Great Wolf Lodge is more than just an indoor waterpark resort. It offers a plethora of themed attractions and activities to enthrall children ages 3-10 years. With Howler’s Peak Ropes Course, Howl in One Mini Golf Course, Creation Station, MagiQuest, Ten Paw Alley and Northern Lights Arcade, it can be tricky to find time for the indoor waterpark.
Did I mention The Clock Tower Show, Wake up with Wiley and Friends with Yoga Tails, or Wolfercise? How about the pajama party or story time? Is your head spinning yet? Are you ready for a spa treatment? For this, you might have to take your little one with you. This is a kids resort after all, and the Scoops Spa is specifically designed to include them. (Or maybe just your favorite one, while you pawn the other one off on your spouse and get a little one on one time.)
Recently Great Wolf Lodge hosted a few local writers and their families. Since my husband wasn’t able to attend, I brought along my Smarty friend Taylor and her two kids: Spencer, 5 and Brynn, 3. My daughter Audrey, 5, was thrilled to share the experience with her buddies and so was I.
A few things to note: There is no valet service at the entrance and you’ll have to take your own luggage to your room. There are no in-room babysitting services or childcare drop-off. (Trust me, I asked.) The lack of these things certainly didn’t match up to some of my luxury resort experiences, nor was it supposed to. The beauty of a themed resort experience is the opportunity to engage and play with your child, not get away from them. Great Wolf Lodge is an experience that allows you to enjoy being with your children without the hassle of planning meals or holding to a strict schedule. It invites you to be a wild child with your children. So put your phone on airplane mode to avoid draining your battery, but have it with you to take lots of fun pictures. And don’t forget a waterproof case – preferably one with a leash to wear around your neck for those waterslides.
Here’s our Smarty Pants Scoop on the best way to do an overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge and get the most bang for your buck:
1. Book early for best rates
2. Purchase passes to save money
3. Best way to spend your time
Book Early for Best Rates
Book your stay online, preferably 60 to 90 days in advance for the best rates. Subscribe to their email notifications, as this is probably the best way to get a deal. Search the web for promo codes, Groupon or anything that could reduce your rate. If not, call the reservation office and ask. (It never hurts.) There’s always the option of asking the in-laws to join you to save on costs, ask for a family Christmas experience in lieu of wrapped gifts, or as a last resort, crowd funding could be a good option. Rooms will cost anywhere from $250-$400 per night for a family of 4-6. There’s a variety of themed rooms like Kids Kamp, which has a painted tent area, Wolf’s Den or Kids Cabin, each with bunk beds. There is also a pull out couch in addition to a queen sized bed. There is an option for a late check-out time at 2 p.m. for an additional $50 cost, but being a well organized smarty mom, you can put your stuff into your car and still use the facilities until closing time at 8 p.m. on the day of departure. On your arrival day, rooms are not guaranteed until 4 p.m. However, many of the land-based attractions are available as early as 10 a.m., and the waterpark is available to check-in guests at 1 p.m.
Purchase Passes to Save Money
The Family Dining Pass is $70 per family, and includes the following:
– One adult entrée or buffet (breakfast or dinner) at Loose Moose $15 value
– One child entrée or buffet (breakfast or dinner) at Loose Moose $10 value
– Four meal items and two refillable souvenir cups at Buckets Craveables $50 value
– One large two topping pizza at Hungry As A Wolf Takeout $20 value
– Four cupcakes at Bear Paws Sweets and Treats bakery $15 value
The Paw Pass is $70 per person. This is a great option for each child and includes the following:
– Howler Peak Ropes Course (summer only) $15 value
– Howl in one mini golf course (12 holes) $7 value
– Creation Station (build a stuffed animal) $30 value
sweatshirt $7/outfit $20 (not included)
– Northern Lights Arcade $5 value (you’ll need to add more money to this, duh!)
