Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wisconsin Dells…

The long summer days were starting to drag on all of us. The kids had enjoyed their vacation for the first month or so and then the “I’m bored” syndrome caught up. I took them to the park, they played with the kids in the neighborhood and we went to the pool. But somehow, the long days still dragged on. We decided it was time for a short family vacation. We wondered what would be a fun place for the kids and a place that we could enjoy too. Almost together we said, “Dells, of course”.

Wisconsin Dells, is in the southern part of the state of Wisconsin and is about a 3-hour drive from where we live. It is the perfect place for a short vacation full of fun and is great anytime of the year. It is known for its innumerable water parks, indoor and outdoor. The indoor water parks are fabulous for the winter, when the cold gets unbearable and we just want a break from it. The outdoor ones are of course great fun in the summer. There are various hotels and resorts situated very close to the famous water parks. Most of the resorts have their own indoor and outdoor water parks too. *The price for a family suite, consisting of two rooms, a kitchenette and a bathroom runs roughly up to about $200 a night in the peak season. It is much less in the other months. The peak season is usually the months of June, July and August. Single rooms and rooms at hotels (not resorts) do not cost as much. From the huge number of resorts, we chose to stay at the Atlantis water park hotel, located in downtown dells, about a block away from Noah’s Ark (supposed to be the largest water park in America).

We started after lunch on a Sunday. The weekdays are better as the crowds at the water parks are less and the hotel prices too are less compared to that of the weekends. We drove the 160 miles (approximately) with one break in between. It was a beautiful drive by the cornfields.

We checked into the hotel and of course, the kids wanted to do something immediately. So, after a snack, we went down to the indoor water park at the hotel itself. It had a couple of water slides and some fun stuff for younger kids. We enjoyed the pool adjacent to it. After a relaxing hour and a half at the pool, we showered and went out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, a few blocks away from the hotel. It was a nice place and the food was fantastic. We got back from there and went straight to bed, because the next day we were going to visit Noah’s Ark. The kids were very excited about it and could hardly stop whispering about all the rides they would go on well into the night.

The next morning, right after breakfast, we set off for the water park. It was a hot day and we walked the block to the water park. As soon as we went in, one of the first rides we went on was the ‘sting ray’. After that, of course it was one dizzy ride after another. I begged out of some rides, because frankly, they terrify me. I did most of the rides, though. ‘The point of no return’ was one ride I refused to go on. The ride consists of climbing up many steps (I don’t know the exact number) and then you just slide down. Sounds simple enough. But it is such a steep fall, that at one point you feel like you’re flying in the air….no thank you, not for me. Hubby and older son went on this one…twice!!Well, better them, than me. We had some yummy nachos and cheese and lots of junk food for lunch and relaxed in the wave pool. All in all, we had such a splash that the kids didn’t want to go back even after going on almost all the rides multiple times. We got back to the hotel about 8.00 pm. We’d been at the park since 9.00 am when the park opens! We had dinner at a pizza place opposite to our hotel and just crashed into bed. The kids declared it was the “funnest, bestest day in their whole life”…

Wisconsin Dells is known for its water parks, but there is so much more to it than just that. The first time we went there in the summer of 2004, we went on the famous “Wisconsin Ducks.”These vehicles go on road like a regular truck but can also go on water. It was quite a fun experience.

This time we decided to try something different and booked a jet boat ride over the upper Dells of the Wisconsin River. We arrived at the designated area after breakfast and after a short wait, got into the jet boat. These jet boats are famous for their speed and their 360 degree turns and sudden stops. The captain of our boat was a friendly guy, who knew his boat and handled her with an ease that comes with years of expertise. He gave us an awesome and informative tour of the Upper Dells.

The Dells of the Wisconsin River was formed approximately 15,000 years ago when a glacier burst and unleashed a powerful torrent of water that surged through and created unusual sandstone rock formations. It is believed that the Dells were formed within a matter of days or weeks. Such was the powerful flood that coursed through! It was awesome looking at the wonderful art that nature had carved out.

We went around Blackhawk Island named after the famous Indian chief, Blackhawk. The unusual rock formations have names like “Black hawks nose” and “chimney rock” etc.
Needless to say, more than the history of the place, it was the speed and turns of the jet boat that thrilled the kids. Of course, we were all soaking wet halfway into the ride.

