Summer vacation is a time-honored family tradition. Parents often spend weeks (months?) researching where to go, what to do, how to save money and activities everyone in the family will enjoy. Careful planning goes into packing, maximizing minimal space and time as well as determining each day’s itinerary. No matter how many blogs are read about travel tips, safety tips, planning tips and more….there’s one little secret you won’t read: vacation is tiring.

I just spent a week in New England with my son. We visited Boston Harbor, the New England Aquarium, and most importantly, the new Great Wolf Lodge. We had a ball. But – I’m tired. Very tired.

My son’s nap schedule was off, his bedtime routine was off, and no matter how healthy and yummy the food, his meals were off. As a three-year-old, temper tantrums are to be expected – but sobbing in an elevator for six floors…that was new. Sharing a room was tough. I would be wide awake at night, sitting in the (quiet) dark, afraid to turn on the TV, so he could finally fall – and more importantly stay - asleep. And while there were just two of us – our stuff quickly took over the suite. My new flips flops somehow ended up in the suite’s mini fridge (??). Each night I rinsed out sippy cups, planned the next day’s clothing needs, requested more and more towels and tried to keep track of my daily contact lens supply.

So, I’m tired.

In one of those non-TV-don’t-make-a-sound-there’s-a-sleeping-preschooler-dark moments, I did think to myself, maybe he was too young for a real vacation. Maybe I should have waited until he was older. I thought about how, in reality, he won’t really remember this trip years from now. I wondered if I should have saved the money.

Well, in showing the amazing wisdom little kids so innocently have, he answered those questions for me. During a visit to the waterpark, I watched him explore Fort Mackenzie. First, he tried a slide, and at the bottom, would reach for me to help him up and out. Later, after countless rides, he said, “I can do it” and no longer needed my help. Instead, something new happened. He looked up at me excitedly asked, “Mommy – will you come, too?”

Next thing I knew, we were sliding, side-by-side, hand-in-hand together. We laughed, we splashed, and he said, “Do it again!” (over and over).

I will never forget this trip! I will forget how tired I was. I will forget the tantrums. I will remember his smile. I will remember the joy I felt when he invited me to slide with him. I’ll remember I was his chosen slide partner.

My advice? Take that vacation and treasure every moment.

Where do you go when you have a question about an upcoming visit to Great Wolf Lodge? Do you ask friends or colleagues who may have recently stayed at a Great Wolf resort? Do you post questions on Facebook or Twitter? Do you visit review sites, such as TripAdvisor or Yelp? While we all have questions while planning a family vacation, the way we find the answers we need varies greatly from person to person. While we can google almost anything these days, sometimes it is hard to find straight answers from other parents, like yourself, who’ve faced the same questions when prepping their own vacation to a new place. A great resource when planning your family getaway to Great Wolf Lodge is by having access to our exclusive panel. The Great Wolf Lodge Ask a Mom panel is comprised of moms and dads who are passionate about Great Wolf. Most Great Wolf Lodge properties have their own Ask a Mom panelist at the ready to answer just about anything thrown their way. They help with the key planning questions ranging from "What time is check-in?" to "How do you accommodate those with food allergies?"   They are also here to answer your unique and specific questions.

With the grand opening of a brand new Great Wolf Lodge, we are absolutely thrilled to welcome Annie Stow as the Great Wolf Lodge New England Ask a Mom panelist. Annie Stow is a mom of four young children who resides just outside of Boston, MA. She loves a good family adventure and writes a lifestyle blog about parenting, travel, food, education and fun at www.stowedstuff.com. Annie will be answering your questions about Great Wolf Lodge New England on our Ask a Mom site, but for now, she is answering a few of ours! We took a few minutes to catch up with Annie about family, summer vacation, and Great Wolf Lodge New England.

 

How does your family spend time together?

We love to travel, especially during the summer months. We enjoy exploring new beaches and finding the best local seafood restaurants in and around New England. When we're not traveling we love watching movies, bowling, and building with Legos!

What are some of your favorite family vacation spots?

We love visiting Cape Cod and Rhode Island the most because they are close by and we get to spend quality time with the grandparents! Our favorite beach in Newport, RI is Gooseberry Beach and we love any beach in East Dennis, MA. 

What do you think other parents will like most about Great Wolf Lodge New England?

The best thing about GWL is that all the fun is under one roof and if you've got toddlers or teens, everyone will have PLENTY to do - mini golf, bowling, waterpark fun, MagiQuest, arcade, ropes course and more! Plus, there's a Dunkin' Donuts right on the premises!

Do you have a number one “can’t miss” attraction at Great Wolf Lodge New England?

According to the kids, they say the Howlin' Tornado! I can't wait to go back and try it out for myself now that my broken foot has healed! I hear there's a really big drop that makes it the best slide at the park!

