23 answers

Wisconsin Dells with Preschooler, Best Place to Stay?

Hi Moms! We are planning our first FAMILY VACATION! We are planning on driving to Wisconsin Dells sometime in July. This will be our first trip to the Dells, so we have no idea what to expect. Could anyone recommend which the best waterpark would be to stay at with a 2 year old? (Actually she will be almost 3). We are looking for someplace with a LOT of indoor/outdoor activities to do (waterpark related and also jungle gyms, playgrounds ect.). Also, is there a place you would NOT recommend with young kids? Thanks!

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Thanks for all the great suggestions and advice! We ended up being able to 'borrow' our friends' timeshare at Glacier Canyon Lodge in the Wilderness Resort. I saw that a lot of moms recommended the Wilderness, so that is encouraging! Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Great Wolf Lodge - we actually have another trip planned again in about a week. We went when my daughter was 2 1/2 and now, she's 5 1/2 and my son is nearly 17 months so, I'm feeling confident that it will be great for both of them. They definitely cater to the kids. I think all places really focus on family fun inside and outside. But, we loved the bedtime story time in the evenings and the lodge is not right in the middle of all the action (on the main road).

This isn't a place to stay idea, but we were there last year with a large group and rented a house. I'd take a two year old on the Lost Canyon horse drawn wagon ride. It's about 45 minutes and is a fun way to see part of the Dells area.

Here is there information--

Address:
720 Canyon Rd
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Phone:
###-###-####
Web:
www.dells.com/horses/lostcanyon.htm
Open:
April - October

More Answers

A.,
The Wilderness in the Dells is THE BEST. Wet & dry activities. Very catering to families with young children. Several different indoor water parks. I would HIGHLY recommend going mid-week if you can, it is way less busy. But, even if you cant you'll have fun. There can be a lot of walking (with stuff!) so I'd plan to bring a small stroller if you child is 4 or under. They'll be tired. I'd also suggest getting a bigger room with a separate kitchen/living area if you have nappers. That way you don't have to "hunker down" in the dark trying to get a child to sleep. We really like Glacier Canyon Lodge (w/in the resort). Ask for a room near the walkway. You'll also want to purchase or borrow one of those zip-up water vests so you child can play more freely and you can worry less.
Have fun! www.wildernessresort.com

1 mom found this helpful

We went to the Kalahari resort and water park when our girls were ages 1.5 and 4. Can't say enough great things about this place! The water park was huge and had lots of child-friendly things to do, the restaurants on site were nice and also child-friendly, and our room was huge and not overly expensive. We found this place to be a great place for a family get-away! I highly recommend it!
The Dells is a great place to go for a family trip, you will find lots to do. Have a great time!

Great Wolf Lodge - we actually have another trip planned again in about a week. We went when my daughter was 2 1/2 and now, she's 5 1/2 and my son is nearly 17 months so, I'm feeling confident that it will be great for both of them. They definitely cater to the kids. I think all places really focus on family fun inside and outside. But, we loved the bedtime story time in the evenings and the lodge is not right in the middle of all the action (on the main road).

I vote for the Wilderness, too. We were just there 2 weeks ago, for the 2nd time in 6 months. There are tons of different pools in and out and the indoor play area is great.

My daughter is older but we loved the Glacier Canyon it is part of the Wilderness. You have access to all of their pools indoor and out. Plus instead of getting into your car wet you can take a shuttle to all the pools. We had a blast we've went there twice now. There are pools for all ages. Plus they have rooms with kitchens in it if you don't want to eat out all the time. The prices are pretty reasonable and the pool prices are included I believe up to 4 people or depending how big of a room you get. Good luck! Here is the website http://www.glaciercanyonlodge.com/

The Kalahari is our favorite place. There is a wonderful indoor amusement park and the best thing about that place is the free playground. Things there are pretty pricey but if you bring a cooler full of things to eat/drink in your room (there's a microwave and fridge in each room) then you can save a TON of money.

We have been to the Wilderness outdoor/indoor waterpark resort and were disappointed with the liberal attitude of the staff in regards to safety and the serving/consuming of alcohol around every corner....and we weren't surprised to hear of the drowning that occurred there a few years ago. I am sure they changed things but we won't be returning there.

