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Take the Kids: Great Wolf Lodge opens Snowland

There is a 100 percent chance of snow every day - inside Great Wolf Lodge in Concord.

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Kathy Hanrahan, Out
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CONCORD, N.C. — There is a 100 percent chance of snow every day - inside Great Wolf Lodge in Concord.

The family-fun destination kicked off its Snowland celebration last weekend, which includes daily clock tower shows that end with a "snow" shower in the lobby. (Don't let your children eat it though because the snow is actually made of soap!)

In addition to the holiday decorations, the lodge also has a life-sized gingerbread house that you can dine in. For a $10 donation to the Ronald McDonald House charities, families can dine inside and see the details of the house up-close. Reservations can be made through Yelp. My family and I dined inside last year and it is so worth it! They have a TV with Roku so you can watch whatever you want.

Santa is also visiting every weekend. Just bring your camera to grab a free photo with him in the lobby.

My family spent last weekend here so I've got some tips:

Before you book, look for deals: There are always Groupon and other deals popping up. Also make sure to sign up for their newsletter so you can get the scoop on deals. Another way you can save is by going with another family. The rooms are big enough to share.
Great Wolf Lodge
For the toddlers: Fort McKenzie is perfect for them. This gated area is specifically for younger children. There are water sprays, smaller slides and a zero-entry pool. Also check out the daily itinerary because it contains a schedule of activities including arts and crafts, yoga, Wolfercise and the hours for the Cub Club. My son loved the Cub Club when he was a toddler because it was a quiet place to play and relax. They have some toys, a playhouse and crafts. And if your children are afraid of the characters, do not worry. The staff can advise you about the times they are in the lobby. They can also give you some tips on exits and entrances that avoid the lobby. We had to do this when my son was little and afraid of them!
For the Kindergartners and older: Depending on your child's height, they are allowed to ride some of the water slides. My son is 47 inches tall, which means he can do everything but the Howlin' Tornado (which has a big drop and goes pretty fast). The wave pool and regular pool (complete with basketball goals) are a great start. River Canyon Run is a family ride that holds up to five people. It goes fast but doesn't contain any drops. Alberta Falls tube ride holds one or two riders so littler children can ride with an adult. The Mountain Edge Raceway is a mat racer, which means you lie on your stomach and fly down face first. The Totem Towers is also a great spot. It is in the center of the park and contains water sprays, two slides and lots of stuff to climb on and play. Plus, every five minutes the giant bucket drops gallons of water onto the people below. Pro tip: On the Totem Towers slides, the green one goes faster than the orange one.
For the bigger kids: There are some great things to do for adults as well. The slides are all fun for adults too, but the one that gets the most attention is the Howlin' Tornado. It offers a six-story drop. I rode this with my husband last year and I can't figure out how I didn't fall out. At times you are sideways and nearly upside down! Adults will also love the full service spa (a children's spa called Scoops is also on site). Parents can also book the Wine Down Service. For $35, guests can get a bottle of wine and one sweet or savory side delivered to their room to enjoy while the kids are asleep.
A view of the water park.
The Food: There are a few different dining options. Hungry As a Wolf is a good option, it is located right outside of the water park and serves pizza. Inside the park, Buckets serves the infamous Tipping Bucket (which contains layers of ice cream, fudge, gummy bears and whipped cream). Buckets also has burgers, fries, chicken tenders and salads. The Lodge Wood Fired Grill has steaks, pasta, mac and cheese (my favorite) and wings. The Loose Moose Cottage has a great breakfast buffet and a tasty dinner buffet. If you just want something quick, Dunkin Donuts is also there but expect a long line in the morning.
MagiQuest: You are going to see a bunch of children running around with books and wands. They are playing this interactive game called MagiQuest. You purchase this wand and then run around doing quests. My son still isn't really into it, but he loves his wand because you can bring it around the lodge and point it at different things to make them move. It is pretty cool.
Great Wolf Lodge in Concord
Dance Party: Every night at 7 p.m. there is a dance party in the lobby. I can't stress enough how much fun this is. My son was determined to go back to the room to watch football. He's 6 years old but he knows what he likes. He saw the dance party in the lobby and immediately joined in. It was the highlight of his weekend. The employee running the dance party was amazing! He did flips and talked with the kids. He made everyone feel included.
Cookies and Milk Delivery: For $25, you can add a special delivery to end your day. One of the Great Wolf Lodge characters will drop by your room to deliver six cookies and two bottles of milk just before bedtime. We've done this the past two times we stayed at Great Wolf Lodge and my son loved opening the door for the character!
Have you stayed at Great Wolf Lodge?
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