Most people have heard of Las Vegas – the entertainment capital of the United States, but have you heard of Wisconsin Dells? This play-land, is often called the “Waterpark Capital of the World” because it has the largest concentration of water-parks. The size of Wisconsin Dells is impressive. Its big and always one park is trying to do something bigger and faster. “Noah’s Arc,” for instance, is built on 70 acres of lands, marking it the biggest water-park in Wisconsin Dells and one of the biggest water-parks in the world. But it’s not the only attraction which is why people visit the area year around.
The area boasts of 80 different attractions, so no matter what you enjoy or adventure level, you can find something to do here. It’s no wonder that for 150 years people of all walks of life, age and interest flock to the town.
The distance between attractions makes having a car the most convenient way to get around the Dells. Without a car getting to and around Wisconsin Dells is difficult because as with most of America, public transportation is fairly unreliable and scarce if it even exists. Car rentals are widespread in the US and tend to be fairly inexpensive.
So the easiest way is flying into Chicago and then renting a car or getting downtown and taking a train. Milwaukee and Madison has both bus and train service but flights to these smaller airports tend to be more expensive, less frequent and you will still need to transfer a few times.
You can check out the train schedule and buy tickets here: https://www.amtrak.com
You can also hop on a greyhound bus, https://www.greyhound.com
What to do
Wisconsin Dells features 18(!) different water-parks, so describing, let alone visiting, all would be very difficult. We are giving you the run-down of the three best and most popular ones, – “Noah’s Arc,” “Mt. Olympus,” “Kalahari.”
“Noah’s Arc” was opened in 1979, it is often ranked among the best, largest and safest water-parks in the world. Out of its 49 different water-slides, “The Black Anaconda”, “Point of No Return” and “Scorpion’s Tail” stand out the most. The first considered as one of the most extreme water coasters in the world, the latter two trailing not so far behind. Quite honestly, the twists and turns of “The Black Anaconda” made me reluctant to try out the other two. My boys, however, like the adrenaline junkies they are, kept running back to, trying out what it feels like to have the ground swept from underneath you. Apart from the legendary waterslides, the park has 2 enormous wave pools and 2 long rivers, where one can languish, relax and let the stream take care of the rest. 4 Children’s Play Areas, 18 hole mini-golf course, bumper-ships, arcades, candy and souvenir shops and even a 4-D dive-in theater, where the action of the move flies at you.
Generally, one day would cost $30, although it depends on the season. There are multiple options that you can pursue, for instance, you can buy a $50 day pass which would include parking, food and allow you to bring one more person with you. There are also options for three people, which includes a lunch.
There is more information on the website, – https://www.noahsarkwaterpark.com/
Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park
In contrast to “Noah’s Arc”, this theme waterpark built in 2004 is relatively new. As the name suggests the park’s design was inspired by Greek mythology. There is Neptune’s Kingdom, which has a staggering 44 different rides, including Poseidon’s Rage, which is a pool with the tallest waves in the entire world (three meters). You can ride from a height of a ten story building on the “Anaconda,” located in the “Medusa’s Indoor Water Park”, or plunge into the world of the dead in “Hades,” located at the “Zeus’ Playground”. When you want to dry off you can also race around on go carts and zip through the belly of the Trojan Horse. The park wouldn’t be complete without a Parthenon, which features another indoor theme park, with Jacuzzis, water-basketball, mini golf, and much more. More information can be found https://www.mtolympuspark.com/
If you’re buying tickets for the summer during winter, in advance, the prices are as low as $10. Many book rooms at Roma Hotel and get free access to the Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park.
“Kalahari Resorts” is an African themed water park, with “Screaming Hyena,” “Waterfall “Victoria,” and “Tiko’s Watering Hall” being fine examples. Kalahari has the biggest indoor theme park in Wisconsin Dells that connects to an outdoor area, making it a fun place to visit in any season. The park keeps innovating. For instance, they have built FlowRider, the world’s first surfing simulation and Super-Loop, an attempt to capture the roller-coaster experience in a water-slide context. 2017 has been a fruitful year for innovations, the park has opened “The Smoke that Thunders,” the tallest and fastest water-slide for inflatable seats and “Arena,” a VR-based shooter game. Granted, there are traditional entertainment options too, mini-golf, spa and restaurants. A typical day ticket costs $34 a night ticket $25, there are plenty of alternate options that you should check out on: https://shop.kalahariresorts.com
Apart from the water-parks Wisconsin Dells has a wide array of other entertainment that would suit anyone’s wants and desires. Golf, a sunset dinner on the Wisconsin river, go-carting for all age categories, open-air cinema, a magic theater, horse-rides, cave tours, zip-lines, mounting climbing, circus, a ride on the old rail tracks, fishing, zoos, deer park, museums, wineries. Thankfully the city provides you with exhaustive maps of the town and the different types of entertainment.
