In case you live in the area and hadn’t heard, The Great Wolf Lodge opened here in New England last spring. Ever since it opened, my kids have been asking and asking to go. You see, they play an unusually high amount of television ads for the Great Wolf Lodge, so if you watch tv at all, like us, you’ve seen hundreds of commercials for it. I’m not exaggerating.
Anyhow, last weekend we finally got a chance to check it out. The boys were beside themselves when they heard we were going.
There are over 400 rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge and there are several room options, but we stayed in a family suite. Our room had two queen beds, a a twin-size sofa-sleeper, a microwave, a coffee maker and a 32″ TV.
We didn’t check in until about 7 pm the night we got there and the boys could not wait to get down to the water park. They hit the wave pool first, but moved on to the lazy river quickly there after.
The water park closed at 10 pm that night and I let the boys stay up way past their bedtime so that they could enjoy the waterpark as much as possible that night.
So did everyone else staying there that night.
When we were all told to leave the waterpark because it was closing for the night, everyone headed to the lobby (all at once) to catch the elevators up to our rooms. There were at least 100 people all trying to get on to the elevators at once and we had to wait a good 10-15 minutes to get back up to our room. There are no stairs on the first floor, so there was no choice but to wait.
Let me clarify about the stairs. You can take them down from any floor, but when you get to the first floor, you end up coming out into an employee only area. Once you exit that area into the main lobby, you can’t get back in to get to the stairs without a key card.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, “what about dinner”. Well, we fed the boys on the way up there, but there are plenty of food options at the GWL. Great Wolf Lodge has six different dining options, including the Lodge Wood Fired Grill, Hungry as a Wolf Pizza and most importantly, a Dunkin’ Donuts. So you can get a sit down meal if you like, or if you’re in a hurry, you can grab something on the go.
I was seriously happy when I heard there was a Dunkin’ Donuts right in the hotel. As a matter of fact, that’s where we got our breakfast from the following morning. If you visit the Great Wolf Lodge & are planning on getting DD’s for your breakfast, you should expect a long line in the morning. I was approximately the 30th person in line when I went downstairs at 7:30 am for my iced coffee and donuts for the kids. It’s just an express Dunkin’ Donuts, so don’t expect all the same stuff they have in a regular DD’s store – this one had very limited options and were completely out of bottles of white milk by the time it was my turn in line. Also, they didn’t sell bottles of chocolate milk, either. At all. My seven year old was not a happy camper.
After we had breakfast, the boys were anxious to check out the more than 68,000 square feet of indoor waterpark fun! Great Wolf Lodge is the largest waterpark in the state and they have a lot of cool attractions, including the thrilling six-story funnel slide, Howlin’ Tornado. My kids wanted no part of it, but we saw lots of people enjoying it while we were there. The Slap Tail Pond wave pool,Crooked Creek and Fort Mackenzie, which is a multi-level “tree house” that has one of those fun tipping buckets were favorites with my boys.
Visitors do have to book a room at the hotel in order to access the waterpark, so you can’t buy a day pass.
My boys spent more time in Crooked Creek (the lazy river) than anything else over the two days we were there. They loved it.
The Slap Tail Pond® wave pool was also one of the highlights of their trip. There are waves that are up to 3 feet tall and they come in 5-minute intervals.
There are complimentary towels and life vests available in the park for guests who need them.
Know before you go:
1. Throughout the day, there are all kinds of fun activities going on in the hotel lobby. There were magic shows, story times, characters and a few other free activities. When you check in, you will be given a schedule with the events going on as well as the times & locations.
2. Even after you check out of your room (at 11 am), you can stay and enjoy the waterparks for the entire rest of the day. There are lockers, showers, and changing areas available in the waterpark if you need them.
3. Check-in time is 4 pm, but if you arrive early, you can play in the waterpark as early as 1 pm. Just check in at the registration desk and they will give you wrist bands so you can get in.
4. We didn’t dine there, but I was told when I checked in that the Lodge Wood Fired Grill has limited reservations, so you should book early if you really want to eat there.
5. When you check in, you will be given an all-in-one access bracelet. It’s your room key, ticket into the waterpark and you can even use it to charge expenses (like food) to your room.
6. You should bring your own snacks & water. Outside food & drinks are not allowed in the waterparks, but you can either 1. sneak them in like I did or 2. leave them in your room and just run up there for a quick snack. At the snack bar they were charging $2 for a juice box and $2.50 for a bottle of water. Ouch.
The Great Wolf Lodge is not just about the water park, though. There is a ton of other fun stuff you can do there.
- Howly Wood® 4D Theater.
- The Northern Lights Arcade
- MagiQuest – A cool and immersive magical adventure
- Scoops Kid Spa – A special spa for tweens and teens.
There are extra fees for most of those activities, though, so make sure you account for that when you’re planning your trip.
There is also an indoor (DRY) play area at the Great Wolf Lodge called the Howlin’ Timbers Play Park .It features fun activities like Howl at the Moon mini golf, the frog hopper, kiddie amusement rides, Ten Paw Alley, the brand new Howlers Peak Ropes Course and Spirit Island Snack Shop. I couldn’t pull my kids away from the waterpark long enough to check it out, but it’s the first thing on our agenda for the next time we go.
My boys had a blast and can’t wait to go back. The Great Wolf Lodge New England is located at 150 Great Wolf Drive in Fitchburg, MA