During a recent visit to New England, we needed to spend a night in Boston. However, we really needed to find a way to allow our kiddos to burn off some energy, as we arrived in the afternoon. We live in Washington, so we were 3 time zones ahead, and had been flying all day. After doing some research, we found that most kid-friendly attractions in Boston would be closing by 5 or 6 pm. Since we were arriving in the afternoon, and would need to make it out of the airport, we’d not have enough time to explore. Not being SUPER familiar with Boston, we weren’t sure which areas would be safe for us to run around after dark, so we kept looking for other options.
We finally came across the Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg. Great Wolf Lodge has been on our bucket list and we were delighted to see that pools stay open until 8 pm. Additional kid’s activities continue until 9:30 pm, and dinner can be ordered until 10 pm. The Great Wolf Lodge New England is about an hour’s drive from the Boston Airport, which is in the heart of East Boston. And even if the later nights aren’t something your family is interested in, there is still a LOT to love at Great Wolf Lodge, New England
Arriving at Great Wolf Lodge Fitchburg
Upon arrival, it’s immediately clear that this place is not just child-friendly, it is built for kids. Wolf ears for the kids are handed out at check-in. The lobby is filled with fun, summer camp-themed signs, and decor. The interior is like a mini Disneyland with toy shops, kid’s decor, and a million and one kid-friendly activities. As you walk into the lobby, you’ll see a small stage featuring animatronics, and maybe even a few characters. Often, there is a table set up with a small kid-friendly activity. As you head down the hall, you’ll see an animatronic dragon, toy shops, treat shops, and even a Build-a-Bear Workshop. There is an ice cream themed kids spa for kiddos who love to do mani/pedis as well! The resort features a huge arcade with games for all ages, a theatre, ropes course, bowling alley, mini-golf, and of course, the waterpark!
Rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge continue with the summer camp theme and feature rustic wood and forest animals. We booked last minute and had a standard room- deluxe queen suite. Our room was fairly basic but adequately sized, and up to date. It included a small table with chairs, which is a nice bonus for families with kids. We actually wound up eating dinner in our room and appreciated having the space to eat. The bathroom is spacious and has a standard tub/shower combo. The resort has some fun, upgraded rooms with a kid’s cabin area, bunk beds, etc. that might just give your vacation a little bit of extra magic, so definitely check out the options.
Our room overlooked the lobby, which gave us a view of everything that was going on downstairs. It also meant we had no exterior window, and we could also hear all the kid’s activities going on below. If you are traveling with young children who go to bed before about 9:30 pm, you’ll want to avoid this style of room. The evening kid’s activities are quite loud, and it would certainly keep your kiddos awake. For more tips on traveling and setup with twin toddlers, see our post here.
The Waterpark and More
The highlight of the trip for our family was, of course, the waterpark. Because of our limited time at this resort, we decided that exploring the waterpark was our main priority, and we went right to work on that!
My twins are 3 years old, and about 38 inches tall, so not every water attraction was available to them. However, there are two large toddler-focused areas – Fort Mackenzie and Cub Paw Pool/Whooping Hollow. Additionally, we were able to play in the wave pool and the lazy river. We were never bored and we felt like we could have stayed at least another day and had plenty to do.
Fort Mackenzie features a large tree house-themed climbing structure with a couple small, open waterslides, and a small tube slide. It also has a water gun, and a cool setup with rotating water troughs kids can manipulate for water play and exploration. Cub Paw Pool features two water-spraying jetskis, a few smaller water fountains, and tons of larger water features. Whooping Hollow has a bunch of great waterslides sized for young children.
My kids are going through a bit of a fearful phase, so they took a bit of coaxing to go down the waterslides. Once they got going, they did have a lot of fun and didn’t find them to be too scary. However, their absolute FAVORITE thing at Great Wolf Lodge was the water-spraying jetskis. They also really loved climbing around the tree house at Fort Mackenzie
Waterpark Overall Impressions
My kids also really loved that the air and water temperatures were warm and kept them comfortable. Even at 3 years old, they get cold quickly, and most pools are a bit too cold for them to really enjoy. Great Wolf Lodge maintains the air and water at 84°F, which was quite comfortable for us.
I also really loved that the lifeguards were engaged and carefully watching all the kids. They were definitely making sure everyone was following the rules and was safe. As a generally nervous mom, it was nice to know that the lifeguards have my back if I lose sight of my children for one second, which, as we all know, happens quite a bit.
The pool area also had lots of chairs nearby. So, at times, I was able to just sit and watch my kids play independently. Also, the areas are roped off, so your child can’t run off and out of sight quickly, making the experience a bit more relaxing for me.
There were TONS of way bigger waterslides, including a HUGE tornado waterslide that looked pretty amazing, a large 4 person waterslide, a waterslide that was essentially just a DROP, and more. I’d say most of the resort was designed for older kids, even though there was plenty for toddler-aged kiddos. Families with a mix of ages will enjoy this resort because it really has something for everyone.
After the waterpark closed for the day, the resort offered kids storytime, a little animatronics show, and kids dance party. These kid-specific activities were a bit of a relief for me. I could let my kids be a little bit wild since there were young kids everywhere. My boys were a bit overwhelmed by everything, but I think they really loved that they were welcome to just be wild kids everywhere in the resort.
Great Wolf Fitchburg has several dining options, all family-friendly.
- Hungry as a Wolf features pizza, pasta, and salads
- The Lodge Wood Fired Grill features burgers, steaks, and specialty dishes along with lots of kid-friendly favorites like macaroni and cheese, chicken, etc
- Buckets Incredibles Craveables featuring hot dogs and burgers by the pool
- Dunkin’ Donuts features coffee, bagels, and donuts
Room service is not available at Great Wolf Lodge. However, restaurants will package your food to go so that you can dine in your room. Our kids don’t tolerate restaurant meals very well, so having the option to order dinner and take it up to the room was a huge help. Restaurant menus include kid-friendly food, and some more adult foods, plus some healthy choices. My kids ordered macaroni and cheese and finished it, which is saying something because my kids generally eat nothing.
For breakfast, we opted for the breakfast buffet. Our twins are 3 and were free of charge. The buffet had a standard assortment of hot and cold breakfast foods, including eggs, bacon, cereal, fruit, and pastries. A buffet is a great choice for my little guys because it’s quick and I can get a little bit of several things, and go back for more of something if they are willing to eat it (my kids are generally terrible eaters). We also grabbed a to-go coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.
When can we come back?
The resort has a TON of other kid-friendly activities for littles and bigger kids that we didn’t have time to do, including a ropes course, mini-golf, arcade, and a climbing wall. It would take several days to get through all the activities Great Wolf Lodge New England has to offer. Even JUST focusing on the waterpark portion of the resort, my kids were not ready to go and would have been happy to spend a couple more days exploring. We loved our time at Great Wolf Lodge, and we’ll definitely be looking forward to our next Great Wolf Lodge visit.