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Continued: Splashy updates at Wisconsin Dells

  • Article by: MELANIE RADZICKI MCMANUS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 15, 2013 - 12:20 PM

At Wilderness Resort, a new zero-depth “sprayground” was recently unveiled. Part of the resort’s New Frontier Outdoor Waterpark, the tot-friendly play area features spraying fountains, ground geysers, water jets and a spraying water bug.

At the Kalahari Resort, the new Mud Hut was opened in the indoor waterpark. The spacious “hut” includes Wisconsin’s only swim-up bar, with seating for 12, plus an indoor/outdoor hot tub. The resort’s indoor theme park changed things up a bit, too, adding a laser maze, 5-D theater and toddler ropes course. But the most exciting renovation may be the addition of Revolution 360, an eight-person, pendulum-type ride that flips and twirls riders around. (Hint: Ride with an empty stomach.)

H.H. Bennett, the legendary 19th-century outdoor photographer whose photos of the area’s natural beauty caused Wisconsin Dells to become a vacation hot spot, might not appreciate all of the changes to his beloved Dells. But surely he’d be pleased to know many tourists still make an effort to get on the water and see the dell formations that so captivated him from behind the lens.

Dells Watersports has been renting all sorts of watercraft since its opening in 1979. Three years ago it began offering paddleboard rentals at its main Lake Delton location, where it also offers lessons. (A beautiful slice of quiet Dell Creek conveniently runs behind the business.) This year, it also offers paddleboard rentals at Mirror Lake State Park. Employee Steve Holmes, who has lived and worked in the area for years, says visitors seem to be slowly moving toward more outdoorsy activities when they visit.

I enjoyed my paddleboarding, but nothing compared to the thrill of Hades.

Like Otheron, I survived my maiden voyage on the roller coaster, although Maura snickered when we viewed the photo that was taken as we plunged 134 feet into the tunnel. The picture showed Maura whooping with glee, hands waving high above her head, while I sat with my eyes closed, slumped into her shoulder.

“You look dead,” she laughed.

Hours later, shortly before the park closed for the day, I surprised Maura (and myself) by leading her back to Hades. When the seats were filled and we were cleared to go, I led the group in a loud cheer. And this time, I kept my eyes open the entire time. Just for Otheron.


Melanie Radzicki McManus is a freelancer writer in Sun Prairie, Wis.


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