Great Wolf Lodge review: New England

Northeast families ready to escape the cold weather and live in their bathing suits for a few days are in luck: the new (ish) Great Wolf Lodge New England is in a prime location just one hour from Boston and Providence. And it comes packed with even more activities than Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound (our fave West Coast location). Read on for our Great Wolf Lodge review:

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The New England location is newly acquired, and still going through some growing pains. Rest assured it has all the new activities offered at GWL across the brand, including the ropes course and mini golf areas in the Howlin’ Timbers Play Park, but during our experience (during a busy holiday time period), there was some confusion and customer service could have been improved. Primarily, this was most notable around the dining venues, not the water park. No one wants to get all the kids dressed and bundled up for a New England winter to brave outside restaurants, however, so hopefully we just caught GWL at a bad time.

The ‘dry’ play areas, such as the ropes course, are a very nice addition to the offerings at GWL, perfect for kids less sure about the water play activities or those who just need to dry out (but don’t want to play the MagiQuest game). There’s also a fun laser course, which, instead of tag, is more of an obstacle course, where kids avoid brightly colored lasers. Channel your inner spy and try it out! Also on offer: mini golf, though be advised: you’ll need to pay extra for this activity. We wish GWL (across the brand) would charge one room rate and make all activities all inclusive, but until that time, come prepared for some activity costs on-site.

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Kids who are wild about MagiQuest, like mine, will find slightly less in this department at New England than in some GWL locations. They do have MagiQuest, of course, but not the extended games, such as CompassQuest or ShadowQuest. What they do have is plenty for newbies to get on with, but seasoned GWL patrons will miss the additional games. Get specific MagiQuest tips here.

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You can get a standard room, suite, or Wolf Den or KidCabin suite, both of which are fun for kids and get families more space to spread out. These lodging offerings are in line with what’s offered at GWL everywhere; nothing new here.

Great Wolf Tips:

  • Book midweek or on non-holiday weekends to get those coveted ‘under $199/night’ deals.
  • Skip the packages that include wands or meals…they’re usually ‘padded’ with fairly useless stuff like plush animals and water shoes (aka, things you weren’t intending to buy).
  • Don’t try to do it all at GWL New England: some kids will want to spend more time in the ‘dry’ play area than in the waterpark, and there’s rarely time for the laser game, bowling, mini golf, the ropes course, and MagiQuest.
  • Check out all our GWL tips on our dedicated page!

Date last visited:

January 2015

Room rates:

Room rates vary greatly at GWL, depending on season and room type. A good deal is to find a standard room for $199 or less. In peak seasons, expect to pay 3x as much for a themed room (kid suite). Do you need this? No, but if the price difference is not substantial during the time of your visit, a kid ‘cub’ suite or ‘camping’ style suite does enhance the stay for young kids.

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Dining:

There are multiple dining options onsite, ranging from buffets to sit-down dinners (similar to Friendly’s or Red Robin) to counter service in the water parks. We recommend enjoying the buffet on one occasion, then eating out (outside the lodge) or bringing food in. Food is not permitted inside the waterpark, but it’s simple enough to walk up to the room for snacks or meals.

Directions:

GWL New England is located at 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg, MA. From Boston, take I-93 N toward Concord NH. Merge onto I-495 S exit 44B toward Lowell. Merge onto Rt-2 W exit 29B toward Leominster. Take exit 28 for MA-31 S, turn left onto Princeton Rd, and right onto Great Wolf Drive.

Photo credit: Shawn Collins and Flickr/Vox Efx

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids

AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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