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Lovedisney77
05-22-2010, 01:19 PM
Thinking of going to the Wisconsin Dells this summer. Any suggestions on where to stay or where to avoid.

kjs1976
05-22-2010, 02:31 PM
Wilderness is a great place! Go to Tripadvisor.com and do a search for resorts and see what the reviews are.

jgates
05-22-2010, 05:08 PM
If you are looking for waterpark hotels, Wilderness, Kalahari & Great Wolf are all nice resorts. Watch for early week cheaper rates & specials. The weekends can be PRICEY. Kalahari has an indoor theme park also that you can purchase separately. Wilderness I believe only allows guests (no outside passes sold) to use their waterpark, however, also includes the time-share section - so still busy.

These all have indoor waterparks - the outdoor are normally only open Mem Day to Labor Day.

If you want something a little more combo, Mt. Olympus has Big Chief go-cart world with it. We used to love a day at the go-carts.

Plan for food $$$, LOL. Nothing seems to be cheap in the Dells. If waterparks are not your style, and you are looking for mini-golf & ducks & boats, then I would suggest the Holiday Inn Express - you get breakfast included and they have a small indoor pool.

Food - tons of standard choices around. Culvers, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, McD's, Pizzaria Uno, Ponderosa, etc. We love to eat at Monks for AWESOME burgers. We prefer the downtown original bar/grill location for atmosphere but food is good at Wilderness location too. But the original downtown where the burger smell hits you as soon as you step in the door......I've been eating there for 45+ years lol........My mom & dad used to drive down there on a Sunday night just to get a burger when gas was cheap.

There are several chain hotels also such as Hilton Garden, Best Western, etc.

Outlet mall also at same exit #92. Coach, Disney, GAP, Coach, Nike, Coach.....Did I mention Coach, LOL??????

Disfan3
05-22-2010, 05:13 PM
What exactly are you looking for?? If I know more, I have better info for you!!

DisneyFan32WI
05-22-2010, 05:15 PM
What exactly are you looking for?? If I know more, I have better info for you!!

Ditto.

Our fave resort is Kalahari followed by Wilderness. The Great Wolf is for younger kids. We always go to Canyon Creek riding stables for a one hour trail ride. This summer we are going to try zip lining at the Wilderness. I've always wanted to try that!!

Lovedisney77
05-22-2010, 05:21 PM
Well we have never been to the area so I am completely in the dark. I have had a couple of people give us suggestions (Wilderness and Great Wolf Lodge) , but reviews on travel sites seemed mixed soooo I wasn't sure. Looking to go during the week in early July.

Husband will be fishing in the mornings and early afternoons ,so it will be me and my two girls 8 and 4. Looking for stuff to keep them entertained so water parks and shopping would be great.:banana:

Disfan3
05-22-2010, 05:24 PM
We have also stayed at the Kalahari...we stayed at the Polynesian Resort the first time we went...

different experience both times but FUN both times!! It is really our 2nd fav place to visit!! (After WDW of course!!)


The Kalahari was great. We were there for Spring Break so the outdoor waterpark was closed...the indoor waterpark was fine...we are really not indoor waterpark people (plus I was 7 mos preggo at the time!! So that was not all that fun...flopping around with swollen ankles!! haha)
however...it was very nice inside! The rooms were great and we never left the hotel. They had lots of indoor things to do...including an indoor waterpark. The kids got tatoos, we played video games and rented in-room movies...that type of thing.

The summer trip was to the Polynesian (I think it was the name and price that did it for me!)
It was just a moderate resort but it DOES have a nice outdoor waterpark area...not too big, not too small. Our kids are a bit old enough to kinda go out on their own but I did not want a HUGE area where I could never find them (like the Wilderness) and this place was the perfect size for, IMO, younger kids...it was large enough for the pre-teen girls but not too large for the 8 and 9yo that was with us. We got a waterpark level room and that was great!! Our room walked right out to the waterpark!

On that trip, we went to Noah's Waterpark. That was great!! LOTS to do if you love waterparks...it is a must do!
We had some coupons and did Wizards Quest (fun for older kids) and the Ducks and the Jetboats (that was insane!!!)

They have great places to eat and really, if you plan and budget you can spend less! We were thinking next time, we would not go to Noah's and just spend a couple days at the hotel waterpark. (Oh Polynesian has an indoor park as well but it is smaller...)

What, in particular, would you like to do there? What are you looking for?

