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Wisconsin Dells is #1 Attraction in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Dells is a small town with the feel of a big city. Every time I go to Wisconsin Dells it seems like the first time, because of that special atmosphere of a holiday that fills this small town with hundreds of opportunities. I will tell only about my favorite places to go, where I went, or where my friends went.
Wisconsin Dells is a favorite family vacation destination for more than 150 years. The town is shaped by the currents and curves of the Wisconsin River. This place has something to offer for everyone, kids, grown-ups, or elder people. Any time of the year you will find suitable attractions there.
But, of course, Summer Time is the best to come to Wisconsin Dells for a family vacation.
A Bit of History...
In the 1700s, French explorers identified the convenient reference point (“Dalles,” as they called it) in the western Great Lakes region. The name was anglicized to Dells after the French explorers left Wisconsin. The railroad arrived in the region in 1857 and a village called Kilbourn City (in honor of the railroad president) was established where the tracks crossed the Wisconsin River. But the locals and visitors continued to call this place Dells and in 1931 the city of Kilbourn was officially changed to Wisconsin Dells.
Native American legend says that a great serpent formed the bed of the Wisconsin River, by wriggling down from the north. Crawling over the forests and the fields, the snake’s huge body made grooves in the land and the water rushed in behind him. When the snake came to the sandstone ridge where the Dells begin he thrust his great head into a crevice between the rocks and pushed them aside to form a narrow, winding passage. And lesser serpents fled forming the canyons which lead off from the main channel.
The true story is just as exciting. When the great glacial lake of Wisconsin started to break free from its large ice dam the waters rushed free in a catastrophic flood and carved out the great rock formations we see today.
Wisconsin Dells became one of the oldest resort areas in the state. The wild, romantic scenery of the Dells made it the place of resort for seekers of pleasure
Wisconsin Dells is referred to as "The Waterpark Capital of the World!" and this is true. Splash indoors, outdoors, both, whatever you like.
Noah's Ark is "America's Largest Waterpark" and the premier Wisconsin Dells attraction with over 80 family activities to enjoy.
From the relaxing rivers to the extreme slides, there is something for everyone:
- "The Scorpion's Tail," America's first looping waterslide!
- Enjoy Black Anaconda
- Tadpole Bay Kiddie Play Area
- Noah's 4-D Dive-In Theater
- 49 waterslides, 2 huge wave pools, 2 endless rivers, 4 kiddie water play areas
- 18-hole mini-golf
- Flash Flood
- bumper boats
- gift shops
- candy store
- & much more!
While in the park, you can find lots of snacks and fast food points to kill your hunger before you can go and eat in one of Wisconsin Dells' restaurants.
Some motels and hotels give you a free pass to the park when you book your stay there.
Read More from WanderWisdom
Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Parks is a mega destination offering indoor and outdoor waterpark rides, roller coasters, go-karts, and other amusements in one place.
The parks feature 37 waterslides, two floating rivers, a wave pool, three shallow water play areas, two whirlpools, and water basketball.
Mt. Olympus also has nine go-kart tracks—most of them elevated—and is known for its wooden roller coasters including the newest one—Hades.
There are also kiddie rides, bumper boats, mini-golf, batting cages, and arcades.
There are very nice open ice-cream cafe points to cool you after your hot rides. You will have a free pass to the park if you stay in Rome Hotel and you can even name your price for a stay!
- Zeus’ Playground. Outdoor adventures, a collection of roller coasters, including the Hades. With the world’s longest underground tunnel, it will plunge you into a mythic underworld that will terrify and delight you. Go-kart tracks will tempt with twists and turns through underwater tunnels and even into the belly of the Trojan horse.
- Neptune’s Water Kingdom. An outdoor realm with water slides and rides of all shapes, sizes, and speeds. Poseidon’s Rage with the world’s tallest waves -- over 9 feet! You will also find there interactive pools for the young and an enchanting Endless River to refresh the weary.
- The Parthenon. The Dells’ first indoor theme park, open all year, offers a kaleidoscope of fun, games, and rides for everyone: indoor coasters, bumper cars, tea cups, a spectacular arcade, and much more.
- Medusa’s Indoor Water Park. Anaconda will plunge you down a 10-story water slide, while the Mayan River promises the world’s fastest lazy river. Relaxing Jaguar Hot Tub.
You can’t say that you have experienced the Dells if you don’t take a scenic tour. First things first: take a river tour.
Take the complete scenic tour along the Wisconsin River and see its peaceful, natural beauty that has brought visitors here for over 100 years.
- Two-hour Upper Dells tour On a 2-hour Upper Dells tour you will enjoy two scenic shore landings. On a hot day, the walk down through the cool sandstone paths is refreshing. Then you will visit a Stand Rock. Here you will see a special one of the kind jump from a cliff to a freestanding rock. When I was on the Upper Dells cruise I watched a dog (German Sheppard) perform the jump. My friends witnessed a jump of a man.
- Mark Twain Upper Boat Tours If you don’t plan to walk, you can take a15 mile, 1-hr boat tour, with no walking on the Mark Twain boat. Glacial meltwaters ripped through here 14,000 years ago leaving behind fascinating sandstone wonders. Conceived in beauty, there is nothing man-made about Dells Glacial Park Tours. A guided tour filled with history and legend where you must let your imagination go. Our Captain Shanna was amazing, with a great sense of humor and lots of stories to tell.
