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A family weekend escape to LaGrange’s new Great Wolf Lodge

Wiley’s Waterpark features a wave pool, water slides, lazy river and splash pad.

STORY: Karon Warren

The lobby provides a place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the resort’s water and adventure parks.

With nearly 20 locations throughout the country, Great Wolf Lodge has earned a reputation as the perfect family weekend getaway, so my husband, kids and I couldn’t wait to visit its new location in LaGrange, just an hour southwest of Atlanta. After checking in, we set out to explore the massive property. I say massive because, excluding the hotel section, the indoor water park encompasses 100,000 square feet, and the indoor adventure park covers another 40,000 square feet.

With so much space comes a lot to see and do. Our first stop was Wiley’s Waterpark, which is open year-round. From the moment we entered, the Fort Mackenzie area immediately captured my kiddos’ attention. This multilevel treehouse and interactive splash pad contains more than 40 water features, not the least of which is the 1,000-gallon water bucket that soaks anyone standing underneath it every three to five minutes. The water park also includes five water slides.

Great Wolf Adventure Park keeps families on the go with a ropes course, climbing wall, mini golf and more.

Our favorite was the River Canyon Run, a tunneled raft ride for groups of two to five people filled with twists, dips and lots of laughs. We also enjoyed the Crooked Creek lazy river, although it wasn’t quite as relaxing as I had expected. Because it runs under Fort Mackenzie, the folks above you have a wealth of sprayers and dumping buckets to drench you as you float by below. My kids loved it, though.

When we needed a break from the action, we retreated to one of the rental cabanas inside the water park. Overlooking the massive wave pool, the cabanas are tucked in a corner and include comfortable seating, a TV and a table. Cabanas also are available around the outdoor swimming pool.

Once we dried out a bit, we made our way to the Adventure Park, which features mini golf, a ropes course, gem mining, a rock climbing wall, a mini bowling alley and an arcade. My young ones had a blast tackling all of the activities. My kids also loved Magiquest, Great Wolf Lodge’s exclusive live-action, interactive game that involves a scavenger hunt throughout the Adventure Park and hotel lobby with the aid of a magic wand.

Barnwood offers parents a more grown-up dining experience, with farm-to-table cuisine.

When we were ready to eat, Great Wolf Lodge offered much to choose from in the Adventure Park, with eateries serving everything from pizza to Mexican cuisine to kid favorites such as chicken tenders and French fries. For my husband and me, the favorite was Barnwood, a farm to table restaurant located off the hotel lobby. Quieter than the other options, Barnwood served up such items as short rib poutine, shrimp and grits, and rainbow trout.

At the end of each fun-filled day, we were more than ready to retreat to our room, which provided ample space for the four of us. In fact, the smallest room available starts at a spacious 349 square feet, so guests can spread out—a welcome asset for families.

The Timbers Tacos food bus serves up Tex-Mex dishes such as nachos, salads and, yes, tacos.

Thanks to its proximity to Atlanta and variety of activities and attractions, I have no doubt we’ll visit Great Wolf Lodge again. This is a one-stop, year-round destination that will keep families returning again and again.


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