Which do you prefer: lazy river or wave pool?

Wave pool! Those waves are big!

When your family isn’t splashing away in the water park at Great Wolf Lodge, where can we find you?

We'll most likely be on the beach somewhere in New England!

What are you most looking forward to as an Ask a Mom panelist?

I'm excited to be able to help parents plan an amazingly fun vacation for the entire family at Great Wolf Lodge New England. 

What tips do you have for anyone who may be traveling to Great Wolf Lodge New England for the first time?

Don't forget to pack sneakers for the kids and adults so everyone can try out the ropes course! 

 

Do you have a question for Annie or for any of the other Ask a Mom panelists? Head on over to askamom.greatwolf.com to ask your questions. You can also follow along with Annie on Twitter (@anniestow), Facebook, and her blog: Stowed Stuff.

 

The NSA 2014 Class B Fastpitch World Series has come to Williamsburg, Virginia and Great Wolf Lodge is getting in on all the fun! Over 100 teams from five different age brackets are competing in the tournament.

The fun kicked off on Wednesday, July 16 with the NSA Pin Ceremony Fun Fest. As sponsors of the event, Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg had the opportunity to attend and pass out over 400 wolf ears! Our red, white, and blue ears were definitely a 'home run' with the crowd. Many teams took a break from the action to pose for the camera (and howl!) with their ears. Our sales team even got in on the fun! If you want to see all of the photos from the evening, visit Sports Williamsburg on Facebook.

As for the tournament, play begins today and concludes on Saturday with the championship games. From all of us here at Great Wolf Lodge, best of luck to all teams and athletes competing. And we can't forget a very special howl to Aly Furnas, daughter of Keith Furnas, General Manager of Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, and her team: the Williamsburg Starz. 

When I started working at Great Wolf, my very first project was to write and submit award entries. As I sit here one year later working on our entries for 2014, I can’t help but look back at all that has happened in the last year.

From opening a brand new Great Wolf Lodge in New England to breaking ground on Great Wolf Lodge Southern California, we’ve had a busy year at Great Wolf.  To put it in perspective, here’s a quick look (in numbers!) at my first 365 days as a member of the pack:

Miles flown: 17,000

Properties visited: 3

Trips inside the Howlin' Tornado: 1

Guests howling at the moon during Howl-o-Ween (in orange ears!): 4,000

Great Wolf Lincoln Log Lodges built: 50

Total number of Lincoln Logs ordered to assemble Lincoln Log versions of GWL: 7,000

Number of copies of the Great Wolf Lodge New England Fact Sheet printed incorrectly: 500

Press Kits stuffed: 500

Hot chocolate mugs broken in transit: 20

Hot chocolate packets that exploded: 12

Green boxes stuffed with unbroken mugs and intact hot chocolate packets: 40

Pizzas consumed while stuffing said press kits, Lincoln Logs, and hot chocolate mailers: 8

PEEPS in the office: 1,000

PEEPS microwaved: 5 (If you haven’t tried this, you need to… but be careful, they burn easy!)

PEEPS eaten: 0 (This past year has also been a test of my willpower)

Ping pong games played in New York: 6

New Facebook fans in New England: Over 38,000

Photos on Instagram using #GWLNewEngland: 709

Excited fans at Great Wolf Lodge New England to see Cody Simpson play an acoustic set: 500

Minutes he serenaded Great Wolf Lodge guests: 60

Ground Breaking Ceremonies: 1

Hard hats with wolf ears: 20

Paws spray painted in the dirt: 12

Gold shovels: 12

Grand Openings: 1

Great Wolf Lodge New England grand opening media impressions: Over 100 MILLION!

Number of times I thought I’d have the opportunity to do all of the above in my first year: 0

It really has been a busy first year for me here at Great Wolf Lodge. And while several numbers may seem more impressive than others, in some cases those smaller numbers have made for the best memories!  I’m looking forward to the next 365 days and the numbers that come my way.

For July 4th weekend we did what so many other families did: visited Great Wolf Lodge! And while there is always so much to see and do there is no denying the waterpark is the only thing that REALLY matters to my three year old. Waterslides, spray features and swimming are the perfect water trifecta for myin his eyes.

My son is fearless and he loves the water. He jumps in, he tackles waterslides and he moves fast. There are so many “tips” for “Keeping your child safe in the water” and while some tips seem so obvious, is not always easy in real life.

At Great Wolf Lodge, safety is the number one priority. As both a proud pack member and “helicopter mom” – here are a few things I share when describing how Great Wolf Lodge keeps the waterpark safe and fun.

Life jackets

Life jackets for various age ranges and sizes are provided FREE of charge at all Great Wolf Lodge waterparks. Located at each park’s entrance, lifeguards help parents choose the proper size and fit for their child.

