Suites Above Massive Indoor Water Park
High above Fort Mackenzie—the four-story waterlogged treehouse that feels like a mixture of Swiss Family Robinson and Pirates of the Caribbean—a 1,000-gallon bucket slowly fills with water. Suddenly, the big bucket topples, drenching those gathered below in a torrent of water. Heated to a balmy 84 degrees, Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor water park sports 17 splash-filled attractions, including a wave pool, a six-story funnel slide, the Crooked Creek lazy river, and two Hot Springs warming pools.
The 80,000-square-foot aquatic arena is merely one of the many activities at the hotel's multi-entertainment campus. During the MagiQuest live-action adventure, kids wield magic wands and journey through a kingdom to meet mythical creatures, including a pixie, a dragon, and a Bob Dylan. Scooops Kid Spa gives manicures and pedicures to pintsize patrons sitting atop ice-cream-cone stools and banana-split thrones—free ice cream predictably and happily completes each visit.
Up to six bear cubs and adults can comfortably slumber in the double-queen sofa suite. Daily itineraries can be planned in the separate living area or on the private balcony or deck.
Wisconsin Dells: Picturesque Dells Flush with Family Entertainment
Before the Dells became synonymous with water parks and amusement rides, the midwestern destination's claim to fame was its scenery. Visitors in the mid 1940s trickled in to see the craggy rock formations that frame both sides of the Wisconsin River. Today, the bluffs, or dells, are still visible from the downtown area, where souvenir shops and kitschy attractions abound. Mini-golf courses, go-kart tracks, bizarre museums, and other family-friendly attractions dominate the town's center.
For a more cultural trip, the H.H. Bennett Studio museum recounts the history of the Dells through the life of the 19th-century landscape photographer whose work originally attracted tourists to the area. Fewer than 20 miles away, 36 skiing and snowboarding trails snake through 160 skiable acres at Cascade Mountain, which rises up to 1,280 feet in elevation.
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