– MagiQuest Game and Wand $36 value *toppers are an additional $20 (not needed)
– One leather treaty wristband $15 value (leather bracelet with name engraved on it)
– One 12 oz candy cup at Great Wolf Candy Company candy store $12 value
*This is a $120 value. You’ll save $50 per child by purchasing this pass from April-October. You’ll save $35 per child by purchasing this November-March without the Howler Peak Ropes Course option.
Best Way to Spend Your Time
Arrive at 10 a.m. after having a filling breakfast at home. Wear your swimsuits, cover-up and close-toed shoes. Towels, puddle-jumpers and personal flotation devices are provided. Leave your luggage in the car. Your day pack should include water bottles and a few snacks, especially if your children are under the age of 8. Check in at the front desk to receive your Paw Passes (child activity passes) and your Family Dining Pass. Purchase a locker rental for $10 and find out the time of the next Clock Tower Show and get in on it.
Next, do the Howler’s Peak Ropes Course, Howl in One Mini Golf Course, Creation Station (build an animal) and then MagiQuest (a real life video game). Depending on the age or interest of your children, you may or may not complete this before lunch. Grab some grub from Buckets Incredible Craveables poolside for lunch, and then hit the waterpark by 1 p.m. when hotel check-in guests are able to start using it.
At some point, send your spouse or sneak away to take the luggage to your room when it’s ready. While you’re there, complete the Wine Down room service card. You can have wine and snacks delivered to your room after you finally get the kids to sleep. Enjoy it on your balcony while you reminisce the day’s adventures and pat yourselves on the back for being great parents. There is also a Dunkin’ Donuts room service card that will deliver coffee and donuts to your room in the morning. Another bonus – you can head back to the waterpark and cannonball splash with one of your children, or take them on a few waterslides.
Dinner time will inevitably arrive, and Smarty Moms know to get food in their children to avoid an embarrassing public meltdown. A quick change of clothes in the locker room, and stop into the Loose Moose Cottage for a Buffet Dinner with no waiting for food to arrive. Do baths (or skip it), put on pajamas and complete MagiQuest, and then join the pajama party. Four cupcakes will be calling your name on your family dining pass at Bear Paw Sweets & Treats, but don’t worry, your kids will remind you. While the little ones sleep, sip some wine and re-pack your bags for the next day for maximum efficiency.
The next morning, after you’ve inhaled your coffee and donuts, throw on something stretchy and partake in Yoga Tails or Wolfercise with the kids. After the morning’s activities, take your luggage to the car and utilize the lockers for the remainder of the day. Next, stop into the Northern Lights Arcade and Ten Paw Alley. It is a strategic time to go, because the only thing that might get them out is the opening of the waterpark at 10 a.m. You’ll want to get ample time on the waterslides before the next batch of guests check in at 1 p.m. After a pizza lunch from Hungry As A Wolf, check out Scoops Spa with your little princess for a mommy and me manicure and pedicure. The spa menu and pricing is on the website, however, appointments should be made in advance. You can choose to stay for dinner or tell the kids you have to be out by 4 p.m. . There is also a 12 oz candy cup included on each Paw Pass, so you can let the kids pick out their candy as an incentive to leave. Either way, it’s t is sure to be a wild time at Great Wolf Lodge. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
10:00 AM Arrival and check in
10:30 AM Howl in One Mini Golf
Howler’s Peak Ropes Course
12:30 PM Lunch at Buckets Craveables
1:00 PM Indoor Waterpark
6:00 PM Buffet Dinner
7:00 PM Story Time and PJ Party *check for actual times*
9:00 PM Bedtime and wine down for parents
7:00 AM Dunkin Donuts and coffee in room
8:00 AM Yoga Tails or Wolfercise *check for actual times*
9:00 AM Northern Lights Arcade
Ten Paw Alley
10:00 AM Indoor Waterpark
12:00 PM Hungry As A Wolf pizza lunch
2:00 PM Scoops Spa mani/pedi
4:00 PM Candy Bar fill up and departure