If you have a stubborn child like I do, a limited number of puddle jumper life jackets are also available. My son refuses to wear a life jacket, but with a puddle jumper, he has more mobility. These jackets are U.S. Coast Guard approved, are sized for children weighing 30-50 lbs. and have an adjustable buckle on the back for a snug, secure fit.

And while no device is a substitute for mom or dad – having access to these safe life jackets is just one way Great Wolf Lodge helps make vacation a little less stressful.

Wiley’s Safety Club

Great Wolf Lodge removes the guesswork, as well as potential tears, from determining if your child can safely ride certain attractions.

As soon as they enter the waterpark, children can stand by the Wiley the Wolf® measuring sign and receive a color wristband based on their height. Each color designates what attractions they can go on either alone, or with a parent. Signage throughout the park reflects this color coding system, and together, you and your child can see what color they can ride before reaching the top of the stairs. (And if your child is disappointed their color band limits them - you can say Wiley is keeping everyone safe and as he or she gets taller – you’ll keep coming back.)

Lifeguards

This may seem obvious, but I always look at the lifeguards no matter where we travel. Again, lifeguards are not a substitute for a parent, but knowing a trained aquatics team is constantly watching the water means a great deal. At Great Wolf Lodge, they are constantly moving and scanning the water, ready to assist at a second’s notice and they can be found at just about every attraction – indoors and out. Company-wide, Great Wolf Lodge employs over 1,000 lifeguards. Wow!

Becoming a Great Wolf Lodge lifeguard is not easy. Candidates must be at least 16 years old, eligible for employment by Great Wolf Lodge, pass a background check, complete a minimum of 24 hours of lifeguard training and earn certification from a third party company. Once hired, the Aquatics Team layers in tests, drills and mandatory “in-service” training each month for each lifeguard. Phew! This is no easy summer job.

 

You

As I helped my son down the kiddie slides hundreds of times on July 4th, I was also reminded that safety is a shared responsibility.  As parents, we know our children’s abilities; we know what they are drawn to, and we can often anticipate where they will go. If we have concerns or questions about whether or child should try something, it is our job to read the posted safety signs, talk to the aquatics supervisor and even listen to our inner parent voice. I don’t leave my son when he’s in the bathtub at home – why would I at a waterpark?

Summer is here, and this July 4th, we had the happy smiles and the wrinkly skin to prove it. More water-filled adventures are ahead of us – at Great Wolf Lodge, at the beach, at the pool. And if there is something we can all agree on – a safe summer is truly the most fun of all.

What do you get when you combine a new resort opening with an appearance by one of pop music’s fastest growing artists? A howlingly great time!

Days before heading to Europe to kick off his summer-long tour, Cody Simpson, performed an exclusive acoustic set for guests at Great Wolf Lodge New England. Between taking on the waterpark’s exciting attractions, playing in the Northern Lights Arcade with his brother and meeting hundreds of guests from around the country, Cody also took time to give a glimpse into his life for "Behind the Howl."

Below are a few submitted to Great Wolf Lodge via Twitter and Instagram, as well as a few from our Pack Members, and Cody’s responses:

Q: @Cute_fashionable_hh: What is your favorite slide at #greatwolflodge?

CS: The Wolf Tail slide was crazy. I was not expecting that drop!

 

Q: @Eva.co: What age where you when u first picked up an instrument?

CS: Way back when I was 10-11. My grandparents bought me a guitar and I started messing around with it. I still play guitar every night before bed so that I can improve!

Q: @Simpsonedits_: What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

CS: Hang out with my mates and hit the beach for a surf. Really just relax and enjoy not being busy every single minute of the day. I've realized how important it is to spend time with the people you love.

Q: @CodysSkateboard: Where’s some place you haven’t visited but would like to?

CS: I haven't been to a lot of the places that I’m hitting on my European tour. I have shows in Turkey, all over Scandinavia and Portugal. I’ve never been to any of those before and I can't wait to indulge in the culture.

Q: @liamprfxct: What do you like the most about touring?

CS: I love changing places from day to day. You go to sleep in one city and wake up in the next; sometimes this means completely different climates, languages, time zones, people etc.  It's surreal. I also love being with my tour crew - some great lads on the road!

Q: @CodyTitanicLove: How does it make you feel having so many people supporting you from all over the world?

CS: It's extremely gratifying. I appreciate the support from each and every one of you. It truly means the world to me.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when you write music?

CS: Anything that's relevant in my life really. If I'm experiencing hardships with girls, it'll come out in my music. If I’m happy over a particular situation, it will influence my mood when writing and that will ultimately reflect in the song.

Q: What did it mean to you to have your whole family with you at Great Wolf Lodge?
CS: I've been extremely busy lately and I don't always get to spend as much time with them as I would like. Great Wolf Lodge was a great place to spend some quality family time and re-connect before I left for Europe.

