You’ve probably heard of Great Wolf Lodge. It’s the indoor water park everyone raves about. Turns out, it’s not just a water park but has many other cool family friendly activities. I was recently invited as part of a press trip to experience their new Summer Camp-In programming.
I got a lot of questions on Instagram and in real life from my mom friends. The top two included, is it worth it and do I need to go?
The first question is tricky because the value varies greatly depending on when you go. You can buy day passes if the hotel is *not* sold out but you’ll pay $75 a pass to use the water park. It would be cheaper to buy a hotel room for a night and not use it than do this option many times.
Peak weekends though, you’ll pay about $329 a night for a standard hotel room as seen below. You can fit 4 people and you’ll all get a pass to use the water parks included. Check in is at 4 and check out is at 11 am. For $50 you can do a late check out of 2 pm. This summer however, you can get the same room for as cheap as $99! I definitely think it’s worth it for that price.
Then, there are these different packages like the pup pass, paw pass and wolf pass. To be honest, for someone Tommy’s age, I’d say skip these and just buy what you want. The Magiquest game was too old for T, the only arcade game he wanted to play was the one where you try to get a Mashum using one of the cranes you try to drop and catch, he eats too much candy and ice cream as is… etc.
For older kids, I don’t know if the Paw or Wolf passes are worth it because I don’t have a good first hand experience but I honestly think pay as you go for what you want is probably the most economical.
As for dining packages, again, I’d probably recommend just paying as you go. There’s a dunkin donuts on property for breakfast. I’m a big fan of Intermittent Fasting and my boys don’t eat big breakfasts. You’ll just be getting vouchers for meals and not all food is included in the voucher and why you’ll see everyone with large pizza boxes!
OK, so here is what we did…
We arrived Saturday morning for a press trip. I was not paid but we did receive a complementary stay. We went down to the pool around 11 am. We threw our stuff down at a cabana that was reserved for us and basically didn’t return except to eat lunch or nurse Connor. The cabana was great to have as a home base and I’d probably recommend getting one if you can just to have, especially if you’re going to have someone napping.
We forgot Tommy’s puddle jumper but they had plenty free to use! The facilities are really clean. There are two water parks. Both are similar but offer different activities like a lazy river vs a wave pool. The water was warm but not too warm. Nick was very hot but I was very comfortable. The areas for Tommy to enjoy were perfect for 2.5-6 year olds. There was enough action but not too much that he was scared. He did not go down any enclosed water slides but went down the little ones a hundred times. He truly had a blast and did not want to leave. He was too little to do this big slides and I felt bad leaving Nick with both kids to go down something I couldn’t even photograph.
They had plenty of zero entry “pool” areas but it was not totally crawling baby friendly. Really there were only a couple places Connor could crawl around and enjoy in shallow water. However, he enjoyed himself especially playing with the water fountains.
We went back to the room for nap time which is very unlike us as parents but GWL is definitely a place you visit for kids. We could have relaxed with beers by the pool but we were both exhausted and hung over from a preschool auction so back to the room we went after a lunch of pizza, greek salad, buffalo chicken fingers and fruit.
After nap time, we explored some other activities besides the water park. First there was bowling, then a mini golf, a rock climbing wall as well as a ropes course. There is also something called Magiquest throughout the hotel but I did not understand the game and so I’m going to pass over it here… haha.
The arcade was buzzing with energy and you could use the same reloadable card throughout the resort. Eventually we made our way back to the pools as that is Tommy’s jam.
We had a special dinner with the other bloggers after we got to experience some of the new summer camp-in offerings that include:
- Pool parties with games and activities including limbo, rubber duck races, corn hole toss and a conga dance.
- Additional activities include rubber duck decorating, friendship bracelet making, family trivia and corn hole challenges.
- Every night, there will be a S’more dessert bar.
- Great Wolf Lodge has a story time and bedtime dance party every night of the year. During the summer, it will be a campfire ceremony where your family can gather around the fireplace for singing, face painting, s’mores and silly story-swapping.
- What’s a campout without a tent? Many of the rooms will be camp-themed, including pennant bunting, yellow gingham bed scarves, campfire lanterns and, yes, in-room tents.
The S’mores guys were legit with gourmet marshmallows. The dinner was also delicious. They had the most amazing roasted Brussels sprouts, succotash and pull pork. We ate in a conference room and not in a restaurant but the pork is a signature item so it must be offered at one of their restaurants.
After dinner, I put Connor and Nick to bed and brought Tommy down to the hotel lobby for the story time/bedtime dance party. It was super cute and I’m glad we went. Most of the kids were in their pajamas and the floor was packed. You could meet the characters afterwards, too!
The next morning, we had a little breakfast and got to meet the various characters. Tommy was very into Violet but wouldn’t take a picture of her but he preschool pet did. We left just in time for Connor’s morning nap even though we could have stayed for Tommy.
So do you need to go? Kinda. I think it’s something you should bring kids to experience. It’s so close to Boston! It’s only an hour drive. Dad, if he’s like Nick, probably will not have the best time, but the kids will! I had fun. I had a great time but I did not exercise or eat healthfully. I enjoyed beers from the Wachusett beer barn and S’mores more than most 35 year old self proclaimed fit moms would like to admit. They have some great deals between now and Labor Day since it is their low season.
This is not sponsored but my trip was comped. I hope you know this is my honest opinion!