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14 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells

Written by Anietra Hamper
Mar 10, 2020

Wisconsin Dells, in central Wisconsin, is a destination that ignites your inner child. With the largest concentration of water parks in the world and an abundance of theaters and museums, your vacation can center on as much water or land as you like. If you prefer a little of both, take a trip on the famous amphibious Duck Boat tours, which provide one of the most iconic experiences of the area.

The region, which includes Lake Delton, is collectively known as the Dells, and it is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin especially for families. You can easily find tourist activities, like ziplining, skiing, and live entertainment, but it is difficult not to notice the natural sandstone bluffs, wildlife, and canyons that surround you.

One of the most notable areas, while difficult to get to on foot, is the Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area. Views of some of the sandstone skyscrapers can be seen from the Wisconsin Dells River Walk, but the best way to observe the State Natural Area is on a sightseeing tour along the Wisconsin River.

The other attractions and sightseeing excursions here are easily accessible, which means you can start your day on waterslides and end it watching the sunset in a canyon. For more ideas, see our list of the top things to do in Wisconsin Dells.

1. Original Wisconsin Ducks Boat Tour

Original Wisconsin Ducks Boat Tour | miss pior / photo modified

One of the top things to do in Wisconsin Dells is take a boat tour on the Original Wisconsin Duck boats. Splash into the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton for part of your excursion in the water, then enjoy a drive through four miles of wilderness without ever leaving the vehicle.

The historical amphibious vehicles were designed to transport supplies from ship to shore during World War II. The vehicles have been used to give visitors a unique way to experience Wisconsin Dells by land and water since 1946.

There are a number of lodging options close to the Wisconsin Duck Tours, like the Quality Inn, which is only a mile away.

Address: 1890 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: http://www.wisconsinducktours.com/

2. Noah's Ark Waterpark

Noah's Ark Waterpark | Photo Copyright: Noahs Ark Waterpark

You will have to start the day early or plan for several days at the Noah's Ark Water Park. It is America's largest water park, with more than 70 acres of water rides, entertainment, and activities. The park caters to all ages and has four separate children's play areas.

Some of the popular features and rides include the two rivers; two large wave pools; and tube rides like the Bermuda Triangle, Dark Voyage, and Time Warp that spins you inside of a giant bowl while in the raft. There are several group rides, which are fun for families, and dry activities like an arcade and 4-D theater.

If you are more of a water park spectator than participant, be sure to book a private cabana prior to your visit, where you can hang out for the afternoon.

For convenience, you can stay at the Holiday Inn Express, which includes breakfast and is located less than a mile from the Noah's Ark Waterpark.

Address: 1410 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: https://www.noahsarkwaterpark.com/

3. Wisconsin Deer Park

Wisconsin Deer Park

As one of the original attractions in the Wisconsin Dells area, the Wisconsin Deer Park is still a family favorite after more than 50 years. This interactive park is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin Dells, with more than 40 acres of wooded trails and feeding areas. The most recognized resident of the park is the white-tailed deer, a common species in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest.

As you stroll through the park, be sure to take in some of the other exhibits that have bison, Japanese sika deer, and elk. One of the best times to visit is in the early summer, when you are likely to catch a glimpse of some of the fawns that are born almost everyday in May and June.

Address: 2183 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: http://www.wisdeerpark.com/

4. Rick Wilcox Magic Theater

Rick Wilcox Magic Theater | Photo Copyright: Rick Wilcox Magic Theater

The Wisconsin Dells has no shortage of indoor theater attractions, but one of the most popular is the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater. The grand illusion show is a combination of magic, live entertainment, and comedy all in one 90-minute performance.

The family-friendly show features husband and wife team, Rick and Suzan Wilcox, who update the show each year with new illusions and on-stage performances. Be sure to take note of the actual theater when you visit as it has a history of its own. Before it opened in 1999 for the Rick Wilcox show, it had a stint as a teen dance club in the 1980s and a country music theater in the 1990s.

Address: 1670 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: http://rickwilcox.com/

5. Wilderness Resort

Wilderness Resort | Photo Copyright: Wilderness Resort

The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells is a sprawling resort with four indoor and four outdoor water parks. The Klondike Kavern Indoor Waterpark has a lazy river, body slides, and a popular dumping bucket for kids of all ages.