Q: What do you think your fans would like best at Great Wolf Lodge?
CS: There is a huge assortment of rides that suit all different types of people. My show was extremely intimate experience and I then got to spend quality time with my fans as well as my family!

Q: Will you come back to Great Wolf Lodge again?
CS: Of course!  I was stoked to check it out and it was a blast. I hope that I can return when I have some time off the road.

 

When I got my first job - a number of years ago - I never dreamed I’d have a career I’d one day “howl” about. I just knew I loved four things: planning events, speaking, writing and always being on the move. Working in the hospitality and entertainment industry was perfect for me.

PR and event planning quickly became my niche. Most people don’t understand how many steps go into planning an event. Or that each step, often has many steps. But I admit – I love it.

This year has been filled with Great Wolf Lodge events. So far, the biggest and most exciting event has been planning the official grand opening of Great Wolf Lodge New England, which will take place in just a few short days. The debut of our first new resort in four years is thrilling news for our company.

For me, its been about tapping into my creative side, juggling many, many projects at once, planning a party for hundreds of guests, telling our story to the media and trying to appear organized and calm through it all.

The other day a colleague came into my office and burst out laughing while looking around. Who can say their office is home to: 100 pairs of wolf ears, 100 beach towels, over 500 wooden sticks that are actually pens, homemade packets of Howlin’ Hot Chocolate, thousands of Lincoln Logs, hundreds of printed resort photos, paw-shaped USB drives, glitter sipper cups, folders, stationary, glue dots, envelopes and a seemingly endless supply of Mike and Ike Candies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? I can.

And each of those items has been an essential part in the planning and execution of the full campaign to tease and entice writers around the country about Great Wolf Lodge New England. (The candy? Well, that’s to thank (bribe?) my colleagues for when I need a little assistance. 

A key component to the planning process has been department “stuffing” parties. Everyone comes together and helps with a make-shift assembly line stuffing envelopes, labeling mailers, counting Lincoln Logs, packing boxes, dubbing flash drives and more. Pizza, pop and iTunes complete the mission.

Many years ago, while working at my first internship, I remember stuffing a large quantity of envelopes and thinking, “One day, when I’m in management, I won’t need to do this.” And with each subsequent job, title and position, I have continued to stuff, sort, dub, print, label and assemble.

It’s a key part of “a day in the life of a PR professional.” And to me, it’s one of the fun parts. Now with just a few days to go, as we count and sort and assemble everything we have spent months planning for, I could not be happier to see it all come together.

My role in the day-to-day operation at Great Wolf Lodge sometimes feels like a small one. But now, as we get closer and closer to our grand opening event, I remain honored and thrilled to be a part of this new chapter for Great Wolf Resorts. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more flash drives to burn.

Oh - and if you’re at Great Wolf Lodge New England this summer, you just may find me finally relaxing at Slap Tail Pond, planning our next big event.

If you have been to any of our lodges over the last few months you may have received a Boogie Wipes Plush at one our weekend dance parties, or an in-room sample of Boogie Wipes Gentle Saline Wipes.

Didn’t have a chance to make it to the lodge? You can still partake in the benefits of this partnership.  Great Wolf Lodge® and Boogie Wipes® have teamed up to bring you a family getaway this summer! You and your family can enter for a chance to win a 2-night stay at any of the Great Wolf Lodge locations, plus a $150 gift card to use during your stay.  Entering is easy at boogiewipes.com.  Saturday, May 31st is the last day to enter, so hurry!

Boogie Wipes, part of Little Busy Bodies, Inc. are the first ever saline nose wipes and were developed to help kids’ sore, red, runny noses.

To learn more about this great sweepstakes and Boogie Wipes visit boogiewipes.com. 

The Great Wolf Lodge wristband is an important part of a lodge stay. In fact, for many of our guests, it is even a unique souvenir. Kids love to wear their wristband and take advantage of the “all access pass” it grants them. With the flick of the wrist, they can enter their suite, waltz into the waterpark and, if mom and dad give the OK at check-in, even buy treats at Bear Paw, Paw Points in the Northern Lights arcade and Great Wolf Kids merchandise from the store. We often hear stories from guests whose kids refuse to take their wristbands off even when they return home. The daughter of a colleague actually wore hers for four months!

But, there is a flip side to the little wristband. They don’t fit perfectly. Once you position it to fit around your wrist – there’s almost always an extra piece. If you’re like me, you LOVE the convenience of the RFID technology, and not needing to carry a wallet around the resort, but that extra “flap” can be a little annoying. However, as I received discovered, snipping away that little annoyance is one of the simplest and coolest acts of guest service at the Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains. It’s also a bit competitive.

