things to do in wisconsin dells with kids

Things to do in Wisconsin Dells with Kids in 2021

Known as the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” Wisconsin Dells is a complete entertainment destination for families with kids of all ages. There are both indoor and outdoor water parks to explore. All offer a wide range of slides, wave pools, and river splashes! 

Open year-round, Wisconsin Dells is the perfect spot for a family vacation, with options for everyone to explore and enjoy. Those interested in experiencing more dryland activities can enjoy the city’s many theme parks, outdoor adventures, entertainment attractions, and open-air events. Check out the list below for some of our favorite things to do in Wisconsin Dells with kids.

26 Best Things To Do in Wisconsin Dells with Kids

1. Great Wolf Lodge

things to do in wisconsin dells with kids
Source: Great Wolf Lodge

This ultimate, all-encompassing family resort has everything you need for a successful vacation with the kids: an indoor water park for year-round fun, adventure park attractions, and entertaining activities for all ages such as story time and nightly dance parties.

Interested in visiting our Wisconsin Dells lodge? Book your stay today!

The water park has a wave pool, hot tubs, and tons of slides, large and small. Your family will be comfortable in the spacious themed suites and with family-friendly dining options. Each guest will receive a wristband for easy access to the all-inclusive water park and entertainment activities.

2. MagiQuest

MagiQuest family-friendly and fun for all
Source: Great Wolf Lodge

This live-action adventure game can be found inside our Great Wolf Lodge resort. In this role-playing adventure challenge, players explore the four-story building with a magical wand that opens hidden treasures and clues along the way. 

The goal is to complete a series of quests: solving puzzles, helping mystical creatures, and ultimately battling an evil dragon. The magic wand stores player information, making it convenient to leave and return without losing your place in the game.

3. Rick Wilcox Magic Theater

One of the most top-rated attractions in Wisconsin Dells
Source: Rick Wilcox Show

One of the most top-rated attractions in Wisconsin Dells, this hour-long illusion and magic show is family-friendly and fun for all. 

Husband-and-wife team Rick and Suzan Wilcox constantly add new surprises and audience interactions to keep things lively. There is even a Livestream TV display in the lobby for parents who have to step out with a fidgety infant or toddler.

4. Lake Delton

Lake Delton, Wisconsin
Source: Travel Wisconsin

This artificial freshwater lake offers swimming beaches, boating, fishing, and hiking for outdoor fun. Young kids can wade in the water and play in the sand, while the whole family may enjoy kayaking or s’mores over the fire pit.

5. Tommy Bartlett Exploratory

interactive exhibits relating to space, physics, and technology
Source: Tommy Bartlett Exploratory

Year-round, families can enjoy the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory Interactive Science Center with nearly 200 interactive exhibits relating to space, physics, and technology. Kids can ride a high-wire sky cycle or lift a car off the ground all on their own! 

This is also the only place on Earth where you can explore an authentic Russian Space Station MIR module.

The Tommy Bartlett name is well-known for entertainment among Wisconsin Dells regulars. Unfortunately, the hugely popular Tommy Bartlett Show was affected by COVID-19 restrictions and was closed down permanently during the 2020 season. 

For over seventy years, the Tommy Bartlett Show had entertained crowds with acrobatic water skiing and boat stunts on the water.

6. Noah’s Ark Waterpark

Noah’s Ark is considered the largest waterpark in the country
Source: Trip Advisor

Established in 1979, Noah’s Ark is considered the largest waterpark in the country. Covering 70 acres and three miles of waterslides, the park offers dozens of attractions, including two rivers, two wave pools, group rides, and tube rides. 

For thrill-seekers, one of their newest slides includes a six-story drop! There are separate areas for younger children with fountains, splash pools, and smaller slides. There are also extensive options such as a 4-D theater, arcade, mini-golf, and playgrounds for those seeking dry activities.

7. Knuckleheads

Amusement Rides in Knuckleheads
Source: Knuckleheads

This vast indoor amusement park has areas for older and younger children to enjoy. For the thrill-seekers, there is a roller coaster, trampoline park, and ropes course. 

Those who prefer to stay close to the ground will enjoy the bowling alley, 4-D theater, and arcade. Younger children can roam around a designated area created just for them, complete with slides and smaller rides.

8. Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park

Kids having fun at Tom Foolery
Source: Tom Foolery Adventure Park

Similar to Knuckleheads, this gigantic indoor amusement park offers a bit of everything for the whole family. Favorites include laser tag, mini-golf, bowling, go-karts, arcade games, climbing walls, and an indoor zip line. 

There are plenty of activities for children of all ages. You can find the park situated within the Kalahari Resort. Day passes are available.

9. Original Wisconsin Ducks

Original Wisconsin Duck Tour
Source: Original Wisconsin Ducks

These amphibious truck-boat vehicles dating from World War II take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Wisconsin Dells. The kids won’t get bored of the view, because the ride itself is half the fun! Since 1946, these original one-hour Duck tours wind through steep turns, drops, and splashes that will thrill the whole family.

