Guest Blogger, Kathie Harper:
A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law and I took my three kids to the Great Wolf Lodge. My children are 8, 7 and 5. All can swim but the 5 year old just learned last summer. First, let me say, we LOVED it! We are already ready to go back.
We arrived at 1:00 on a Monday. Even if your room is not ready, you can check in at 1:00 and start the waterpark. You can then get into your room at 3:00. We were able to get right in our room and we were at the waterpark by 1:30. The price of your room includes lodging and the waterpark – from 1:00pm the day you check in and the next day until it closes. You may have to pay a little extra if there are more people in the room than allotted, but it is still a great deal. The basic family suite has 2 queen beds, a pull out sofa bed, a small refrigerator, a microwave and cable tv. This is for 4 people and ranges from $190 during the week to $270 on a weekend. Remember – this is lodging and 1 and a half days at a waterpark. In my mind, a pretty good deal.
The waterpark is in a huge room, heated, with heated water and great changing rooms. (This is not sauna hot but definitely warmer than any of the water will be around here in June.) They provide the towels. They are not huge but you can get as many as you would like and they are very warm. The life guards measure the children as you go in to see what rides they can go on. There a life guards everywhere. They are always moving, always watching and they change stations a lot. I felt that it was very safe and very clean.
There are 4 waterslides:
Howlin’ Tornado – must be at least 48″. Sorry, I did not go on this because I do not do well if there is a lot of spinning. I did ask around and it was by far, the favorite ride!
River Canyon Run – must be at least 42″ to ride; 42″ – 48″ must ride with an adult. This is great! It is 4 to a raft and you sit down. It does not spin you but rocks side to side. My 8 year old and I spent a lot of time on this one!
Alberta Falls – must be at least 42″ to ride; 42″ – 48″ must ride with an adult. This is great! You sit in single or double tubes and go down. Also, a favorite with my 8 and 7 year olds.
Mountain Edge Raceway – must be at least 42″. You lay face down on a mat and race 3 other people. It is great! My 7 year old especially liked this one!
Other than the water slides, there are: (these are the ones my 5 year old liked)
1) Beaver Tail Lake – a fantastic wave pool that is calm and then makes waves about every 10 minutes. This was loved by all my kids. You can swim or float in single or double rafts.
2) Cub Paw Pool – for little kids under 48″. Older children can take younger children in. This is an enclosed water pool with great spray and play items. There is a maximum depth of 1 foot so it is very safe.
3) Fort Mackenzie – a four story treehouse that sprays you as you walk around. It has 2 water slides. My 5 year old especially loved this one.
4) A deep water (up to 5 feet) pool with basketball and ropes/lily pad courses. It is great fun to swim around.
We stayed in the waterpark 5 hours the first day. We did take a break and get Edy’s ice cream. The Edy’s Lil Scoop was huge and more than enough for a hungry child or adult. It was a blast and we were already excited about going again the next day.
We went to the room, changed into dry clothes and headed out for dinner. There are 2 restaurants in the lodge – a buffet and a sit down. Because we were there on a Monday night, only the buffet was open. It was very good and reasonably priced.
After dinner, the kids changed into pajamas for the Clock Tower show and story time. The younger children enjoyed this a lot!
There are many other activities at the Great Wolf – a spa, an arcade, MagiQuest which is a quest where you use high tech wand to solve challenges. As you might think, these can really add up especially for 3 children. We just played in the water park and my kids had a great time.
The second day, we were in the water at 10:00 when it opened. We had to check out of our room at 11:00 so I brought a bag of dry clothes for everyone to change into at the end of the day. You can also rent lockers for $10. We played until 3:30 with a short break for lunch. We ate at the walk-up restaurant inside the waterpark. Again, I thought the prices were reasonable – $4 hamburgers, $3.50 hotdogs, $6 chicken fingers and fries. And do not forget, you always have all of the restaurants around Concord Mills. We just did not want to get in the car and drive. They also have Pizza Hut and Dunkin Donuts on the property.
They also have a very nice gift shop and a swim shop. I had forgotten goggles and was able to purchase very good Speedo Jr.’s at the Great Wolf. Again, the prices were about what I would have paid at Target.
When we were finished swimming, we used the family changing room and all took showers. We were clean, and dry and tired. It was only 30 minutes to our house but it had seemed like we had been on vacation a long way from home. It was fantastic! The best thing – all of my kids were asleep by 6:30 that night.
Someone asked my 8 year old if her family should go for 1 or 2 nights. My 8 year old said “definitely, 1 is enough”. If you take advantage of the waterpark, which is what you are paying for, you will be exhausted!
Click here for directions from Charlotte
The indoor waterpark is typically open from 9am to 8pm daily
What to bring:
Plastic bag to carry wet suits home
Swim goggles, Earplugs, Flip flops, Aqua socks
Warm PJ’s/Slippers to wear to Story Time
If you’re not swimming, you may still wish to bring comfortable clothing for our 84-degree waterpark area.
Have a great time, smarties!