When I was growing up, heading to Wisconsin Dells was a common occurrence. We lived about 45 minutes away and knew where to get the discounted tickets to all the great waterparks – Noah’s Ark, Mount Olympus, Riverview Park & Waterworld, and all of the other attractions. I’ve done the duck tours, the jet boat rides, the go-karts, the arcades, the shops and randomness. The waterslides – big, small, terrifying, with my group of friends, with strangers to meet weight requirements. And I loved every single second of every single minute. There is something about the Dells that pulls me in, makes me reminisce and just smile. The touristy nature drives me insane and yet I still find it exhilarating.
With our boys, we’ve really tried to focus on providing memorable experiences for them in lieu of more useless plastic toys that get broken in the first 20 minutes of play. With our boys having early summer birthdays, the Dells was a great idea to include in our experiences gifts for them. Okay, so it might just be to soothe my insatiable need to visit there at least once a year. The boys are 7 and 5 and are now waterpark junkies. They ask for this for Christmas and their birthdays now and we abide with no qualms.
Our first year we tried this, Charlie was about 18 months old and I was about five months pregnant. We went to the Wilderness Hotel & Resort with a group of friends. We loved the time with our friends, but the resort was way too much for a kiddo that age. It wasn’t worth the money for us. We then found the Polynesian Resort the next summer. Yep, kind of shady, maybe not super clean, but damn it, it’s a perfect place for kids under the age of 7! The size of the resort is perfect, the rooms are so much cheaper, and the different areas truly are perfect for young kids. During the winter months, we’ve fallen in love with heading to Three Bears Lodge in Warrens. This summer, we decided that the boys were big enough to try the Wilderness out again.
What an amazing experience! Charlie is tall enough to go on everything and Adam was able to go down a few of the tube slides by himself, but was able to go on almost everything with one of us. Charlie had no fear about being dropped straight down five stories on the Cosmic drop, but struggled with any slide that involved the dark. The Lunar Loop made my stomach have a conversation with my tongue, but was amazing. Adam rocked the five story mat riders on his belly with the rest of us and loved the raft rides with the family. Pictured below – the red slide is the one Charlie loved, the blue slide is the Lunar Loop and the others are the mat slides.
I did learn some unexpected things this year while being in the Dells that I felt the need to reflect on.
- I LOVE waterparks.
- My kids love waterparks.
- Waterparks are so much more awesome now that they are big enough to actually go on things!
- In a few years, waterparks will be amazing when they can both go on everything.
- I REALLY want to head to Noah’s Ark with adult friends and no kids.
- I love that women in the Dells aren’t ashamed of their bodies. #thickthighsarein
- While I’m comfortable in a bikini, I could stand to lose 10 pounds.
- I really love food and beer so that 10 pounds might not ever go away.
- My introverted personality sometimes manifests itself into what resembles my panic attacks just because I need some quiet time.
- Being around that many people and so much noise for so long has utterly exhausted my mental health. Currently, I wish I could get my kids to stop talking for even 15 minutes to regain some of my energy and sanity.
- I am able to tune out hundreds of people with a good book. Thank you, Mosquitoland.
- Waterslides do not make me motion sick. Weird.
- My kids are beasts when they are hangry.
- Waterparks are my biggest wondering – how do you engineer a waterslide? What does the design phase of a waterpark look like? How can you make a green waterpark? What happens to all of those pieces of a waterpark after they are no longer of use?
- Moosejaw’s Relaxin’ Raspberry beer is pretty damn tasty.