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Great Wolf Lodge in Concord (and 7 Reasons We Love this Waterpark!)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on February 15, 2024.

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Great Wolf Lodge is an indoor and outdoor waterpark where families can stay, play, and enjoy! Along with 19 locations across the United States, there’s one north of Charlotte, in the Cabarrus County city of Concord.

We’ve been lucky enough to stay at this particular Great Wolf Lodge (courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge) and want to share our experience, along with why you should spend at least a day here or longer.

Inside this guide, share the important details and a bunch of Great Wolf Lodge NC photos the things that we know you’ll love about it.

Here’s how we’ve organized our guide, in case you’re looking for specific information:

  • About the Park (and Location Info)
  • Accommodations
  • Additional Packages & Passes
  • Day Passes
  • Check-In Info
  • 7 Reasons We Love Great Wolf Lodge (Waterpark activities, dining, rooms, and more)
  • More Things to Do Nearby (Concord and Cabarrus County)

This post is part of our series on our favorite things to do in North Carolina, especially in Central North Carolina.

About the Park (and Location Info)

Great Wolf Lodge is known for its themed water park and family-friendly accommodations. Great Wolf Lodge’s North Carolina location is just 20 minutes from Charlotte in Concord, near Concord Mills.

The interior and rooms are themed like a log cabin or the outdoors, hoping to take you away from your normal busy surroundings.

Great Wolf Lodge Concord NC Accommodations

Great Wolf Lodge Exterior.

If you’re staying at North Carolina’s Great Wolf Lodge for longer than the day, you can check in early, but rooms will typically not be available until 4:00 p.m. However, guests who arrive early can use the waterpark starting at 1:00 p.m. 

There are multiple accommodation options at Great Wolf Lodge, depending on your group size. Our family was in the Wolf Den Suite, which included an in-suite cave-themed sleeping area.

bunk beds at a themed rooms at the lodge

Other themed rooms include a cabin and tent decor for the children’s rooms. Kiddo loved sleeping on the top bunk and saying goodnight to “Wolfy!”

Great Wolf Lodge in Concord also has rooms that can welcome groups of up to 6 to 8. We saw many birthday parties during our visit!

Included in your room stay are water park passes, but additional packages and passes can be purchased.

Additional Packages & Passes

the entrance to Great Wolf Lodge

When you check in to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina, each family member is given a wristband. Adult wristbands will also double as a room key.

The waterpark is included in your hotel stay, but you can upgrade your stay with several packages. 

  • Pup Pass: As the name implies, this is geared towards younger children. It includes a candy cup, ice cream, an arcade pass, and a visit to Build-a-Bear. 
  • Paw Pass: MagiQuest of ShadowQuest game plus a wand, candy cup, ice cream, and arcade card. 
  • Wolf Pass: Paw Pass plus mini golf, XD theatre, Atomic Rush, laser tag, and bowling. 

Their passes are definitely worth the value if you want to do multiple things while staying at Great Wolf Lodge.

Day Passes

If you are looking to make a day trip, Great Wolf Lodge Concord offers day passes! When you purchase a day pass, you’ll have access to the indoor water park.

Passes are free for children aged 2 years and under. Day pass holders can also rent life jackets and towels for free!

Check-in

Great Wolf Lodge check in area

Check-in at Great Wolf Lodge can be done online via the GWL website. You can also check in upon arrival in person at the time you specified beforehand.

Checkout happens automatically at 11:00 a.m. on the day you leave, so there’s no need to wait in line to do that.

You’ll be given your wristband that serves as your room key as well as Wolf ears! If you are celebrating a birthday, there are special ears so staff members can shower you with wishes.

There are also special Santa hat Wolf Ears available for purchase during Snowland, one of Great Wolf Lodge’s most popular holiday seasons. 

7 Reasons We Love Great Wolf Lodge (and Things to Do)

The Water Park

the water playzone at Great Wolf Lodge in Concord

At the water park at Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, there are 11 water slides, four pools, and a treehouse meant for getting wet. The air inside the waterpark is kept at 84 degrees year-round, so it is perfect for swimming even in the winter. 

Cabanas and Locker Rentals

cabanas you can rent at Great Wolf Lodge

If you are enjoying the water park with a large group, there are also cabanas that can be rented. This is a great option for birthday parties too! There are also lockers available for rent throughout the water park.

But if you’re brave like us, you can just leave your stuff on your table. Many people do this, but it is at your own risk.

When you first arrive at the waterpark with a young child, ask for them to check their height. They will designate your child with a colored wristband, which will help you determine which water areas are safe for them.

Indoor Pools

playing in the shallow end of the wave pool

For young children (and all kids), the wave pool is a great place to start. With zero entry, the waves come and go at unpredictable times!

There is also a great shallow water play area with jet skis and a spray garden that she frequented as well.

Carl and out daughter swimming in the wave pool

There is a deeper pool located towards the back of the waterpark. Here you will find aqua basketball as well as a rope course to cross the pool! If you lose your balance, prepare to fall in the water below!