Pack Members at the resort carry scissors on a small zip cord. If they see guests with wristbands that have the extra “tail” - they approach and offer to snip it away for the perfect fit. Problem solved.

However, the snip is only half of the activity. The story of the little wristband tail does not end in an abrupt cut.

 

Instead, wristband snips are saved by each department and are then entered in the “Great ‘Wolf Tail’ Competition”. Each little tail is collected, saved, and put in a large container as part of a monthly, spirited contest across all resort areas. The challenge is on to see which department is a cut above the rest, and how many guests had their wristbands sized to perfection.

While I was at the resort in the Pocono Mountains, the Retail Team was in the lead. Their jar was so full; the team had to tie bags of tails to it!

No prize is given out for “most tails” collected, but everyone enjoys the fun and simple competition. Departments take great pride in turning in their colorful band snips. And judging from the collection I saw, guests are happy to have their wristbands sized, and extra tails bobbed off.

This tale of the tail, I just had to tell.

 

Traveling while being on a gluten-free diet can be quite stressful, as you are never sure if there will be something available for you to eat. I was so happy to find that was not the case during my recent visit to Great Wolf Lodge. I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Uselman, the Director of Food & Beverage at Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg. Chris assured me there were a variety of options available, many that are standard Great Wolf fare, just a gluten-free version. Chris stressed the importance of making sure gluten-free individuals, especially children, do not feel left out or disappointed with limited food options during their stay.

From hot dogs, to hamburgers and pizza, everyone can feel comfortable eating breaded foods at Great Wolf Lodge due to the resorts' availability of gluten-free breads, dough and mixes. Due to the possibility of cross-contamination, these options are prepared separately to ensure its safety. There is a gluten-free menu available in The Loose Moose Bar and Grill, but food options are available to eat in the water park snack bar as well as Hungry as a Wolf. Chris also recommends that anyone speak with a server or ask the chef about any special requests or questions. While I personally eat gluten-free, the lodge culinary staff is fully trained and well-equipped to deal with a variety of allergies and dietary needs. 

Even without asking for special preparations, I found a myriad of naturally gluten-free options readily available during the breakfast and dinner buffet. For breakfast, I chose cheese eggs, potatoes and fruit. For dinner, I was able to eat fish, couscous, sweet potatoes, baked beans, mashed potatoes and more. I was more than pleased with what was available and felt comfortable knowing I could ask for something else if need be. Being able to adhere to my diet while I vacation at Great Wolf Lodge - without sacrificing quality and taste - is just one more reason why I love Great Wolf Resorts!

-Kira Riley, Ask a Mom Panelist for Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

There’s no denying that there is always something fun going on at Great Wolf Lodge, and springtime is no different. As part of our partnership with Just Born, Inc. we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the start of spring with a springtime favorite: PEEPS®! If you’re visiting Great Wolf Lodge between April 1 and 21, you can take part in our very first V.I.PEEPS event. Upon check-in, guests will receive their very own V.I.PEEPS card to complete throughout their stay.  The V.I.PEEPS event includes a PEEPS Plush Scavenger Hunt and PEEPS take-home craft. After completing the scavenger hunt and craft, you can be entered to win a giant PEEPS plush bunny.

Springtime fun with PEEPS doesn’t have to end after your visit to Great Wolf Lodge. Your family can spend quality time together cooking with PEEPS!

Here’s a simple and easy treat from PEEPS that the whole family can enjoy:

PEEPS Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of pretzels (medium size recommended)
  • 1 bag of Melting chocolate
  • Rainbow sprinkles of your choice
  • Marshmallow PEEPS® Chicks (assorted colors are recommended)

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.

2. Dip your pretzels into the chocolate and tap it on the side of the bowl to remove excess

chocolate.

3. Holding the pretzel over a bowl, pour sprinkles over to cover it.

4. Place pretzel on a sheet of wax paper to dry.

5. Once dried, use a bit of melting chocolate to adhere a PEEP to the top of your pretzel.

 

As we look ahead to the Grand Opening of Great Wolf Lodge New England, we are so excited to introduce our new guests to Scooops ® Kid Spa. Scooops Kid Spas, located exclusively at Great Wolf Lodge Resorts, is the spa location for your girls to have light-hearted fun and enjoy their first spa experiences. With an ice cream-theme to all of the treatments, our young clients can receive Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry manicures and pedicures, Chocolate covered organic facials and have a great time. Scooops Kid Spa – spelled with three “o’s” to represent the popular ice cream flavors of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla – is our way of saying that our guests deserve more than just “one scoop” of fun.

