Friday, April 10, 2015

Splashing at Great Wolf Lodge

We finally made it to Great Wolf Lodge! It feels like we're the last family on the east coast to visit this family resort in Williamsburg, Virginia.  It's one of a chain, others located scattered across the U.S. and is fairly popular for family get-aways.

The theme of Great Wolf is all rustic and woodsy, with cute fluffy wolf ears at check-in. There are a number of room options, including a log cabin themed room, with a separate tent-looking area for the kids. We were in a regular family suite (the tent-theme rooms were sold out), which was space-y enough for the six of us, with two beds and a sleep sofa, an in-room coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator.
  • Tip: you get a wristband which acts as your water park admission, room key (swipe it across the sensor) and room charge card (again, swipe it across the sensor.)  I like this and it was handy not having to carry a wallet in the pool area.

The big attraction is the indoor water-park, which makes it a great middle-of-winter (or when will winter ever end!) mini-vacation.  There's a wave pool, multiple fun slides, one of those scream-inducing vortex/tornado type slides, a water-y playground, lazy river, and a little kids' shallow pool.  And an adults-only whirlpool.  (Is there any better two words at a family resort than "adults only"?)
  • Tip: you have access to the waterpark before you check in and all day when you check-out, so pack the family swimsuits separately for your arrival and have traveling clothes packed separately on your departure

On the lower level is also other entertainment options. There's a 4D video, video games, arcade, and duckpin bowling, all for additional fees of $2-$6 per person.  Our kids spent a few minutes challenging each other in the Time Challenge - a room equipped with a pattern of lights which the kids had to run around and turn off in sequence (think, life-size Simon.)  There's also a few Quest games - the kid gets a magic wand and then sets off to different stations around the lodge. It looked to total almost $50 to play and seemed geared to younger kids, so we got out of having to do that ($50 for 4 kids adds up.)
  • Tip: Have a plan and a budget. You know how quick $2/kid/game can add up. You can get a point card to load your points, so that's a good way to limit your spending.

We didn't eat in the lodge, but I did get coffee from Dunkin' Donuts! I think this was the first hotel I've stayed in with a Dunkin' Donuts and I was kinda happy. Although there was a long line, as folks were picking up donuts and breakfast, too.  We also got ice cream and fudge from the sweets shop, even before breakfast - you know that's a sign of spring break.

We were only there one night, but it was a full stay.  If we had a lower rate, we may have stayed another night.  We're on Spring Break this week and it seems like everyone else is, too, thus, the higher prices.
  • Tip: Prices, like most travel destinations, vary depending on season and demand, so if you're flexible, you can get a better rate.
The kids had a great time and I'm glad we finally checked this off the family to-do-one-day list. I could see us heading back on another mid-winter/will winter ever end get-away.

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