Fort Mackenzie is the featured water playground at Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC. With water spraying and dropping from buckets all around, we aren’t ashamed to say that the adults ran through it several times!

There are two slides that come down from the top. They are perfect for young children who might be too small for the larger attractions.

a couple of side-by-side waterslides

There are lifeguards on duty at every water feature. Remember that they are working to keep you safe, so listen for their whistles and practice water safety.

Water Slides

Your little one might be too young for the water slides at Great Wolf Lodge, but older kids and adults are not! There are several large thrill-seeking slides that require a minimum height to ride.

Our biggest tip for the slides is to arrive at 10:00 a.m. when the park first opens. There were several times that the slides were wide open with no lines from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the Sunday of our visit.

When choosing which slide to go down, pay attention to the signs at the beginning of the stairs. They will indicate whether or not you need to take a tube or a mat with you.

Dry Land Play

the themed hallways of Great Wolf Lodge

While the water portion of Great Wolf Lodge is arguably one of our favorite parts to explore, there are also many activities for families on dry land. See a movie in the 4D theater, play a round of laser tag, and say hello to your favorite cartoon character as they make their way around the lodge. 

MagiQuest and ShadowQuest are memorable experiences that can be had with the Paw and Wolf passes. MagiQuest is a scavenger hunt crossed with riddles.

Your child becomes the main character in the game and will need to search all around the lodge for clues and riddles. 

Even if you aren’t playing MagiQuest, you are sure to see children and families running up and down and through hallways with their wands from clue to clue. 

6 lanes at a mini bowling alley

Throw a strike in Ten Paw Alley. The bowling alley accommodates children with smaller balls and shorter lanes. Games are $7 each, and cards can be purchased in the arcade. 

If you would like something to remember your family vacation from, the gift shop is definitely worth a stop! In addition, many families make a personalized Build-A-Bear to commemorate their stay. 

During the warmer season, there are also great outdoor activities, including mini-golf and a rope course.

The Great Wolf Lodge paw points gift card

Our favorite activity on dry land was spending time in the arcade! Purchase an arcade pass (We chose $35 for 154 paw points) and get to playing.

We found that was enough entertainment for Charlotte and a couple of games for Mom & Dad too.

When you run out of paw points, cash in your tickets at the machine and exchange them for a prize!

Dining at Great Wolf Lodge Concord

the view of the lodge's interior from the top floor

There are four restaurants for dining at Great Wolf Lodge. Meals are not included in your stay, but they will send you an email asking you about meal options prior to your stay. 

Grab pizza by the slice or the pie at Hungry as a Wolf right outside of the waterpark. If you get hungry while in the waterpark, Buckets Incredible Craveables serves standard grill fare like hot dogs, burgers, and snacks.

Both restaurants are great for fast grabs! 

Two more restaurant options at Great Wolf Lodge Concord are family-friendly sit-down style. The Loose Moose Cottage is a buffet-style restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. The Lodge Wolf Grill has a generous menu for families.

It is highly recommended that you make reservations for both of these restaurants as they can get very busy during dinner service. 

If you have a sweet tooth, then there are Dunkin’ Donuts and Bear Paw Sweets & Eats. Many of the upgraded passes include tasty ice cream at Bear Paw. 

There’s an App for It All!

We saved the best thing we love about Great Wolf Lodge for last because their app will save you so much time and effort.

After checking in, you can head to the board to see what and where the day’s entertainment will be held! From storytime to crafts and bingo, there is always something fun happening!

However, we recommend downloading the Great Wolf Lodge App because you can keep tabs on all that from your phone. There is a lot of useful information, including a map of the lodge, which is crucial when you realize the size of this place.

Ready to Explore Great Wolf Lodge Concord?

Whether you are looking for a weekend of family fun, celebrating a birthday, or wanting the thrill of a water slide, we think Great Wolf Lodge Concord is an excellent choice. It’s the perfect mix of a theme park and an all-inclusive family resort and one that we’ll hopefully return to very soon!

Have you ever been lucky enough to visit Great Wolf Lodge in Concord? We’d love to know about your experience. If you haven’t been yet, tell us all about your fun times after you go!

More Things to Do Nearby

The Charlotte Motor Speedway near Concord

You don’t really need to leave Great Wolf Lodge, but there are plenty of things to do in Concord and Cabarrus County if you find yourself seeking adventure elsewhere.

Since you’re in the home of racing, a trip to the Charlotte Motor Speedway is an entire weekend on its own! If you aren’t able to make a race, there are some cool racing museums to check out, like Hendrick Motorsports.

Of course, you can hit the racetrack yourself at K1 Speed, a thrilling way to spend a morning, afternoon, or even rainy day. If you want to get outside, you hop on the Irish Buffalo Creek Greenway, which is part of the Carolina Thread Trail network.

Don’t forget about the surrounding towns in Cabarrus County, including Kannapolis (home to the NC Music Hall of Fame) and Mount Pleasant (home to Southern Grace Distilleries).

There are plenty of incredible restaurants in Cabarrus County, with more than a few of them just a short drive from Great Wolf Lodge. You can also find some pretty cool breweries in Concord, with many of them family-friendly!

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