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Toddler Friendly Wisconsin Dells–More Than Just Waterparks

If you’re from the Midwest, no doubt you’re familiar with Wisconsin Dells, the proclaimed Water Park Capital of the World. With numerous accolades including TripAdvisor’s Best Destinations For Families, MSNBC’s 5 Great Summer Getaways in 2011, and Trekaroo’s own Top 10 Wisconsin Attractions, we definitely knew Wisconsin Dells was family friendly. Knowing that we wouldn’t be spending too much time at the waterparks with 2 young tots, ages 2 years and 7 months, we were curious to see if the Dells was toddler-friendly as well. Wisconsin Dells did not only cater to our tiny ones, but did indeed offer something for the entire family.

Walk the Downtown Dells

Downtown Wisconsin Dells

Photo Courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor Bureau

Neon lights, souvenir shops, hotels, restaurants….and the smell of fudge! That’s exactly what you’ll find if you walk down on Broadway Street in Downtown. We followed the sweet smell to Swiss Maid Fudge where they just celebrated their 50th Anniversary. We thought we’d celebrate their success by trying their special 50th anniversary fudge complete with gold sprinkles on it. We had also noticed they had jumped on the bacon bandwagon by selling chocolate covered bacon. We, of course, couldn’t leave without sampling a piece.  Still craving more sugar? Keep walking down, you’ll be sure to find more candy stores like Goody Goody Gum Drop where my son’s attention immediately shifted to the model train running overhead.

Check the best deals on Family Friendly Hotels in Wisconsin

Have a budding artist or looking for the perfect keepsake? Kill two birds with one stone by stopping by Paint It! Pottery Shop. You or your little one can create the perfect souvenir such as a mug or ornament with your child’s footprint or handprint. What an awesome way to remember the Dells!

Wisconsin Deer Park

Wisconsin Deer Park Kid friendly feed deer trip travel vacation
Where else are you able to have deer eating from the palms of your hands? At the 40 acre Wisconsin Deer Park, deer freely wander around and are eager to greet you especially if you are holding their favorite Ry Krisps crackers that can be purchased for only $2.00. A little worried about the deer roaming out in the open? We were at first, until we saw how friendly and tame they really were. At times it seemed that the deer were begging for food, and once you fed one eager deer, the rest of their friends wanted some for themselves. This is a unique experience that should not be missed.

Check out more reviews of Wisconsin Deer Park.

 Tommy Bartlett Show

Tommy Bartlett Show Wisconsin Dells Family Friendly Travel
Once a traveling road show, the Tommy Bartlett Show has made Wisconsin Dells its home for the past 60 years. There’s definitely a reason it has been successful for that long – the shows are fun for the entire family! From water-skiing action to hilarious comedic juggling to death defying acts, this show definitely kept my always-moving toddler seated in his chair.

Fun fact: Tommy Bartlett had only water-skiied once in his life when he was 70 years old!

Check for current deals on Family Friendly Hotels in Wisconsin

Original Wisconsin Ducks

Original Wisconsin Ducks Boat Dells Family Friendly Travel
To do the Dells any justice you must see the unique natural features that are visible only by a cruising down the Wisconsin River. And what better way to experience it than by riding those infamous half truck half boat “Ducks?” These amphibious vehicles’ history date all the way back to World War II when it used to carry soldiers. Nowadays, these ducks carry passengers through the surprisingly quiet side of the lower dells through woods, water, and Duck-only trails.
Even though the scenery may have been beautiful, the real reason they enjoyed this was the ride itself. With steep drops, fast turns, and splashdowns in the water, the Duck had my son exclaiming, “Whoa!” the entire ride.

Riverside & Great Northern Railway

R&G Railroad Wisconsin Dells Family Travel
Train fans will have a spectacular time chugging up and down 3 miles of track on the Riverside and Great Northern Railway miniature scale train. At the end of the line, passengers hop off as the engineer switches the engine on the turntable by hand. While the young ones may enjoy the ride, adults will appreciate the history of the railroad itself.  Did you know that these small trains were originally used as transportation?

Want more train action? Check out Buffalo Phil’s Grille where food is brought to you by train.

Circus World

Wisconsin Dells Circus World Family Kid Vacation Activitiy

What kid or adult doesn’t love the circus? Circus World is perfect for entire families. Adults will be fascinated with the circus history. And kids will love seeing classic circus acts. Going to the circus is the perfect family activity. With 10 shows daily, families that time it right can spend the entire day here. You’ll find big top performances, magic shows, and animal rides. In between the numerous shows, don’t forget to check out their fantastic collection of over 200 restored circus wagons. You’ll even spot wagons that were used in the movie “Water for Elephants”.

Look for the best prices on Family Friendly Hotels in Wisconsin

Do you have kids interested in being the stars of a circus show? Circus World caters to them with shows daily where kids learn tricks to perform their very own circus.

Wisconsin dells may be the waterpark capital of the world, but in my family’s book it’s THE best tot-friendly vacation spot around the area. We are already looking forward to our next vacation here!

Interested in other fun Wisconsin activities? Check out Trekaroo’s Top Ten Things to Do in Wisconsin!


Travel with kids to: CA |CO | DC| FL | HI | IL |MA | NC | NJ | NY | OR| PA| TN | TX | UT | VA | WA

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5 Responses to Toddler Friendly Wisconsin Dells–More Than Just Waterparks

  1. Michelle B August 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Sounds like you had fun. Great post!!

  2. Ted Exley April 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    This is a great post, thank you! I have heard so many wonderful things about the water parks in Wisconsin, but it’s great to hear about the other attractions Wisconsin has to offer!

  3. Amanda O. May 24, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    We’re headed to the Dells this summer and this list is a great guide! I also researched a place called Timbavati Wildlife Park that we plan to visit. Have you ever been?

  4. Lisa May 30, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Great post!! Thank you so much for this, I have kids between the ages of 3-8 and I was worried that it wasn’t as toddler friendly. I’m actually looking at resorts in wisconsin dells now, it’ll be my first time there and I’ve been looking for things to plan while we’re there so thank you!

  5. Craig July 10, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

    Great post! Several of these are on our list as well http://www.crazyfamilyadventure.com/things-to-do-in-wisconsin-dells-with-kids/! We loved the Dells and all it offered our kids. We could have spent several weeks there and not done everything. My wife and I also loved the memories it brought back from when we visited the Dells when we were kids. Good times!

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