had a patio overlooking the Great Wolf Lodge property. I loved being able to sit outside after the kids went to bed just to people watch. The only downside to the balcony was the size… which was teeny tiny. It was still a nice feature though.
You can see the main entry near the center of the photo above. That’s also the general area where the water park is located. Our room was quite a walk away. With Magiquest and other things going on throughout the resort, it was definitely one of the louder places I’ve stayed, but I guess that’s not a bad thing when you have two very excited kids with you. It was actually kind of nice to know that my kids weren’t being any louder than kids belonging to anyone else.
Great Wolf Lodge offers a cool upgrade “treat” you can buy for your kids… milk and cookies, delivered by a character, as a bedtime snack. It was $20, but it was worth it to have the kids waiting for a surprise. They loved having the Wolf come to our room and thought the milk and cookies were pretty awesome too.
Even at full capacity, the indoor water park wasn’t as crowded as I expected it to be. There was a wait for some of the slides, but nothing terribly long. Both kids really enjoyed the wave pool and I really enjoyed the multitude of lifeguards on duty. Knowing there were extra eyes on my kids made it so much easier for me to relax about them being in the water.
Before tucking in for the night, we headed downstairs to check out Story Time in the grand lobby. It’s a pretty neat little set up with animated characters telling the story. My biggest complaint was that there is so much other activity in this area that it was hard to hear the story well.
A huge win for me was having a Dunkin’ Donuts on site. We were able to grab coffee and donuts for a quick breakfast before heading out to enjoy day 2 of waterlogged fun. Who doesn’t love donuts for breakfast? Of course there were other dining options too, but with two kids chomping at the bit, a quick and easy in-room breakfast was the best choice for us. One of my favorite features of Great Wolf was the ability to link charging things to our room to our wrist bands, which also served as our room key. It was nice not having to worry about carrying my wallet around or trying to keep up with a room key.
I honestly had no idea Great Wolf Lodge had an outdoor pool until we saw it on the property map. It was a beautiful weekend in our area, and I was grateful that the kids wanted to spend as much time in the pool outside as they did the water park inside. The pool was super clean, had a nice little bar where you could get drinks and whatnot on the pool deck and was once again well manned by lifeguards.
My little fish had an amazing time, and though it was incredibly loud, a little nerve wrecking and relatively expensive, it’s something we will try to do again – though we may travel and check out another location next time.
Have you stayed at any of the Great Wolf Lodge properties? What was your experience like? I’d love to know about the sites you’ve visited and what makes them great or not so great.