Hotel at a Glance: Kalahari Resorts
Halfway around the world from southern Africa, Kalahari Resorts pays homage to its desert namesake with authentic safari decor. Staff members travel to Africa each year, bringing back hand-carved furniture, sculptures, and paintings to display throughout the hotel. In the middle of it all stands the ultimate oasis: a temperature-controlled indoor water park—the largest in Wisconsin.
- Water-park thrills: Zip down the Victoria Falls raft ride, wade into the wave pool, drift down the lazy river, or take on the FlowRider surf ride. Water-park admission is included with your stay.
- Added perk: This getaway includes passes to the indoor theme park, which has a six-story ferris wheel, go-karts, a climbing wall, 24 bowling lanes, and mini golf.
- Spend the night in a hut room or desert room equipped with a microwave, fridge, and flat-screen TV. Hut rooms also offer furnished patios or balconies.
- Ten onsite dining venues include a pizza kitchen and a Wisconsin brew pub. You can order food and drinks right at the water park if you’d like.
- Tee off at the award-winning, 27-hole Trappers Turn Golf Club.
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.