Great Wolf Lodge is a 79,000 square-foot indoor water park resembling a cozy log cabin complete with stone fireplaces, elk antler chandeliers, rustic furniture and beautiful mountainous landscapes surrounding the lodge. As an extended family traveling with four adults and five children, ranging in age from 2 to 12, the Loft Fireplace Suite was perfect, with three queen sized beds, a sleeper sofa, two bathrooms, a fireplace, balcony, three TV’s and kitchen wet bar equipped with microwave and mini fridge. The room was spacious and the two-story loft is a nice touch and fun for the kids.
As a parent of two small children, vacationing can be a stressful experience, one that leaves you seriously needing a vacation. A laundry list of specific amenities allows a family vacation to be fun, relaxing and one that you want to do again. Great Wolf Lodge offers an impressive number of checks on this list:
1. Close to home
It’s an easy road trip for New York families, only 90 minutes from the city or two hours from Philadelphia. It’s a nice drive, too.
2. Kid friendly is an understatement.
Great Wolf is kiddie-cloud nine, complete with daily “Great Clock Tower” shows and movies in the Grand Lobby, a huge “Northern Lights” arcade, a Pizza Hut on premise plus huge waterslides and pools in the indoor park. Most kids are running around with these cool looking wands pointing them at paintings, treasure chests that open and ceiling art that lights up. It is a part of Great Wolf’s interactive attraction, MagiQuest, which is totally Harry Potteresque, leading players on a quest through the resort gaining clues and moving up levels. The kids loved this. To top it off, parents have the option of letting their older kids wear key wristbands that open the door to their room – a big hit. Older kids can definitely enjoy a pretty good amount of independence at this lodge, too.
3. Safety Comes First.
The lifeguards are extremely astute and are safety driven, as they should be. It gives that additional feeling of comfort to have a few sets of eyes watching when your kids are zipping down waterslides and doggie paddling through pools. The lifeguards were stationed everywhere, to help kids get on the slides and even a couple to make sure they got off okay. The encouragement my kids got from the lifeguards was unexpected and very well received. It was such a special touch that you don’t often experience and the visual of my son giving the lifeguard a high-five before proudly going down the slide is a memory that I will keep with me.
4. Courteous Staff
At check-in the staff makes you feel welcome and they really go out of their way to be pleasant and helpful. Entering the water park, staff greets you, offer towels and direct you to the free lifejackets, and the lifeguards present throughout are attentive and professional. And although the Starbucks (didn’t I mention there was one on premises) and the snack bar crowds up, the staff remained patient, kind and courteous.
5. Last but not least, the slides
Oh, the slides. What is great about Great Wolf is that there are slides for everyone. My little ones enjoyed the handful of slides emptying out into the shallow kiddie pool and loved the slightly larger slides that just ended in a small span of water at the bottom. There’s a giant wave pool, whirlpools, web crawls, squirters, water sports and tons more water activities to choose from. The older kids loved the Coyote Cannon slide which spins you around in a giant bowl and must have gone on the Hydro Plunge, a waterslide roller coaster, a thousand times. I especially enjoyed watching the kids, including my four year old, standing under the 1,000 gallon tipping water bucket sitting atop a giant tree house which soaked everyone in the area every ten minutes or so. This they really thought was a blast. I must admit that trying out the waterslides for myself got me “woo-whooing” for the first time in years and I couldn’t help but laugh and scream in excitement on these fun slides.
Tips for Mom
Leave early so you can get the full experience of the day and try to go on a weekday because weekends and vacation days can probably get very crowded. We went during the week and the lines were minimal and even though the lodge was crowded it wasn’t annoyingly so. We were able to get a table in the water park situated around the kiddie pools so we could snack and also watch the kids. This also provided the older kids with a checkpoint for meeting up.
Should you decide to visit in the colder months, once outside the 84 degree water park you’ll be reminded pretty quick that it’s still winter. Although towels are available, the towels alone don’t really cut it. Pack beach cover-ups and bring some warm layers for the kids to throw on when they leave the park. Flip flops and crocs for all is also a must.
Above all, make sure to bring some cash, as the spending can mount up pretty quickly. You’re a parent so you know your kids are not going to be happy with “No.” They will want to do MagiQuest, visit the arcade and have snacks and between feeding them at the on premise restaurants and getting yourself some Starbucks, you’re going to be blowing through some cash. Great Wolf is really good about allowing you to bring coolers and food into your room, so do yourself a favor and buy some snacks, light lunches and bottled water to keep in the room.
Pack bathing suits, cover-ups and flip flops in a separate bag. Check-in is in the afternoon and more than likely you’ll arrive in the morning. You’re welcome to stay in the resort while you wait for a text alerting you that your room is ready. We got there at 9am, the water park opened shortly after that and we didn’t get into our room until 2pm. The kids were in the water park the whole time and were totally pre-occupied with having fun; I didn’t hear one complaint about the wait for the room.
Great Wolf Lodge is definitely an experience that goes into the record book … wet, wild and worth the trip!
Great Wolf Lodge
1 Great Wolf Drive
Scotrun, PA 18355