by Jeremy Miville
There were no fireworks, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if there had been. Great Wolf Lodge is everything that makes summer exciting, under a heated roof more suitable for January. It’s the American version of the indoor ski resorts in Dubai. For me and New England, it has quickly become the go to destination for escape from the winter doldrums, with good reason.
First, please know I’ve only stayed at the Boston location. It’s really in Fitchburg Massachusetts and it’s truly closer to Worcester than Boston. Regardless, they offer two GIANT water park areas. Wave pools, lazy rivers, splash pads and water slides quickly help you to forget the fact there is snow in the parking lot and a below freezing wind chill.
They staff the resort with great people. Everyone was polite, professional, and very kind and soft with the children. The lifeguards pace back and forth, like wolves themselves, watching over the swimmers. I don’t think I saw two guards ever talk to one another. It was apparent this wasn’t just a summer job for them, and that they were taking the task serious.
My daughters were greeted with a free pair of wolf ears, which were a very big hit! That was also the last of the freebies. From that point on, my wallet belonged to the great wolf. Mini golf was six dollars a person. Rides cost three dollars. There was an arcade the size of a Vegas slot parlor, which ate dollars just as fast. The halls were filled with interactive games, which could be brought to life by a swing of a magic wand. Those wands were just under twenty dollars and available right outside the lobby. None the less, it still felt like July in January. I was in flip flops and swim trunks and that was all that mattered.
One of the highlights besides the water park was at the back end of the arcade. A multi-tiered rope course, suitable for all ages. While my 6 year old was first to jump at the chance, it was my two and a half year old who could have made this course her home. They were both harnessed in and ready to go, and mom and I acted as their spotters as they made their way around the course. We could see their confidence grow at every turn. We could have stayed longer, but all the day’s activities were catching up to us, and it was time for dinner.
We opted to order pizza on site, and avoided the lines at their only sit down restaurant. The price was similar to our favorite local pizza shop and the pies were pretty tasty. Scoops, their on-site ice cream shop, really made us feel like we were ending a summer day. The scoops were large, and the kids had chocolate covered faces. It was time for bed.
Our room was nothing fancy, which is what we reserved. They have options for suites, bunk beds for the kids, and other packages. We were there for the water parks, and figured we could go economy on accommodations.
What’s really nice is how you are allowed to use the water park after you have checked out. You just have to empty your room into the trunk of your car. It’s a small price to pay for a few more hours of lazy river and splash pads.
When we arrived home we realized we had made the ultimate parent mistake. We had left my daughter’s bedtime buddies on the hotel bed. Devastated, we called the resort and pleaded for an all person search party. They were located, and are on their way home as we speak.
I would recommend Great Wolf Lodge for young families looking to escape for a weekend. I didn’t see a large teen crowd while we stayed, and most rides and pools were filled with kids and tweens. I know we’ll be back, probably in the days immediately following our next named winter storm.