Our family was invited to check out all the Great Wolf Lodge offerings, and I’m here to report that a seriously good time was had by all.
After a quick 50-minute ride from our home in Hanover, squeals came up from the back seat as we pulled into Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg and were greeted by the giant stone wolf sculptures at the entrance. Inside, the place was decked out for Halloween (see below for the complete seasonal lineup), with a giant balloon spider hanging from the ceiling and lots more spooky décor all around. Great Wolf Lodge is best known for its 80,000-square foot indoor water park, but we found that there was so much more to do when we were ready for some dry land during our stay. There isn’t room for all of it here, but here are some of the highlights.
In MagiQuest, Guardians of the Realm portals took the kids on a magical adventure throughout the property. They loved selecting their wands and then pointing at everything from treasure chests to special stars on the ceiling to unlock clues and powers. They got to keep the wands for future use, too. I hear there are MagiQuest locations all over the country – it’s on the to-do list to research this.
On the lower level, there is a huge arcade, adult and kids’ spas, and so much more. The kids built their own stuffed animal at Creation Station and then took them throughout Great Wolf on interactive adventures. We laughed ourselves silly on the 4D Howly Wood XD Theater ride. The motion-enhanced chairs had us feeling like we were part of the movie, and the effects were incredible. Ten Paw Alley made for fun kid-sized bowling with half-sized lanes and 5-pound balls (just my speed). The whole family raced against each other at Oliver’s Time Challenge – think Simon plus aerobics. We donned our 4D glasses for 4D World, where we took aim at the moving targets and battled for the family win (I was told by another guest that it was similar to Toy Story Mania at Disney, but standing still).
Outside, there is a fun 9-hole mini golf course, and an amazing high ropes course. My 10-year-old loved the thrill of climbing and balancing four stories in the air. Be sure to bring closed-toed shoes to enjoy this – no flip flops allowed. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, there is also a huge outdoor pool to enjoy.
I was pleased to see that the food was reasonably priced inside Great Wolf. A slice of cheese pizza was $2.99, and there are plenty of food options to please everyone in the family. The kids were excited to see a Dunkin’ Donuts in the lobby, and there was even a spot for Dad to enjoy an adult beverage and the weekend games on TV inside the water park. It’s a peanut-free property, too, which is great for those with peanut allergies.
We spent several hours inside the water park, and there was plenty to entertain everyone in the family. Great Wolf really gets it right when it comes to pleasing kids of all ages, with everything from the 18-inch deep Cub Paw Pool to the Wolf Rider Wipeout, an intense indoor surf simulator that isn’t for the timid (just ask my 8-year-old who wiped out in epic fashion!). There are two rides that have 4- or 5-person rafts, so the whole family can ride together, and several others that allow one or 2-person rafts. In true 2016 fashion, technology has hit the water park with Slideboarding, where riders can use thumb controls to hit LED targets and check their scores up on the monitors. The kids loved running through the multi-level tree house and waiting at the bottom for the gigantic bucket of water to fill and tip over onto the sometimes unsuspecting kids below!
We were busy from arrival straight through to departure during our overnight stay, so I’d definitely recommend adding a second night if you can swing it.
October is a great time to visit Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg! Now through October 31, Howl-O-Ween is a month long indoor celebration dedicated to providing spooktacular fun for the whole family. This is a great way for families to participate in a bevy of family-friendly thrills and chills. During Howl-O-Ween, these experiences are free for children and parents:
- Join a trail of trick-or-treaters as they collect ghostly goodies along a spooky path.
- Don their most creative costumes during the indoor parade with mascot characters Wiley and Violet.
- Attend a monster-themed dance party and listen to boo-bit scary stories.
- Paint your own pumpkin and create festive crafts.
All are welcome as Great Wolf Lodge is a teal pumpkin supporter, offering Highlights magazines and Just Born gluten free candies for families with kids who have food allergies or other issues with traditional treats.
(Margaret received a complimentary trial of this service in exchange for sharing her thoughts with RFM readers.)