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Spotlight: Wisconsin Dells

Slide into fun in the Midwest’s watery playground

There’s no shortage of things to do and places to experience in Wisconsin Dells. This Midwestern hamlet is a true destination with activities and entertainment for every family member. Wisconsin Dells is known as the Waterpark Capital of the World, thanks to an abundance of parks with slides, pools and lazy rivers.

Water recreation is a little wilder on the Upper and Lower Dells of the Wisconsin River. Jet-boat tours take guests zipping over the water, while kayaking and canoeing serve up stunning views of Wisconsin scenery at a more leisurely pace. The rock formations of the Upper Dells are a must-see attraction. Some of the cliffs here rise as high as 100 feet above the river.

Bring your rod and reel—and your fishing license—to the banks of the river and fish for Northern pike, walleye, bass, muskie and sturgeon. Boat launches are found at several points along the river at both Upper and Lower Dells. Lake Delton is a source of panfish year-round, and game fish from May to March. The wilds of Wisconsin Dells are home to deer and turkey, and hunting seasons for both are open to licensed non-residents and residents.

Enjoy a fine wine or well-crafted brew in Wisconsin Dells, where wineries and breweries in the region offer tasting opportunities with a side of casual dining and interaction with the local crowd. Spend an evening enjoying live entertainment at Crystal Grand Music Theater or the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater. Crystal Grand hosts concerts from acts of all musical styles as well as live stage performances.  Shows at Rick Wilcox Magic Theater promise entertaining and mind-bending illusions for audiences, with a touch of comedic timing thrown in.

Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

Fun for the Kids

Younger audiences will get a thrill at Mr. Marvel’s Wondertorium, a live show where classic circus tricks and oddities on display will delight and intrigue everyone. Continue the thrill at MagiQuest, where kids play a four-story, live-action adventure game with magic wands, mystical creatures and a dragon.

Hands-on learning and fun are the main attraction at Tommy Bartlett Exploratory Interactive Science Center. Guests get in on the action with more than 175 interactive activities, including a Russian Space Station MIR module. The strongest will find themselves able to lift a car off the ground—with the help of a giant lever, of course.

Head to Timberland Playhouse at the Wilderness Resort and let the high-energy set explore the four-story playhouse, with 30,000 square feet of interactive fun for kids ages 1 to 12. Crawl spaces, slides and obstacle courses are highlights.

The scenic RiverWalk near downtown is a prime opportunity to enjoy views of the river and sandstone bluffs. Amble down the quarter-mile path and take a peek at the outdoor game tables, or stop to catch the sunset.

Just a short jaunt from the RiverWalk is H.H. Bennett Studio, the oldest operating business in the city that was opened by one of the 19th century’s most lauded landscape photographers. Bennett’s original workspace is preserved and open for tours, and visitors can see homemade cameras, darkroom equipment and glass-plate collections. The photography museum showcases many of Bennett’s celebrated images.

Walk in Bennett’s footsteps and visit Witches Gulch. This stretch of canyon was discovered by the photographer in 1871 during an excursion. The gulch is a moss-covered sandstone slot with a wooden boardwalk built for visitors to trek through—in some spots, the walls are close enough to touch.

Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

Rocky Arbor High

The forested seclusion of Rocky Arbor State Park welcomes visitors to hike its one-mile nature trail or snowshoe through the woods in wintertime. Rocky outcrops of sandstone are hallmarks of this 244-acre park.

Get up close and personal with alligators and other reptiles at Alligator Alley Adventures. This family-friendly destination teaches visitors about these scaly creatures and several other species of reptiles on display. The Alligator Alley staff even lets guests feed the toothy residents.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Wisconsin Dells when the snow falls, Christmas Mountain Village is a popular place for skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers. If it’s too warm for snow, head to Christmas Mountain with your clubs for a day on the fairways. Oaks Course is a championship layout that’s nearly 7,000 yards from the back tees. The Pines Course welcomes golfers of all skill levels, and its unique layout is surrounded by towering pine trees.

Train lovers and rail enthusiasts should chug over to Riverside and Great Northern Railway for a living-museum experience that offers rides on 15-gauge live steam trains through three miles of canyons, woods and rock cuts alongside the Wisconsin River.

For More Information

Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau
Wisconsin Department of Tourism