Back on land, we got into our van and drove into downtown Dells for some lunch. I remembered an Indian restaurant that we had eaten at the last time we were there. Being the last day of our vacation, I was craving some good Indian food. So we tried to find this place. But ah the tragedy, it was closed. I was so disappointed. Well, we had pizza again(!) and some really yummy jalapeno poppers. I stopped sulking after the poppers arrived and I was quite satiated. After lunch we ducked into one of the many Fudge shops that Wisconsin is famous for and bought a whole load of chocolate fudge, caramel and chocolate dipped strawberries..mmmmm…

The kids wanted to see the “Ripley’s believe it or not museum” and so we made that the last stop before we headed home. The museum itself is quite small but held several unusual and interesting pieces. By the time we got out, we were tired and wanted to get back home. The ride back was peaceful and we once again drove by many cornfields with the tender ears of corn glinting in the late afternoon sun.

*Prices may vary from what I have mentioned. The prices I have stated are only a result of my research while looking for affordable, good quality accommodation.


At 5:23 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

vowwwww! almost anything frm a little pond to a water park which has water excites me n ur journey sounds so much fun. n i too love the slides u were afraid of. jus try them once n u'll want more, its a terror for only the first time.

n i have added u to my blogroll

At 10:09 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks Maverick. This time I did a lot better than the last time we went. My younger son was really little then and both of us stayed out of most rides. This time however, was different. Maybe next time I'll try the really scary ones:-)
Thanks also for blogrolling me. Will add you to my blogroll too:))

At 11:55 PM, Anonymous rk said...

tp: sad that you found the indian rest. closed. but lovely post and lovely pics too! my nieces in US too had called up y'day saying the holidays are over and that they were ready for school! all the parents' routine will start afresh, i guess. good luck to all the parents for the new academic year!!

At 12:54 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This is a nice write-up of a nice excursion. I know the kids loved it and you guys did well too.
Hope I can remember about the Dells. I think that word is special to Wisconsin?

At 2:51 AM, Blogger couch potato said...

I managed to read this with more than passing interest in your travels. Well written, TP.
And I'm sure I can understand what your kids felt. If it was the "bestest", it must have been wonderful.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks so much. Yup, its almost time for schools to start. Just few more days. The kids are excited and kind of sad that vacation is over. It will be a new routine again.Thanks for your good wishes:))

Thanks very much. Yes, Dells is special to Wisconsin. Its awesome for a short vacation:)

Thanks so much. Can't get any better than "bestest", I suppose:))

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Frida said...

Where's the believe it or not museum. I live close enough I could go see it.

At 10:04 PM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Great...That must have loads of fun.

At 12:19 AM, Blogger Britmum said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. I would love to visit there one day. I would love to visit much of the States one day.

Take care

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Gangadhar said...

It's always nice to read your episodes about travelogues..It just gives me a feeling like me too participated in that trip..
Glad that you had somuch fun...

take care,TP

At 8:49 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

The believe it or not museum is at 115 Broadway. There's a big sign that advertises Upper Dells boat tours right next to it and on the other side there's like an arcade or something. Its quite easy to find...Have fun:-)

At 8:53 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks.It was awesome:)

You must visit there sometime. Its great for a good family vacation. Like you, I'd like to visit more of the states too:)

Thanks very much. Your kind words always encourage me to write more:)

At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen those amphibious vehicles in Baltimore too. I think I need to go ride one.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

I think you'd like the ride. They are different and kind of neat.

At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

Remember going to the Dells when I was going to college in the Chicago area in '86.. wow has it been 20 years already?

Nice pictures...

At 1:52 AM, Anonymous rk said...

tp, sorry to go off topic.

The great shehnai maestro USTAD BISMILLAH KHAN IS NO MORE. He breathed his last in the wee hours this morning. The Bharatha Rathna awardee was 91.
I remember his soulful music in Dr. Rajkumar’s film “Sanaadi Appanna”. Yeshtu adbhutavaagi nudisidaare.
It seems he used to play everyday at the Kashi Vishwanatha temple in Benares every morning since ages.
Despite his fame, Khan’s lifestyle retained its old world charm and he continued to use the cycle rickshaw as his chief mode of transport till his death.
Music world has lost a noble soul indeed. RIP, Bismillah ji.

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Vj said...

Wow .. Wisconsin Dell sounds like an interesting Place .I guess water parks make lot of sense when US is facing this unprecedented heat wave. I liked the rock formation.Once while rafting at Rishikesh , I came across a Rock in the middle of water that looked like a Rhino head with a prominent trunk .It is quite famous there and I gues Nature is the best artist .

