Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge in Concord

Occasionally, it pays to be a blogger. Some people see actual money, and others just get free diapers or shampoo which they in turn use and then tell you how much they loved it. I don't really do reviews anymore, but I could not in my right mind turn down the chance to take my family to the new Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC for their media weekend. So, in full disclosure, we stayed as their guests one night, and then stayed another night on our own dime just for fun. They didn't pay me to gush about them; I just want to.

GRTWolf_04Just a few hours from our house is a new resort. A family resort with a ginormous indoor waterpark. It's called Great Wolf Lodge, and is the 12th Lodge to open in about a decade. They are growing across the country, and Concord, NC, is the newest city to luck out with their presence.

I had received a brochure in the mail a couple of months ago, announcing the opening of the family friendly getaway. It looked pretty nice, so I went to their website. With the resort being so close to home, it seemed like the perfect place to take the kids when Mallory tracked out in April. I priced out the trip and was all set to book when Kevin reminded me that he had a huge deadline at work and wouldn't be able to go until April 23, after track out ended.

In the meantime, I told my friend Tonya about it, and after she checked out the website, she booked her family to go over Spring Break. They also did some hiking in the area and went to a local farm as well. There are plenty of things to do in the Concord/Charlotte area. Even the new Ikea is only a few exits down from Great Wolf Lodge.

Just as I was getting over pouting about our trip falling through, I got an email inviting my family to come to Great Wolf Lodge for their grand opening weekend, the weekend of April 24th. Perfect. Kevin would just be done at work, and it was a weekend Mallory was with us. I accepted in a heartbeat.

They could not have been better organized or nicer people. The hotel is beautiful, and easy to navigate. We went with a 15 month old and a 13 year old. It's not easy to find somewhere to take both children where they can both have a good time. The Great Wolf Lodge was perfect for that.

Only resort guests are allowed in the resort, meaning that the waterpark is not open to the general public. That means everyone there is registered, and there is a finite number of people who will be there at all times. It was safe enough to let Mallory go to the arcade by herself after Christopher went to bed, and small enough that when Kevin went to join her, he had no trouble finding her at all.

 The waterpark is hard to describe. It's overwhelming, but in a fun way. It took Christopher a bit to warm up to the idea of getting randomly squirted with water, but Kevin and Mallory had a blast riding the slides. 

There is more to do there, like a magic game that takes you exploring all over the resort. Things that look like decoration, like the fake bear rug hanging on the wall? Just wait until somebody runs up with their magic wand and makes it growl and its eyes light up. That will get your attention.

There is a minigolf course and an outdoor waterpark as well that we didn't even have a chance to see.The arcade is a money sucker, but we went anyway. There is a little mini carousel that Christopher enjoyed, and he liked playing SkeeBall to, which entailed him hurling balls in every direction while I attempted to protect anyone in his path.

We looked at a trip to Disney this year. It's just not feasible. After airfare, I'm just not willing to fork out all of that money for a trip that Christopher won't even remember. Great Wolf Lodge is just a short drive down I-40 though. You can do a short stay and never leave the resort, or you can do a longer stay and enjoy some of the other things that Charlotte has to offer.

I'm already looking forward to our next visit.

An original Triangle Mamas post. Marty also blogs at Don't Take the Repeats and you can follow her on Twitter if you like.

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