Wisconsin Dells, a major tourist destination since the the 19th century, has many great attractions. That’s plenty of time for some of its experiences to become iconic. If you want to experience the classic Wisconsin Dells, these are the places to see.
One of the most classic Wisconsin Dells activities is taking a ride on the ducks. The Original Wisconsin Ducks, that is. Ducks are amphibious vehicles used during World War II. Turns out they’re also the perfect way to help you explore the Dells’ most scenic spots on land and on water. Tourists have been doing just this since the first duck tour debuted in 1946.
Another favorite summer attraction is a trip to Noah’s Ark. Opened in 1979, it was the area’s first mega-outdoor waterpark. It’s just as thrilling today, offering a wide variety of rides for people of all ages. The Tommy Bartlett Show is also a must-see. An eclectic mix of waterski stunts and circus-type acts, the popular show has been pleasing guests for more than 60 years. And if you’ve got little kids, a stroll through Wisconsin Deer Park is practically mandatory. Kids have been feeding the park’s tame deer, which freely wander throughout the park, for more than 50 years.
Don’t forget to take a Dells Boat Tour of the Upper Dells, where you’ll see a specially-trained dog leap across a five-foot chasm from the main cliff to Stand Rock, a freestanding rock formation, a tradition dating back decades.
But it isn’t only attractions that are classics. When you come to the Dells, there are certain restaurants that demand a stop. The most iconic likely is Monk’s Bar & Grill, which opened in 1947 in downtown Dells. The restaurant quickly became known for its hamburgers, which are still a hit today. Long-time visitors know to get up early if they want to sink their teeth into a warm, sugary doughnut at Paul Bunyan’s; the line can stretch down the parking lot. The Del-Bar got its start in 1938 as a roadside joint dishing up char-broiled steaks. Now it’s a fine-dining spot offering a wide array of dishes.
Before you head home, make sure to stop in at Parson’s Trading Post, an eclectic gift shop/Native American museum that has been attracting visitors for decades. Don’t forget to take a photo of yourself by the teepee out front; it’s almost a requirement.