Lovedisney77
05-22-2010, 05:34 PM
Disfan3 :The girls want to do water parks and I like to shop:woohoo: No disney trip this year :guilty: so this will be the girls only trip this summer and I want to make sure they have fun

Disfan3
05-22-2010, 05:48 PM
LoveDisney!!

We have a lot in common it seems!!!

:teacher: girls, midwesterners and I assume born in '77!! :rolleyes1:rolleyes1

There are a lot of outlets there too we just never went to them...for some reason.

I am interested in looking at Mt. Olympus and Hotel Rome the next time we are there.

SnowWhite2
05-22-2010, 07:15 PM
Looks like we'll be spending our vacation in WI at the in-laws. Which means a mid-week trip to the Dells. Is there anything exciting to do in Madison? I thought maybe we could drive down there one day.

My favorite thing to do at the Dells is go to the Magic show. Pretty expensive but absolutely wonderful. They also have a meet an greet after the show. My kids talk about that all the time. Even my in-laws, who like nothing that costs money :rolleyes1, really liked the show.

Lovedisney77
05-22-2010, 07:35 PM
LoveDisney!!

We have a lot in common it seems!!!

:teacher: girls, midwesterners and I assume born in '77!! :rolleyes1:rolleyes1

There are a lot of outlets there too we just never went to them...for some reason.

I am interested in looking at Mt. Olympus and Hotel Rome the next time we are there.

Wow we do have a lot in common and yes born in 77:rotfl:
Thanks for the info.. We are definitely going to check out the shopping

At least the drive to the dells is not as long as the drive to disney:) I will miss disney but we'll hit the world again in 2011:thumbsup2

daughtersrus
05-22-2010, 07:47 PM
We have a lake house just north of the Dells so I can't help you with hotels.

Our favorite place for pizza is Moosejaw. You can find coupons in the local phone book. The root beer is very good. ;)

We purchase a lot of vouchers through a local radio shopping show out of the Chicago suburbs. The deals are pretty good. For example, right now they are offering tickets to the water park at Mt Olympus for $8.00 each. It's probably not the best water park but for the price, you really can't beat it. The radio show other offers as well. They also have Noah's Ark for $18.00 Most are at least 50% off. If you don't live in the area (Aurora and Schaumburg) you can still order with a credit card and they will mail them to you . I think that it's an extra $1.00 for the whole order. They membership card/key tag to order from them is free.
Here's a link to the websites if you'd like .http://www.wbig1280.com/catalog/index.asp
http://www.wrmn1410.com/catalog/index.asp

Click on Wisconsin Dells in the drop-down category menu.

Several years ago my DH and the girls went to Tommy Bartlett's Exploratory. I thought that it was just going to be a quick walk through so I waited in the van with my youngest DD. They were in there for hours and had a blast.

There is an outlet mall right behind Great Wolf. If you look through the promotion booklets that you can find all over the state, you will find an ad for the mall. If you bring the ad to guest service there, they will give you a coupon book. If you can't find the book, right next to the guest service office at the mall is a hallway with bathrooms. They have a lot of brochures in there and always have a huge stack of the booklets.

We're going up to the lake next weekend so I'll try and pick up the booklet and let you know what page it's on if you'd like.

We like Culvers in town for a quick bit to eat and Monks on the strip is pretty good for a burger.

We always stop by at HoChunk Casino as well but after being used to smoke-free casinos here in IL, it can be a shock to the system when you first walk in. :scared1:

Be prepared to spend more money. Everything on the $1.00 menu at McDonald's here is at least $2.00 at the McDonald's right off of Hwy13.

Paul Bunyan's has a pretty good breakfast.

Sorry, just some random thoughts.

Keep in mind that it can cost as much as a trip to Disney.

Have a great time!

quirkymom
05-22-2010, 08:48 PM
We recently moved to WI and have heard that the Dells are a must do...haven't ventured yet. Let us know how it turns out for you

ekatiel
05-22-2010, 09:01 PM
Looks like we'll be spending our vacation in WI at the in-laws. Which means a mid-week trip to the Dells. Is there anything exciting to do in Madison? I thought maybe we could drive down there one day.

My favorite thing to do at the Dells is go to the Magic show. Pretty expensive but absolutely wonderful. They also have a meet an greet after the show. My kids talk about that all the time. Even my in-laws, who like nothing that costs money :rolleyes1, really liked the show.

