A family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge is perfect any time of year. These Great Wolf Lodge tips will help you plan an awesome family trip to the indoor water park.
Great Wolf Lodge is a family resort that has indoor activities including a water park and dry activities. It is not an all inclusive resort, but you will find endless things to do without ever leaving the resort.
These tips for Great Wolf Lodge will help you plan your visit. With tips for what to do at Great Wolf Lodge other than the water park to dining options this guide has you covered.
We spent a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge in Massachusetts and learned that there is a lot more to do than just the water park attractions.
Great Wolf Lodge Tips for Your Visit
These are my must have tips for visiting Great Wolf Lodge and how to plan your stay at the indoor water park with your family.
- Check out the website before you arrive and plan out what you and your family want to do. Each Great Wolf Lodge may have different attractions and activities.
- Purchase a Paw Pass to bundle and save on activities.
- Explore the resort when you arrive to get an idea of the resort layout.
- Let the kids lead the way. Plans are great but be flexible with your days.
- Enjoy the water park early before the lines get long.
- Take a break in your room and relax during the afternoon.
- Pack water shoes or flip flops to use in the water park.
- Towels are provided in the water park.
- Participate in the daily activities and check the guides in the morning to see what you want to do.
- Enjoy the buffet at least once during your stay. The food is great and the line for the on-site Dunkin Donuts gets crazy long!
Great Wolf Lodge Frequently Asked Questions
The most common questions I get asked are about cost and the best time to visit. It is a good idea to plan your visit when the lodge is less busy. This will make for shorter lines and less expensive nightly rates.
Great Wolf Lodge Locations
Great Wolf Lodge has 18 locations in the United States and 1 location in Niagara Falls, Ontario (Canada). The locations make it a perfect weekend getaway for nearly anywhere in the USA. Check here for more information.
- Boston/Fitchburg, MA
- Pocono Mountains, PA
- Chicago/Gurnee, IL
- Kansas City, KS
- Cincinnati/Mason, OH
- Minneapolis/Bloomington, MN
- Sandusky, OH
- Traverse City, MI
- Wisconsin Dell, WI
- Charlotte/Concord, NC
- Atlanta/LaGrange, GA
- Grapevine, TX
- Williamsburg, VA
- Scottsdale/Talking Stick, AZ
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Grand Mound, WA
- Anaheim, CA
- San Francisco/Manteca, CA
- Niagara Falls, Canada
Great Wolf Lodge Cost
I checked the prices for a Tuesday-Thursday 2 night stay for a family of five in mid-March at the Boston location. The price ranged from $250.00-$500.00 a night.
If you are a family of four or less, expect to pay a bit less. Weekends and school breaks/holidays will see an increase in prices. Also location will have an impact on nightly rate.
For Great Wolf Lodge deals try searching “great wolf lodge coupons” or “great wolf lodge deals”. This may help you find a groupon or special discount. If you are flexible with your dates you should be able to find a good deal.
Great Wolf Lodge Rooms
Great Wolf Lodge offers different room types depending on your needs. They have standard suites that fit four, themed suites that fit 5-6, and premium suites that fit up to 10.
What’s Included with a Great Wolf Lodge Stay
Water park passes are included with your stay at Great Wolf Lodge. This gives guests access to the water park on their arrival day at 1:00pm.
There is also a daily entertainment schedule that is included with your stay. This includes a nightly story time and character appearances.
When I mentioned earlier that you would not have to leave the resort but it is not all inclusive, I was referring to the Paw Passes that guests can purchase to do the dry activities at the resort.
These passes are purchased by guests and allow them access to the numerous attractions at the resort not included with your stay. Dining is also not included with your stay.
We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge Boston location. Each of the resorts are a little different but you can expect wet and dry activities at all of the locations.
Best Time to Visit Great Wolf Lodge
The best time to visit Great Wolf Lodge for prices and low crowds is during the week in the summer. If you are looking for a spring break family vacation mid-week, not during a break is the best time.
What to Pack for Great Wolf Lodge
Most things are taken care of for you at Great Wolf Lodge. Towels are provided at the water park. I suggest bringing water shoes or flip flops for walking around the water park.
