Top 10 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

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 every one, 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.

Our last visit to Dells.
Our last visit to Dells.
Also from our last visit to Dells.
Also from our last visit to Dells.

A bit of history, just a short glimpse.

In 1700’s 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 to 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 begins 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

Noah's Ark Waterpark

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.

NEW in 2010, "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, arcades, gift shops, restaurants, candy store & much more!

While in the park, you can find there lots of snack 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.

Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park

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, 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 : 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. 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, which 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.


A famous H.H. Bennett's stop-action photo of his son Ashley leaping to Stand Rock in 1886.
A famous H.H. Bennett's stop-action photo of his son Ashley leaping to Stand Rock in 1886.
From a board of Mark Twain cruise ship.
From a board of Mark Twain cruise ship.

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 melt waters 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 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 an ultimate pleasure of taking The Princess Kay boat. Featuring an elegant air conditioned/heated dining room, 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.

Ducks Tours

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 Boats

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 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 the awesome power spin outs. You will scream with awe and pleasure guaranteed! Cruise over sandbars in as shallow as 1ft 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 that 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. On 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 wall 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 realty, 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.

Animal Attractions

Canyon Creek Riding Stables

The whole family can take a safe adventure trail ride to tombstone and watch a western town come to life as you ride down main street.

Go through 200 ft. tunnel.

View scenic waterfalls and see an array of wildlife.

Cross over the pond by the bridge leading you to beautiful Lost Canyon.

The guides are and the horses are gentle.

Be sure to visit a free petting zoo.

Timbavati Wildlife Park/Storybook Gardens

Storybook Gardens has a new tail to tell!

Your kids will enjoy a close, personal encounter with a giraffe, zebra, kangaroo and many more unique animals.

Here in this storybook land, scenes from your favorite children's stories come to life!

Wisconsin Deer Park

It was established in 1952.

Set out on a family adventure to explore the Wisconsin Deer Park,

enjoy a 4 block stroll through a 28 acre forest setting.

Feed with your own hands many varieties of deer and wild life.

Top Secret Experience

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 trilled. Actually, aliens dropped it there. Aliens stole the White House, but then they considered it waste of time and dropped in Wisconsin Dells, right on a high way. 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 forge 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, 7 video presentations. More than a museum--It's an adventure, if you like this kind 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, 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 the Main Street and check its numerous shops, chocolate fudge places, even popcorn place!

Wisconsin Dells never ends!

Comments 31 comments

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

Who knew Wisconsin has so much to offer. I want to go.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

Hi, suzie, nice to see you! Wisconsin has much much more to offer! It was just 10 things to do in one place (Wisconsin Dells). You are welcome to visit us and see for yourself how beautiful our state is!

Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 6 years ago from HubPages, FB

Really great hub. Thank you.

Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City

Thanks for an introduction to Wisconsin Dells. I've never been to Wisconsin, but pretty sure that the state has many beautiful places and natural attractions. Looking forward to reading more about your state :)

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, all! Wisconsin is a very beautiful state worth of visiting. At the top I added some links to our other hubs about Wisconsin. Please, read.

GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

GojiJuiceGoodness 6 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

Man, I've never heard of this before! I went to Holiday World in Indiana last year & got my first taste of a water park...and I'm hooked. :) Wisconsin is too far away for me, but I'd love to go there some day.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

GJG, there is no place like Wisconsin Dells as far as water parks are concerned! The trip will be worth it!

Thank you for stopping and commenting.

jreuter profile image

jreuter 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Yay! Best state ever! And an excellent hub to boot!

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, jreuter!

jdaviswrites profile image

jdaviswrites 6 years ago from California

Man I remember going to the dells and riding on the duck when I was probably 12 years old. Wisco is awesome...and this hub makes me want to go back. Thanks...

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

jdaviswrites, childhood memories are sweet. Come back to experience it again.

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas

The Wisconsin Dells brings back so many happy family memories. Summer vacation. Kenosha native, now living in Dallas. Thanks ReuVera! Ever been to Lake Geneva? Ciao. :)

martin90williams profile image

martin90williams 6 years ago

great great hub!

I going to Wisconsin this weekend to visit family and now I know what I'm going to do when I get there. Thanks!

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

Jai, yes, I was there. Be-a-u-ti-ful place worth of visiting! Salute to Kenosha native!

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

martin90williams, it is going rain here on this Saturday night/Sunday, but you will find lots of great things to do in Wisconsin Dells indoors! Just check this-

SurferGirl1 profile image

SurferGirl1 6 years ago from California

Many memories of Wisconsin Dells. I grew up in the area and have been to the Dells many times. Loved the water parks around there as well.

craftdrawer profile image

craftdrawer 6 years ago

Living in Wisconsin there are many beautiful areas to visit. Lake Michigan is one of the beauties we enjoy along with several wonderful areas to discover.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

SurferGirl, I bet you can find great waves to surf in WI lakes! Thank you for reading and commenting.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

craftdrawer, I love Lake Michigan shores. Once I was there on a rainy spring day and the lake was stormy. There was an absolute illusion of an ocean. Love it.

belliott profile image

belliott 6 years ago

Thanks for the information. Makes me want to go and check it all out

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, belliott, for visiting my hub about Wisconsin Dells. Next step is to come to Wis.Dells! You will enjoy it for sure!

hubpageswriter 6 years ago

Awesome. There is certainly lots to do in Wisconsin Dells. Would love to check out some of the places you've mentioned.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

hubpageswriter, you are welcome to do this. I am planning to go there at the beginning of August.

ExpandYourMind profile image

ExpandYourMind 6 years ago from Midwest USA

You paint a scenic and fun picture. I will put this on my must visit list.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

EYM, number 1! Thank you for visiting my hub!

amberld profile image

amberld 4 years ago from New Glarus, WI

I love that you included some Dells history in your Hub. I used to work at the boats and Tommy Bartlett's and the Dells has so much to offer. Thank you for another great Hub!

htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Wow,That is really interesting

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, ladies.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

You have a lot of great photos and information here for people who would like to visit the Dells. I was born and grew up in WI maybe an hour from W. Dells, and visited the Dells with my family when I was 7. The highlight back then were the duck boats. I remember I got to sit up front beside the Captain of the boat.

I guess the Indian Ceremonial Shows are over. That's too bad. Can hardly believe that Tommy Bartlett's Water Show is still there.

I've been to Disneyland once and Disney World twice, and so I think the Dells might have a little more competition that you suggest, but the scenery along the Wisconsin River is indeed incredible and well worth seeing, and there are certainly a lot of things to do to keep people entertained.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 3 years ago from USA Author

Nice to meet a Wisconsinite here! You are right, I haven't seen any Indian performances in Wis. Dells, but Indians do perform during Summer Fest in Milwaukee. Also, there is an Indian Village for tours with a native guide, near Lac Du Flambeau reservation in WI.

RapT 3 years ago

It is really a worth-full information about the Wisconsin dells for the people who don't know anything about Wisconsin dells.

Pictures posted here are awesome, It really tells the history of W dells. We were planned to visit W Dells before, but it is never happened.

The information here, is really good. It will help lot of people, like me, who want to visit from different places.

Great article and love it.

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