June 8 2010 by Bridget Daly
As a child, I can remember going to the Wisconsin Dells for summer vacation and decided it would be worth investigating as a vacation spot for my family. I was amazed to find that it has evolved into the "Waterpark Capital of the World" and the list of FUN family activities is endless.
With a nod to nostalgia, I wanted to make sure we took in the Dells "classics" and that starts with a river tour of the Wisconsin River. This river has unique sandstone formations along the banks, hidden grottos and hemlock trees clinging to the cliffs. It was discovered over 150 years ago and continues to be a big draw to the region. You can tour the river in amphibious vehicles called "Ducks", as well as, on the paddle wheel riverboat or on a jet boat. However you get there, be sure to look for the swallows nest built into the bluffs.
Another Dells "classic" is Lost Canyon. Take a horse and wagon tour through the longest, deepest land canyon in Wisconsin. Horseback riding is a fun way to see the narrow canyons the Dells are known for. If you are looking for a more leisurely view of the Wisconsin countryside you can ride on the historic steam-powered train.
The kids will definitely tell you that the best part of the trip is a visit to the Noah's Ark Waterpark. It is the largest waterpark in America and boasts extreme attractions like the Scorpions Tail, new this year. This is a looping water slide that reaches a speed of around 40 miles per hour - I will sit that one out, thanks! Apparently it is the tallest waterslide of its kind in the world.
Downtown Dells is a one mile stretch of road that has food, shops, attractions and events to explore. You can catch your tours here, shop, take in the local treats and meander the day away. Other area attractions that are on our list are the International Crane Foundation, where all 15 species of cranes live and H.H. Bennett Studio, home of the photographs that made the Wisconsin Dells famous.
Living in Arizona, we like to find opportunities to expose our family to the unique recreational opportunities we remember from growing up in the Midwest. Check Wisconsin Dells off that list! What other family destination places do you recommend visiting?