OK, no amusement park. But there are three (count’em, three!) wooden roller coasters at Big Chief Karts and Coasters. Personally, I hate go-karts, but the roller coasters are heaven on earth, particularly the first one built, Cyclops, and the last, Zeus. (Pegasus, the third, is aimed more at family riders.) They aren’t cheap, but don’t miss Cyclops! The coasters are by CCI, if you are interested in that sort of thing. They also have a kiddie coaster, and they are supposed to be getting a water coaster (whatever that is, I can’t wait!) next summer.
There are also amusement park rides scattered all over town, in individual operations, as well as what might be the biggest water park in the country, Noah’s Ark. If your kids are younger, Family Land water park might be a better choice. (The Dells area is water park central. Would you believe they have four "public" water parks and at least nine more that are built as part of hotel/resorts?)
But don’t miss the river itself. Kids love riding the Ducks. (And, yes, Pwingsx, they have some really cute college boys driving those Ducks in summer!! [8D] )
Went there on a road trip a couple of years ago. It’s such beautiful country. Rode the ducks and almost got asphyxiated sitting behind the driver practically on top of the engine. It was worth it, though, he was quite cute and fun to flirt with.
I can remember taking a train to the Dells when I was in school, for a day trip. And I can remember camping near there, too.
I’m sure that 90% of the visitors to the Dells never actually see, well, the dells. It’s too bad. While a downriver dam has raised the water level over that of the 1890s, hiding some of the beautiful rock formations, the river is still very worth looking at, even if it means facing the traffic into the mini-golf, waterparks, robot show, etc. etc. (And if you remember loving the way the river looked, be sure to make a trip to the H.H. Bennett studio historic site, right downtown, near the dock for the boat trips. The pictures really are wonderful.
I live close enough to make a day trip of it if I want to. If I stay overnight, I stay at a small, inexpensive motel right next to the Cheese Factory Restaurant mentioned in my earlier post. (If you stay there, you get a discount at the restaurant!)
Sorry, my posts are getting a bit off topic. But the upper or lower dells boat trips and the historic site are well worth investing an afternoon.
I wonder how many people go to the Dells and don’t have a clue about what the Dells are? I know many people who make trips there just to stay at the water parks with their kids. As a kid 45 years ago, we would camp there, do the Lower Dells and Upper Dells trips and ride The Ducks, now it’s way too touristy and the traffic!? [V][xx(]
They seem to get more touristy every year. The trick is to do your best to ignore the touristy stuff and just treat yourself to the Upper Dells and Lower Dells boat trips. They will show you why the Dells became such an attraction in the first place, back over 100 years ago. (If that isn’t enough, visit the H.H. Bennett studio and museum, in downtown Wisconsin Dells, to see the photographs that lured people from all over the country back in the late 1800s. I expected to be there for an hour. They closed shop 2-1/2 hours later and had to kick me out!)
The Paul Bunyon restaurant is still there, and the Polish-American Buffet thrives. But my favorite place to eat is at the Cheese Factory Restaurant. Don’t let the fact that it serves only vegetarian food fool you. This is GOOD FOOD, and much more varied than most vegetarian places I have visited. Even a non-vegetarian (like me) will find themselves very satisfied with food that ranges from the simple (grilled cheese sandwich made with sharp Cheddar and swiss cheeses with sliced tomato) to the sublime (polenta romesco: broiled, seasoned polenta served with marinated, grilled tofu and grilled fruits and veggies). And did I mention that they have a first-class ice cream fountain and the best desserts in central Wisconsin? Even if I don’t have time to eat there, I usually stop for a little something to go.
Sorry about that. You just happened to remind me of this wonderful restaurant. Spend your weekend day on the river, exploring the dells, and the evening at the Cheese Factory, stuffing yourself and listening to good live music. That is the way to visit the Dells!
I have made the trip to Grand Marais from the far west suburbs of Chicago many times over the years and have found very little of note except Lehman’s Supper Club on South Main Street in Rice Lake Wis. for a traditional northwoods supper club and The Norske Nook on Pioneer Parkway for a good breakfast. There’s the Scenic Cafe just northeast of Duluth on old 61 but for me the food was too yuppie but many rave about it. In Grand Marais, I love Birch Terrace, The Angry Trout and South of the Border is my place for breakfast. I have also eaten at Lutsen resort and Bluefin Bay resort and both were good but Bluefin is getting very pricey. I was up about 6 months ago and got desperate and ate at a Culver’s by the Dells. Even though they widened and took some of the curves out of Highway 61 (as in Bob Dylan’s Highway 61) the truck traffic between Duluth and Thunder Bay is horrible.
Does anyone know any hidden jewels between Milwaukee and Grand Marais? I know to top off my gas tank frequently, but haven’t found much "Roadfood" except at "Betty’s Pies".
Milwaukee to Grand Marais, MN
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