Safari-Themed Hotel with Massive Indoor Water Park
Halfway around the world from southern Africa, Kalahari Resorts in the Wisconsin Dells pays homage to its desert namesake with elaborate and authentic safari decor. In fact, staff members travel to Africa each year and bring back artifacts to display throughout the hotel, such as hand-carved furniture, sculpture, and paintings. The lobby resembles a rustic village complete with kiosks disguised as thatched-roof huts and a watering-hole fountain surrounded by statues of hippos, elephants, and flamingos. The oasis in the midst of this faux desert is the resort’s temperature-controlled indoor water park—Wisconsin’s largest at 125,000 square feet.
Water-park admission is included with your stay, so you can play all day in the wave pool, zip down the Victoria Falls family raft ride, recline on the lazy river, and play on the FlowRider surf ride. After spending some time in the water, check out the indoor theme park, which has a six-story Ferris wheel, go-karts, a climbing wall, 24 bowling lanes, and mini golf (this Getaway includes admission).
There are several restaurants onsite, including a buffet, a sports bar, and a cocktail lounge. The resort also boasts the award-winning 27-hole Trappers Turn Golf Club.
Some water-park attractions will be closed for maintenance in September and October. Click here for more information.
Wisconsin Dells: Picturesque Scenery and 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 came to see the craggy rock formations that frame both sides of the Wisconsin River. These bluffs—or dells—are still visible today from the downtown area, which is rife with kitschy attractions, from mini-golf courses to go-kart tracks.
But it’s safe to say that most visitors nowadays come for the water parks. In fact, the Dells area likely has more water slides per capita than any other spot on the planet. The fun doesn’t stop in the cooler months, either, thanks to a slew of indoor aquatic centers, many of which are nearly as elaborate as their outdoor rivals.
For a break from all the chlorinated excitement, take a stroll along the river, where you’ll find antique stores, candy shops, and a Bavarian-themed village. At a handful of German restaurants, you can wash down plates of schnitzel with pints of lager to the sounds of glockenspiels. The H.H. Bennett Studio museum makes for an interesting side trip. Exhibits recount the early history of the Dells through the life of the 19th-century landscape photographer whose work originally attracted tourists to the area. Just down the road, in the town of Baraboo, Victorian buildings and quaint shops lie on the outskirts of Devil’s Lake State Park, where 500-foot bluffs present a challenge for intrepid rock climbers.