Richard Hyatt

Welcoming the Great Wolf Lodge to the area

A 7-year-old isn’t interested in 600 jobs or a $150 million investment. Kamryn wanted to know about her friend, Violet Wolf.

They met in Charlotte when we drove to North Carolina so Kamryn could get soaking wet at the Great Wolf Lodge.

She had her picture taken with Violet and brought home a stuffed version of the character. If our credit card had been more solvent, we could have bought pajamas, rompers, T-shirts and other souvenir items.

So when Kamryn heard Great Wolf was coming to LaGrange, she thought about Violet and Wiley Wolf, Rachel and Oliver Raccoon, Brinley Bear and Sammy Squirrel.

The whole menagerie arrives in 2018, along with a water park, a hotel, several restaurants, a bowling alley, an indoor golf center, a theater and a game room.

We had never heard of the place when Kamryn first mentioned it. The resort is cunning like a wolf. It advertises on children’s cable outlets and the spots make you think water is going to splash on the living room carpet.

One visit to its website and we knew it wasn’t cheap. Rooms are decorated with a theme and admission to the unique water park is included.

Kamryn was seldom dry. She flew down steep slides and waded in pools. Mostly she stood under a giant wooden bucket that every few minutes emptied itself on the heads of children and grownups below. I can still hear her giggling.

This will be the 15th Great Wolf Lodge and it is no accident that it’ll be on the interstate and an hour from the Atlanta airport. The resort’s first choice was Peachtree City, but the golf cart community turned up its snooty nose at the proposal.

Great Wolf is a self-contained playground. You unload luggage, park your car and don’t move it until you’re checking out. For that reason I’m not sure what its impact will be on the local hospitality industry.

There has to be a way for Columbus to share in the fun. Great Wolf is built around water, and we sell whitewater fun. Why not establish a shuttle service to the Chattahoochee? Why not join in the marketing effort?

Call Violet, Columbus … and tell her Kamryn said hello.

Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at