When we first debuted Scooops Kid Spa, our goal was to provide vacationing young girls with a fun place to enjoy being “girlie” – to get pampered, to relax and to laugh.  Our focus is on our guests and providing them with a “sweet” memory to take home. So when we think of what services to offer, the spa’s atmosphere and the products we sell – all of those play key parts in our full Scooops Kid Spa experience. Our services, manicures, pedicures and facials, complete with their own flavorful products, are designed especially for girls ages 4 to 15. Featuring whimsical ice cream cone stools and oversized banana split pedicure thrones, Scooops Kid Spa is the perfect place to celebrate the sweetest parts of childhood.

Moms can take spend some quality time with daughters as they treat themselves to Mommy & Me pedicures, or a group of girlfriends can have fun celebrating life’s sweetest moments together at Scooops.

Appointments are recommended, and can be made while on property or scheduled ahead of your anticipated stay. More info and a service “menu” is coming soon!  

As we look ahead to the opening of Great Wolf Lodge New England, we cannot contain our excitement to introduce the Great Wolf Lodge brand to families in this region. With everything under one roof, Great Wolf Lodge truly is a destination for families to spend quality time together. There is no denying that the indoor water park will be the heart of our resort. If you’re already familiar with Great Wolf Lodge, you know everything that our water parks have to offer. For our new fans, we want to share all the water park excitement with you!

If you’re a first time visitor to Great Wolf Lodge, your family will love that the 68,000 square foot indoor water park is kept at a comfortable 84 degrees (and if you’re like me, 84 degrees sounds pretty good right about now!). This allows for year round, weather-proof family fun. Another great feature of Great Wolf Lodge is that the water park is reserved exclusively for our overnight guests and water park admission is always included with your stay.  You will never have to worry about long lines or constant waiting because you’ll be too busy riding your favorite slides over and over again.

Great Wolf Lodge New England’s water park will have something for everyone in your family. You can spend time in the zero-depth entry children’s pool with your little ones while your thrill-seekers set out for the Howlin’ Tornado, and then the whole family can come together at Fort Mackenzie for a splash underneath the nearly 1,000 gallon Tipping Bucket.  We couldn’t be more excited to announce that a new slide will make its brand-wide debut at Great Wolf Lodge New England! Stay tuned – more details are to come!

It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s summer vacation, and it’s hard to pass up all the family memories that you could be making at Great Wolf Lodge New England! If you haven’t already, be sure to like our Great Wolf Lodge New England Facebook page for all news and updates. You can also sign up to receive exclusive offers by joining our ePack.

While there is always something exciting taking place at Great Wolf Lodge, I can’t think of anything more exciting than a new resort! And with 2014 already in full swing – so is our 12th property, Great Wolf Lodge New England.

Scheduled to open in late spring, Great Wolf Lodge New England will offer the very best of our family-focused attractions and amenities as well as a number of brand new experiences. Wands in hand, kids will have an entire new property to explore, earn runes, battle dragons and collect gold as they play MagiQuest. For a sweet treat that pampers and delights, Scooops Kid Spa will offer ice cream-themed manicures and pedicures. Little toes and taste buds will be tempted and spoiled.

Of course, the heart of the resort will be the indoor water park. The massive water play land will feature something for everyone. Currently under construction is the park’s signature attraction, the Howlin’ Tornado. With its bright red and yellow funnel, this six story raft ride will definitely provide many howls of excitement!

Late last fall, Great Wolf Lodge Mason and Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine debuted a new restaurant, The Lodge Wood Fired Grill. We look so forward to opening the third location at Great Wolf Lodge New England! The full service, a la carte restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner. It has quickly become a favorite at our two resorts in Texas and Ohio and we can’t wait to debut it to our New England guests, too.

Even better will be the new attractions and amenities that will be exclusive to this property. Guests who have been to a Great Wolf Lodge before will discover several new adventures and activities while staying at this the resort.

Are you as excited as we are? Over the next few months, we’ll continue to write and share more about what is happening at Great Wolf Lodge New England right here! Stay in touch and join the conversation about Great Wolf Lodge New England. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GWLNewEngland and sign up to receive exclusive news and offers by joining our ePack.

Great Wolf Lodge New England – it will be a wicked fun time!

 

In late 2013 we were excited to debut a brand new dining option at the Great Wolf Lodge resorts in Mason, Ohio and Grapevine, Texas. As we get ready to open new locations at our other resorts we took a few moments to speak with Chef Chris Hammond, Corporate Director of Food and Beverage for Great Wolf Resorts to learn more about the Lodge Wood Fired Grill.

Where did the idea for the Lodge Wood Fired Grill come from?

Every day we strive to exceed our guests’ expectations and dining is one of those areas that we focus a great deal of attention on. About a year ago we partnered with a consulting agency to help rebrand our current food variety and look at new outlets and options. This included also taking a “discovery tour” which entailed visiting and trying many restaurants to look at trends, ideas, menus and atmosphere.

