By Melanie McManus | Photos courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau
Wisconsin Dells is a great choice for spring break fun. It’s not too far away and offers something for everyone. Here’s a sample three-day itinerary to kickstart your planning.
Roll into town around noon and grab lunch at the Grateful Shed Truckyard. The indoor food truck joint, opened last spring, offers gourmet grilled cheeses, tacos, burgers, Asian eats and more. Nosh inside the Greyhound bus suspended from the ceiling or in one of the renovated VW buses scattered about.
Hotel check-in isn’t until mid-afternoon, so head to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum. You’ll find breadcrumb art, illusions, shrunken heads and other incredible exhibits throughout its three floors. Another option: the neighboring Wizard Quest, a fantasy-themed, interactive computer game that has you scrambling through a labyrinth, complete with secret passages, to solve riddles, free wizards and more.
It’s finally time for your resort check-in. Great Wolf Lodge is a good choice for families with younger kids, while those with older children will appreciate the more thrilling waterpark op- tions at the Wilderness, Kalahari or Chula Vista. Order in pizza from Pizza Villa, an unassuming but quality spot, while the kids hit the waterpark.
Power up with a breakfast at Denny’s Diner. In business for nearly half a century, the restaurant offers all the standard breakfast fare. But it’s known for its cinnamon rolls and caramel pecan buns—not to mention the eclectic décor adorning the walls and ceiling.
If the weather’s nice, hike off your meal at Mirror Lake State Park, which features miles of trails—some of which wind past the area’s famous dells formations. Or, visit Circus World. While there are no live performances in the spring, you can gape at its collection of ornate circus wagons—the world’s largest—and stroll around the original winter quarters of the historic Ringling Brothers Circus.
Lunch at Moosejaw Pizza, a family-friendly spot where the kids’ menu offers chicken antlers (aka chicken strips) and buck-snort burgers, among other dishes. Another option is the budget-friendly Mary’s Place across the street, favored by locals for its Chicago-style hot dogs.
After lunch, stop in at the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, which offers more than 175 interactive exhibits. Plan to spend several hours here, poking around a Russian Space Station MIR core module, testing your balancing ability, and figuring out the physics behind floating balls and the giant lever that helps you effortlessly hoist a 5,000-pound car off the ground.
The kids won’t mind a detour to Fawn Creek Winery, tucked into a fragrant forest, if you promise dinner at MACS which features creative mac-and-cheese dishes, or Monk’s Bar & Grill, a Dells staple since 1947. Back at the hotel, more waterpark fun can conclude the day.
While the kids enjoy a final dip in the pool, zip over to Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty and bring back a sack of its famous homemade buttermilk doughnuts, lightly dusted with sugar. Then, before heading home, take in one final attraction.
A four-mile journey across wilderness trails, over sand bars and through the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton via an Original Wisconsin Duck (which kicks off its 2020 tour season this month) makes a great finale. Or, spend a few hours flying over oak and pine forest, plus Lake Delton, at Bigfoot Zipline. That will surely put an exclamation point on spring break 2020.