- Sunset Dinner Cruise Perfect combination of beautiful scenery, live entertainment, and fine food. The cost of this two and a quarter-hour cruise with live music and amazing food cooked in front of you (their seafood is Delicious!) is unbelievably reasonable (less than $50).
- Princess Kay To make your cruise more sophisticated, you can experience the ultimate pleasure of taking The Princess Kay boat. Featuring an elegant air-conditioned/heated dining room, and an open upper deck with a full-service bar. As the shining star of the Upper Dells, the Princess Kay offers charters for weddings, family and class reunions, corporate meetings, staff parties, bachelor or bachelorette parties, and private parties Enjoy a breathtaking cruise down the beautiful Wisconsin River and be reminded of days gone by in Wisconsin Dells.
Original Wisconsin Ducks
Take a fascinating journey on an amphibious vehicle used during World War II. These restored ducks travel by land and water on trails tucked away among the natural beauty of Wisconsin Dells. Squeeze through the narrow walls of Red Bird Gorge. Coast around the exhilarating curves of Roller Coaster Hill. Plunge into the Wisconsin River. Experience 8 1/2 miles of breathtaking views from towering sandstone cliffs to scenic wilderness trails. Take a one-hour tour aboard a green and white duck.
Dells Army Duck Tours
Everyone loves the Ducks! A 1-hr guided tour filled with legend & lore of Lower Dells Glacial Park. See the famous Sugar Bowl, Grotto Island, Upside Down Heart, Wedding Bells, Lake Delton, and hear about the Lost City of Newport. Wisconsin Dells' favorite ride since 1946. Home of the famous Duck Quakers.
Jet Boat Adventures
This 50-minute thrill ride on the beautiful Wisconsin River will get your heart racing and it will get you wet which is a total blast on a hot summer day. With spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, and speeds of up to 40 mph. These 32 ft boats can do power stops, slides, and awesome power spin-outs. You will scream with awe and pleasure guaranteed! Cruise over sandbars in as shallow as 1 ft water. See the Dells at full speed and let our expert pilots mix their safe and exciting boat maneuvers with a light narrative
WildThing Jet Boats
If you are more adventurous than that, take a ride to an upper level- experience some WildThing! New and exciting, fun and furious, informative and entertaining. Your captain will ricochet right, ricochet left, do 360-degree spins, power stops, creating sprays of water, generating cheers of laughter. Thrilling fun for the whole family
Lost Canyon Tour
It is a short ride, but very spectacular.
At Lost Canyon, you enjoy the entire tour riding through a magnificent mile of cliff-walled gorges in comfortable yet quaint horse-drawn carriages. At one point you come to the narrow passages of Lost Canyon where the guides must talk the horses through the tight squeeze. In some of the deeper parts of Lost Canyon, the sheer rock and sandstone walls have not felt the touch of the sun in more than 50,000 years.
The ride through this canyon will show you some of the beauty of the Dells - the giant sandstone structures, a variety of plant life, and if you are lucky, you might observe some wildlife. It is an area left virtually untouched by man and it's constantly changing. Just to think that it was a river bed so many years ago….
Tommy Bartlett Exploratory and Show
This is something to enjoy with the whole family and what’s more—it is educational!
Experience over 150 interactive exhibits—virtual reality, music, robotics, magic, puzzles, holograms & scientific wonders.
Electrify your body to over 100,000 volts of static electricity and make your hair stand on end! Learn about magnetic and electrical fields, and experiment with laser art and optical illusions.
Tour the Original Russian Space Station MIR to see where astronauts worked and lived. Also on display, there is an exact replica of NASA's Mercury space capsule. Come, experience, enjoy!
Staged on the shores of Lake Delton, it is a 90-minutes live show, featuring a mix of extreme water-skiing, masterful boat maneuvers, comedy, and thrilling stunt artists on water, on stage, and high in the skies.
Have you ever seen the White House upside down? Well, in Wisconsin Dells you can! It landed there, right on a highway for everyone to be surprised and thrilled. Actually, aliens dropped it there. Aliens stole the White House, but then they considered it a waste of time and dropped it in Wisconsin Dells, right on a highway. If you want, you can take a tour through the White House, upside down that is! Everything is upside down there and basically, it is a haunted house attraction, but not really worthy of money paid and time spent.
I must warn you- it is much more attractive and fascinating outside than inside. Spend your money better way in another place. What you saw outside will be enough. But don’t forget to take lots of pictures of the house!
Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum
If you are into it, do something extraordinary! Discover weird oddities. Witness the strange, the unbelievable, and the downright looney. 8 galleries, 2 sit-down theaters, and 7 video presentations. More than a museum, it's an adventure, if you like these kinds of adventures.
It's not a big museum, also it is not that small. To get the most out of it you have to read the plaques on items to understand what some of it is. It is not like a water park where you would want to go there every time you are in the Dells, but it is worth checking out once since you are there.
A Final Word
I tried to cover the most interesting attractions in Wisconsin Dells. Of course, there are more than I've mentioned and you will need many days, or even many trips to Wisconsin dells to visit all of them.
You can find many night shows, performances, and places to relax after an adventurous day! Wisconsin Dells SPAs are the best you can possibly find.
Downtown Wisconsin Dells has so much to offer! Just walk along Main Street and check its numerous shops, chocolate fudge places, and even popcorn place!
Wisconsin Dells never ends!