We decided to begin with our Great Wolf Lodge properties in Mason and Grapevine.  We worked with the consulting team to develop on a brand new menu, which took over three months to develop. We had the culinary teams at each resort create their own drink menus to incorporate many local favorites, such as draft beer, to provide authentic regional taste.

From there, we reviewed and sampled every dish, as well as conducted a professional photo shoot and food stylist of each item. Hard to believe but it took three days, 34 hours and 1500 pictures to get the photos you see on the menu today!

Then the real fun began! We spent two weeks full training our teams – both the culinary team and the serving so they could accurately – and deliciously – describe each menu item to our guests. We were so excited to officially open the first two Lodge Wood Fired Grill restaurants last November!

How is the Lodge Wood Fired Grill different from the other dining options at Great Wolf Lodge?

The Lodge Wood Fired Grill is the only a la carte restaurant at the resort. But even more important, this restaurant has an identity, it has a soul, and everything has a purpose. From the fresh ingredients to the local beers and crafted cocktails, everything was inspired to give our guests a dining experience that they have not previously had at Great Wolf Lodge.

Are there plans to open a Lodge Wood Fired Grill in any of the other Great Wolf Lodge resorts?

We are excited to continue to add this restaurant to the Great Wolf Lodge family. It will open this year at our resorts in Grand Mound, Washington; Concord, North Carolina and our newest resort, Great Wolf Lodge New England in Massachusetts.

What is your favorite item on the menu? Are there any guest favorites?

That is such a tough question to answer as I spent so much time on this project, especially with the food. The spaghetti with lobster and shrimp is an amazing “wow” and so is the shrimp and farro salad. Come to think of it, I love the artichoke too, oh and the hummus, and the BBQ Platter….

 

Want to learn more about one of Chef Chris’ Lodge Wood Fired Grill favorites? He has shared the recipe below!

The holidays are the perfect time of year for families to spend time together in the kitchen. Christmas cookies, peppermint bark, maybe even fruitcake – all are treats that we love to make during this special time of year.

At Great Wolf Lodge, we have our own holiday season tradition - Snowland. Families can spend time with Santa, enjoy snow indoors each night and create new family traditions together. And just like being at home, yummy treats are a key part of the Snowland experience.

The center point of Snowland is not only beautiful – but also edible! For months, our culinary teams baked, created and decorated life-size gingerbread houses in the lobby of each Great Wolf Lodge.

Our guests can dine in these unique cottages. New this year, we partnered with the makers of PEEPS & COMPANY® and Just Born Quality Confections, the makers of PEEPS®, MIKE AND IKE® and HOT TAMALES®, to provide many of the edible treats that adorn the walls of each gingerbread house. The house at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains has over 1000 PEEPS® on it! (I know because I was able to help put all them on!)

To help bring some Snowland cheer into your home, here are two of our favorite holiday-inspired treats. From the Great Wolf Lodge family and the Just Born family, happy holidays!  

Great Wolf Howlin’ Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 2 QT Whole Milk
  • 1 QT Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
  • 4 Whole Star Anise
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 LB Sweetened Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate (chips, coins or small chunks; use the best quality Sweetened Chocolate)

Directions:

  1. Let the cinnamon and star anise soak in the milk cream mixture overnight. Add the sugar and place on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Strain the mixture and place back on the stove, add in the chocolate and whisk until fully blended. Makes 16 6 oz. servings.
  2. For an added treat – add a Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored PEEPS Chick

PEEPS Holiday Pops

Ingredients:

  • PEEPS® Peppermint Stars, and PEEPS® Trees
  • Equal number of paper straws or sticks
  • 12 oz. bag of chocolate candy melts
  • Sprinkles
  • Crushed candy canes

Directions:

  1. Remove PEEPS® Trees and PEEPS® Peppermint Stars from their packaging.
  2. Slowly slide PEEPS® on to each of your sticks or straws, stopping just before the straw pushes through the other end of the PEEP.
  3. Lay out baking sheet and line with wax paper.
  4. Melt chocolate coating according to the package directions and apply to PEEPS® shapes

5.    Coat shapes with sprinkles or crushed candy canes and let cool.

 

 

We are SO excited to announce our partnership with Highlights for Children. I loved Highlights Hidden Pictures Fun Books when I was a kid, and now all guests of Great Wolf Lodge have a chance to enjoy them! In each room at Great Wolf Lodge, guests will have the chance to keep their children busy with Highlights Hidden Pictures Fun Books – a great post waterpark activity.

Highlights created this Hidden Pictures activity for Great Wolf Lodge. Print it off and see how long it takes you and your kids to find all of the hidden pictures!

Is your family always looking for more ways to have fun together? Highlights offers some great family activities and Highlights news on their blog. You can also like Highlights for Children on Facebook for even more updates.

What do you get when you simultaneously bring together hundreds of families across three time zones under the glow of a full moon? An event that is truly something to HOWL about!

