Family fun and tourism is in our blood. A century-and-a-half ago families were converging here for an authentic Wisconsin Dells vacation. At that time, family fun included a steamboat tour of the Wisconsin River and a chance to soak up the scenery of the sandstone bluffs. Credit goes to local photographer H.H. Bennett for creating hauntingly beautiful images of the Wisconsin Dells landscapes and waterscapes. Bennett hung his photos in train stations between here and parts south to attract visitors seeking a fun-filled family vacation.
Today, the waterscapes still include the Wisconsin River but are now matched in grandeur by manmade versions, namely the world-famous Wisconsin Dells waterparks. Did you know the US explosion of the indoor water park was pioneered here in Wisconsin Dells?
The Polynesian Water Park Resort was the first property in the nation to introduce the indoor waterpark concept; that was back in 1989. It started with a sketch on a napkin after local business partners attended a waterpark convention in Texas. No kidding – the blueprint for the first indoor waterpark was actually hand-drawn on a napkin.
Today, the Dells has more configurations of indoor and outdoor waterparks per capita than anywhere else on the planet. Here are the numbers:
- 16+ million gallons of water
- More than 200 waterslides
- America’s Largest Outdoor Waterpark - Noah's Ark Waterpark is America's largest waterpark, spanning 70 acres with five million gallons of water and three miles of waterslides.
- America’s Largest Indoor/Outdoor Combination Waterpark - Wilderness Resort's indoor and outdoor waterpark space combined is 500,000 square feet or equal to twelve football fields.
- Wisconsin’s Largest Indoor Waterpark - Kalahari Resort Waterparks is the largest indoor waterpark in Wisconsin at 125,000 square feet.
Rides includes extreme plunge slides, tube rides, racing speed slides, bowl drops, water roller coasters, indoor surf machine, massive wave pools, and lazy rivers.