10. Witches Gulch – Dells Boat Tours

Upper Dells Boat Tour, Witches Gulch
Source: Leisure Group Travel

Only accessible through the Upper Dells Boat Tour, Witches Gulch is a narrow canyon filled with extraordinary and eerily calm scenery. 

Located right above the river dam, the boat tour will break for about 15 minutes so that visitors can explore the Witches Gulch. 

Carved by wind and water over thousands of years, the area remains hidden away from the main stretch, providing calm and quiet. The walk is flat, easy, and accessible for strollers and young children. Bathrooms are available, along with a small concession stand.

11. Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty & Lumberjack Show

Kids friendly menus that will surely be enjoyed
Source: Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty

Have a hearty meal and enjoy great entertainment for the whole family. Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast and family-style meals. The kid-friendly menu includes sliders, corn dogs, chicken fingers, and grilled cheese. For a special treat, try the homemade buttermilk donuts!


Next door, the Lumberjack Show is available with an additional ticket. This exciting performance by professional lumberjacks and athletes includes ax-throwing, log rolls, block chops, and more. Fast and action-packed, the kids will not be bored.

12. Country Bumpkin Farm

Country Bumpkin Farm - Petting Farm
Source: Country Bumpkin Farm

For a fun day away from the water, this is the perfect place to run around. There are the traditional tractor rides, petting zoo, and seasonal corn maze, along with more unique and fun features like a kid-size zipline and pedal karts. 

Kids can play around in a miniature town complete with a school and jail, or the whole family can compete in an obstacle course, including rock climbing. When you get hungry, enjoy u-pick produce, a fresh bakery, and other goodies from the farm store.

13. Wisconsin Deer Park

Animal lovers in the family will enjoy a visit to the Wisconsin Deer Park
Source: Wisconsin Deer Park

Animal lovers in the family will enjoy a visit to the Wisconsin Deer Park, where they can view, feed, pet, and interact with deer, elk, and bison. Young ones may especially enjoy feeding the animals from the palms of their hands! 

This educational petting zoo has been running for over 50 years, providing wildlife a natural environment on 40 acres of land.

14. Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue

Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue
Source: Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue

This non-profit rescue and education center is licensed by the USDA. The center provides a peaceful and safe home to lions, tigers, and leopards from previous private owners who would prefer to have them euthanized. 

Proceeds from admissions fees and donations support the work of caring for and protecting the big cats in their care. The kids may most enjoy the morning feeding tour (starting at 8:00 am) when the cats are most active and visible.

15. B&H Trout Fishing & Bait Shop

Build memories as a family at B&H Trout Fishing
Source: B&H Trout Fishing

Build memories as a family, with the thrill of a child patiently waiting and then catching their first fish on the line. B&H Trout Fishing was established in 1950 and is one of the oldest attractions in Wisconsin Dells. 

Getting around by car? Pump up the fun with these 10 Ideas for the Ultimate Road Trip With Kids.

Everyone is guaranteed to catch a rainbow, brook, or brown trout from one of two spring-fed ponds. The company provides all equipment. Pay by the inch, and the team will even clean your fish and keep it on ice for you to take home. 

If you prefer, you can grill it at the on-site picnic area. Great for a relaxing, family day, as there is no time limit, no fish limit, and no licensing requirements.

16. Bigfoot Ropes Course & Zipline Tour

best things to do in Wisconsin dells with kids
Source: Bigfoot Zipline Tours

For adventurous families, the enormous outdoor Bigfoot Ropes Course offers opportunities for a full-day adventure. 

Over 80 different ropes course elements offer challenges for multiple experiences and ability levels (all ages welcome; must be 43 inches or taller). Or head next door to the highly popular Bigfoot Zipline Tour, spending 2 hours zipping through the trees on seven different tracks.

17. Big Chief’s Go-Karts

this a fun challenge for the whole family
Source: Big Chiefs Go Kart

The Big Chief’s Go-Karts course runs over a river, up and downhill, and around sharp curves. Affordable pricing makes this a fun challenge for the whole family; older kids can even race against the adults!

18. Dells Mining Company

Dells Mining Company
Source: Dells Mining Company

Here, kids can pan for treasure using traditional, hands-on techniques. Several types of natural gemstones are hidden in the earth, including amethyst, blue topaz, sapphires, and emeralds. 

Whatever the kids find, they can keep! There are now two locations, one near Noah’s Ark Waterpark and a year-round location in downtown Wisconsin Dells.

19. Lost Canyon Horse Tours

Lost Canyon Horse Tours with a unique views
Source: Lost Canyon Horse Tours

Only a horse-drawn carriage can take you down into the narrow cliff-walled gorges of the private Lost Canyon. The horses navigate through tight squeezes to gain access to areas that have not seen sunlight in more than 500,000 years. 