I would go to the Wilderness Resort. We go there annually in December (great rate deals). The have three indoor water parks and an indoor playground and a game room. Many areas appropriate for a two year old. One of the things we like is that the parks are exclusively for guests (which is monitored by bracelets you are given at check in time). You cannot use the parks unless you are an overnight guest. I feel this helps limit how big the crowds can get. I believe the Kalahari you can just pay a day fee and use their parks. The Wilderness also has a fun candy shop and a couple of gift shops. The staff their is excellent (including many great lifeguards) all are very, very friendly and helpful. This past December my husband looked out our room window to the parking lot one morning. It had snowed that night and there were staff outside with leaf blowers blowing the snow off of all the cars. What service. Wherever you go have a great time!

the wilderness/glacier canyon is the best place with kids, we own timeshares there and i have a kindergartener, glacier canyon offers an indoor jungle gym that would but chuck e cheese to shame that is open untill 10 o clock pm (great for tiring out your little one if the waterparks don't do it for you) the only problem is that it is booked so far in advance you wouldn't be able to book one for the summer untill 2011, however we have some that are already booked for spring break
(I have five 1 bedroom condos (jacuzzi in bathroom) on sale for april 2- april 5, a three night four day vacation at glacier canyon (wilderness waterparks) for $ 525.
I also have five 2 bedroom condos ( one king sized bed 2 bathrooms, jacuzzi in master bathroom 1 bedroom with two full sized beds and one pull out couch)on sale for april 2-april 5 at glacier canyon for $700.
and i also have 1 two bedroom PRESIDENTIAL (two king sized beds, two bathrooms with jacuzzi and one pull out sofa bed )available for the same week at the same resort for $1000.
If you are looking to vacation at wisconsin dells during this week you can contact me to reserve a vacation, vacationers must pay a $100 deposit to reserve a spot, and must have a valid credit/debit card at check in

all of our condo's come with fully furnished kitchen including full fridge, stove, microwave and dish washer, so you don't have to pay to go out to eat, you can buy your groceries at the grocery store and cook your food in the condo. They also come with a washer and drier in the unit which is great for drying swimming suits or doing your laundry mid vacation, to cut down on luggage. All vacationers are given a wristband for unlimited use of all wilderness accommodations which includes but are not limited to 3 indoor waterparks with 2 wave pools, massive sized children's play area (indoor) and free shuttle service to each destination as well as to the ho chunk casino and fields restaurant. I take advantage of these vacations n a few times a year and can personally say that this resort is the best resort I have EVER been to. I can also provide references. I also have a five year old daughter and she LOVES going to the "water park one" (that's what she calls it) she also loves taking a bath in the jacuzzi, and i enjoy watching her experience it! I also have no problem giving out personal information to serious buyers, and if you are local (waukesha area) i would have no problem meeting you in person to discuss arrangements. This is not a scam of any kind, my mother owns timeshares through this wyndam resort and is selling weeks to pay for them.)
if you want to you can email me about this week or if you want to plan something in advance we would love to help you out !
____@____.com

I lived 15 min from Dells for 12 yrs...

Kalahari & Wilderness are both great....

Great Wolf Lodge!

After Christmas we took a 3-4 day vacation there. Since it was cold we only used the indoor park but it is huge and it kept us busy all 4 days! My daughter at the time was 2 years 4 months old and she loved the wave pool and the water slide that went into the lazy river. There is also an outdoor water park there and it looked nice.

We stayed in the condo section so we did not eat out at all, it saved TONS of money since in the condos you can get a full kitchen (depends on which ones you pick).

Another plus is that ONLY guests can use the Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark so it is not over run like some of the other places from outside visitors. You can but addittional passes if you have friends and family visiting so I am not sure how many take advantage of that during the summer.... during the winter it was not crowded at all but it was also "off-season" up there.

We have stayed at a couple of different places over the years. For young children, the Polynesian Resort was good. There is a pirate ship and space shuttle with slides as well as other outdoor areas. There are also indoor play areas.

My husband and I like Great Wolf lodge better. It seemed like there was more to do. There is a lot of indoor/outdoor play areas for kids and adults. There are also 2 restaurants in the hotel and an ice cream shop. Each night, there is a storytime hour in the lobby. It all depends on how much you want to spend on the hotel. I recommend going to the hotel websites to see what there is.

Good luck. I think that no matter where you go, you and your family will have a lot of fun.

