Ever have one of those days where you just need to get out of the house? This happened to us one day last month. It was bitterly cold out, so many of the fun Day Trip locations I would usually consider where nixed immediately due to the fact that I did not want to step foot outdoors.
After a little bit of brainstorming, one of my kids suggested Great Wolf Lodge. I replied with, “I am not going to spend that much money. And besides, last time we went you ended up playing MagiQuest for the majority of the trip anyway!” Wait a minute … I had an idea. If they only wanted to play MagiQuest, we could do this thing pretty inexpensively!
I went online and figured out that you do not have to be an overnight guest at the lodge in order to play MagiQuest. Bingo! We had our day trip set!
So some of you may be wondering what this MagiQuest thing is all about. Basically, your child uses a magic wand to complete adventures throughout the lobby of the hotel. It is an action adventure game that has them on their feet for the entire game.
We left the Triad at 9am that morning, got to Concord’s Great Wolf Lodge at 10am, and did not leave until 4pm! I honestly cannot believe my kids played for that long! They both said their feet were throbbing from running around for six hours, and they both fell asleep on the way home. (Not common at all for my 8 and 10 year old!)
If you have ever played the game before, you can save a ton of money. My children already had their magic wands from last time, so it only cost us $12.99 per child to play the game. If you do not already have a wand, it is $15 & up to purchase one. The fancier the wand is, the more it costs. Then you purchase a game along with your wand. So your first time playing, it will average $30. But if your kids last as long as mine did, it is worth it! Also, if your child has already completed the MagiQuest games, there is a new series called ShadowQuest that they will love.
The lobby of the hotel has three levels where the clues, games, and adventures may be found. Smaller children will need your help understanding and completing the game. All the directions are written in a pamphlet so if they cannot read & comprehend instructions, they definitely need you! My younger child (age 8) needed assistance at first to get started because it can be very confusing. Once we figured out her “quest,” I was able to get her started and then she completed the rest on her own. My son was off & running from the moment we got there and had made friends with other little magis in no time.
So what does mom do the entire time these kids are playing? As long as you trust them to use manners and be safe, you can just chill out! I brought a book and spent most of my time sitting next to the big fire in the lobby & reading. My kids knew exactly where I was, so they popped down to see me every so often and check in. Since the lobby is open I could also keep an eye on them when they passed through certain areas as well. I can honestly say it was one of the most relaxing days I have given myself in a long time! (I am sure Great Wolf Lodge would not be thrilled if they read this blog and see that I am telling parents to let their children run free in the lobby, so please use your best judgement to decide if your children are responsible enough to do this without you by their side. We don’t want an unruly kid to ruin the future fun for others! It also would not be a good day trip if your child ends up wandering the halls alone & lost!)
For lunch, there are plenty of restaurants in the Concord Mills area, but we chose to dine right in the lodge. Again, not the cheapest choice, but the kids didn’t want to waste any time leaving the lodge and I had no problem not stepping foot back out into the cold weather! The food was good, service was good, and then the kids were off to play MagiQuest again.
We took a snack break later in the day and enjoyed some ice cream in their sweet shop area. The only time things got crazy was around 1pm, which I am guessing is check-in time. The lobby quickly got packed with families, suitcases and anxious kids. Other than that, I felt like it was a perfect day. We had a good mix of time together when I jumped in off and on to play with them, but also time alone as my kids explored their game and I dove into my book.
If you have other Day Trip ideas to share, email us! We would love to have you guest blog about them. You can see our entire category of Day Trips here. Enjoy!