What you need to know about a trip to The Great Wolf Lodge

Sosha and family at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord.
Sosha and family at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord.

My in-laws, better known as Nonni and Poppy, have four children, four children-in-law and five granddaughters. We’re basically the Von Trapps…well, except we can’t sing and we don’t have to worry about fleeing the country.

Last Christmas Nonni and Poppy gifted everyone with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC. Given that the Super Bowl half time show takes less planning than coordinating all of our schedules, it took until June to make the trip happen.

However, it was worth the wait.

Here are the top 3 things about going to Great Wolf Lodge with five children:

1 - They have booze.

2 - They have booze.

3 - They have booze.

Kidding. Kinda. We really did have a good time. Here are some pointers to plan your trip.

When to go:

This is a toss up. There is a large outdoor pool that is open in the summer months. However, the inside water park air is kept at 84 degrees and the water temperature is kept at 82 degrees year round. This combined with the North Carolina June heat made it very humid inside. It was 90+ degrees when we were there and we actually went outside to “cool down”.

What to bring:

Snacks and drinks. Of course, the resort is full up on food of every kind, but if your kids are anything like my daughter and nieces, their snack bill could end up being more than the rooms. The resort seemed very laid back about bringing your own snacks and drinks into the waterpark.

Where to eat:

We only ate lunch and due to popular demand and considering we were feeding the masses, we had pizza both days. It was good for the price ($14.99 for a large.) We ate off property for dinner both nights. GWL is located off the same exit as Concord Mills and there is about every kind of chain restaurant that you can imagine.

What to do:

Although the waterpark provides everything from a kid’s play area to some scream worthy slides, there is a lot to do in addition to the waterpark (arcade, kid’s spa, mini-golf, rope’s course, adventure quests, etc). However, remember that most of it is not included in your room price. My daughter did the rope’s course and it was definitely worth the $13.99, despite the fact that I may have had several mini-strokes watching her from the safety of the ground.

We also took the kids down to the story hour. This was my only complaint about our stay. They use some kind of dated puppet robots. You couldn’t hear it and honestly, it was fairly creepy, especially the blonde boy who kept popping out of a hallowed out stump.

Things to know:

Visits to the water park are exclusively reserved for overnight hotel guests. Wristbands to get you in are included in the price of your room and a limited number of additional water park wristbands (valid for one day only) may be purchased for $50 each.

Your stay at the Great Wolf Lodge includes waterpark and activity access both on the day you check in and the day your check out. Check-in isn’t until 4pm, but you can hit the waterpark as early as 1pm. Check-out is at 11am, but guests can stay and swim all day.

All in all, a great time was had by our family at Great Wolf Lodge. To plan your own trip, visit them online at