In 2014, the popular chain, Great Wolf Lodge, brought its brand of indoor water park fun to New England. Previously, the property had been part of the Coco Key Water Resort chain (and before that it was a nondescript, standard hotel). Great Wolf Lodge expanded the size of the indoor water park and the number of hotel rooms as well as added other amenities and remodeled the property in general.
The charming resort now sports a whimsical Northwoods theme and offers a full array of activities. It is the largest indoor water park in New England. It could be a great getaway mini-vacation for families with children up to and including tweens.
Water Park Overview
Regardless of the season or the weather (and the region is known for its often harsh and long winters), the Boston-area resort offers a climate-controlled way to jump into the water and have a ball. The major water park, which is included in the hotel's room rates, offers a variety of slides and rides at all thrill levels.
For daredevils, Great Wolf Lodge New England features two marquee attractions. The Howlin' Tornado is a funnel ride. Riders board four-passenger cloverleaf tubes, shoot down an enclosed tube, and soar up and down the sides of a huge funnel. You can read about the similar High Anxiety funnel ride to get a sense of the concept. For Wolf Tail, intrepid riders climb into a launch capsule and nervously wait for the trap door to open and release them into into a hairy speed slide that includes a 360-degree loop.
More moderate thrills await on River Canyon Run, a family raft ride in an enclosed, darkened tube. Alberta Falls offers two enclosed slides that rides can navigate in either one- or two-passenger tubes. The park's Otter Run is a body slide—no tube needed on this ride.
The thrills are muted on a number of Great Wolf's attractions. Slap Tail Pond is the park's wave pool, where the waves are fairly mild. The lazy river, Crooked Creek, allows riders to gently circumnavigate the park in an endless loop. At Chinook Cove, activities include water basketball. Guests can chill out (metaphorically speaking) in the park's North Hot Springs hot tub.
For younger visitors, Great Wolf offers Fort Mackenzie, a multi-level, interactive water play center with sprayers, small slides, and an enormous tipping bucket. Whooping Hollow and Cub Paw Pool are specifically designed for the tiniest park-goers with tot-sized slides and activities. When the weather cooperates, there are a few outdoor water activities geared to youngsters at Tadpole Pond.
Indoor Water Park Square Footage
Other Things to Do
The water park may be the main attraction, but Great Wolf Lodge features additional attractions. MagiQuest is an interactive game experience. Armed with a responsive magic wand, participants engage with video stations located throughout the resort. Unlike the water park, which is included for all hotel guests, Magi Quest requires an additional fee.
Other extra-charge activities include the Northern Lights Arcade, which offers redemption games and other arcade games, Ten Paw Alley, which features kid-sized bowling lanes, the indoor Howl at the Moon mini-golf, the Lazer Frenzy laser tag maze, the Howly Wood (you gotta love these names!) XD Theater, a 4D ride, and Creation Station, a make-your-own-stuffed-animal experience. The Scoops Kids Spa offers manicures and other services for young fashionistas.
Dry activities that are included with room rates include kid-friendly Yoga Tails classes, a guided Wolf Walk through the resort's Northwoods-themed lobby, crafts making, face painting, group games, and nightly storytelling. For adults, the resort offers a fitness center.
Great Wolf Lodge New England offers over 400 guest rooms, all of them configured as suites. Themed suites include whimsical touches such as a dedicated area for young children made to look like a bunkhouse. As with the rest of the resort, the room's feature the chain's signature rustic, deep woods look. Sizes range from standard Family Suites designed for four up to premium Grizzly Wolf Den Suites that sleep nine and include two bathrooms.
The resort includes a conference center and welcomes business meetings, events, weddings, and other functions.
What's to Eat?
The main restaurant is Lodge Wood Fired Grill, which specializes in wood-fired steaks, seafood (this is New England, after all), and BBQ ribs. Inside the water park, Buckets Incredible Craveables serves burgers, fries, and other lighter fare. There is also Hungry as a Wolf pizza parlor, Bear Paw Sweets & Eats, and a Dunkin' Donuts (like I said this is New England).
The water park is open only to registered hotel guests and admission is included in the room rate. Day passes are not available. The only exception is for birthdays and other parties. Packages are available for a minimum of 10 guests and includes use of a party room, pizza, drinks, cake, and water park passes.
Fitchburg, Massachusetts (west of Boston, about 20 miles from Worcester). The address is 150 Royal Plaza Drive.
The resort is located off US Route 2 at Exit 28. From points east: Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) West to I-495 North to US Route 2 West to Exit 28. From points west: Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) East to I-290 East to I-290 North to US Route 2 West to Exit 28.
Another water park in the Boston area is CoCo Key Water Resort Danvers. it is located about 20 miles north of the city (about 40 minutes by car).