My parents were supposed to visit us a few weeks ago and my mom came down with a bad cold right before their visit and they had to cancel. They rescheduled for this past weekend, and then her cold returned and they cancelled again. Mazen was very sad, and we had a wide open weekend with a forecast of cold rain.
Thomas and I brainstormed a few fun things we could do, and an overnight to Great Wolf Lodge moved to the top of the list. It’s a resort that has tons of activities for kids, including a giant indoor water park! I booked a last minute (probably overpriced) bunk bed room and we found ourselves en route to Williamsburg on Saturday morning! (There are Great Wolf Lodges all over the country – you might have one nearby!)
Lunch In Williamsburg
Our first stop was Thomas’s cousin Mason’s restaurant, Old City BBQ. In fact, we were able to meet up with a lot of his cousins, aunts, and uncles there for lunch at the last minute. If you are ever in Williamsburg, this is the place to eat! (See my post about their opening weekend here.)
We had smoked pimento cheese, wings, the most delicious brussels sprouts, and BBQ platters. I was busy catching up so I didn’t get too many photos, but my BBQ, cornbread, and collards platter was 100% delish.
Mazen had a great time running in circles with his cousins. (We were in the events room so they didn’t bother other guests.)
A Surprise Trip
As of Thursday, Mazen knew we had “something fun” planned on Saturday, but we didn’t divulge too many details until we were on the way.
- You haven’t been there before
- It’s 2 hours away
- You will need your bathing suit
- There is water
You should have seen his excitement when we arrived! I am 36 years old, and I couldn’t wait to explore this place!
The Water Park
Room check in isn’t until 4pm, but if you get there after 1, you can use the water park. We had packed a separate pool bag with our suits, and so we didn’t waste a minute. It was insanely crowded (as expected) and the water slide lines were long, but we still had a great time. Thomas and I tag-teamed Birch. We didn’t want to attempt having him swim yet. (Can you even put a swim diaper on a breast fed baby? I don’t know!)
Mazen and I waited about 15 minutes in line for one of the big water slides, chatting with the family in front of us who had little kids and said the slide was fun. We got to the top, sat down in a little raft, and held hands as we were pushed into a giant dark tube. Inside it was totally blackout, and we couldn’t see a thing as we twisted and turned up the sides. I screamed the whole way and we were spit out at the bottom with Mazen in tears!! It was exhilarating yet also so fun. Mazen couldn’t have been too scared because he did it again with Thomas the next day. There were two other “big” slides that you could ride double in a tube plus two smaller body slides and tons of little tiny ones for younger kids. I tried all of the big ones, including one called the Tornado where you literally climb the walls of a giant cone-shaped tube in your raft! (Mazen didn’t attempt that one even though he was technically tall enough for everything at the park.)
Our Room: The Kid Cabin
After a few hours of swimming, our room was ready so we went to check it out and change.
Mazen absolutely LOVED the bunk beds and told Thomas he would be sleeping in the lower bunk. T had to lay there at bedtime until Mazen was asleep and then snuck back to the big bed.
Our room was cozy with a gas fireplace (great for drying bathing suits!) with plenty of room for our pack and play. We also had a microwave and mini fridge.
Not sure what’s up with this paint job?! There were two bunks and a twin in here, so you could fit a large family.
Wolf ears, wolf teeth! #alwaysonthetopbunk
My only complaint was the view. Yikes. We definitely did not enjoy morning coffee on our balcony.
Mazen is really into arcades at the moment, so he was THRILLED to spend some time there with Thomas (who loves anything a six year old would love ; ) ) I ended up walking around with Birch, who napped in the carrier, while the boys played arcade games.
When I returned, they had won 1300 tickets! Mazen got a cool dart board for his bedroom.
We went to dinner in the only sit-down restaurant on the property which had a dinner buffet, although we realized the following day there is an “order off a menu” restaurant across the parking lot. (See below!) Luckily it was not too crowded, and we sat right down to a table.
The buffet, which was $20 for adults and $7 for kids, was actually pretty good. I made a big salad plate with bites of this and that on top. And I had a beer! (That little corn dog bite was my favorite – haha!)
And I hit the dessert table hard with this tasting plate. Yum yum!
Donuts + Coffee
Birch slept pretty well in his pack and play, but I tossed and turned all night unfortunately. I rarely sleep well in hotels – I am always too hot! In the morning Thomas brought us coffee and donuts from the on-site Dunkin’ Donuts which was cheaper than going to the breakfast buffet. (I think it was $15 for adults and $10 for kids – a little too much since no one was that hungry.) The donuts were yummy and held us over till lunch.
At 8 we went to the MagiQuest and bought Mazen the special wand so he could play the resort’s interactive adventure game. It was quite confusing to figure out at first (even for us adults who can read well!) but a nice boy gave us a tutorial and then it started making sense. Thomas and Mazen ran back and forth down the halls looking for crystals while I pushed Birch in the stroller for a short nap. I think the game is best suited for older kids, but Mazen still loved making the objects light up with his wand.
Water Park Round II
The water park opened at 9, and our goal was to get there early so we could hit up some of the big slides before the crowds. Unlike the day before, on Sunday it was pleasantly uncrowded and we were able to sit at a table and relax. Mazen loved the wave boogie board ride, the obstacle course, and the wave pool. There were parts of the park we didn’t even dip into (like the hot tubs!)
If only we’d had another hour or two! We had to check out at 11am (and take showers). There is a 2pm late checkout option, but it was fully booked for the day we left. In the future, I would not come without getting it. 1pm on one day to 2pm on the second was a great amount of time. (I’m not sure I would have wanted to spend two full nights. Mazen would have.)
Our final stop was lunch at The Huntsman’s Grill, the restaurant I mentioned across the parking lot. (I don’t think it’s affiliated with the resort.) If we return, we might try to do dinner here instead of the buffet because we prefer to order off a menu. The food was good, and I had a great spinach salad with salmon, potatoes and bacon.
Planning Our Next Visit
Mazen spent Sunday night with Matt, and I got a text from Matt after bedtime that said he heard Mazen crying in his room and when Matt went to comfort him Mazen was crying because he missed Great Wolf so much. <3 Our main motivation of going was to see the joy on his face, and I’d say, mission accomplished.
We will definitely go back, probably on a weekday and probably in the summer when we can see more of the outdoor attractions (like mini golf and ropes course). We also didn’t even see the bowling alley, 4D theater ride, or finish the MagiQuest (I am going to hold onto that wand so we can hopefully use it again next time!) My tips: save the water park for off-peak times, bring your own breakfast in the mini fridge, and take advantage of early arrival and late check out to maximize your time.