A few months ago we were tempted with a group offer to Great Wolf Lodge – New England. I didn’t know much about the place, just that it was an indoor water park that was a great time for kids. Fast forward a few months and we arrive. OH.MY.GOD. This is seriously like a paradise for families in New England. Especially in the winter! (Although we went in May and still loved every minute)
Check in is at 4:00 pm but our room was ready early and you are allowed to use the water park and hotel features starting at 1:00 pm the day before. We were greeted at reception with wolf ear headbands for the kids and then quickly got changed, put on our awesome bracelet keys and headed on over to the waterpark. There is literally something for every age. Splash parks, toddler water slides, big kid water slides, adult water slides, lazy river ride, water basketball, and more. There is even a jacuzzi for adults to wind down in. They provide towels, changing rooms, bathing suit dryers, chairs, tables, snack bars, etc all in the water park. It says no coolers or food of your own inside but everyone brings a huge cooler and bag of snacks and parks themselves for the day.
They had large tube rides that accommodated 4 or 5 people so families and friends could all go together. They also offered double tubes on some slides so parents could go with their kids. There is a lifeguard every few feet with a whistle in their mouth, constantly pacing back and forth. Life jackets are offered for free as well. You can even rent a cabana with fridge and TV!
Once you are done with the water for the day, you can go and change. There are a variety of dry things to do for the evening. Everything is indoors inside the hotel so you never have to leave. We had a pizza dinner with our group in the conference center and then caught the 6:00 pm magic show in the lobby. From there, we stayed for the night time dance party and both kids and adults danced the night away. (Well until 7:30 bedtime that is) We brought some exhausted kids up to the room, which btw has a fridge, microwave and pull out couch to make you feel right at home. Kids went to bed and the parents from our group all met by the elevators on our floor to party the night away. (you can request to be on the same floor)
The next day we awoke and had breakfast in bed. (we brought a cooler with food to be lazy) Our friends went down to the Dunkin Donuts right inside the hotel and others checked out the breakfast buffet. The arcade opened early at 8:30 am and then at 9:00 pm the rest of the fun began. We headed over to the ropes course to give it a try. Our young kids (3 yrs and 6 yrs were too small for the big ropes course but were able to do a smaller one and had fun just the same.) The bigger ropes course costs extra just fyi but was included in our group package. There were many many MANY MANY others things to choose to do there as well for an extra fee. Everything from mini golf, bowling, arcade/amusement park rides, movie theatre, fancy little girls nail salon, magic quest adventure hunt and who knows what else. There is literally fun around every corner.
We headed back through the lobby and caught the character show with talking animated animals which the kids loved. There was also a character dressed as a wolf taking kids on a wolf walk. We went back to the water park for a bit and then dried off for lunch. The food was surprisingly good and very kid and family friendly. We grabbed our food from the restaurant to go so that the kids could get their faces painted, balloon animals and make friendship bracelets in the lobby. (All included).
It seriously was one of the best vacations we have ever been on AND it was only about an hour away and we only stayed for 24 hours. Still, 24 hours of non stop fun for both parents and adults. They thought of everything and made things so easy. There was something fun to do around every corner, whether it be a photo prop station, carved bear chairs, etc. They provide you with a schedule for the weekend which is loaded with the various shows to catch; they even have stuff like yoga, bingo and family trivia. It sort of feels like a cruise ship, but better. Like I said, we were with a large group of families which definitely made it even better since we could split up and leave some kids with one mom, some with another, etc… This allowed parents to enjoy themselves on the water slides and time to lounge around and relax. All in all, we will definitely be going back. We all had the time of our lives!
Few things to note:
- for a little more, you can upgrade to a wolf den complete with bunk beds and separate little clubhouse in the room for the kids
- bring closed toed shoes if you want to do the ropes course
- check out is at 11:00 am but you can stay the day at the hotel to enjoy
- We went on a Friday at 1:00 pm and left Saturday afternoon. It was a lot busier and more crowded Saturday, glad we had Friday first.
- Special thanks to the JCC South Shore for bringing this group together! Such a blast!
- It would be a great time as a family but even more fun if you can go with another family
- Oh and there is a fitness center incase your legs aren’t killing you from climbing ten stories to the top of the waterslide with a 3 yr old in tow
How to get there:
150 Great Wolf Drive,
Fitchburg, MA 01420