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Wilderness Wisconsin Dells

Profile of the Wisconsin Dells Wilderness, Including its Water Parks

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Wilderness Wisconsin Dells

Splashdown! The Fantastic Voyage ride at the Wilderness indoor water park in Wisconsin Dells.

Jeremy Levine, 2004. Licensed to About.com.

Phone

(800) 867-9453

Tickets and Admission Policy

The water parks at the Wilderness are open to registered hotel guests only. Day passes are not available for the general public.

Compare Rates

Search for Wilderness Indoor Water Park Resort Wisconsin Dells rates at TripAdvisor.

Directions

The actual address is 511 East Adams Street in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

From Chicago and Madison: I-90 W to Exit 92. North onto Hwy 12. The Wilderness is on the right.

From Milwaukee: I-94 W to exit 92. North onto Hwy 12. The Wilderness is on the right.

Indoor Water Park Square Footage

240,000 (combined size of the Wilderness' four indoor water parks)

Indoor Water Park Features

Massive facility includes Fantastic Voyage, a family raft ride that sends guests spinning through the dark, The Surge, an "interactive" wave pool, Sulfur Springs, an indoor-to-outdoor hot tub, body slides, tube slides, lazy river, two large play and spray structures, water basketball, and play areas for small children.

Outdoor Water Park Features

135,000 square feet of activities, including speed slides, tube slides, body slides, lazy river, huge swimming pool, hot spas, and a children's play area.

More Wilderness Info

New for 2012

Lunar Loop and Cosmic Drop
Using launch capsules (hence the space-themed names?), riders will plunge straight down in the Cosmic Drop and enter an almost-vertical loop in the Lunar Loop ride.

Official Web Site

Wisconsin Dells Wilderness

Wisconsin Dells Wilderness Overview

Approaching the Wilderness Water Park Resort from the main drag of Wisconsin Dells' Highway 12, the property doesn't look particularly imposing. But looks can be deceiving. Set sideways, the sprawling Old West-themed complex extends deep into--well, not exactly the wilderness, but into the woods. With over 600 guest rooms, vacation villas, condo units, and cabins, the rambling resort is so big, it has two lobbies. And four indoor water parks.

You heard me right, pardner: four indoor water parks. The waterparks are the main attraction at the Wilderness. Totaling 240,000 square feet of slides, spas, spraygrounds, and other water-based fun, the resort can lay claim to the Dells'--and the world's for that matter--largest indoor water park resort (at least in early 2006, when this was updated). Then again, the "largest waterpark" title is a matter of some dispute. (See A Lotta Water: Who Has the Biggest Water Park?)

The Wilderness also has a huge outdoor water park area. Unlike the Kalahari and Mt. Olympus, the Wilderness keeps a lid on crowds by not allowing public admission to its water parks.

Giddy Up and Down the Slides
The Wild West Waterpark features the Fantastic Voyage family raft ride. Enclosed in a huge, meandering slide, the attraction is a lights-out, wild journey. Alongside the raft ride is a less-intense two-person tube ride. One level below, four body slides provide dark, disorienting, fun rides.

All of the slides extend outside of the building. They are enclosed and remain comfortable even when the mercury drops, as it is wont to do in the hinterlands of Wisconsin. I think the Wilderness (and all of the other indoor water parks I've visited) miss a great opportunity with its indoor-to-outdoor slides. How wild would it be to careen along in bikini-clad comfort while viewing a blizzard? Instead, all of the enclosed slides are opaque and keep riders in the dark. Rather than capitalize on the unique experience, the Wilderness appears to be sending the slides outside more as a convenience. (The more slides that go outside, the less the resort needs to add on to its indoor buildings.) If it's logistically feasible, I think at least part of the slides should be constructed of clear acrylic to allow riders to see outside.

The Wilderness bills its Surge wave pool as "interactive." Along two sides of the pool, guests can activate depth charges and shoot water cannons at the surfers. The wave cycles are generous, and the waves pack a pretty decent punch. The Wild West Waterpark also includes Ransack Ridge, an interactive play structure with tons of hoses, spray devices, smaller slides, and a huge tipping bucket in the shape of a stagecoach.

Giddy Indoor-to-Outdoor Hot Tubs
Among the Wilderness' greatest features are its indoor-to-outdoor hot tubs. You can grab a cold beer at the snack bar, plop into the spa, and watch the day's sporting events on the overhead televisions. Now, that's divine decadence. Or you can head outside. Even in the dead of winter, guests can slip through the plastic curtains and go outdoors for an exhilarating experience. Shrouded in billows of rising steam, there's nothing quite like the giddy contrast between the hot spa and the 27-degree-below-zero-with-the-wind-chill-factor weather stabbing at your face. If it's snowing, so much the better.

The Wilderness' other main indoor waterpark, Klondike Kavern, is on the other side of the property. If it's cold outside, and guests want to remain indoors, it can take a good ten minutes to get from one park to the other. The resort could do a better job directing guests to the parks. While the water parks are clearly the main focus, many of the hotel's hallway signs don't list them.

The key feature of the resort's original Klondike Kavern water park is its lazy river. Extending around the perimeter of the huge building, the river circles Gold Mine Mountain, an interactive play structure. While the mountain includes a mini tipping bucket, some spray features, and a couple of smaller slides, there seems to be some wasted space where the Wilderness could add a few more activities.

At the far end of the building, two tube slides (single or double) and two body slides are a bit less intimidating than the slides at the Wild West park, but still a load of fun. The tube slides empty into the lazy river. An indoor-to-outdoor hot tub and an indoor-to-outdoor water basketball area round out the park.

The separate Baby Bear's Fort Wilderness caters to the wee ones (and I hope that description refers to their size and not what they might be doing in the pools). It includes a hot tub (of course), water basketball, and a large play structure with tiny slides, spray features, and other pint-sized activities.

Next page: More on the waterparks plus Wilderness restaurants, hotel info, and visitor tips.

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