The Most Unique Types of Entertainment
The Tommy Barlett show has existed for 70 years and is the show that made Wisconsin Dells a tourist phenomenon. Apart from transforming professional water-skiers into water-gymnast, to promote the value of water-sports, Tommy Barlett has created a museum of science, which features an actual piece of the Soviet space-station “Myr.”
Price is $21.5 for a ticket, more information here http://www.tommybartlett.com
The Wisconsin Ducks Tour is a unique experience that has been active since 1946. You will have the opportunity to ride on a WWII era amphibious vehicle. You will start by driving through town before plunging into the river and floating by canyons of Wisconsin Dells. It is a truly unforgettable experience, made all the more exciting by the sensation of being on vehicle of this type and the tour-guide’s enthusiasm and humor. Price is $23 for a ticket, more info here http://www.wisconsinducktours.com
“Top Secret” is a quick tour into the “White House,” upside down. The tour unlocks some of the secrets that the real White House contains. The tickets are only $5, http://www.dellstopsecret.com/
Alternatively, you can go on an active adventure to search for the Golden Scull in a replica of a Mayan temple called “Lost Temple.” $12 adult and $10 child’s. Tickets are available here http://www.dellslosttemple.com.
If seeing a two-head tortoise, a headless chicken or micro-paintings on pencil-ends sounds interesting – you should check out Mr.Marvel’s wondertorium. The museum offers a collection of outdated and odd ways of entertainment, like eating fire and walking on glass, a freak-show, in short. Tickets are $9 in advance and $12 on the spot, more details here https://www.wondertorium.com
The downtown area retains its old American town atmosphere so you should definitely come. Restaurants, souvenir spots and other entertainment guaranteed.
There are several options.
A good hotel would go for a $250 per night in the peak times of summer.
Mt. Olympus is its own all-encompassing complex that includes: Roma Hotel, Mt.Olimpus tree & camp resort, Mt.Olimpus vacation homes, Mt. Olympus village. By choosing to stay in Mt. Olympus tickets to the theme parks will be included in the price of the accommodation. Many hotels will include passes to waterparks, for instance, American Resort includes a pass to Mt. Olympus while Flamingo Motel & Suites or All Star Inn & Suites will include passes into “Noah’s Arc.” Most of the hotels are built close to the waterparks but some, like Aloha beach, are built on the river, the price for a night’s stay can be a staggering $800.
Of course, there are plenty of motels, camping sites and for-rent apartments if the hotels seem too pricey. It is fairly common for Americans to purchase apartments in touristy towns, to visit them for a week or two and then to rent the apartment for the rest of the year. So common, in fact, that there are entire complexes built for that specific reason, with appropriate infrastructure and management to boot. Not only will these complexes look after your apartment but also offer a check in service for anyone wanting to rent.
Food is various and can match any taste, ranging from standard American cuisine to Ukrainian varenyky.
I will note a couple of joints that stood out. Famous Dave’s famousdaves.com is a network of restaurants across the states that has some of the best ribs in the country. One 20-30 dollar meal can feed an entire family. You should also visit MACS Macaroni and Cheese shop macandcheeseshop.com, a restaurant focused exclusively on top notch macaroni and cheese from a small $7 portion to a $10 big one.
One of the finest and most expensive places is called Ishnala supper club www.ishnala.com. A little bit outside of town, built on a scenic lake, it used to be a club, open exclusively to its members. Right now, anyone can come, anyone with money that is. There are many who want to visit so booking in advance is advised. A dinner will cost up to $200 if you include the price of alcohol.
My closing thought — everyone should play in the Dells at least once in their lifetime.