Two years ago, we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Wisconsin Dells. It was something we had wanted to do that whole summer, but the opportunity to travel came three days before Jayden’s first day of school. So what did we do? We made last-minute reservations, hopped in our truck and took the four-hour road trip!
We had such a fun time exploring the town, and since we went so late in the summer, we got lots of great deals. We enjoyed our time so much that we decided to make it a tradition. This June, we were able to return to Wisconsin Dells. Since we were visiting during their peak season, we chose modest lodging in order to be able to enjoy more attractions. After all, that’s why we were there!
There are plenty of resorts in town, but since we spend so little time inside, to us it’s not worth paying for all the extra fancies. Wisconsin Dells is known for its motels, which to me add a touch of nostalgia that I love. During our recent visit, we stayed at Twi-Lite, a quaint motel owned by a family who lives on-site. By keeping our lodging simple, we were able to explore more of the town on our modest budget.
Wisconsin Dells is known as “The Waterpark Capital of the World®,” and we definitely took advantage of the endless offering of pools, slides and thrill rides. However, today I want to share the natural beauty of the Dells you’ll find nestled beyond the strip.
Wisconsin Deer Park
We kicked off our adventure at a familiar place. The Wisconsin Deer Park is one of our favorite places to stroll. It’s truly an amazing little oasis. Our first visit was magical and our second was nothing short of that. Who knew you could walk alongside, feed, and pet deer…
or spot a white-tailed mama deer who had JUST birthed two tiny fawn? One of the fawn wandered a few feet from mama (How is that possible fresh out of the womb?) and we were able to pet her. She was absolutely precious and had the silkiest coat of fur. Jayden commented on how mama deer resembled a kangaroo.
While named the Wisconsin Deer Park, it is a habitat to several deer species and a gang of other animals such a goats, pigs, llamas, and game birds. The goats are just as greedy as the deer so we were sure to purchase an extra pack of crackers to share. I think Jayden was both intrigued and a little weird out by the goats. “Why do their eyes look like that?” he asked. Unable to explain, we promised to Google it later, haha.
Milestone! Jaxon was only nine months old during our first visit to the deer park. This time around, at two years of age, he was able to explore the park stroller-free and join big brother feeding deer old friends.
Letting Jaxon loose in the deer park didn’t come without its challenges. He had the time of his life running wild… sometimes crashing and getting a little too up close and personal with the deer at times. When it was time leave, he threw the loudest fit, which served as proof that we made the right choice of visiting again.
Upper Dells Boat Tour
We concluded our Wisconsin Dells adventure with an Upper Dells Boat Tour. It was the perfect way to wind down from previous days of thrill-seeking, shop browsing, and dining out with a toddler… while pregnant. The struggle.
We embarked on a two-hour journey cruising the upper region of the Wisconsin river (north of the hydroelectric dam), learning the history of The Dells and its beautiful sandstone formations and cliffs. Two hours sounds incredibly long but there were there were stops at two shore landings along the way.
Our first stop was at Witches’ Gulch. I totally felt like I was in a 1970’s film. Our path led to a concessions and souvenir stand where I picked up a spear for Jax and a fridge magnet as a momento.
Our second stop lead us to the famous Stand Rock (left) where we were able to see an actual dog leap across to the top of Stand Rock. For safety precautions, there is a net placed between the two rocks to catch doggie if he falls.
The dog leap was in lieu of the Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial that was discontinued in 1997. The ceremony provided a glimpse into the ceremonies and dances performed by the Winnebago, Sioux, Kiowa and southwestern Native American tribes.
After our mini show, we wrapped up our adventure by finally grabbing some ice cream at the concessions and made our trek back to the landing. We relaxed on our journey back to the dock, soaking up the sun and gorgeous views.
Our entire Wisconsin Dells trip was a blast, but discovering the natural beauty of the quaint little town never gets old.
This post is sponsored by the National Center for Families Learning. As a Family Trails blogger, I receive financial compensation for my participation. Opinions and experiences expressed on this post are my own. Thank you for supporting our site partners!