At least once in your lifetime you should try this itinerary. These classic attractions, restaurants and resorts never go out of style. Just ask your parents or grandparents.
Starting with attractions, these are all must-do’s, so be sure to schedule your time accordingly. For those traveling with little ones, Wisconsin Deer Park is worth a stop. At the deer park, which opened more than 50 years ago, kids can feed the freely roaming deer, some still with their doe spots, others with huge antlers. Staying with animal-themed attractions, Lost Canyon Tours offers its own version of the “magnificent mile” - a ride through the narrow gorges of the canyon in a quaint horse-drawn wagon.
A tour of the Wisconsin River in the afternoon is next in order. You can head out on a Duck, an amphibious WWII vehicle that gives you a little land travel with your water tour. Choose from the Original Wisconsin Ducks® or Dells Army Duck Tours. Or you can relax aboard a double-decker tour boat. Some offer you shore landings to explore the gorges and see a trained dog make the famous Stand Rock jump from one bluff outcropping to another. Other aqua tour options include jet boats, a paddle wheeler, tours without shore landings and dinner cruises.
Take a detour downtown and stop in the H.H. Bennett Studio, the original studio of the post Civil War photographer H.H. Bennett, the man who introduced the world to Wisconsin Dells with his critically acclaimed photos of the river, the bluffs, the early logging industry and Native American culture. Here you can try the Stand Rock jump, blocked off on the floor. The original leaper was actually Bennett’s son Ashley.
You can’t get much more classic than the circus and that’s why nearby Circus World in Baraboo makes this list. The grounds here were the original winter home of the Ringling Bros. Today, visitors can still take in 10 different shows performed daily during the warm weather months and gaze upon the world’s largest collection of restored parade wagons.
One evening has to be set aside to see the Tommy Bartlett Show. Even this popular ski show, going strong after 60 years, is harkening back to its classic high-energy roots with the costumes and choreography for its 2011 “Livin’ the Dream” show. After the show, take a stroll downtown for some homemade fudge or a candy-loaded caramel apple or giant sucker at one of the many confection shops. Maybe even slip into a new pair of moccasins at Winnebago Gift Shop, Bailey’s Landing or Aunt Jenny’s Got-It-All Store.
On another evening, pile in the car for a double feature of first-run movies at Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater. This is one of the last of its kind in Wisconsin.
Settle down for the night at a classic hotel or motel. There are so many to choose from in the area it would be unfair to mention just one or two. But what must be said is that these places represent the best of the mom-and-pop motel tradition, with a good number run by second and third generation families. Pull your car right up to the door of your room and make yourself feel right at home.
The next morning, make breakfast your classic meal of the trip, with a stop at Paul Bunyan’s Northwoods Cook Shanty (fair warning, the doughnuts are fresh and soft and irresistible); or Mr. Pancake, where matriarch Diane Thompson’s recipes for waffles and pancakes and blintzes are to die for.