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Wisconsin Dells

Water, water everywhere in the Badger State’s playground

As the self-proclaimed “Waterpark Capital of the World,” Wisconsin Dells is the epicenter for tourism in the southern central region of the Badger State. It’s also a destination for lovers of nature, fine cheese and quirky attractions that are guaranteed to wow the folks back at home.

Thousands of Years in the Making

The glacial waters that melted some 14,000 years ago helped to create incredibly fascinating sandstone formations in Wisconsin Dells. For the past century and a half, the Dells have been drawing tourists from all over the country, including throngs of people from neighboring Northern Illinois.

Bring your camera to capture the stratified rock formations that loom over the Wisconsin River for miles. Historians credit photographer H.H. Bennett with making the Dells famous. Bennett’s 1875 photography studio is among the historic sites that tell the story of the region.

Another touch of Dell’s history is found through the Original Wisconsin Ducks, whose very name is a registered trademark. The amphibious vehicles were used during World War II, and restored models await visitors for tours on land and water trails in the area.


Wisconsin Dells; Visitor & Convention Bureau

How Many Waterparks Did You Say?

The Wisconsin Dells has no shortage of fun and adventure, and visitors can spend the bulk of their time at the many water parks that dot the area. Many of the parks defy gravity with their sheer size. Noah’s Ark Waterpark, for starters, boasts more than 80 family activities, including so-called “extreme” slides, with one ominously dubbed “Scorpion’s Tail.”

Not to be outdone, Kalahari Waterpark Resort, Indoor Theme Park & Convention Center claims it is Wisconsin’s largest indoor waterpark, boasting 125,000 square feet of facilities. Its African-theme is carried over into a gargantuan indoor theme park (100,000 square feet) along with its Zambezi Outdoor Waterpark. Chula Vista Resort also has both indoor and outdoor waterpark fun—200,000 square feet of it—with 27 waterslides.

You don’t have to get soaking wet to have fun on the water at the Dells. Mark Twain Upper Dells Tours takes visitors on a 15-mile boat excursion through the beautiful sandstone wonders of Dells Glacier Park. Or, try a thrill ride with Dells Jet Boat Adventures, which promises an exhilarating trip on the Wisconsin River with a chance to see great scenery and wildlife. Princess Kay Paddlewheel Riverboat allows visitors to enjoy sunset cruises of the Wisconsin River with refreshments on board.


Wisconsin Dells; Visitor & Convention Bureau

Fun for Land Lubbers

Get out of the water and discover fun on dry land. In this recreation wonderland, you’ll find everything from bowling to entertainment to zip lining. Bigfoot Zipline promises more than 4,300 feet of zip lining fun for all ages who try out its 30-acre course. The Wilderness Canyon Zip Line Canopy Tour is eight football fields long, spans six towers and rises more than 60 feet into the air.

Stock car racing fans will enjoy Dells Raceway Park, where competitions are held (in season) on Saturday nights. Try state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a 4D theater ride and bumper cars at Knuckleheads Bowling & Indoor Amusement Park. The Tommy Bartlett Show features the excitement of professional water skiers performing all kinds of stunts, including the three-tier human pyramid. The whole family can test its driving skills at ADare Go Carts, which takes drivers through a challenging course over hills, under bridges and around heart-racing turns.

Golf is big in the Dells. Tee off at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, which offers five different miniature golf courses nestled among over 30,000 plant species and waterfalls. Wild Rock Golf Club at the Wilderness presents the challenge of a golf course carved from rugged holes in an old quarry, with lovely vistas all around. Coldwater Canyon Golf Course at Chula Vista Resort boasts 18 holes with scenic canyons as its backdrop.

For a chance to slow the pace and unwind, find respite at Sundara Inn & Spa, whose surrounding pine forests evoke only thoughts of relaxation. Or try one of many exhilarating spa treatments at Spa de Sol on the grounds of Chula Vista Resort. Take a thought-provoking tour of the original Russian Space Station MIR at Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, which features more than 150 interactive exhibits, including robotics, holograms and a replica of NASA’s Mercury space capsule. Spend some downtime in Wisconsin Deer Park, which features a four-block stroll through a 28-acre forest setting and a chance to feed a variety of wildlife.

Look for the odd and extraordinary on a visit to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum. The attraction boasts eight galleries, a pair of theaters and video presentations about its displays. Skills of illusion await guests at the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater.

Cheese, Chocolates and Cashmere

No matter what shoppers may need or want, Wisconsin Dells has shopping venues to suit everyone’s tastes—and wallets. Whether you are looking for outlet centers, antiques or eateries featuring Wisconsin cheeses and genuine fudge—it’s all there. The downtown shopping area is a good place for souvenir-hunting.

Grab a Bite to Eat

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too? There is virtually no place you can go in the Dells without the aroma of food around. In the mood for a burger, a Coney dog or some ice cream? How about a sit-down for a family-style meal? Whatever you want, the eateries around the Dells have already thought of it long before your cravings started. Many of the resorts feature white-linen service restaurants as well as those eateries that make more casual outings their specialty.

For More Information

Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau




Wisconsin Department of Tourism