When thinking of Wisconsin, most would immediately think of some of the best dairy farms in the country. However, the Wisconsin Dells is the proud holder of the title Water Park Capital of World. Although this title may seem little more than hyperbole at first, the Wisconsin Dells does have more water parks per capita than any other city in the United States.
Of course, there is more to do than enjoying keeping cool in the many exciting water parks in the city. Even with a small full-time residency of more than 5,500, this city has much to offer guests. There’s a great mixture of natural outdoor attractions and man-made adventures.
Water-based adventures are seemingly everywhere in the Dells, and not just in the form of slides. There are numerous boat tour offerings in the area. Ranging from slow and easy afternoon tours to thrilling faster (and wetter) offerings. For a unique dining experience or a romantic evening out, guests can hop on a sunset cruise down the Wisconsin River, featuring over seven miles of natural terrain and history, as well as a torch-lit walk through the peaceful river shores.
Families will more than likely want something a little more rugged. Thankfully, most will find a trip through Dells Glacier Park from the back of a Dells Army Ducks vehicle an excellent way to see Wisconsin’s nature offerings. This guided tour takes passengers on an amphibious vehicle tour through the park, as well as the Dell Creek for a fun day of history, geology, and more.
If this option still isn’t fast enough for you, check out the Jet Boat Adventures of the Wisconsin River. With excursions for both the Upper and Lower Dells, these jet boats top out at 40 MPH. Also, these tours can pack a lot of sightseeing into 50 minutes.
If you love the great outdoors and are looking to pave your own path, Holiday Shores Watersports has you covered. This local business offers guests a variety of rentals, including kayaks, canoes, boats, jet skis, and guided tours down the river. If a relaxing day of fishing is your ideal choice for a vacation, look no further. An onsite store has everything that you need for your trip. Even if you aren’t sure how to operate their rentals, this all-in-one adventure headquarters also offers boating classes.
When you are ready to tackle something drier, the Dells have plenty of traditional offerings as well. A tour of the Bowman House has a large collection of artifacts and antiques collected during its 40 year run as a vacation home for working women from the 1930s until the 1970s. Objects run from General Joseph Bailey from the Civil War to local Native American historical offerings, first tourism additions and more.
One area attraction that simply must be seen to be believed is the House on the Rock. This local resort is more than just lodging; this uniquely designed building by Alex Jordan back in the 1940s is essentially a time capsule of everything. This attraction consists of one part museum and one part Room of Requirement from Harry Potter. Guests can find the world’s largest carousel, over 200 ship models, the Streets of Yesteryear (think Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, but less merchandise). And lastly, the engineering marvel that is the counterbalanced Infinity Room.
Water Parks Galore
Going to the Wisconsin Dells and not visiting a water park would seem like a wasted opportunity. If you’re going to hit the slides, however, you may as make sure you are visiting the largest water park in the entire country. Noah’s Ark could probably house two of every animal with its 70 acres of fun. Guests can choose from over 80 water slides, thrill rides, family friendly attractions, and activities to enjoy. This attraction includes Time Warp, the country’s largest bowl ride to the terrifying Point of No Return speed slide.
Another impressive offering is the United State’s largest indoor water park at the Kalahari Resorts. In addition to the 125,000 square foot indoor water park with rides, slides, and pools, guests can also discover the outdoor water park, Zambezi Outdoor Water Park, for more thrilling water rides. The aptly named Indoor Theme Park offers more traditional fair ride offerings and indoor games. Including a huge Ferris wheel, carousel, climbing walls, laser tag, bowling, and more.
Finally, Mt. Olympus has the best of both worlds, with a water park and a theme park to swim, slide, and scream through. This family thrill destination offers almost 40 water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, go-karts, roller coasters, and more to enjoy. If that isn’t enough, Mt. Olympus has indoor and outdoor attractions for both their water park and theme park! If it sounds like you’re going to need several days to get through it all, admission to the parks is free if you book with their onsite lodging, offered in a traditional hotel resort, a camp resort, and village rooms.
The Historic Downtown
As is the case with any city that has a unique and rich past, the downtown area is where visitors will find the best selection of dining, shopping, and entertainment offerings. Without sacrificing its family-friendly image, the city has a surprising amount of nightlife to check out, from a long list of bars, pubs, and nightclubs, as well as the nearby Ho-Chunk Casino in Baraboo, is only a 10-mile drive south.
Family entertainment can be easily found, with the local Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, a hands-on science museum, and the unique Museum of Historic Torture Devices, which is perfect for any parents whose children are acting up on vacation.
Have you been to Wisconsin Dells? If so, we’d love to hear about some of your favorite places to explore while visiting!