Great Fun at the Great Wolf Lodge


When I told my son Carson and daughter, Morgan, that we were going to spend the weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge and showed them pictures from the resort’s water park, they were more than a little excited. Carson yelled a resounding “Yes!” and Morgan immediately went to her bedroom to find her bathing suit. Fortunately, neither of them was disappointed.

We recently spent two days at the four-story Northwoods-themed destination resort in Concord, and we certainly had more than our fair share of fun.

Water Park Fun
The highlight of the resort is obviously the 80,000-square-foot indoor water park, Bear Track Landing. Here visitors will find 11 waterslides, a gigantic wave pool, a recreation pool, zero-depth entry children’s activity pool and much more. We spent most of our time at Fort Mackenzie, an interactive tree house water fort that features a 1,000-gallon tipping water bucket. Kids of all ages and sizes will find plenty to do here. On their way to the top of the tree house, kids will climb over suspension bridges and cargo nets to reach spray stations and soaker buckets. Once at the top, kids can ride one of the two slides, Totem Towers, back to the bottom. Carson, who is 9, loved these slides and went down them countless times.

Morgan, who recently turned 6, wasn’t quite as adventurous. She hated the tipping bucket (you will get SOAKED if you are anywhere near it when it spills) and much preferred the nearby wave pool, Beaver Tail Lake. Every 10 minutes, this pool fills with waves, and Morgan loved riding the waves from the safety of an inner tube.

Morgan also loved Cub Paw Pool, the zero-depth entry kiddie pool that was loaded with spray devices, and Whooping Hollow, the perfect slide for kids less than 48 inches.

Both of my kids also enjoyed Chinook Cove Recreational Pool, which is 4.5-feet deep. The kids donned life jackets, and my husband and I joined them in this pool for a game of water basketball. Adjacent to the recreational pool is Big Foot Pass, an agility challenge that requires lots of balance. Kids must cross the pool while jumping from lily pad to lily pad with the help of netting above.

Unfortunately, Morgan was too short to ride River Canyon Run, a raft ride for four. This was a lot of fun and kept Carson giggling (and holding on for dear life) throughout as did Mountain Edge Raceway, a mat-racer waterslide that you careen down headfirst with plenty of sharp turns along the way.

My favorite ride was Alberta Falls, an inner-tube ride that Carson and I rode at least four times. This slide tube twists in and out of the Lodge before dropping into the plunge pool.

The kids were too short to brave the Howlin’ Tornado, but it is certainly impressive-looking. It is a multi-passenger raft ride featuring a 6-story funnel. According to the resort’s Web site, riders will “repeatedly swish and swirl 30 feet up the sides of the funnel before making a safe splash landing.” Riders must be 48-inches tall to ride.

It was closed when we visited, but the resort also has an outdoor recreation pool and patio with umbrella tables and lounge chairs.

More Fun
When the kids grow tire of the water, don’t worry. Great Wolf Lodge still has plenty of activities to keep them busy and entertained.

Two floors of the resort are devoted to MagiQuest, the fantasy adventure game where kids, armed with wands, solve magical challenges. Teens will love the gr8_space, a center with docking stations for iPods and MP3 players, gaming stations for Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3. My kids loved Howl in One Mini Golf and the Northern Lights Arcade.

While the kids are at the arcade, mom might want to slip away for some relaxation at Elements Spa & Salon, which offers massage, manicures, pedicures and facials. But the kids don’t have to be left out in the quest for tranquility. Great Wolf Lodge also features Scooops Kids Spa, which is geared for kids 12 and under.

Toddlers and young children will enjoy the Clock Tower Show held at 10 a.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. every day. Located in the grand lobby, animatronic characters seemingly come to life and sing songs about nature. Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas to the 8 p.m. show, which is followed by story time.

All rooms are furnished with a mini-refrigerator, so I recommend bringing drinks, snacks and sandwich items to keep your food costs to a minimum. However, these restaurants are within the resort: Bear Paw Sweets & Eats, Pizza Hut Express, Spirit Island Snack Shop, The Loose Moose Cottage, Dunkin Donuts and Camp Critter. We had a nice buffet breakfast for four (two kids, two adults) at The Loose Moose Cottage for about $47, including tip. We didn’t have as much luck with lunch at Spirit Island Snack Shop, which is located within the water park. Lunch for four was $34, but wasn’t quite as delicious as we had hoped. My son had no complaints about the personal-pan pizza he ate from the Pizza Hut Express. We paid $6.99 for the pizza, breadsticks and drink.

The resort has 402 all-suite guest rooms with nine configurations. Rates are also seasonal. Current rates vary from $219 to $454 per night, depending on suite size. Park passes are included in the suite cost, and you must reserve a suite for a one-night stay for admission to the water park. Each suite contains ironing board, coffeemaker, hair dryer, mini-refrigerator and microwave. All of the suites are non-smoking. Wi-Fi is available for $5 per day.

Address and Phone
Great Wolf Lodge
10175 Weddington Road, Concord

On the Web

The park is open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Check-out time is 11 a.m., but you can still use the water park until 9 p.m.

Suites: Vary according to days of week and season. Current prices range from $219 to $454 per night.

Water Park Admission: Included in cost of suite
Howl in One Mini Golf: $8 adults, $6 kids
Northern Lights Arcade: .50-$1 per game
MagiQuest: Wands are $14.99 and up. Games are $9.99.
Elements Spa & Salon: Call for rates and reservations.
Scooops Kids Spa: Call for rates and reservations.
Wi-Fi: $5 for one day

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