Like so many things in the past two years, our summer vacation plans changed at the last minute. Truly, it’s hard to believe COVID-19 is still interrupting so many things.
Ben tested positive for COVID the night before we were supposed to fly to Vancouver, where we planned to board a ship on Monday for an Alaskan cruise. We had to present negative COVID tests on Monday and had planned to test on Saturday morning before we left town. Well, the Friday evening test shook up all that.
We ended up canceling our flights and cruise. Thankfully, we had travel insurance so we got the cruise money back the following week. I had to file an insurance claim, but, hopefully, we’re going to get our flights refunded too.
Meanwhile, we talked through lots of other trip options and decided on Wisconsin Dells. That seems random, I know. But we had some criteria: We wanted somewhere we could drive to in 6-8 hours that would greet us with cooler, less humid weather. We also thought it would be fun to go somewhere we’d never been. We had both our moms with us, so I had to find accommodations for our party of seven.
That’s how we ended up spending four nights at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells after Ben quarantined for five days.
I’ll take you through our time there from June 29 to July 3.
We left Wednesday morning and stopped for lunch at Monical’s in Mahomet, Illinois. When we arrived late that afternoon at the resort, we went to two of the waterparks on the property and ate expensive, mediocre burgers for dinner at the resort.
I decided to fully embrace vacation mode and proclaimed I wasn’t cooking or buying any groceries for this trip, so we started Thursday with a fun, delicious breakfast at Paul Bunyon’s Cook Shanty. Then we learned more about the area on an Original Wisconsin Ducks Tour, which I highly recommend. We spent the afternoon at three of the resort’s water parks. MACS – Macaroni and Cheese Shop – came highly recommended and we all really enjoyed it. We happened upon Kemp’s ice cream and ate it while overlooking the dam.
We started Friday with another good breakfast at Mr. Pancake. Greg took the big kids bow fishing that morning. Cate was reluctant to go, but we convinced her it would be a worthwhile experience. Sure enough, she made the most of it! She shot a carp right in the mouth with her arrow – something the guide said he’d never seen in his two decades on the job.
Grandmom, Gran Gran and I took Rachel to the Country Bumpkin Farm Market, which was a great surprise. I expected we’d spend some time there and then maybe find something else to do while Greg, Cate, and Ben fished. But we stayed there for a few hours until it was time to pick up the fishermen. Rachel fed some animals in the petting zoo and then played on all the farm-themed activities and play areas. We all reconvened for lunch at the Riverwalk Pub, which we picked because of its proximity to the river but ended up really enjoying. We walked and shopped around downtown.
When we bought duck tour tickets, we actually got a dual ticket also good for a jet boat tour. We did that Friday evening – and got very, very wet! There were lots of feelings from certain people about this adventure, but, in the end, it was a fun time on the Upper Dells portion of the Wisconsin River. While I washed and dried some clothes, Greg brought Moose Jaw Pizza back to our condo.
Our last full day started with breakfast at BJ’s, which was good food for good prices. We did the Take Flight simulator at our resort and enjoyed “Aloha” as if we were flying above it all. We played at three waterparks at the resort. Monks was another dinner recommendation and it was a great meal that started with delicious cheese curds and included amazing burgers.
Overall, it was a fun time, especially on the heels of having to change our summer vacation plans. Wisconsin Dells is a touristy destination that reminds me of a smaller Gatlinburg or Branson. Our resort definitely got more crowded on Saturday, so I would recommend going on weekdays and leaving town before a holiday weekend. We were happy that’s how our Plan B vacation worked out.
While in Wisconsin Dells, I shared daily posts and pictures, so take a look at those, if you’d like more peeks into our vacation.