Opened in 2009, the Great Wolf Lodge outside Charlotte, N.C., is Great Wolf Resorts newest property. It features the company’s signature North Woods theming and family-oriented lodging and activities, all centered around the 80,000-square-foot indoor waterpark located near the main entry. Guest room wings flank the waterpark on each side, with the conference center anchoring one of those wings at the opposite end. The conference center is key because its business helps balance out sales in slower occupancy periods.

Guest comfort and avoiding overcrowded areas were primary goals of the aquatic design, but another central consideration was environmental sustainability. Through its Project Green Wolf program, the company has committed to environmentally friendly practices and earned Green Seal’s Silver Certification.

The indoor waterpark boasts several state-of-the-art technologies to conserve water and chemicals. These include regenerative media filters for aquatic features and low-flow fixtures for locker room urinals, water closets and showers.

The building itself features heating and ventilating systems to conserve energy in the waterpark. In the waterpark envelope are insulation and carefully designed air sealing to reduce unwanted energy leakage. Special care was taken to seal around slide penetrations and other unique aquatic features. To save energy, the heating and ventilating equipment ramps up slowly, and variable-frequency drives were installed to help reduce fan energy costs. The VFDs lower fan speeds in periods of low occupancy. In addition, humidity and temperature controls greatly reduce pool water evaporation, which saves on water and the energy to heat it.

Other green features that are a part of the operation include recycling bins located throughout the facility; guest linen recycling; and composting of unused food items. State-of-the-art laundry equipment reduces water consumption up to 70 percent over traditional practices. Meanwhile, recycled paper and biodegradable dishwashing and laundry detergents further support the resort’s green efforts.

The Great Wolf Lodge brand is tailored to families, and designers kept that in mind when planning aquatic amenities for the North Carolina property. The waterpark caters to distinct age groups — toddlers, young children, tweens teens and adults — with plenty of overlap to entertain the whole family.

The toddler area sports spray-and-play features, a zero-depth entry, and a kiddie pool and slide.

The four-story competitive mat racer water slides, six-story Howlin Tornado, and giant wave pool are suitable for tweens. The fastest slides in the park (twin three-story slides) appeal to teens, and the entire family can enjoy the signature River Canyon Run family raft ride.

This park also includes a huge tree fort play structure with a host of guest-activated waterfeatures, and an outdoor activity pool for fun in the sun.

All told, the indoor waterpark is the heart of a well-rounded destination resort. Guests appreciate the abundance of on-site activities for all age groups.

Other highlights include an arcade, high-tech teen center, adult and kids’ spas, minigolf, and dining that overlooks the indoor waterpark.


Opened: 2009

Total Construction Cost: $50 million

Aquatic space: 80,000 square feet

Dream amenities: 3,300-square-foot activity pool; interactive play structure; 5,375-square-foot outdoor leisure pool; children’s activity pool; 425-square-foot whirlpool; wave pool and multiple water slides


  • Dream Designer:Architectural Design Consultants
  • Aquatic Designer:Neuman Group
  • General Contractor: Kraemer Brothers
  • Theming (Design/Build): Weber Group


  • Aurora Pumps: Pumps
  • Chemtrol: Chemical controllers
  • ETS UV:Secondary disinfection system
  • Grate Ideas: Gutters
  • Innovent Air-Handling Equipment: Dehumidifiers
  • Neptune-Benson: Filters
  • Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics: Lighting
  • ProSlide Technology: Water slides
  • Protile: Flooring
  • SCS Interactive,Funtraptions: Water-play equipment
  • Spectrum Pool Products: Ladders and grab bars
  • Taco Inc.: Heating
  • Wave Tek: Wave equipment