LOL-- Do we have the same in-laws??!! Last summer I got us rooms at the Kalahari that held up to six people and included free passes to the indoor theme park (you usually have to pay for those) for $150/night. MIL still complains how expensive it was!! She SWEARS you can get the Kalahari for $99/night :eek:-- maybe in the middle of the school year, but not at the beginning of August!!! Anyhow, we REALLY enjoyed the Kalahari. I've now told DH that whever we visit the in-laws in Wisconsin, we are required to have a few days at the Dells to recouperate :thumbsup2. --Katie

B714210
05-22-2010, 09:31 PM
I have lived in Madison all my life. In terms of the Dells, you might want to check out vacation rentals on Craigslist-Madison, there always seems to be lots of Dells Condos listed.:surfweb:

In Madison, we have wonderful parks with hiking trails, UW-Madison has the Geology Museum and Babcock Hall, there's the capitol, Historical Museum, Veteran's museum, farmer's market, Children's Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright Convention Center and State Street all downtown.:thumbsup2

My kids loved feeding the ducks at Tenney Park, going to Olbrich Botanical Gardens and rainforest exhibit, Ella's Deli and ice cream parlor, all on the East Side of town.:hippie:

On the West side is the Arboretum and Vilas Park Zoo. Most of these things are free or really cheap. If you know what day you might visit, you could do a search as there are always a ton of kid-friendly things going on here.:cloud9:

Hope this helps!

bjscheel
05-22-2010, 11:03 PM
We have never been but are doing Wilderness in July. Lots of activities in one place. Also have been told to do the Original Wisconsin Ducks. Want to do the zip line at Wilderness, I need to find out how soon we need to reserve for that (July 4th weekend).

The reviews on tripadvisor have some pretty negative ones on Wilderness, but a lot of great ones too. You have to be positive. Some recent ones complain about the waitress not offering to escort their 6 year old daughter to the restroom :confused3 and being spied on because of being of "ethic background". I tend not to put much stock in them.

I am excited to stay in a 3 bedroom condo in Glacier Canyon Lodge...it will be great for SIL's family and us. Just praying that BIL's being in the hospital right now doesn't have any lasting health or financial effect such that they won't be able to join us. :worried:

I just went to culvers.com and in the Contact Us, just send a general comment and ask for a Wisconsin Dells discount card. It gives free admission for kids 11 and under for a pretty big list of attractions. They emailed back the same day and said they would mail one.

rmom50
05-23-2010, 12:08 AM
We love Pizza Pub at the Dells - it's has a salad buffet daily and on weekends has a pizza buffet that my kids thought was fun. It's right across the street from Noah's Ark. Not too much $$$. Since your kids are so young (looking at your signature), I would suggest staying some place less expensive than Kalahari. We moved on up to the Kalahari when the kids became teenagers. Before that we tried Polynesian (ok), Wilderness (nice) and Great Wolf (a little larger). The Kalahari is right across the street from the Great Wolf, so you could go check it out - it is awesome! Have fun! If you take the Dells boat tour (ducks), go north - it's a prettier trip than south imho. If you like antiques, they have a very nice mall on the south side of town. Baraboo has a circus museum too and the International Crane Foundation (might be too educational for your kids' ages). Have fun! :)

DisneyFan32WI
05-23-2010, 01:17 PM
Going on the Original Ducks tour is a MUST-DO. It is do much fun going from land to water on those things!

tinkmom2
05-23-2010, 03:14 PM
We will probably be having a staycation this year because we are going on the Dream and to WDW in 2011.
We have stayed at the Polynesian. If you sign up for their newsletter you get deals. The rooms are a bit outdated but we had a good time there. There are things to do indoor and outdoors there.
The Hojo has 3 pools but not much else to do there. It's more for younger kids.
We thought the Kalahari was overpriced. The indoor waterpark is much smaller than it appears on tv. The outside area was very crowded. Also we got a "Sand" room which is the farthest building away from the pools.
Best Western has good rates but only a single pool. Some of the places like HoJo offer passes to Noah's Ark for staying there.
Paul Bunyans is a MUST when staying in the Dells. The hibachi restaurant was also very good. We have eaten at the sea food buffet and thought that was good as well. I also love to go and look at the shops at downtown Dells.
There is a outlet mall that has a Disney outlet in it. I think the mall is called Tangier Outlet. And there was a pizza place right in the parking lot that has a big gaming complex in it with rides. (sorry the name escapes me)
I agree with the PP's that Mc Donald's is overpriced. You will find the same thing at all the chain restaurants.