One of the most impressive areas of the resort is at the Wild WaterDome. It is a 70,000 square-foot indoor water park with the country's largest wave pool, featuring five-foot waves and a dome skylight that covers the entire facility. There are two other indoor water parks: the Wild West, with thrill rides, and Cubby's Cove, which has a sport pool with basketball hoops.

There are four outdoor water parks to choose from, including New Frontier, Lake Wilderness, Lost World with adventure water rides, and Cubby's Outdoor. If you can't decide between indoor or outdoor, you can try a little of both at the indoor/outdoor hot spa.

You can book a poolside cabana for the day at both the indoor and outdoor water parks.

Address: 511 E. Adams Street, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: http://www.wildernessresort.com/

6. The Palace Theater in the Dells

The Palace Theater in the Dells | Photo Copyright: The Palace Theater in the Dells

If you are spending time in Wisconsin Dells, you should plan at least one evening out at The Palace Theater in the Dells. You can enjoy dinner and a show or just attend a performance. Shows at the theater feature Disney classics like The Little Mermaid, Broadway musicals, and special acts throughout the year.

The theater is centrally located and a popular evening option if you have spent the day exploring some of the more than 100 tourist attractions in the area. There is a regular menu of shows available and special engagements throughout the year, so no matter when you visit, you can find a performance to see.

Address: 564 Wisconsin Dells Parkway South, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: http://www.dellspalace.com/

7. H.H. Bennett Studio

H.H. Bennett Studio | Jim / photo modified

While there are a number of museums to explore in Wisconsin Dells, one of the most interesting is the H.H. Bennett Studio, which is also the oldest operating business in the area. H.H. Bennett is considered one of the best landscape photographers of the 19th century. The photography studio opened in 1875 and is considered to be the oldest operating studio of its kind in the United States.

The studio now belongs to the Wisconsin Historical Society and still features much of H.H. Bennett's images and photography equipment. If you go, stop by the 3-D imaging area, which uses technology to digitally enhance some of Bennett's old images into a stereo image. It is one of the only such pieces of technology in the US.

Address: 215 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

8. Bigfoot Zipline

Bigfoot Zipline | Photo Copyright: Bigfoot Zipline

If you are looking for an aerial view of the Dells, a zipline adventure is a fantastic option and one of the best places to visit for adrenaline seekers. Bigfoot Zipline Tours is one of the top outdoor adventure attractions in Wisconsin Dells. Tours generally last 2.5 hours and take you through seven ziplines that soar above trees and lakes.

The park also has a Bigfoot Ropes Course and aerial park with more than 80 elements to tackle, from swinging bridges to oversized steps and challenges that require crawling. The company also offers combined attractions if you want to pack several adventures into one day.

Address: 1550 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: http://www.bigfootzip.com/

9. Kalahari Waterparks

Kalahari Waterparks | Photo Copyright: Kalahari Resorts

Wisconsin's largest indoor water park, Kalahari is one-stop shopping when it comes to lodging and things to do. The 125,000-square-foot water park and indoor theme park will keep you busy for several days. Popular rides in the park include the lazy river raft ride; Flowrider, where you can surf waves; the wave pool; and the winding Zig Zag Zebra waterslide.

Since the water park is indoors, you can visit year-round. Try booking a private indoor cabana, so you can sit back and watch the kids. They come with a flat-screen TV, refrigerator, and chaise lounge.

Kalahari also has many non-water activities, like a games room, virtual reality experiences, and hands-on activities for kids.

Address: 1305 Kalahari Drive, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: https://www.kalahariresorts.com/wisconsin

10. River Walk

River Walk

A scenic stroll along the Wisconsin Dells River Walk is a memorable experience. The sandstone bluffs that mark this area have not always been accessible to visitors, but the quarter-mile paved River Walk gives you the most scenic views by foot of the Wisconsin River.

Take your time as you walk to enjoy some of the public green space, game tables, and park benches. This free attraction is also open for biking. The best times to take a walk are during the spectacular Wisconsin sunrises and sunsets.

Address: 100 Block Downtown, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

11. Lost Canyon Tours

Lost Canyon Tours | Photo Copyright: Lost Canyon Tours

You can explore the deepest canyon in Wisconsin by horse and carriage during a Lost Canyon Tour. The mile-long path that cuts through cliff-walled gorges gives you private access to one of the most scenic areas in the state. Your tour through the narrow passages by carriage is a unique experience.