You summed it up real nicely . thanks for sharing

At 9:44 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

That is very sad news. The world has lost a great musician. Thank you for letting me know.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Welcome to my blog:)Time does indeed fly.Which uni did you go to in the Chicago area, if you don't mind? We live quite close to Chicago.

The weather was perfect to be in the water. It was almost 100 degrees on the day we went to the water park. It was such a relief to be in the water.

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

I went to Bradley in Peoria ('85). Ended up working in Boston till I came back home to B'lore in '95.

Big fan of the Chicago Bears and Da Bulls :-)... Have seen every game that MJ has played in Boston from '86 till he retired (my uncle has season tickets there)..

At 12:09 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

We live up north of Chicago. Closer to the Wisconsin border.
Wow! My kids will think you're the luckiest guy on earth to watch every single game of MJ.

At 6:18 AM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Well this is regarding my mail id for discussing on one of the post. Here is my mail id -

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Mridula said...

Sounds like so much fun. I could use one vacation right now, but it is nowhere in sight :(

At 8:57 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks for the email ID. Will catch up with you soon:)

Its just a few weeks since our dells vacation, and I am already looking forward to another one. Maybe you can take off on a short vacation soimetime:)

At 4:37 PM, Blogger White Forest said...

beautiful pics!!

nice blog too!

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Sigma said...

It sure sounds like lots of fun!
And nice blog !!!

At 3:01 AM, Anonymous rk said...

wish you and the readers a very happy gowri ganesha festival. god bless us all.

At 4:32 AM, Blogger Has to be me said...

U've a lovely blog here. Nice to note all the travelled related stuff here. Good pics too.

Thanks for stoppin by my blog. :)

At 7:06 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

White forest and Sigma,
Welcome to my blog:)Thank you for the kind words and for stopping by:)

Thank you for your wishes and wish you the same:))

Welcome to my blog:)You have an awesome blog too. Thanks for stopping by and your kind comment.

At 1:37 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Just checking. You are pretty quiet lately. You ok?

At 7:39 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...


Thanks so much for asking. I'm fine. Its just the first week of school and all of us have been trying to get used to the new routine. I go to school too,part-time and just started working part time. So, haven't been blogging much lately:( I miss you guys, but I should be settled in soon and I'll be back. Thanks for caring:))

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Ravenbajan said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!!! Nachos & Cheese and Pizza too... Mmmmm... my absolute favourite junk food! You got my tubby grumbling like crazy.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...


It sure was a lot of fun:))You love nachos and cheese too? That's my absolute favorite junk food.

At 4:41 AM, Anonymous rk said...

dear all,
visit this link
and take this HEADLINES QUIZ

At 1:25 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

TP.. long time no comments... whats happening?

At 4:09 AM, Anonymous bellur said...

i came to ask the same question that vijay has asked.
tp, hope you are not bored of blogging? ;)
hushaaragidheera thane? (breddu-haalanna thinno haagagilde iddre saaku)
i don't think u have gone out of town coz the schools have just begun.
either u r not well, or have guests at home and u r too busy or ur comp is down/servicing.
waiting for your next post,

At 8:37 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Vijay & RK,

Thanks so much for inquiring about me:))Actually, its been a little crazy around here lately. The kids school started and at the same time, I started working part-time and am taking a few courses part-time. So, we are all trying to adjust to the new schedule. I like to be home when the kids get home from school, so my mornings are now packed. Also we had a long weekend for labor day and so we went for a short vacation. I will be blogging about that soon:)

RK, definitely not bored of blogging:)Husharage iddini. Neevu nanna bagge vicharsiddakke thumba santhosha aayithu. Feels good to be cared about.
I Thank you both of you for caring:))

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

Wow !! I am impressed... working+studies+full time mom.. that is indeed a tall order.. good luck and take care.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Gangadhar said...

Seen ur reply to RK and Vijay..
All the best and come back soon with a smashing post..

take care

At 4:06 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks Gangadhar...I'll be back with a good post really soon:))

At 9:05 AM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Glad to hear that...Have been thinking where you have disappeared. :-)

At 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Jon said...

Great article on The Dells.

Brought back memories of being a kid on a family vacation and watching the Tommy Bartlett Water Show and eating way too much fudge!!!

At 5:30 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Welcome to my blog and thanks so much for your kind words. You have a cool blog too. I just visited.


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