SaraJayne
05-23-2010, 07:20 PM
Going on the Original Ducks tour is a MUST-DO. It is do much fun going from land to water on those things!

I agree!

I've gone to the Dells almost every summer since I was a little girl and we do the Ducks every single summer. :upsidedow

SaraJayne
05-23-2010, 07:25 PM
We will probably be having a staycation this year because we are going on the Dream and to WDW in 2011.
We have stayed at the Polynesian. If you sign up for their newsletter you get deals. The rooms are a bit outdated but we had a good time there. There are things to do indoor and outdoors there.
The Hojo has 3 pools but not much else to do there. It's more for younger kids.
We thought the Kalahari was overpriced. The indoor waterpark is much smaller than it appears on tv. The outside area was very crowded. Also we got a "Sand" room which is the farthest building away from the pools.
Best Western has good rates but only a single pool. Some of the places like HoJo offer passes to Noah's Ark for staying there.
Paul Bunyans is a MUST when staying in the Dells. The hibachi restaurant was also very good. We have eaten at the sea food buffet and thought that was good as well. I also love to go and look at the shops at downtown Dells.
There is a outlet mall that has a Disney outlet in it. I think the mall is called Tangier Outlet. And there was a pizza place right in the parking lot that has a big gaming complex in it with rides. (sorry the name escapes me)
I agree with the PP's that Mc Donald's is overpriced. You will find the same thing at all the chain restaurants.

Knuckleheads. :)

Check out The Flamingo Hotel. It's right next to Noah's Ark and I think it includes passes to Noah's Ark in your room rate.

http://www.dellsflamingo.com/

We've stayed there in the past and yes, it's a bit outdated, but it was within our budget at the time and we still had a great time. :goodvibes

ETA: The Flamingo Hotel includes 2 passes to Noah's Ark for every night you stay.

Day passes to Noah's Ark (per Noah's Ark website) are $34.50 for adults and $30.66 for children.

rapmarks
05-24-2010, 08:42 AM
a lot of the less expensive hotels include either tickets to Noah's Ark or to Mt. Olympus.
There is a Dells Fun Card with two for one for the ducks, Boat Rides, Circus World Museum, Crane Foundation, etc. also has food two for one's on it. Last night on the news the owner of Mount Olympus was interviewed and he has come out with a card that gives 33% off at 22 attractions. I don't know if the card is free or a charge. The Dells fun Card is $10. We live in the Dells, so don't stay in hotels.
Culver's is no longer in downtown Dells, it is almost ready to open at its new location across fromt he Walgreen's near the Taco Bell.

clh2
05-24-2010, 09:05 AM
If you are looking to do a day ftrip from the dells - There is a Circus World Museum in Baraboo. Phenomonal museum of the old circus wagons. In the summer, there are many things going on all day!

If you would be in Madison on a Saturday - the Farmer's market is "must-do". It is right by the capital building. (And - I second all the suggestions from a PP.) My family LOVES to go hang out in Madison.

To the OP - it looks like your kiddos are 8 and 4. The Great Wolf is wonderful for that age range of kids. The wilderness is great for older kids IMO, but the place is HUGE. IMHO - while the wave pools at the wilderness are fun for my daughter (now 16) I don't know if I would have wanted her in them when she was 8, and certainly not when she was 4. I also would not have wanted her on the cyclone or other rides at 4 and 8.

Now for restaurants, we always like Mr. Pancake for breakfast at least once when we are there. Never been to Paul Bunyan...strikes me that it is a buffet, and I am not a big fan of buffets in general.

Another idea in the dells - there is still an outdoor movie theater in the area. Just something that might be fun one of the nights when you are there - if the movies are good! I think it is called "Big Sky Drive-In"

Poohbug
05-24-2010, 09:19 AM
One thing to avoid is eating at the water parks. Those snack bars are more expensive than Disney. :scared1:Take your own snacks and just go to a sit down restaurant to eat-it will be cheaper and much better food.

budbeerlady
05-24-2010, 11:05 AM
If you are looking to do a day ftrip from the dells - There is a Circus World Museum in Baraboo. Phenomonal museum of the old circus wagons. In the summer, there are many things going on all day!


To the OP - it looks like your kiddos are 8 and 4. The Great Wolf is wonderful for that age range of kids. The wilderness is great for older kids IMO, but the place is HUGE. IMHO - while the wave pools at the wilderness are fun for my daughter (now 16) I don't know if I would have wanted her in them when she was 8, and certainly not when she was 4. I also would not have wanted her on the cyclone or other rides at 4 and 8.