A little about me: married for almost 10 yrs. I am a sahm of 3 children, ages 5, 3, and 1.

I haven't stayed at any of the places up there since I am local, but I have reservations for Wilderness Resort in April. I am very excited. It looks like there are a lot of things to do for kids (I have a 4 and 1 year old). There's a large indoor play area and I have been told its great for the little kids (my friend just went there and she has a 1 year old). I think Kalahari is also good, but i don't know too much about it. They have an indoor "theme park" with a huge indoor playground. We go there at least once a week because its free for anyone to get in and it helps my boys release some energy during the winter months. Its wonderful. But beyond that I don't know anything about their other attractions, like the waterparks, etc. I am sure they are great, but I don't know much about them. Another hotel I have seen that is MUCH smaller is Atlantis, I believe its called. Its just a regular hotel with a small water area inside. It has a fun little waterpark inside for younger kids (like up to 6 or so). We go there every year with our MOPS playgroup and its a lot of fun. Then you could go to other places in the Dells in addition to staying there. The only place in the Dells that I don't like for little kids is Mount Olympus. There were some things for them to do but not enough to make it worth it. Just a few small play areas.

This isn't a place to stay idea, but we were there last year with a large group and rented a house. I'd take a two year old on the Lost Canyon horse drawn wagon ride. It's about 45 minutes and is a fun way to see part of the Dells area.

Here is there information--

Address:
720 Canyon Rd
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Phone:
###-###-####
Web:
www.dells.com/horses/lostcanyon.htm
Open:
April - October

I love the Great Wolf Lodge. They have a ice cream/fudge shop, Starbucks, a HUGE clock that goes off every 30 min and plays a song with characters that go around, indoor play area, awesome indoor/outdoor waterpark, kids' drop-in daycare, 2 restaurants, and beautiful rooms! Have fun!

We've made Great Wolf Lodge our annual trip. Before we found that one, we went to the Grand Marquis. The Grand Marquis is not as overwhelming for a first timer, but has a smaller indoor water area with many slides and water adventures. There is also another pool area.

My family just got back this last Tuesday from the Kalahari in WI Dells. I have one daughter who will be 3 in June. It was pretty decent for her b/c they have an indoor play area with slides, climbing areas, etc that was free and then a couple different little kid pools throughout the waterpark (at least on the inside). She also enjoyed going on some of the tube waterslide rides with mom and dad. I'm sure they are all pretty much set up kid friendly. Good luck.

We love the Kalahari & the Great Wolf Lodge. We've been to the Dells 5 times. Great Wolf has story time a few times a day as well as a big ball pit play area.

We have been to all of those places recommended by the other ladies and they are right. You will enjoy any one of them. They all have great areas for little ones.
You are not supposed to carry food into any of those parks, but we always bring in our own snacks, as long as we clean up after ourselves! I do not like buying that expensive garbage for my little one. Just try to be discreet about it and hide it in your stroller.
Make sure your room has a microwave and refrigerator, that is pretty common even in the less expensive rooms. We take up those frozen entrees and popcorn, which are great snacks so you don't have to eat out at every meal. You could even take up your slow cooker and heat up a meal you already made!
If you do want to eat out, I recommend the restaurants at the Wilderness or Khalahari. Otherwise, the food is not great in the Dells.
I know I sound like a tour guide for the Dells, but we have a vacation home there, and I've been going up there for over thirty years.
I hope you have fun!

We just stayed at the Wilderness. There are 3 or 4 different waterparks there to choose from, some geared more toward the younger kids. There are arcades and indoor jungle gyms.. i would REALLY look into the Wilderness. I was VERY impressed. Although, be prepared for HUGE crowds in July!!!! We were there in February and I thought it was CRAZY.

We go to the Polynesian. My girls are 5 and 8 and we have been going there for about 4 years. A lot of their stuff is geared more to little people. We love going. You can go to their website and get specials, too!

We recently stayed at the Wilderness. It has 3 indoor parks,, 1 outdoor water park, plus a dry park. My almost 3 year old loved it.

Kalahari! We go every July. We always stay at the Kalahari and love it. Last year we had a 3.5 year old and a 9 month old and it was great for both. This year obviously everyone is a year older and we will have a 6 month old in tow. They are very accomodating, both parks are great and they have lots of kids activities every day.
Have fun!
D.

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