The horses navigate through the cliffs and tight squeezes to give you the most natural exposure to areas that have not been touched by sunlight in more than half a million years. Be sure to take your camera to capture the breathtaking sandstone rock formations from this unique perspective.

Address: 720 Canyon Road, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: http://www.lostcanyontour.com/

12. Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park

Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park | Jeremy Thompson / photo modified

With so many water parks to choose from in Wisconsin Dells, it is tough to narrow it down, but Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park is one of the most popular. There are both indoor and outdoor water parks and theme parks. The indoor water park has slides, a lazy river, and whirlpools. The outdoor water park has a wave pool; large-scale waterslides; and the Lost City of Atlantis, which has six-stories of water adventures in one location.

The indoor theme park has arcade games and rides for kids of all age ranges, while the outdoor theme park has several roller coasters and go-kart courses.

Address: 1701 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: www.mtolympuspark.com

13. Ripley's Believe It or Not

Ripley's Believe It or Not, Wisconsin Dells | Channel3000_Communities / photo modified

The Ripley's Believe It or Not in Wisconsin Dells is a fun adventure for all ages given the collection of odd and unusual items in the museum. With three floors of galleries to explore, you will need to plan several hours to get through it.

With more than 200 artifacts throughout 11 different galleries, you will see things like two-headed sheep and unique items with elaborate stories surrounding them. You can be a casual observer or take the believe-it-or-not experience to the next level by taking part in the explorer experience to see if you can survive the curse of King Tut as you peruse the galleries.

Address: 115 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: www.ripleysdells.com

14. Timbavati Wildlife Park

Parakeets at Timbavati Wildlife Park, Wisconsin Dells

The Timbavati Wildlife Park is a family-friendly animal park in Wisconsin Dells and can be a nice break from the water parks. The facility has more than 70 species of animals from around the world. Visit the Grasslands Area to see zebras, giraffes, and antelope. The Woodlands Area has kangaroos, tortoises, and emus.

One of the best ways to explore the Timbavati Wildlife Park is on the Safari Train ride that takes you through many of the habitats and includes a stop at the camel and giraffe feeding station. Another must-see is the animal nursery, where you can watch caretakers tending to the baby residents of the park.

Address: 2220 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Official site: www.timbavatiwildlifepark.com

Where to Stay for Sightseeing in Wisconsin Dells

One of the reasons the Wisconsin Dells is a popular vacation spot, especially for families, is because of the convenience and proximity of the lodging and attractions. Here are some recommended hotels that are close to many of the attractions listed.

  • Cedar Lodge and Settlement is a nice alternative to a standard hotel, and you are still close to all the Wisconsin Dells attractions. You can select lodge suites and private cabins that are located on the Wisconsin River.
  • Hampton Inn and Suites is less than two miles from most of the Wisconsin Dells Parkway attractions. The Hampton Inn offers free breakfast, an indoor pool, and on-site children's activities.
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott has roomy suites that are perfect for families, and it is within a couple of miles of the Parkway attractions. The hotel provides free breakfast, and kids stay free.
  • Quality Inn is a pet-friendly hotel located within walking distance of all the main attractions and restaurants. The hotel offers free breakfast to guests.
  • Baker's Sunset Bay Resort is a lakeside resort that is not only close to all of the Wisconsin Dells attractions, but it offers guests things to do on the property, like kayaking on Lake Delton. Family rooms and suites are available.
  • Holiday Inn Express is a good hotel option if you plan to visit several water parks, as it is centrally located. It is also close to Mirror Lake State Park. The hotel has a games room and children's activities, as well as a free breakfast for guests.

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Exploring Madison: If you are spending time in Wisconsin, you may want to schedule a few more days and explore Madison, only 42 miles away. There are museums and attractions around the state capital, as well as hiking trails in and around the city. Madison has many hotels in the downtown area, where you can stay in the heart of the action. For families on a budget, there are also a number of cheap hotels in Madison.

Exploring Milwaukee: If you are up for a longer drive, Milwaukee is about two hours away from Wisconsin Dells and worth the additional time. The Mitchell Park Conservatory and Discovery World are fun attractions for families and kids, and Milwaukee's best hotels put you right near the action.

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