By Mary Ashton woods

 

Located just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord is a quick trip from Augusta that is ALL ABOUT THE KIDS.  It promises you and your family loads of adventure without ever having to leave the expansive property.  The Great Wolf Lodge is a family-oriented hotel with a large indoor water park and countless other attractions inside. Since the water park is indoors, you can visit the Great Wolf Lodge year round making it a perfect place to beat a case of the winter blues or the escape the heat of the dog days of summer.

Inside, float over waves in the wave pool; enjoy playground structures and toddler zone with seesaws, mini slides and water soakers, and race down a vast array of slides from basic to terrifying thrill rides.  For the thrill-seekers in your family, take a spin on the Howlin’ Tornado slide, which drops you into a six story tunnel of fun.  All ages should be well entertained inside the water park with so many different options.

Accommodations range from simple rooms to Kids Cabins and Wolf Dens with bunk beds and televisions.  If you’ve had the chance to visit the Great Wolf Lodge, you’ll agree that you go for the water park, but once your children see all the other attractions, you’ll find that you could easily pull an all-nighter.  Picture Las Vegas, but for kids!

Distance: 2 hours 57 minutes, 186 miles

Budget: Unlike other destinations where you’ll pay for your room and pay additional fees for attractions, at the Great Wolf Lodge, admission to the water park is included with your room.  Rooms range in price, but always try to book your trip in advance.  By booking 60 days in advance you can save big on accommodations.  Groupon also runs specials on GWL frequently.  If you are on a budget, book one night and enjoy two days – access to the park starts at 1 pm and is available until the park closes on the day of departure.  Bring extra spending money for the arcade and other attractions.

What to See: Story time with the great wolf kid characters, dance parties, bingo, The Northern Lights Arcade and MagiQuest – a real life scavenger hunt that uses magic wands. MagiQuest is not free to play and involves purchasing a magic wand.  Then, children of all ages move about the three-story property waving their wands in front of computer screens and talking treasure chests leading them to conquer a quest.  Each time a quest is completed, another level is unlocked and the scavenger hunt begins again.  Make sure to schedule some extra time away from the slides to conquer the exciting quests of the Great Wolf Lodge.

If You Go: Concord and the surrounding Charlotte area have many other attractions you could add on to your trip. Try the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte-Concord Aquarium, Carowinds, and the U.S National Whitewater Center, just to name a few.

This article appears in the May-June 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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