After our visit to Door County in late 2019, Wisconsin stole my heart. Never would I have imagined a girl with Jamaican heritage, born in New York, living in Miami would enjoy a state like Wisconsin. However, I loved it so much that I decided to visit again. So just four months later we headed to Wisconsin Dells in the winter. My eldest daughter and I would be going on our 5th annual mother daughter trip and she requested snowboarding and swimming. While it seems like a weird combination Wisconsin Dells was the perfect place to grant both of her wishes. Here are things to do in Wisconsin Dells in winter that made our three day weekend so memorable.
Things to do in Wisconsin Dells in the Winter Day One: Visit Cascade Mountain
Living in Miami (read our Miami guide here), snow activities are not something we have the luxury of experiencing during our winters. However, Wisconsin Dells gets plenty of snow and we spent our first day enjoying it at Cascade Mountain. We arrived at the mountain around 10:30AM and didn’t leave until 5:30PM, there was so much to do.
Snowboard Lessons at Cascade Mountain
After our ski trip to Keystone Resort last year where my daughter took her first ski lessons she’d been wanting to try out snowboarding. When we arrived at Cascade Mountain I signed up for private snowboard lessons. You can’t make reservations so it’s imperative to arrive early and make this your first stop. Private lessons last one hour and cost $80 for one and $40 for each additional person. For it to be my daughters first time I was so proud of her accomplishments, her teacher was great! Cascade Mountain offers lessons for those four years and older. We did a private lesson for two, full-day equipment rentals and unlimited tubing for $290. Group lessons last 3 hours and start at $60 but you can find up to date pricing here.
Tubing at Cascade Mountain
After taking our snowboard lessons we headed to Tube Town as they call it at Cascade Mountain. Here we were able to enjoy unlimited tubing! This was a great treat because when we’ve gone tubing other places like Northstar Resort, they sell tickets by the hour which can become very expensive. Rates at Cascade Mountain range from $10-$32 depending on age and day of the week you visit. There are no age or height restrictions for tubing at Cascade Mountain. They leave it up to parental discretion on if your child can safely sit in the tube alone.
Tube Town at Cascade Mountain has so many lanes it is rare to wait more than 10 minutes to tube. We visited on a holiday and still had this experience. The tubes here move so fast and are so much fun! You can link with other tubes to go down together at the same time. We had the time of our life.
You May Be Interested in Reading: Ski Trip Packing List, The Essentials You Need to Stay Warm and Dry
Snowball Fights and Making Snow Angels at Cascade Mountain
Kids just want to be kids and even the simplest activities keep them busy and happy. My daughter absolutely loved just being able to make snowballs, throw them at me and lay in the soft powdery snow making snow angels. The bottom of the mountain in front of the ski school office is the perfect place for being able to do this.
Things to do in Wisconsin Dells in the Winter Day Two: Kalahari Resort Indoor Water Park & Tom Foolery’s Indoor Amusement Park
If you’re looking for things to do in Wisconsin Dells in the winter that have you escaping the cold, spending the day at Kalahari Resort is for you. Not only are they home to the largest indoor water park in Wisconsin but they also have an indoor amusement park. Our entire second day in Wisconsin Dells was spent enjoying both.
Become a Mermaid at Kalahari Resort
If you have mermaid obsessed children like me or are obsessed with them yourself the Mermaid Experience offered at Kalahari Resort is something you have to book. The 30-60 minute experience can be done at 8AM before the water park opens or after the park closes. You’ll be transformed into a mermaid and then hit the pool seeing how it is to swim with a fin. Your mermaid instructor will also toss rings into the pool for you to go and get, a fun little game that will test your mermaid skills.
During your experience you will have one life guard in the water with you and one outside of the pool there to assist in case of an emergency. Knowing how to swim is vital in this activity. At the time of our visit this 30 minute experience was $35 per person, but check here for current rates. If this sounds like a cool experience but you dream of becoming a shark instead of a mermaid, not to worry. The Kalahari Resort Indoor Water Park also offers a similar shark experience for shark lovers.
Enjoy the Indoor Water Park at Kalahari Resort
Wisconsin Dells is the waterpark capital of the world! Even when looking for things to do in Wisconsin Dells in the winter you’ll see water parks as an option. As mentioned before Kalahari Resort is home to the largest indoor waterpark in Wisconsin so it only made sense that it be the one we experience. With 125,000 square feet there are multiple water slides for all ages, a flow rider, wave pool, lazy river at play area with in basketball hoops and obstacle course.
The water park opens at 9:30AM to Kalahari Resort guests and 10AM to the general public. Closing hours are for everyone and Sunday-Thursday it closes at 9PM while Friday and Saturday it closes at 10PM.
