Last month we had our first visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in North Carolina, and it ended up being the best vacation we have had in a very long time! We laughed, played, and spent the weekend having much needed quality time together as a family. There are so many things I love about this resort, but I’m sure you don’t want to be here reading for days, so I will share just a few of them here. Also, be prepared for a million photos, because you know I get super click happy! This post will be part one in a series on this resort, so stay tuned over the next few months for some follow-ups!
The Water Park
Anyone who has heard anything about Great Wolf Lodge knows that its water park is supposed to be amazing. I never generally believe hype about things, but let me tell you, this one is definitely deserving of the praise! There are several different zones in this huge 80,000 square foot indoor water park, and each one has a different set of activities as well as age ratings. Each child has their height measured before they enter the park, and given a color coded bracelet that corresponds to the different slides they can go on. My kids got yellow bracelets, so there were a few slides that they weren’t tall enough to ride, but I don’t think they would have anyway because they looked insane! I love the bracelet system, because it really helps keep track of where little ones can and can’t go. They have lifeguards everywhere, as well as the top and bottom of each of their larger slides.
There are several different zones in the water park, including a wave pool, a kids area, a toddler area, a free swim pool, a sports pool, and around 10 crazy slides. I’ll talk more in-depth about the water park activities in another post, but for now here are just a few highlights.
My personal favorite area was the wave pool, but the kids loved making runs down each of the slides and getting dumped on by the giant water bucket above one of the kids areas. There are also several child-sized slides in both of the kids areas, and of course we spent the better part of an hour going down them over and over again.
This resort is so much more than a place to stay – it is a place where families can participate in all kinds of fun activities without ever having to leave the resort! Most of the activities can be purchased/done separately, but they also sell passes in different levels that each include sets of activities. The kids got Paw Passes for $59.00 each, which is a crazy deal when you stack up all it comes with. A Paw Pass will give you MagiQuest, a wand, a game of mini golf, a Creation Station animal, a personalized leather bracelet, $5 to spend at the arcade, a cup of candy from their candy store, and a cute pair of goggles for swimming. The Wolf Passes have a little more on them, but we were only there for two nights, so the Paw Passes were all we needed. You can read more in-depth about activities in this post, just for the sake of time.
MagiQuest was by far the favorite of our trip, and if you don’t purchase one of the activity passes, this would be the #1 activity I would recommend buying. The gist of it is that you choose any number of pre-made quests or adventures, and through each of them follow a “magical” scavenger hunt all around the resort by activating different magical items with your wand.
The great thing about MagiQuest is that it is a huge game, so you can literally play it for hours and still not be finished. And seriously, the joy and wonder that the kids have each time they find a new clue or activate a magical object is priceless. This is when Kaia finished her first quest, and homegirl is absolutely ecstatic about it. Yes, it’s a blurry photos, but in this case I don’t even care.
It was pretty cold outside while we were there, but we were able to play a few rounds of mini golf and had a blast doing it. They have a full 18 holes, and while it wasn’t a huge layout with all the bells and whistles, it was perfect for us.
The Creation Station was another really cool perk that I feel really exceeds the price tag for the Paw Passes, and with it you choose a furry friend to have stuffed right in front of you, then you can name them and register them, and they are also activated to use in their own mini-adventure through stations all around the resort (kinda like a MagiQuest for the younger crowd).
There are SO many more things to do here, like the arcade, kids club, bowling, 4D theater, and so on, but you can read all about the different activities offered here. They also offer story time in the lobby at select times, as well as dance parties, character meet and greets, and others that are included in your stay at no extra charge.
I can’t say enough about the rooms at Great Wolf Lodge. We originally booked a standard room with two queen sized beds, but when we opened our door we were surprised to find an amazing Kid Cabin suite instead. OH.my.goodness this room, guys. It was so cool. When you walk in there is a closet on the left, followed by a bar area/sink/fridge/etc, and on the right is the bathroom and then the kids cabin.
The kids cabin had a bunk bed on one side, a single bed on the other side, a table in the middle, and their own TV that played children’s programming at any time. It also ran bedtime stories at night, which was a super cute touch. I am SO glad we got to experience the cabins, because I had no idea that they were this amazing! The kids loved having their own spot, and my husband and I really enjoyed having the two areas so that we could stay up after they went to sleep.
The room opened up into a large area with a bed, a table, a sitting area with a couch and coffee table, and a balcony looking out into trees.
We plan on staying here many times in the future, and after experiencing this room we will probably make sure to book a suite!
The Overall Experience
We have been to quite a few family focused vacation spots, including the “big” ones, and I can honestly say that Great Wolf Lodge is my new go-to when I want to have a quick getaway that is big on fun. Price-wise it is more high-end than a typical everyday resort, but the price you pay is well worth it when you consider that water park admission, activities in the kids club, crafts, story time, character experiences, and more is included in your stay.