We had hoped to take a ducks ride on the Wisconsin River next, but the phone rang as dark clouds began to take shape in the sky above. Our room was ready at Great Wolf Lodge, 1400 Great Wolf Dr., right off I-94, and it was nap time (sadly, not for mom and dad), too.
The best thing about Great Wolf is that it solved two problems at once. We got a hotel and a selection of water parks all together in a single package.
The kids loved the Kid Cabin room we got because part of the large room was separated off into a log cabin with bunk beds. When they saw them, sleep was the last thing on their minds. They were ready for a deep woods adventure right in the hotel room.
Great Wolf also has three indoor waterparks and an outdoor one. There are restaurants, an arcade, a spa and more, all wrapped into a single, sprawling complex that means you could choose to never leave the lodge and still have a great time at the Dells.
Because it was our inaugural water park experience and our kids are wee, we had pretty much all our waterpark fun in the Bear Track Landing park, which had a kiddie area perfect for them and a nice wave pool that was fun for all of us.
But we also checked out the other waterparks and I bet next time, now that they've gotten a taste of waterparks, will love the Treehouse Island park, which has a range of awesome sprays, spurts and spouts to douse you from every direction. Spirit Island has a nice and not terribly daunting slide.
Then there's the Howlin' Tornado, which looked awesome for thrill seekers, but not like something to bring your toddlers into.
"The all-under-one-roof, weather-proof offerings at the large waterpark resorts are popular year-round, because they provide a full experience with no weather interruptions and they're a good value," says Carla Minsky, of Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau.
"Which is not to say that guests don't leave the resorts to experience the other attractions around town. Variety is still king and there are classic Dells' rituals that visitors enjoyed when they were young and like to re-create for their children."
When I tell her that taking our kids to a place we remembered going to as kids -- Storybook Gardens -- felt like a rite of passage, Minsky says, "Yes, we hear that a lot!"