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, our ten Great Wolf Lodge resorts across the United States offered a unique challenge to our guests: come together for the chance to set a new world record for the most people howling at the same time.

Earlier this year, we read about a record attempt in St. Cloud, Minn where students from St. Cloud State University gathered together to set a record for most people howling. Their event attracted 296 people.

Howling is a fun tradition at Great Wolf Lodge resorts. Guests stomp, clap and howl alongside Wiley the Wolf and his cast of lovable characters every day. It is a part of the Great Wolf Lodge experience.

Each October the resorts also all celebrate Howl-O-Ween, complete with trick or treating through the lodges, Monster Bash dance parties and more. After reading about that record attempt in Minnesota, we knew we could not only beat that record – but also set a new one that would REALLY have everyone howling!

When planning a world record attempt, in order to “beat” the existing record, you must re-create the same circumstances as the original. For us, that meant bringing everyone together in one spot, outside and having them howl for 60 seconds. The full moon provided the perfect setting across the country for everyone.

Of course, we still had to put our own unique Great Wolf Lodge flair on our record attempt: as a special surprise, we gave everyone who took part a limited edition set of bright orange wolf ears to wear while howling at the moon!

At exactly 8:45 p.m. EST our resorts counted everyone down and the howling began. 4,341 people of all ages howled for one minute! I’m sure wolves in the wild all paused and perked their ears at that time, wondering just what was inspiring so much howling that night!

Were you at one of our resorts? Curious how many people howled alongside you? Check out our totals below. And next time you see a full moon, take a moment to howl, Great Wolf Lodge-style!

Great Wolf Lodge Concord, NC – 605

Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains, PA – 615

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, WA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City, MI – 381

Great Wolf Lodge   Kansas City, KA – 346

Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells, WI – 261

Great Wolf Lodge Mason, OH – 492

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, OH – 478

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, TX  - 339

Your first vacation with your kids has to be something very special, something they will remember forever.

So after much consideration, we decided to visit Great Wolf Lodge in December: the only place I know of where you have snow in the lobby, Story Time in your jammies and a delightful, enormous bucket of water that dumps on your head and almost knocks you over. I know, it sounds perfect. It was!

We didn't tell our kids where we were going. I packed them in secret and we hopped in the car. The closer we got, I started humming the Great Wolf Lodge theme song. As we were pulling onto Great Wolf Lodge's street, I started singing "Going to the Lodge..." and the kids went nuts.

They were thrilled with the entire experience, and I was too. When it was time to leave, we decided that if we could, we would live at Great Wolf Lodge. We can't wait to go back!!

Victoria Keen
Fort Worth, TX
 

New England families will soon have something to howl about—we are excited to announce that Great Wolf Lodge has official begun construction in Massachusetts on a new resort.

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will give families more than 100,000 square feet of entertainment and lodging space to enjoy together—all under one roof. The centerpiece of the resort will be the indoor waterpark—the largest in the state with more than 68,000 square feet of fun for the whole family.

Of course it will have some signature Great Wolf Lodge water rides like the Howlin’ Tornado, Slap Tail Pond wave pool and everyone's favorite—Fort Mackenzie with its 1,000 gallon tipping bucket.

Just like all of our lodges, Great Wolf Lodge - New England will feature guest suites that provide the perfect place for families to relax after a day of waterpark fun. Families can choose from several suite styles, like the popular kid-themed Wolf Den and KidCabin suites.  The resort will also debut never-before-seen suite styles—the Majestic KidCabin and the Grizzly Wolf Dens.

The Majestic KidCabin will sleep 11 people and will have two bathrooms, a separate king bedroom, two queen beds and a themed cabin for kids, complete with a daybed and a set of bunk beds. The Grizzly Wolf Den will sleep ten people, have two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room area and themed kids Wolf Den, complete with bunk beds. Two awesome new additions to our line up of comfy suites.

You can also find a ton of other activities throughout the lodge that are perfect for kids of all ages, like:

  • The brand’s first and only indoor dry play area—over 16,000 square feet of entertainment complete with a multi-level ropes course and indoor miniature golf
  • MagiQuest
  • Scooops Kid Spa
  • Ten Paw Alley mini bowling
  • The Great Clock Tower Show and evening Story Time

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will also feature several restaurant options like our new Lodge Wood Fired Grill restaurant and bar, Bear Paw Sweets & Eats, Hungry as a Wolf and a Dunkin’ Donuts®.

As always, the indoor water park is exclusive to resort guests and waterpark passes are included with each suite—a great value and the perfect place to spend time together as a family.

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will be our twelfth resort. Located off Route 2, 45 minutes from Boston—Great Wolf Lodge - New England is expected to open in late spring 2014. 

To stay up to date on all the building progress, visit www.greatwolf.com/NewEngland, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.