I was going to suggest Circus World, my parents took our family when I was 9. It was very cool and IF I can ever get Dh to road trip I want to take DD to it.

Also fun for adults is the HO-Chuck casino right there by the dells. DMIL and I always spend the night there on the way up to Minn. I am not a big gambler but its a nice place to sleep and spend a roll of quarters.

BrettAZ
05-24-2010, 05:05 PM
I think i saw a water park in the Dells once...im sure of it!

daughtersrus
05-25-2010, 09:06 AM
Culver's is no longer in downtown Dells, it is almost ready to open at its new location across fromt he Walgreen's near the Taco Bell.

Really? When did it close? We were up at the lake house a few weeks ago I swear that it was open. The only reason that I remember is that the flavor of the day was one of my favorites (Raspberries and cream). We're heading up this weekend but I doubt that we'll go through town to get to 13 because of the crowds/traffic. Instead, we'll probably head up to HH.

I would think that business will not be nearly as good down by Walgreens. They definitely will loose the crowd that walks around town.:sad1:

JMD1979
05-25-2010, 09:22 AM
We have been to The Dells the past 2 summers. It is a blast! The first year we stayed at the Copa Cabana despite the bad reviews. It was majorly outdated but not that bad. Perfect for what we had money to spend on. They just added a great indoor kiddie waterpark which my girls then 4 & 2 loved! I was not crowded at all as I think a lot of people stay at the nicer hotels. We pretty much owned the place and hardly ever left.

Last year we purchaced the Wisconsin Dells Coupon book. It had a coupon for stay one night get one night free at Chula Vista. There was nothing that said you could only use one coupon so we ended up buying two books and used both coupons so our room ended up being crazy affordable. This place was beautiful! Large indoor water park as well as a decent size outdoor park. Our favorite by far was the wave pool a little small but perfect for what we needed!

Jeana

SaraJayne
05-25-2010, 10:21 AM
If you are looking to do a day ftrip from the dells - There is a Circus World Museum in Baraboo. Phenomonal museum of the old circus wagons. In the summer, there are many things going on all day!

If you would be in Madison on a Saturday - the Farmer's market is "must-do". It is right by the capital building. (And - I second all the suggestions from a PP.) My family LOVES to go hang out in Madison.

To the OP - it looks like your kiddos are 8 and 4. The Great Wolf is wonderful for that age range of kids. The wilderness is great for older kids IMO, but the place is HUGE. IMHO - while the wave pools at the wilderness are fun for my daughter (now 16) I don't know if I would have wanted her in them when she was 8, and certainly not when she was 4. I also would not have wanted her on the cyclone or other rides at 4 and 8.

Now for restaurants, we always like Mr. Pancake for breakfast at least once when we are there. Never been to Paul Bunyan...strikes me that it is a buffet, and I am not a big fan of buffets in general.

Another idea in the dells - there is still an outdoor movie theater in the area. Just something that might be fun one of the nights when you are there - if the movies are good! I think it is called "Big Sky Drive-In"

Paul Bunyan is not a buffet. Everything is served family style at your table. :)

rapmarks
05-25-2010, 05:59 PM
there is a family restaurant in the old culver's building. the owner decided to move, but I agree, I don't think the new location is as good as the old one.

I drove past Wintergreen Hotel today and I noticed a sign saying stay two nights, third night is free. Also said free mt Olympus tickets included in stay. Also, the Dells Fun Card owner also has a Dells Lodging Card with two for ones.

If I were new to the Dells, I would do the Ducks, do the upper Dells boat tour with the walking stops, go to Circus World Museum, maybe do the Jet boats on the lower Dells. and of course a water park or Mount Olympus. You might also want to see Devil's Lake State Park.

jgates
05-30-2010, 11:58 PM
North Freedom train ride can be very interesting - especially for boys! Just thought of that when I was reading thru the other items.

http://www.midcontinent.org/

There are also some Indian Mounds along one of the smaller roads outside of Baraboo. Not super exciting for most kids, but I had to go back & find them again myself a few years ago as I remembered going there when I was little.

http://www.wisconsinstories.org/2001season/native/nj_journey.html

If driving up from Madison it's a nice side trip to take the ferry across the Wisconsin River at Merrimac. It is actually part of the Wisconsin State Highway system.

http://www.tn.merrimac.wi.gov/ferry.htm