You may also want to bring your own life jacket, although they are provided on a first come basis.
If you booked a room with a fridge you may want to bring drinks, coffee, and snacks to save on costs at the resort.
Dining at Great Wolf Lodge
All the Great Wolf Lodge locations offer on-site dining. We stayed at the Boston location and it had two sit down dining options, a quick service option inside the water park, a Dunkin’ Donuts, and a sweets shop.
These are not included in the cost of your stay. They do offer contact less ordering from their mobile app.
Shopping at Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge has a gift shop, candy store, and a swim shop. There is also a MagiQuest on site. MagiQuest in an interactive wand game that guests can play throughout the resort. Guests can purchase wands and perform spells as they explore the resort.
Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Water Park
I want to stress that every Great Wolf Lodge resort has different attractions. At the Boston location there were many water slides and splash areas for families of all ages.
There were 5 slides that had a height requirement of 42 inches and up. 2 slides were 48 inches and up. 5 activities had no height requirement and 2 had an under 52 inches requirement.
This is really great for families with children that are spaced out or vary greatly in height. There is something for everyone to do and it is small enough to explore together.
Great Wolf Lodge Dry Activities
The dry activities at Great Wolf Lodge include a rock climbing wall, mining, mini-golf, MagiQuest, ropes course, arcade, bowling, play area, Build a Bear, and a 3D theater.
Attractions are at limited capacity due to social distancing. Guests can purchase a Paw Pass that includes some or all of the attractions. You can also purchase the activities individually.
Overall Opinion of Great Wolf Lodge
I have to be honest and say I am not much of a water park person. My kids like them but I can take it or leave it. Going into our visit I didn’t have high hopes about the water park but I was looking forward to the resort.
The resort was great. We loved our room and all the dry activities were so much fun! Surprising we also really enjoyed the water park. It was very clean and didn’t have a heavy chlorine smell that burns your eyes.
We would go back to Great Wolf Lodge as a family or with a large group.
Great Wolf Lodge Itinerary (Our Weekend at the Indoor Water Park)
We visited Great Wolf Lodge as part of a media preview. All opinions are my own.
Day 1: Check In and Exploring Great Wolf Lodge
We left on a Friday morning for our 5.5 hour drive to Great Wolf Lodge and arrive for check-in to the media preview event.
We had some extra time on our drive in so we decided to take a more scenic route to visit some new states. As a family we are working toward a 50 state challenge goal where we visit all 50 states.
If we took the scenic route to Massachusetts, we would drive through 2 more states and add them to our list. Read more about our challenge on my post: USA Family Travel Challenge.
We also try to visit unique food places along our drive. My husband searched for the perfect spot, a hot dog place about 3 hours into our drive. He had seen the Newest Lunch on a food network show and it was not too far off the interstate so we decided to stop.
The kids loved it and it was a huge hit! The portions are huge and my son and I shared the 2 hot dog/french fry lunch special. It was a great stop to stretch our legs before the rest of our drive.
We continued our drive into Vermont then New Hampshire and our final state Massachusetts. One of the things that I thought was so cool was the Moose Crossing signs. I have never seen that before and sadly we didn’t see any moose!
We arrived at Great Wolf Lodge around 3:00pm, checked-in, put on our Wolf ears and started to explore the resort.
The first thing I realized about Great Wolf Lodge is that there is so much to do. We could have spent our entire stay enjoying all the fun activities at the resort, without even stepping foot in the water park…but of course we were super excited for the slides.
The water park was on our itinerary for day 2 so we took advantage of the Great Wolf attractions on land.
We started with checking out the MagiQuest store. MagiQuest is an interactive wand game that has stations set up through the resort. The kids used their wands to “collect” items to solve their quest. Great Wolf Lodge has MagiQuest in most of their resorts and it can be really fun for the family.
We did it during our visit to Pigeon Forge and the kids really liked it. It is definitely geared toward school age kids and even then can be a challenge to solve the quests. We often do it as a family. Older children may be able to do it on their own.
