Noted for its location on the Wisconsin River in an area carved by a glacier, Wisconsin Dells is a vibrant community with a thriving natural environment. It's home to various theme parks, a densely forested nature reserve, and numerous quirky souvenir stores catering to the tourism-driven environment. If you're seeking family-fun activities, there are plenty of exceptional experiences well worth having in Wisconsin Dells.
The largest waterpark in the U.S., Noah's Ark Waterpark is easily the best thing to do when the weather is scorching hot on a summer day. For many families, spending at least one day a year on a Chameleon raft or floating down the Bermuda Triangle is an exciting way to cool down. Even little kids love it here, thanks to the Tadpole Bay area, which comes complete with fountains and an 8-foot bucket dump. Enjoy food, fun games, and plenty of candy here.
Navigating the Wisconsin River by boat or canoe creates the opportunity to see numerous dramatic rock formations along the banks. A melting glacier moving through the area about 500 million years ago started these carvings, and they are quite stunning in detail and height. The location's name, "dells," refers to the French word for "slab-like rock," "dalles." Chimney Rock, which looks like a chimney, is one of the most recognizable.
What's not to love about spending a day mini-golfing, navigating a ropes course, or racing through a maze for laser tag? You could also spend some time on the go-karts or take advantage of the four indoor and four additional outdoor waterparks at Wilderness Resort. Many people come for the week or at least the weekend to take in the 600 acres of family fun. There's also a spa, fine dining, and beautiful cabins to enjoy.
The waterfront along the Wisconsin River makes it a special place to have an adventure. With a boat tour, you can see it all, learn a bit about the area, and enjoy a bit of adrenaline-boosting fun if you decide to zipline at the final destination. Each of the boat tours is a bit different, but many take you through narrow canyons to explore the waterfront. The sunset dinner cruises make a great option for a romantic getaway.
The Tommy Bartlett Exploratory provides 175 interactive science displays for kids and adults. These range widely from the giant lever, where you can lift a car, to the Mercury Space Capsule, a fantastic look at the planet. Others include the Virtual Sports Center, High Wire Skycycle, and Van De Graaff Generator, which will literally cause your hair to stand on end.
Even if you're visiting Wisconsin Dells during the colder months, water park fun is still possible. Kalahari Indoor Waterpark is a year-round location with a wave pool, water coaster, and family raft rides. You'll be impressed with the seemingly never-ending slides the kids can use as you relax with a drink in the cabanas.
The canopy of green over Wisconsin Dells makes it an excellent choice for a zipline adventure. Numerous providers offer the experience, including Bigfoot Zipline Tours, Dells Zipline Adventures, and Vertical Illusions. This is a top activity for thrill-seekers of all ages, as are the ropes courses often offered alongside the high-flying experience. However, the treetops are not just for adrenaline seekers. The beauty of nature from this vantage point is hard to ignore.
For an animal-centric encounter, visit Timbavati Wildlife Park, an immersive experience with over 400 animals from 75 species. Take the Old Fort Dells "Engine Number 9 Trail" to explore the park, learn about the importance of conservation, and walk through the gardens. Visit the pygmy goats, check out the waterfalls area for waterfowl, and stop into the Feline Center to see the big cats out on display.
Mount Olympus Theme Park has much to offer, including both a thrill and a water park. There are five rollercoasters here and a poolside retreat to relax in the sun. The go-karts are one of the best features, with seven tracks to explore. Each time around is a new adventure that comes with some bumps along the way. After a day at the track, visit Poseidon's Rage Wave Pool or hit the roller coasters for adrenaline rushes like the 65-degree drop on the Hades 360.
Wisconsin Dells also offers various entertainment options, but none rival the live performances at Crystal Grand Music Theatre. The specific events change weekly, including modern artist performances, national groups, family shows, comedians, and many others. It all happens in a small, 2000-seat theatre that's located on Lake Delton. The smaller size makes it more of an intimate experience with the artists.
Pamper yourself in a serene, luxurious spa. Spa Del Sol, Spa Kalahari, Sun Mountain Spa, and Sundara Inn & Spa are a few of the best options nearby. Stop in for a facial or a massage, or take in one of the relaxing soaks in the hot tub. Each location is different, but many offer modern and holistic body treatments, hair styling, pedicures, and nail bars to help you look and feel your best.
Set out on your choice of over 19 miles of hikes to explore. Mirror Lake State Park is an exceptional experience for lovers of the outdoors. It's open throughout the year, though only some of the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing during the winter months. One of the best trails for a view is Echo Rock Trail, at just over half a mile long. Walk across the 150-foot clear bridge that spans Mirror Lake Gorge—heart-pounding fun with a view.
Get some retail therapy and bag a bargain at Wisconsin Dells Tanger Outlets. You'll find over 60 name-brand retail locations to explore, many of them well-recognized fashion brands. It's easy to find a deal here. The location is also noted for the various events and sales it puts on throughout the year, especially during the holidays.
The Ho-Chunk Gaming Casino offers everything from blackjack tables to slot machines. It's open 24 hours to give you a chance at winning it big. In addition to the games, live performances, a bar, and dining options are onsite. You may also be able to catch a comedy show, a musical performance, or even a visiting inspirational speaker.
You can easily find national chains here, but you also have to try some of the local favorites. Stop in for a coffee at Bella Goose Coffee and Café on the River. You can grab a freshly made pizza or steak kabobs at Asgard Axe & Tap. For local brew, check out Bevy, which also has its own wine-making facility. Some of the best burgers can be found at B-LU Grill & Bar, while you'll find excellent breakfast options at BJ's Restaurant.