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Reader Review of Great Wolf Lodge (Part 1 of 2)

This week, I am so happy to introduce you to one of Coffee with Julie‘s regular readers and commentors (bloggers love their comments!). I first met Sarah when long-time friends were proudly sharing their professionally taken family photos. I immediately asked for the photographer’s contact info, because the photos were just that good! (Warning, one look at Sarah’s newborn portfolio makes me clucky and might do the same to you!) I booked Sarah for a family photo shoot as a gift to myself back when Max still had toddler cheeks and Stella still had gaps in her teeth. We were thrilled with the results and are planning another session for this spring.

I’ve been wanting to try out Great Wolf Lodge (GWL) for some time now, but the driving distance and cost have so far held me back. So when Sarah told me that she’d visited a GWL over the March Break, I implored her to share all the details! She was kind enough to take the time to do so. I love getting an insider’s review of a vacation spot, and I thought you would too!


Photo credit: Sarah McCormack

We have been thinking about going to the GWL for several years with our boys, currently ages 7 and 10.  We had always focused on the Niagara Falls location but the high price always put me off.
Last year, a friend in Ottawa recommended the location in Pennsylvania, and after checking out the web site, we decided to book for 3 nights during the March Break. Not only was the U.S. location significantly cheaper, it is also NOT Spring Break there, unlike all Ontario destinations. We booked during the week, thinking we’d avoid the weekend crowds but I am pretty sure the hotel was booked solid regardless. (We even ran into 4 families we knew from Ottawa, so I guess the secret is out!) However, I must say that although there were crowds, it truly never felt crowded.
Photo credit: Sarah McCormack
We booked a “Wolf Den” suite online, which meant that our boys had their own seperate sleeping quarters (within our room), made to look like a (you guessed it) wolf den, which included bunk beds and their own tv. Our room was very spacious,  and included a queen bed and pull-out sofabed, and a balcony. Most of their rooms seem to sleep up to 6 people. The standard rooms are slight cheaper, but we thought we’d slurge and go with the “theme room.”  The Lodge itself was very easy to find, and had ample free parking on site.

Photo credit: Sarah McCormack

Official check in time is at 4pm, but they offer use of the waterpark from 1pm if you don’t need access to your room right away. You can use the change rooms, lockers (at a fee) and showers and enjoy the waterpark for the afternoon before getting your room. We decided, since we were staying 3 nights, to check in at the regular time, and found the staff very welcoming and our room ready for us.

Photo credit: Sarah McCormack

The use of the entire waterpark is included in your room rate. Everything else you pay seperately for, but can get deals when you book or at check in if you want to try several different activities, at a discounted rate. We chose not to get the “pass” as there were several things we knew we didn’t want to do. The pass is a great deal is you want to try everything!
My boys were very curious and excited about the MagiQuest game,  so we bought them both a wand and digital access to the quests (cost approx $70 total). They had hours of fun playing this digital game all over the hotel. They searched for treasure and runes, fought dragons and had tons of fun completing all 10 quests! They loved it and it provided a great break from the water park.

Photo credit: Sarah McCormack


The water park itself was incredible …. (stay tuned for Part 2!)



  1. Shanghaigeoff says:

    The photos and description of the travel lodge by Sarah McCormack sounded fascinating.

  2. Sounds fabulous – you’ve got me wanting to go:) I’ve heard the rooms are fun, and lots to do if you don’t want to be wet all day. Great blog! Thx for the info.

    S and C and A

  3. Shauna Rae says:

    This looks like such a great family holiday. Sarah really has a gift for capturing the moment both at work & at play ~ lovely pics. Thinking this needs to be put on our to-do list.

  4. SaraMPhoto says:

    Wow it looks fantastic!!! I would love to take the boys :)

  5. Sounds like a blast! Nothing beats a family vacation where great memories are made!

  6. What an exciting place… maybe next March we’ll head south instead of east for our holiday and take ALL the grandkids with us! That would be a vacation to remember!!!
    Thanks Sarah for this informative write up.
    GP Abby

  7. Sounds like a great family spot.  I hate to fly, so I love hearing about great family vacation ideas that are within driving distance!

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