Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, MA: A Great Mid-Week Getaway
A few weeks ago my sister and nephew (Ninja) came to visit and we decided to take a last-minute trip north to our closest Great Wolf Lodge near Boston. My sis and nephew had been to one near their home in North Carolina but we had never been and I’d been dying to check one out. We booked a basic room for a Thursday night at their cheapest rate, $159 per night. Considering it includes admission to the waterpark along with other free activities I thought the price was well worth it.
Our room was your standard hotel room, 2 queen beds, a large bathroom and amenities such as a fridge and coffee maker. The only thing differentiating it from any other hotel and Great Wolf Lodge is that it was decorated in a woodsy theme but not too overdone. Some of the rooms have a Wolf Den with bunk beds but since Stink and Ninja were so young we decided to stick with the standard room. A nice little bonus was a free Shutterfly coupon code for an 8×8 photo book to celebrate your Great Wolf Lodge vacation.
While our room was quite a hike from the waterpark I’m glad we stayed in that area of the hotel instead of the rooms that surrounded the noisy Howlin’ Timbers Play Park. If you’re a light sleeper or are traveling with an infant I would recommend requesting a room away from that area.
The water park at the Fitchburg location is divided into two parks, separated by a hallway that you have to cross over to get from one to the other. It’s a bit inconvenient stepping into that cold hallway while dripping wet but it’s not unbearable. Great Wolf Lodge boasts 84 degree water in their waterpark but that’s still roughly 14 degrees below one’s normal body temperature so the water can feel quite cold when you first step in, especially in winter time.
One section of the water park has 2 water slides, a large wave pool and a kiddie pool area with three short slides for the little ones. We mostly stayed in this kiddie pool during our stay, going down those slides over and over and OVER again. There are lifeguards everywhere, constantly scanning the waters for kids in trouble but they don’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to pool rules. Brandon went down the kiddie slides with Stink on his lap for almost half an hour straight before taking a break. When they returned to the slides a different lifeguard was on duty and told him that lap rides weren’t allowed and that put an end to Stink’s sliding for the day.
The other section of the waterpark has another 2 slides, a very large indoor/outdoor jacuzzi (perfect for warming up if the water feels too cold!), a lazy river and another kiddie area with pools. This kiddie pool area has a large bucket that fills with water and dumps every few minutes. Ninja was pretty freaked out by the bucket when it almost took his pants off and we didn’t want Stink to get dumped on so we stayed away from this area. I enjoyed floating in the lazy river quite a few times and the outdoor jacuzzi was a great way to test whether we would enjoy a trip to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. We even took Stink out there for a bit.
There’s plenty of other things to do at Great Wolf Lodge. Free activities include two ropes courses, one about 15 feet up for older kids and a smaller one about 2.5 feet off the ground for young ones. Other free activities are the storytelling times, a coloring table in the lobby, ping pong and a giant checkerboard.
Stink LOVED the obstacle course and did it 3 times with our help. Ninja also enjoyed the same ropes course, though he was tall enough to go on the bigger ropes course with an adult. Storytime was a big hit as well but we arrived a little late because we were having too much fun on the ropes course.
Activities that cost extra include the arcade, a 4D ride, laser frenzy, putt-putt golf, bowling and a few rides for the little ones, similar to the ones you see at the mall. There’s also the MagiQuest game which is popular with the older kids. Ninja wanted to try it out until he was told it takes about 3-4 hours to complete one quest. For a 5 year old that’s just too much of a time investment when there’s plenty of other stuff to do!
We tried the arcade games but were disappointed that none of them lasted very long so we didn’t spend too much time there. Each game and ride costs PawPoints that are loaded onto a card. To get a new card costs a $1 fee but reloading the card with PawPoints doesn’t cost any fees. After our disappointing time in the arcade we chose to use our remaining PawPoints on the kiddie rides. We didn’t try the putt-putt golf, MagiQuest or bowling during our stay but perhaps we’ll get the chance next time we go.
When we arrived we had planned on eating at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill restaurant for lunch. Unfortunately the restaurant wasn’t open so we found the pizza place Hungry Like a Wolf and ordered a pepperoni pizza for $13.99 to share. The pizza was quite delicious and a great option if you’re eating on a budget. Brandon also ordered a reusable cup for $12.99 which gave us free refills during our stay and future stays. Considering a bottle of soda is $3 and Brandon filled up about 8 times during our one-night stay we’re glad we made the choice, especially if we return in the future.
We ate dinner at the restaurant and I was slightly disappointed in my $25 overcooked rib-eye steak with undercooked vegetables and no salad. The service was slow even though there were less than a dozen tables occupied that night. The kid’s meals include hearty portions, though, and Stink loved her mac and cheese. Later that evening we enjoyed ice cream cones at Sweets and Eats.
The next morning we ate at the same restaurant for a buffet breakfast. It was an add-on that I chose at booking. $40 for our party of 3 adults and 2 kids was a very reasonable price for such a large breakfast and something I would get again. Selections included fresh fruit, custom omelets, french toast, cereals and breads, sausage and bacon.
The Verdict: Great Wolf Lodge has a military discount coupon code that we used to get 20% off our room rate, though some nights they have a similar 20% offer for non-military guests. I would definitely go again if we could get the same $159 rate that we paid before. Weekend rates tend to be almost $300 per night and I don’t feel that Great Wolf Lodge is worth paying that much for, especially when a $20 resort fee is added to your bill on top of that.
Where to Eat: Hungry as a Wolf has excellent pizza but I don’t recommend eating at the Lodge restaurant for anything other than breakfast. Great Wolf Lodge also has a Dunkin Donuts if you want something quick. Fitchburg has plenty of dining options as well if you don’t want to eat at the hotel, though outside food can’t be brought into the waterpark area.
Other Tips and Tricks: I suggest bringing a rashguard if you or your children get cold easily, especially if bringing along an infant or toddler. We brought Stink’s swim vest but Great Wolf provides those as well. I recommend bringing your own towels because the swim towels that are provided are the small, scratchy variety and a little too harsh for drying off the little munchkins. Guests can start using the waterpark as early as 1 pm on their check-in date and all day on their check-out date so we packed a separate bag with our towels and bathing suits and left our suitcases in the car until our room was ready.
Child Friendly? Definitely! From infants to teenagers the Great Wolf Lodge has something for all ages to enjoy. Older kids will love the MagiQuest, younger kids will love the storytime and everyone will love the waterpark.
Pet Friendly? No