I took the kids on summer vacation to the Wisconsin Dells (aka “The Dells”) for their summer vacation. It was a bit random of a destination.
I just didn’t want to go south – too hot. Florida is the worst in the summertime. We wanted to escape the deathly 100F+ heat in Texas, so ….
Going north seemed like a good option and “The Dells” seemed like a good idea. Heck, they bill it as the “Waterpark Capital of the USA.” Yeah, yeah.
Nobody down here in Texas has even heard of The Dells.
But if you’re from Chicago area, it’s like as well known as Disneyland.
It was my first time to Wisconsin, the land of cheese. It reminded me a bit of Ohio – rolling hills, green forests and corn fields.
We stopped in the college town of Madison on the way to The Dells and briefly toured a free zoo (Henry Vilas – which was excellent) and visited the University of Wisconsin campus.
The Dells, about an hour outside of Milwaukee, were nice at first sight – large lakes and rocky canyons. The Dells and the surrounding areas are built as a tourist town. There was lots of kitschy stuff to do with the kids – side show attractions, kids activities, mini-golf and other stuff.
We stayed at the Kalahari Resort for the first couple nights, which was nice, but way too big of a resort for walking around every day. The waterpark was nice, but it was just too big and crowded for my liking.
Luckily, we bumped up to the Chula Vista Waterpark Resort the next couple nights. I liked Chula Vista far better and their Mayan themed waterparks fit the bill. It was the exact sort of experience I was looking for in the Dells.
We played mini-gold, shot paint ball guns, saw an old time waterski show (Tommy Bartlett) and played lots of video games. It felt like being in 1960s America – from another era.
Unfortunately, the dining scene was a bummer almost everywhere in The Dells – most staff and service workers were from Eastern Europe, Jamaica and China. I guess that’s typical in resort towns in bringing in foreign workers on temp visas, but it makes for uneven and low quality service.
Our last few nights were in Milwaukee, which was ok. It’s an old blue collar town on the upswing. Zaffiros Pizza was delicious – old time bar serving up super thin bar crust pies.
We attended a major league baseball (MLB) game at Miller Park – the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Washington Nationals 6-1. The park was nice, but the food sucked bones.
Weather was nice 70-80F most days. Only one day did we get rained out.
Some other highlights in Milwaukee area: Harley Davidson Museum and the Garcade Video Arcade.
Overall, it was a good trip. Kids had fun. It was a nice summer break. Would I go back? Probably not. Too many other destinations, with better food, to explore.