If you’ve been around here for any amount of time, you know that Mason LOVES water! We took his first swimming lessons just shy of 6 months old and going to the swimming pool, beach, and playing in his backyard pool are the highlights of his summer. We’re also lucky enough to live within driving distance of the waterpark capital of the world – Wisconsin Dells! We recently spent a whirlwind three days in Wisconsin Dells and despite the sub-zero temperatures, Wilderness Resort had us floating, sliding, swimming, and splashing to our hearts content! Which makes sense because they just happen to be America’s largest waterpark resort!
Wilderness Resort has over 500,000 square feet dedicated to just waterparks alone and four of these parks (over 200,000 square feet) are completely indoors and ready for play even in the dead of winter! Unlike other vacations where you’re worried how you’ll possibly be able to keep the preschooler entertained, I was worried we wouldn’t possibly have time to play everywhere we wanted to play!
With four completely different indoor waterparks, we had a hard time choosing what we wanted to do. SuperDad wanted to do the wave pool (America’s biggest indoor wave pool, at that!), I had my eye on some slides (like the Hurricane and the Black Hole) and I wanted to make sure that Mason got plenty of time in the areas just designed for kids his age as well as family raft rides, of which there was several!
We started out our wet and wild vacation at Klondike Kavern. It was here Mason fell in love with the dumping bucket. Every five minutes or so, a chime would ding and over 750 gallons of water would dump from a giant bucket. Standing under that gush of water was Mason’s nirvana and he could have done that for several hours a day had we let him!
We hit up some family tube slides and SuperDad and I took turns playing with Mason while we went down some solo slides too. Every single slide was fun and added to the “let’s do that again later!” list. Then we headed over to the Wild WaterDome and played in the wave pool for a LONG time. Mason and I shared a double tube and SuperDad got his own tube and was responsible for pushing us back out into the deeper water as the crazy crashing waves pushed us back to dry land. We had a great time as a family laughing and hanging on tight as waves big and small crashed against our tubes. I was also totally in love with the 100% windowed roof (aka dome) There was sunshine on my skin for the first time in 5 months despite the extreme temperatures outside. It was glorious! In the end, the only thing that got us out of the wave pool was our hungry tummies!
The next day, we hit up the “Wild West” which is the biggest of the four indoor waterparks. The presence of another dumping bucket made Mason super happy, as well as his chance to do another family raft ride with us. He loved being able to go on a big slide with Mom & Dad and we loved the quick lines and the opportunity to do something where all three of us could participate. I waited in line for the much anticipated Black Hole slide and it didn’t disappoint. You guys, this was the FASTEST waterslide I’ve ever been on and quite frankly, I could have went down it another twenty times had the rest of the family not been waiting for me! Then Mason and I played on the Ransack Ridge Play and Spray Structure and did some smaller slides while SuperDad hit up the body slides. So. Much. Fun. We ended up back at Klondike Kavern and I went on the Hurricane slide that I’d heard so much about. I had never been on anything like it and it definitely lived up to the hype!
On our third day, we attended the rubber ducky races at the Lazy River and then hit up all of our favorites from the first two days. We spent a ton of time crashing the waves in the Wild WaterDome and doing family raft slides and watching Mason get 750 gallons of water dumped on him over and over and over. We also took several laps around the Lazy River and Mason felt like a super Big Kid getting to ride his own tube around the tame, but relaxing, river.
We never made it over to Cubby’s Cove despite our best intentions, but I’m sure Mason would have loved all the Mason-sized slides, geysers, and spray guns! We also never remembered the bumper boats when we had our swimsuits on so they’re definitely on our to-do list for our next visit!
I loved that there was something for every age at each of the parks. Mason was more than thrilled to play in the youngest child areas in each park or go down some of the bigger slides with us and we were more than thrilled to have a great selection of tamer and more adventurous slides, as well as have stuff that we could do both with and without Mason. The provided life jackets and life guards at every turn helped give a real feeling of safety and security and allowed us to give Mason a bit more freedom, which gave him a bit more confidence to do things he might not have normally tried. And really, fun waterpark or not, that right there is always a parenting win!
We also loved that the waterparks were open to resort guests only. While we intentionally went on a Sunday-Tuesday so there would be fewer people there, the fact that they don’t open up their waterparks to everyone who walks in really helps keep the traffic down and the lines for the slides a lot shorter than they are at other waterparks we’ve been to. And, yeah, as a mother of a 4 year old (and a slightly impatient person myself), less time waiting in line and more time playing is always a customer service win to me!
I was initially worried about the walk between waterparks being too much for a (nearly) four year old but the hallways were well heated and once we figured out the best route between locations, it was a snap getting around the resort. While it sounds strange, Wilderness Resort’s awesome towel service (which let us trade our wet towels in for dry ones at any moment) made things a lot less stressful too! We’d get fresh dry towels anytime we had to walk anywhere and turn in our wet ones when it was time to play again. This made it so handy to not have to worry about where our towels were and we never had to deal with wrapping a chilly kid up in a soggy towel. A total win if you ask me!
Throughout our three days there, we got a chance to see parts of the (empty and snow covered) waterparks outside through the windows. They looked like so much fun and Mason frequently asked “Can we go down THAT slide?!” With four MORE huge outdoor waterparks and several walk up dining and drinking establishments in each waterpark, I have no idea how or why anyone would ever leave the waterpark area in the summer!
If you’re trying to figure out a fun winter OR summer getaway for your family (or just as a couple?) we give six thumbs up to Wilderness Resort and their amazing waterparks!
Disclaimer: Wilderness Resort gave us 1 night of lodging in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own and not influenced by this exchange in any way.