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need help planning a trip please

Which Wisconsin Dells hotels are on sale?
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Lexington, Kentucky
posts: 604
reviews: 5
need help planning a trip please

We are thinking of coming to Wisconsin Dells probably next October. Our regular vacation spot is Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg Tennessee area. But we are thinking of trying someplace new.

My family is myself and my husband (we're in our 30's and our 2 boys ages 8 and 13)

(If anyone has been to both places please let me know what you thought of both!!)

I don't really know where to begin planning. I ordered a travel guide but it will be a week or two before it comes in. The waterpark resorts look nice, but I just don't know....I want to be able to not spend a small fortune to stay somewhere nice.

If anyone has any tips or info that might get me going in the right direction, that would be great. Thanks!


Sioux Falls, South...
Destination Expert
for Sioux Falls
posts: 1,875
reviews: 128
21. Re: need help planning a trip please

We took three kids, including an 8 y.o., to House on the Rock. It held their attention. There's enough variety that everyone will find something they like and don't like. Get tokens for your 8 y.o. to operate the music machines. They do need to be somewhat fit, because it does involve a lot of walking, but my preschooler handled it.

If you're on a tight budget, I want to give you a heads up on lunch. The House on the Rock admission is spendy, so as a family of five, we didn't want to fork over more money to eat in one of their restaurants. If you choose to pack a sack lunch, eat lunch in their picnic area (right by the main gate when you exit the highway) or in your vehicle BEFORE you pay for your admission. We were mid tour and decided to break for lunch. There's no easy way out of the tour and we had to be escorted by employees, one of whom made a really big deal about it, through restricted areas to get out to the parking lot for lunch. It only takes about a half day to tour, so if you eat an early lunch first, you should have enough time to see everything before closing. If you're OK with eating in the restaurants, then just ignore what I've said here.

Re: the D.E's post about getting Culver's cards from their website, I tried that route and never received a card or any kind of communication from them. I hope you have better luck! :)

Edited: 3:07 pm, October 17, 2012
posts: 1,315
reviews: 328
22. Re: need help planning a trip please

We've been to the Dells multiple times, and just went to the Smoky mountains for the first time this past summer. Beautiful area!

The Dells is like a much smaller version of Pigeon Forge, only without the mountains in the background. There isn't nearly as much to do in the Dells, but it's still fun. I would recommend doing the upper Dells boat tour, which is really scenic. Hopefully it's open when you go:-). The deer park is neat if your kids like animals; you can feed and pet deer. I also highly recommend The House on the Rock, which is amazing! Buy lots of tokens for the musical machines. Talisien (sp?) is close by too, but I think most (all?) of the tours require kids to be aged 12 or older (or at least that was the case when I checked a few years ago). We've never been, but the reviews for Circus World Museum in Baraboo are pretty good. Not sure if it's open in October though.

Devil's Lake State park is nearby, with some good hiking. You may be disappointed after hiking in GSMNP though, as Devils Lake doesn't come close (IMO). Pretty, but no waterfalls or mountains, and of course no bears or elk:-).

I know you said you'd rather stay in a cabin, but to me part of the fun of the Dells is the waterpark resorts. Plus...since you're going in October weather can be dicey; the inside waterparks would be something fun to do on a rainy day or in the evening. We loved the Wilderness. The place is huge, and besides the waterparks has laser tag, mini golf, a haunted hotel (kind of lame), arcades, paint your own pottery, ropes course, wagon rides, zip line, probably a few other things I'm forgetting. They do have cabins/houses you can rent, but I'm sure they're expensive. Also have condos and regular hotel rooms.

posts: 4
23. Re: need help planning a trip please

If you are still looking for resources to help you plan your trip to the Dells, you may want to check out the Wisconsin Dells website: http://www.wisdells.com.

You'll find much of the information you will need to plan your trip.

Also, for attractions and tours you may also want to check out http://www.passporttosavings.com/. Passport to Savings offers discounts on certain attractions.

Hope this helps!

Have fun ;)

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
posts: 4,694
reviews: 94
24. Re: need help planning a trip please

3174 that's good to know about the Culver's card from the website. In the past posters have noted a positive success rate with getting the card mailed to them by contacting their website. This is the first negative I've heard and hopefully it's an anomaly.

Rockford, Illinois
posts: 253
reviews: 125
25. Re: need help planning a trip please

Wisconsin Dells is a lot of fun, but I'm not sure that you could fill a whole week with just the Dells. I would split your time between the Dells and Door County. Door County is about 4 hours away and it's beautiful in fall.....but also very busy.....it's their busiest season. They have several great parks, lighthouses, a ferry to Washington Island, etc.

3rd Chaise to the...
posts: 1,488
reviews: 31
26. Re: need help planning a trip please

IMHO Door County is not all that exciting for boys 8 and 13 unless you are going to get out on the water. Too much shops and not enough to keep them interested. Not that the scenery isn't spectacular, I just don't think it holds the interest for kids.

Rockford, Illinois
posts: 253
reviews: 125
27. Re: need help planning a trip please

Elveric......I can see how that could be true. If the boys are really into hiking and the outdoors, a couple of days in Door County might be fun for them, but probably not much more than that.

28. Re: need help planning a trip please

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