Children under 48″ are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest at all times. You can bring your own or use one provided by the waterpark. They also provide towels for guest use.
Have Fun at Tom Foolery’s Indoor Amusement Park at Kalahari Resort
After spending the first half of the day at the waterpark we showered, changed, had dinner and enjoyed Tom Foolery’s Indoor Amusement Park. It’s onsite Kalahari Resort and open daily from 10AM-11PM. During our stay the price was $37.00 for those 42″ tall and up and $16.99 for children under 42″ tall. Resort guests pay a much cheaper rate and you can find up to date pricing here.
Inside Tom Foolery’s you will find go karts, laser tag, virtual reality games, rock climbing, mini gold, obstacle courses, and rides. These activities are all included in your entry fee.
The indoor amusement park also has arcade games but these come at an additional fee. We chose to skip these and still had plenty to do and enjoy. All the activities included are unlimited so you can experience them over and over again.
Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells in the Winter Day Three: Relax at Kalahari Resort Spa
After an eventful two days of non-stop fun I wanted to relax on our last day in Wisconsin Dells. My daughter loves the spa and ever since getting her first massage on our trip to Rio de Janeiro she’s been begging for another one. To say I was excited to find our that Kalahari Resorts has a junior spa menu when looking for things to do in Wisconsin Dells in the winter is an understatement. They service kids 3 and up offering manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and hair cuts and styles.
The spa is open from 9AM-9PM and children 13 and under must have a parent or guardian present with them for services. They even offer a mother/daughter package including a manicure, pedicure, facial and smoothies for two! It was the perfect way to end our winter getaway in Wisconsin Dells!
Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells in the Winter We Didn’t Have Time to Enjoy
With only 3 days to enjoy Wisconsin Dells we didn’t get to experience all the activities they offer in the winter. Here are some things we considered adding, had we had more days.
- I Skate at the Keg: This year round outdoor ice skating rink allows you to ice skate even during the summer. The rink is open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day with reduced hours in the fall and winter months
- Mid-Continent Railway Museum: The Mid-Continent Railway Museum is an outdoor museum & operating railroad.
- Winter Zip-lining: Can you imagine going zip-lining through snow filled trees? Well if you want to turn your imagination into reality you can zip line in the winter at both Bigfoot Zipline Tours and Vertical Illusion in Wisconsin Dells.
- Dells Mining Co: With two locations in Wisconsin Dells you can get hands on experience mining natural precious and semi-precious gemstones from all over the world. Once you’ve mined your gems you have the opportunity to turn them into jewelry if you’d like.
Where to Stay in Wisconsin Dells in the Winter
For convenience we chose to stay at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. As mentioned previously, it’s home to the largest indoor water park in Wisconsin Dells and admission to both its outdoor and indoor water parks are included in your nightly rate. Of course, the outdoor waterpark was closed during our visit but we’d love to return to enjoy it.
I absolutely loved being able to just head down to the water park whenever we wanted to and just walk back to our room after to shower without having to go outside in the cold to get to a different hotel. The rooms are a little outdated in my opinion but they are extremely clean! Here is a tour of our two queen room.
Staying at Kalahari Resort proved to be very convenient as we didn’t have a car. The resort has multiple restaurants on site so we never had to leave to get something to eat. We also didn’t get bored with the food options since there were so many including a coffee shop and an ice cream/candy store. For dinner we loved eating at Double Cut, which opens at 4PM. It’s more of an upscale restaurant and the Sea Bass is to die for!
For breakfast we either ate at Ivory Coast Lounge for a sit down meal or Java Manjaro for something quick.
For lunch we also enjoyed the options at Ivory Coast Lounge and the Wisconsin Brew Pub. They both offer the cutest table side s’mores for the perfect dessert to fill your sweet tooth.
For those without a car, Kalahari Resort does offer a shuttle. It will take you to and from surrounding areas and the airport. It’s how we got to and from Cascade Mountain as well as the airport. The shuttle rates vary depending on distance and how many people you have in your group.
How to Get to Wisconsin Dells in the Winter
Wisconsin Dells is located one hour from Madison Airport. Airlines including Delta, American, United, Frontier, Alaska Airlines, Sun Country, Lufthansa, and British Airways operate multiple flights a day. We found a pretty affordable flight from Fort Lauderdale using these websites. From there you can rent a car or hire a shuttle to get you to Wisconsin Dells. It’s also an easy two hour drive from Milwaukee, WI or three hour drive from Door County, WI and Chicago.
We had the best time experiencing Wisconsin Dells in the winter. One day we will make it back to enjoy the summer activities offered in the city. Until then you can find out things to do in Wisconsin Dells then here. Did you find this article helpful? If so please share it!