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Since opening this past May in Fitchburg, Great Wolf Lodge New England has made quite the splash with families.
The new indoor water park resort is a one-stop getaway for family fun, with more than 400 suites, activities and entertainment for kids of all ages.
Photo: Howlin’ Tornado at Great Wolf Lodge
I visited the resort with my little wolf pup (3-year-old daughter) for an overnight adventure earlier this summer and she had a blast! For parents looking for a bored-proof vacation, Great Wolf Lodge delivers. Here’s an overview of the property and some insider tips:
The forest-themed, 68,000-square foot indoor water park offers aquatic activities suited for every age group. It’s open year-round and the temperature inside is always set at a comfortable 84 degrees.
For the smaller crowd (5 and under), the park provides plenty of excitement, with scaled-down water slides and splash pads. Well-trained lifeguards are stationed at each ride, so nervous parents can feel a more at ease.
Complimentary warm towels and dry life vests are available in the park (lifeguards help parents choose proper size and fit for their child). Here’s my ‘lil wolf pup howling in delight before heading into the zero-depth entry wave pool!
Photo: All smiles at the Great Wolf Lodge
For (older) adventurous types, The Wolf Tail water slide is a crowd pleaser. It drops swimmers down 20 feet before blasting them out on a 360 loop!
Photo: Wolf Tail water slide
Other popular rides include the six-story Howlin’ Tornado and River Canyon Run raft ride, as well as the Alberta Falls water slide.
Note: Visitors do have to book a room at the property hotel in order to access the water park.
Throughout the entire resort, families can also take advantage of plenty of cool activities. The giant Howlin’ Timbers Play Park is Great Wolf’s indoor, dry play area, where visitors can choose from a multi-level ropes course, indoor mini golf, an arcade and Ten Paw Alley mini bowling.
Photo: Stepping into Howlin’ Timbers
On the other side of the resort, guests can find shops, a 3D theater and arcade. Other fun stuff:
– MagiQuest – A cool and immersive magical adventure
– Scoops Kid Spa – A special spa for tweens and teens
– The Great Clock Tower Show, evening Story Time and more daily activities
Tip: There are fees for most activities, so budget in advance.
There are over 400 rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge. Each suite comes with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and water park admission passes.
When booking online, the website shows photos of available rooms and rates.
We stayed in the Wolf Den suite, a popular pick for parents with young children. These rooms come with a queen bed and a cave-themed bunk bed sleeping area for the kids and their own TV.
Photo: A look around the Wolf Den Suite
Tip: Basic family suites can be found as low as $160/night during non-peak season. Sign up to get word of specials and promotions.
Great Wolf Lodge has six different dining options, including the Lodge Wood Fired Grill, Hungry as a Wolf Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts. There is a good variety of places to sit down or quickly stop by while you’re on the go.
Note: There is no room service.
Julie Loffredi’s Insider tips:
1. Save money by stocking up your in-room fridge with snacks, food and drinks (bottled water runs $2.50. Gulp!).
2. Be mindful when using your all-in-one access bracelet to charge expenses like food to your room — it’s easy to overspend!
3. Keep your valuables and wallet in the room safe while visiting the water park.
4. Sign up for the Great Wolf Lodge mailing list for discounts and special offers.
5. Use the rate calendar tool on the website to find lowest rates.
6. On weekends, the Lodge Wood Fired Grill has limited reservations. Book early!
7. Don’t miss out on fun activities in the hotel lobby. There are magic shows and free activities.
8. Check out Great Wolf’s Explore By Age webpage to find age appropriate activities for your child.
9. Even after you check out of your room, water passes are still good for the entire day.
10. Expect a line at Dunkin’ Donuts in the morning (parents need a caffeine boost!)
11. Guests can purchase additional water passes for $40 each. Ask the front desk for details.
12. Check-in time is 4 p.m. (or as rooms become available). However, you can play in the water park as early as 1 p.m. The resort suggests packing a smaller bag with swim gear and leave the rest of your luggage locked in your car. There are lockers, showers, and changing areas available in the water park.
Julie Loffredi (@julieloffredi) is an award-winning broadcast journalist who regularly hits the morning show circuit to dish about the latest travel trends. Julie has appeared on NBC TODAY, Good Morning America, CNN, Hallmark Channel and Fox News Channel. You can read more of her work at www.julielo.com