Join the kids in this waterpark adventure

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Fyllis Hochman

“You want me to get on that and go down to where?” I cried from high atop the Alberta Falls waterslide, looking down to an alleged pool that was well out of visual range. My 11-year-old granddaughter nodded with a look of both consternation and resignation that I tried very hard to take in stride.

Such was my introduction to a vast array of unusual children’s activities that mesmerized the 70-year-old kid in me as much as they did Dalya, 14, and Mollie, 11, as we frolicked through the indoor waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Va.

There is so much going on at the waterpark that I didn’t know where to look first. The pool basketball game, the lazy river, the wave pool, the kiddie pool, the four-story interactive treehouse with a section of ascending inter-connected rope tunnels leading to two winding slides, and, of course, the three waterslides that dominate the park and stretch both inside and outside the building. (The outside waterpark area opens in late Spring.)

And everywhere the smiles were as wide as the lazy river was long. No matter what the activity, you’re never too far from a potential dousing from overhead buckets both large and small, eliciting cries of surprise from bathers of every age.

Once our skins unpruned, we were ready for more land-based adventures — and there were as many of those as there were waterpark options.

The piece de resistance is the MagiQuest — a hard-to-describe adventure that takes kids throughout all four floors of the hotel as they seek magical powers, potions and portents (all enabled by their magic wand) to satisfy the demands of the Questmaster, a Merlin-like presence ensconced in a computer inside a tree. You don’t dare not follow his instructions!

There are multiple quests, with multiple clues to each quest, that require you to visit the Enchanted Forest, Tangled Woods, Piney Path and Whispery Woods, all located throughout the hotel.

“The Ancient Book of Wisdom,” which you get when you sign up for MagiQuest, directs you to the clues. It’s a good thing I was with Dalya and Mollie: I never could have figured out what to do!

And the list of the things we didn’t do was almost as long as those we did. We did not go to the Scoops Kid’s Spa, where the nail polish for mini-manicures all come with ice cream flavor names, the pedicures are done while seated in giant banana-split thrones, the facials, bath balms and scrubs are either vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, and the glitter make-up application comes with a tiara.

We didn’t try the life-size time challenge game, where you race both against the clock and your opponents to push out balloon-size blinking light buttons. We didn’t bowl at Ten Paw Alley with five pound balls and bumpers along the pint-size lanes. We didn’t attend any of the several 4D-movies offered at the Howly Wood Theater.

We could have spent a week there and never gotten bored, but hey, Williamsburg and Busch Gardens beckoned, and I reluctantly followed.

Room rates vary widely, depending on the date chosen and room style. There are also numerous special discounts that vary by date.

In mid-April, the least expensive room is $259 a night on weekdays and $429 on weekends without discounts. All rooms include passes to the waterpark. For more information about Great Wolf Lodge, visit or call 1-800-551-9653.