After MagiQuest we headed over to Howlin’Timbers Play Park. This is a dry play area that has bowling, min-golf, mining, rock climbing, and a ropes course. All of the activities can be purchased as a bundle at the resort for the Paw Pass.
There are 3 different levels of paw passes at Great Wolf Lodge. Each has different activities at Great Wolf Lodge resort and is targeted for different ages. It is a great option for families wanting to do different activities during their stay and I really liked that there were options depending on the age of your children.
Our first stop was the Ropes course. The kids were so excited to do this and there is a smaller course for children under 48″. If your child is over 42″ they can do the big ropes course but they need to be with an adult. My youngest tried the small one and by the end of our trip did the big one.
After exploring, we headed to our first group dinner for the media event. The dinner was highlighting some of the new activities and food coming to Great Wolf Lodge for the Summer Camp-In event. The summer camp-in event starts Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day at Great Wolf Lodge resorts through the country.
The summer camp-in theme was evident by the dinner of grilled roasted potatoes, Hawaiian BBQ walking tacos and corn on the cob. The menu items were delicious and will be incorporated into the buffet at the Lodge Wood Fire Grill.
The kids enjoyed button making and coloring. The buttons were a huge hit and they loved that they could personalize them. It was a fun end to a great first day at Great Wolf Lodge and we couldn’t wait to see what our day would bring tomorrow.
Day 2: Great Wolf Lodge Room Tour and Water Park Fun
In the morning my husband and kids headed back to the Lodge for a breakfast buffet, which they said was delicious, and I went to breakfast and for a tour of the resort with the other media attendees.
We toured the resort and also got a sneak peak at the Summer Camp-In themed rooms that will be offered to the guests staying during the summer.
The rooms are so cute and a great fit for the theme of Great Wolf Lodge. I especially love the tent in your room to read a story before bed and enjoy some family time after a busy day at the resort.
After the tour I met up with my family and we made our way to the water park. I was really impressed with how clean the water park was and the air quality. I have been to water parks that make my eyes water and Great Wolf Lodge was not like that at all. It was a huge plus for me.
The water park at Great Wold Lodge Fitchburg is a bit different than other Great Wolf Lodge locations because of the layout. It has two areas for water park fun. Both areas have something for all ages making it easier to stick together as a family.
I suggest spending the morning at one and the afternoon at another. We found it very easy to walk back and forth between the two because they are so close.
After the water park we spent some time at the arcade. The arcade is included in some of the Paw Pass options and there are some really fun games! They loved it! When the arcade was done we went back to the room to relax and get ready for dinner.
Our evening event was dinner and a special preview of all the new activities coming to Great Wolf Lodge for the summer. Part of the program will have kids complete activities and earn stickers to put on their Trailblazer Challenge card.
The kids decorated ducks for the Ducky 500 we would participate in the next morning. They played corn hole and limbo, made bracelets, and sang and danced. The activities are focused on kids of all ages and my school age children enjoyed them.
After the activities we made our way to dinner. Dinner was a buffet of pulled pork, potato salad, ribs, and a build your own baked potato. The highlight was the make your own s’mores bar. Whenever there are s’mores we are happy!
Day 3: Ducky 500 and Time to Say Good-Bye
Our last morning started with the Ducky 500 race. We arrived to the water park before it opened to see who’s duck will win the race. This is an activity that they will be doing daily at the water park for guests during the Summer Camp-In.
It was so much fun to see the ducks we decorated make their way down the water slide. We even won 3rd place!!
Our final stop was breakfast and one more turn on the ropes course. The kids got braver after our first time and really wanted to do it again. Our Paw Passes last until the end of our stay, even after check-out, so we could enjoy the dry and wet play as long as we wanted.
We stayed a bit longer and then packed up the car to make our way back to Rochester. We knew we had a drive ahead of us and wanted to get on the road. Great Wolf Lodge was an awesome place to make family memories and enjoy some seriously fun family time.
Whether you are planning a visit to Great Wolf Lodge soon or researching for a future trip I hope these Great Wolf Lodge tips help you have an awesome family trip!
Read Next: 21 USA Bucket List Destinations for Families
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Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.