With unique views highlighting the natural landforms of the Wisconsin Dells, this half-hour tour is fascinating for all ages.

20. The Riverside & Great Northern Railway

The Riverside and Great Northern Hallway
Source: The Riverside and Great Northern Hallway

For the train buffs in the family, young and old, this miniature-steam train ride through the scenery of the Wisconsin Dells is sure to be a hit. While the adults enjoy the views and the history, the kids are sure to go crazy over the train ride alone.

21. Canyon Creek Riding Stables

Canyon Creek Riding Stables Ghost Tour
Source: Canyon Creek Riding Stables

Enjoy a trail ride through a mock wild west ghost town! The one-hour experience will take you on wilderness trails, complete with scenic views of rock formations and a waterfall. The kids can also enjoy the goats, sheep, and donkeys at the petting zoo before or after the ride.

22. Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater

Big Sky Twin Drive-in Theatre
Source: Trip Advisor

Watch a double-feature for the price of one, under the stars, rain or shine. With a traditional snack bar and stereo sound, you can catch the latest Hollywood films in this classic drive-in experience for the whole family.

23. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

Pirates Cove Adventure Golf
Source: Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

Pirate’s Cove caters to the whole family on five different courses ranging from easy to difficult for those who love mini-golf. During breaks from the golf, you can relax in the spacious picnic area, and kids can enjoy the vast playland.

24. Skate at The Keg

The Keg restaurant in downtown Wisconsin Dells
Source: The Keg

The Keg restaurant in downtown Wisconsin Dells offers year-round outdoor ice skating for the family. Synthetic ice is used on warmer days, and on cold days, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa after skating. The attached sports bar/restaurant offers a variety of family-friendly menu options and a kids’ game room.

25. Cascade Mountain

Cascade Mountain is a beautiful ski and snowboard facility
Source: Travel Wisconsin

Cascade Mountain is a beautiful ski and snowboard facility located about 20 minutes from Wisconsin Dells for families visiting during the winter. Lessons are available, along with nearly fifty trails of varying difficulty levels. 

Traveling with small kids? Keep them entertained during a long flight with these awesome airplane games for kids.

For more relaxed fun, take a lift up and come down through one of the 800-foot snow tubing chutes! Great family-friendly rates include free ski passes for all children 12 or younger, so long as a paid adult accompanies them.

26. Downtown Wisconsin Dells & River Walk

Scenic River Walk to enjoy the scenery on foot or by bike
Source: Scenic River Walk

For free, relaxing entertainment, nothing can beat a walk downtown or a stroll along the Wisconsin River. Watch the Duck boats go by, grab a macaroni & cheese lunch, people watch, and window shop! 

From the corner of Broadway & Eddy Street, venture down the quarter-mile Scenic River Walk to enjoy the scenery on foot or by bike. The downtown area of Wisconsin Dells offers neighborhood parks and year-round festivals.

Conclusion

With over 40 million visitors each year, Wisconsin Dells offers year-round entertainment for the whole family. It’s the perfect all-inclusive vacation destination for both indoor and outdoor fun and adventure, from its famous waterparks to indoor amusement, games, and natural beauty for all ages to enjoy.

If you don’t have plans to travel anytime soon, bring the fun to you! Check out the Great Wolf Lodge blog for crafts, recipes, and other activities you can enjoy with the whole family. 

What do you think? Are there things to do in Wisconsin Dells with kids that didn’t make the list? If so, let us know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we get to Wisconsin Dells?

Located in south-central Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dells is easily accessible from Chicago or Milwaukee by car, airplane, or train/bus. Most visitors arrive by car via Interstate 90/94; it is a two-hour drive from Milwaukee. 

The nearest airport is 55 miles away in Madison (MSN), serviced by American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Sun Country, and United. Wisconsin Dells also has Greyhound and Amtrak stations.

When is the best time to visit Wisconsin Dells?

As the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” one would think it’s best to visit in the summertime. While summer is a great time to come, the crowds are more extensive, especially during holiday weekends. Fortunately, Wisconsin Dells is set up for year-round family entertainment with many indoor waterparks and other seasonal activities.

Why is the area called “Wisconsin Dells”?

“Dells” are small valleys. The Wisconsin River has carved through soft Cambrian sandstone over the past fifteen thousand years, creating these magnificent cliffs, gorges, and valleys. The area is named for these land formations along the banks of the Wisconsin River. There is a wonderfully scenic drive through Devil’s Lake State Park (30 minutes from Wisconsin Dells), offering beautiful views.

What are the current COVID-19 guidelines in Wisconsin Dells?

Wisconsin Dells is open for visitors and eager to welcome families safely. Health protocols are guided by the Centers for Disease Control, state, and local health organizations. As circumstances are subject to change, we recommend checking the Wisconsin Dells’ Travel Updates page for the latest guidelines.

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