We've been wanting to go to Great Wolf Lodge for years now and Reeves's second birthday provided us with the perfect excuse to visit an indoor water park. We had initially planned to hang out at home with Reeves for his birthday. As I was brainstorming ideas for things he might like to do, it occurred to me that he never got to go to the pool during our family trip to Singapore. And with it being the middle of winter, an indoor water park seemed like that perfect place to celebrate and beat the winter doldrums.
Great Wolf Williamsburg is just under three hours away from Washington, D.C. We opted to go with a weekday stay to beat the crowds and save some money. Be sure to check out the companion article I wrote for tips on how to save money at Great Wolf Lodge. And by driving in the middle of the day after rush hour, we avoided the horrendous D.C. traffic.
AN EARLY AFTERNOON ARRIVAL AND CHECK IN
Early on the morning of our arrival, I received an email from Great Wolf Williamsburg allowing me to check in online and receive a notification when our room was ready. My alert came at 11:00am but we didn’t arrive until later that afternoon.
The hotel is tucked away behind trees, which made for quite an impressive sight when it came into view. The lobby was everything you would expect a lodge to be. It was dim and warm, with wood beams and timber along the walls, ceiling and staircase.
There was a massive stone fireplace with a wood fire blazing in the hearth, surrounded by comfy, thick, oversized chairs. And of course there were life-like wolves and other animal skins sprinkled throughout the lobby. It really felt like we were suddenly in a different world and that we hadn’t just passed a Walmart and IHop to get there.
Check in was a breeze. We received our wristbands that gave us admission to the water park and our rooms. They could also be used to pay for anything at the hotel including food and games. We headed straight to our rooms to unload and relax after the long drive.
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SCOPING OUT THE DIGS AT GREAT WOLF WILLIAMSBURG
Great Wolf Lodge has a variety of family-friendly room types that can hold as many as eight people at a time. Joseph’s mom was visiting during our trip so we chose to upgrade to a suite. The Majestic Bear Suite had two queen beds and a pull out couch plus a separate bedroom with a king bed. It also had an eating area with a small microwave and mini refrigerator.
Our room was on the second floor and was great except that it was on top of an air handler that made the floor constantly vibrate. It wasn’t that noticeable but it was just a bit odd. After getting settled in, we changed our clothes and headed out to explore the hotel and indoor water park.
It turns out that Great Wolf Lodge has a ton of attractions beyond just the water park. It had a bowling alley, arcade, 4D games center, and golf course! There was also a hotel-wide scavenger hunt game called MagiQuest. Each of these activities cost an additional fee. We opted out of them for this visit but may try them out next time. The water park kept us plenty busy during our time there.
OUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE INDOOR WATER PARK
We arrived at the water park around 5:30p and hung out there until it closed at 8pm. During our visit the hotel was just under 50% capacity, about 200 people, which was perfect. There was no wait on most of the rides and the pools weren’t overcrowded. We were also able to find a table without much trouble. Then all that was left was for us to have fun in the park!
Our first stop was Fort McHenry and the Totem towers, a large climbing gym with water features sprinkled throughout and two winding slides at the top. The slides were massive but they were happy to let Reeves slide down with his life jacket. Joseph let him loose at the top while I waited at the bottom to snatch him up. They also let Alexis do down the slide with my phone in hand, which is how we were able to get such awesome shots of the fun.
Next, we headed over to the Club Paw Pool and Whooping Hollow, a pint-sized watery playground that was perfectly sized for Reeves. The water was less than 18” deep so Reeves did get cold after a bit despite the warm water.
PLENTY OF FUN FOR KIDS OF ALL SIZES
Alexis and I headed off for adventure while Joseph and his mom played with Reeves in the kiddie pool area. Together we tackled some of the bigger slides: the Howlin’ Tornado and Alberta Falls. The Howlin’ Tornado is a four person ride that starts indoors but the bulk of the ride is actually outside, though it is fully enclosed. Riding it at night made for a completely different experience because the tunnel is pitch black!
Meanwhile, Joseph, his mom, and Reeves were over at the wave pool, Slap Tail Pond trying to warm up a bit. I took over for Joseph so that he could head off and have fun with Alexis for a while. They tried out several of the tube rides and Wolf Rider Wipeout, a boogie board surfing simulator.
We were pretty hungry after all of that fun so we ordered a pizza, wings, and a 2-liter of coke from the hotel restaurant for $44. That’s a pretty good deal for dinner for five people. After dinner we decided to head back to our hotel room early because Reeves was cold. It wasn’t until the next day that we discovered the kid-friendly hot tub, South Hot Springs, that was tucked away behind the wave pool. If we’d known about it we would have stayed at the park until it closed.
BREAKFAST AND ANOTHER MORNING OF FUN AT GREAT WOLF LODGE
The next morning we headed to IHOP for breakfast before heading back to the room to pack up. Although we still had access to the water park for the full day, we had to be check out of our room by 11am. The hotel offered late check out for an additional $100 but we passed on that since there are showers and changing areas in the water park for free.
We stowed our luggage in the car and headed back to the water park for a few hours of fun. The park was a lot more crowded than it had been the prior evening and we weren’t able to find a table to stow our things. Most of the lounge chairs were also claimed but we were able to snag two near the wave pool. The park still wasn’t that crowded so I can imagine how much worse it would have been on a busy day.
After two more hours of fun in the water park, we decided to get changed and head home. We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay even though we barely scratched the surface off all of the attractions offered at the hotel. The waterpark had plenty of fun to keep us busy during our entire stay. Plus avoiding the other additional-fee-required attractions made our visit a lot easier on the pocket book, the cherry on top of an already great experience.
Visiting Great Wolf Lodge has been on our bucket list for years. We are pretty excited that we finally got to check this one off. And we loved it so much that we are planning to check out some of the other locations later this year!