Cabin-Style Suites Above Massive Indoor Water Park
High above Fort Mackenzie—a four-story waterlogged treehouse that feels like it could be a part of The Swiss Family Robinson or Pirates of the Caribbean—a 1,000-gallon bucket slowly fills with water. Suddenly, the big bucket topples, drenching those gathered below in a torrent of water. It's 1 of more than 10 splash-filled attractions at Great Wolf Lodge Charlotte/Concord’s indoor water park, which is heated to a balmy 84 degrees year-round, drawing visitors to this aquatic getaway no matter the season. In addition to braving Fort Mackenzie, you can crash into 3-foot waves at Slap Tail Pond, careen down a six-story funnel slide at Howlin’ Tornado, and race your family at the Mountain Edge Raceway mat-racer water slide.
The 80,000-square-foot water park is the pièce de résistance among many activities on the hotel's multi-entertainment campus. Guests can play their way through 18 holes of interactive mini golf or head over to the MagiQuest live-action adventure, where kids wield magic wands and journey through a kingdom to encounter mythical pixies and a dragon. Scooops Kid Spa offers manicures and pedicures for pintsize patrons sitting atop ice-cream-cone stools and banana-split thrones; free ice cream tops off each visit. Fuel up with heartier fare at the Pizza Hut Express or dig into the buffet at The Loose Moose Cottage.
Up to eight vacationers can comfortably sleep in the Grand Bear or Grizzly Bear Suites; each features two TVs, natural-log bed frames, and a sleeper sofa for extended hibernation. KidKamp, Wolf Den, and KidCabin Suites come with miniature log cabins inside the rooms, which double as the kids’ sleeping quarters with a bunk bed and a TV.
Charlotte, North Carolina: Burgeoning Tourist Destination in an Art-Friendly Town
Fifteen miles southwest of the lodge, Charlotte’s glittering downtown buildings scrape the sky. This regional financial capital is home to Fortune 500 companies and a burgeoning tourism industry spearheaded by the city’s art scene and sports teams.
Originally a blue-collar mill district, NoDa now buzzes with art galleries and boutiques; a neighborhood gallery crawl takes place twice monthly. Cajun, Southwestern, and creative pizza restaurants have taken up residency in the neighborhood's original brick buildings and mill houses. Families looking for an educational day trip or new families can visit Discovery Place, an interactive museum with a 3-D IMAX theater.