I found out after an action packed weekend hosted by the resort, it’s by no means a laid back weekend away with the family. Nooooo. Not by a long shot.
Kids running around until late hours, lights and noise at the 24 hour arcade, a cosmic like-bowling alley, special events in the main lobby and of course the grandiose in-door water park! There is a continuous buzz in the air from the moment you walk into the wood-paneled resort lobby decorated to give you an “in the woods” feeling until you drive away with the kids asking when we will come back again.
Great Wolf Lodge is not for the weak.
I mean that. I feel as a parent I have to address this because it’s overwhelming. End of.
At one point my husband squeezed my hand and said “I know this is hard for you” and kissed me on the forehead. My anxiety levels were through the roof — I personally don’t do well with constant action, crowds and the echo of the water and screams at the water park made it hard for me to enjoy.
But just as it was too much for me, it was absolutely fine and fun for him! Things that had me on edge, went right over his head. So it’s for you to decide what is best for you and your family and what your vacation goals are.
However, keep in mind the constant excitement means kids are overstimulated the entire time and despite the many amenities the lodge offers, there is no “chill out” area free of the noise — other than your room, of course. As a family, we had NO idea what to expect. My kids, Matías 8, Lucía 4 and Elisa 17 months and my husband and I each had different experiences over the weekend.
Best Age to Enjoy
My personal advice is for parents to wait until your children are at least 4 and up before you visiting Great Wolf Lodge. The constant action and noise was too much stimulation for the 17 month old — we had to take her in the stroller everywhere we went, there was not much she could partake in given her young age and again, there was no option for a chill out area.
As a parent I’d love to have the option to take my little one to a soft play area to let them crawl around and play without the risk of being knocked over or having to hold them most of the time and to get a break from the noise.
Divide and Conquer
My husband and I had to divide and conquer — we rarely spent the weekend all together because of the varying activities. Nap time meant my daughter and I were in the room for a few hours while my husband and the kids went to the waterpark for example.
We’d meet for dinner and then switch for an hour or so while he stayed with the baby in the room and the kids and I hit up story time or the dance party in the lobby. This was the best way to get the most out of the fun offered for the kids.
I think the lodge has heard the late night cries of parents and now offers a “Wine Down” service after a day of play. You can order your bottle(s) after a long day and unwind while the kids are sleeping. Let’s just say, there was not a drop left in the bottle and we could have easily gone for a second.
When you need it, you need it!
Plan Carefully, Book in Advance for Best Deals
The lodge was crowded and apparently it is always that way.
Keep in mind, a weekend there can be costly, especially for a family of 5. Make sure to look for holiday deals and discounts — right now Great Wolf Lodge is hosting its annual Snowland celebration, where the resort is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with indoor snow showers, spectacular decorations, visits from Santa Clause, “Polar Wolf” Walks, festive activities at North Pole University, a Great Clock Tower Howl-iday Show, and more.
One of the more spectacular attractions is their life-size dine-in gingerbread house, where families are invited to celebrate the magic of the season by dining inside.
Guests can also opt to stay in festive Snowland Suites, complete with twinkling lights, glimmering garland, a fully decorated tree, oversized snowflakes and a copy of Great Wolf Lodge’s story book, “Unique as a Snowflake.” As a special treat, Wiley and Violet the Wolf hand deliver cookies and milk to each Snowland Suite nightly to help guests end the day with a super sweet surprise.
Taking everything above in consideration, YES! It’s a magical place for children and if you know what to expect before you go, you are golden. Its a great way for the entire “wolf pack” to come together in wholesome activities.
Its not for everyone — I don’t feel it’s a place for families with children 3 and under. I’d wait until everyone in the family can enjoy it all at once.
Plan ahead and look for deals — it’s not a budget friendly option, but you can get the most if you book in advance and find discounts (sign up at their website for offers and notices.)
You will certainly make special family memories during your time Great Wolf Lodge. My number one bit of advice for all families (especially us moms!) is to keep expectations LOW. Kids are kids. Nothing ever goes as planned, but just go with the FLOW. Trust me. That’s where the real fun can be found.
Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge? Tell me about it!