My family recently had the opportunity to visit The Wilderness Resort and we were thrilled. February can feel like the longest month of the year (even though it’s the shortest), and it was a delight to visit at the start of the Polar Vortex. It felt crazy to be packing swimsuits (pssst, you NEED this swimsuit!), sandals, and swim goggles when everyone else was hunkering down for the bitter cold.
My children (ages 8 and 10) have loved water their whole lives – every time they can go swimming or splashing or playing in the water, they are ecstatic, so they were especially excited to be able to go in the middle of winter.
We were able to spend a few days playing and exploring, and I am excited to share with you our family’s top 5 favorite attractions, including ONE BIG THING that we all absolutely loved.
5. The arcade/Wild Abyss Black-Light Mini Golf/Wilderwoods Indoor Go-Karts
We all enjoyed these 3 attractions. My husband taught our 8-year-old about the ins and outs of the Claw Machine and helped her win a giant stuffed puppy, which promptly made her feel like the Coolest Kid in the Arcade. The indoor mini-golf course is black-lit with large fish tanks featured throughout, and the 9 hole course has a fun atmosphere. The go-karts were a blast, especially for my 10-year-old who was tall enough to go by herself and felt like a real “big kid”.
(Mom tip: wear some white and neon the day you go to the indoor mini-golf – it’s more vibrant under the lights!)
4. The food!
The variety of foods served at The Wilderness is fantastic! You can get burgers and fries at The Burger Bar, pizza made to order (delivered to your room or to your poolside chair!) from Klondike Pizza Kitchen, fine Italian dining at Sarentos, top of the line cuts of steak and seafood at Fields, and loads of family-friendly fare at Camp Social – there is something for everyone. There are also smaller eateries throughout the water parks so you don’t have to go far from the water to fill everyone back up, as well as bars throughout the property, coffee shops (serving Starbucks coffee or local-roasted Bella Goose coffee), and sweet shops serving up fresh-made candies and frozen treats.
3. Northern Lights Sky Ropes Course
This amazing experience deserved recognition on its own. You are safely harnessed to explore for 30 minutes on a variety of obstacles including tight ropes, balance beams, and a moving “log”, among other things. My family had a blast and found it thrilling, but also felt safe enough to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new. It was a great way to break up the “Winter Wiggles” and gave some great views of the arcade/play area.
(Deal tip: When you visit, be sure to check out the Fun Passes, which includes admission to many of the non-water attractions at a bundled price.)
2. The WATER!
Did you know that The Wilderness is America’s Largest Waterpark Resort?! Boasting 4 indoor waterparks, there are over 205,000 square feet of indoor waterpark alone. We spent much of our stay between Klondike Kavern and Wild Waterdome, enjoying the many slides, lazy river, and America’s largest indoor wave pool. Be sure to pack sunscreen – the Wild WaterDome features a see-through roof, providing lots of natural sunlight which was especially appreciated by many of the families we saw there. When the weather warms up for summer, there are also 4 amazing outdoor waterparks.
1. Take Flight
Take Flight at the Wilderness Resort is a new attraction that opened in late 2020 – it’s an aerial adventure experience unlike anything else I have ever seen outside of a theme park. You are strapped into a seat and watch a film on a 65-foot screen (which uses 4 projectors to show the film), and I can only describe it as an amazing, immersive experience.
Our film was a feature on many of the beautiful attractions around our country – from Wisconsin Dells and Door County to The Grand Canyon, Alaska, and Lady Liberty (among others) you will feel like you are taking a flying tour around these breathtaking landmarks. I won’t spoil it for you, but there were even a few surprises that delighted us all.
This is a must-do when you visit – you won’t regret it!
My family was asking to go again before we were even out the door. There were even additional activities in the lobby, including some educational games for kiddos. There is a VIP Experience offered as well, which includes a behind-the-scenes tour for up to 6 people.
(My husband and our daughter are unmasked in this photo – they took them off briefly for the photo, and we were the only people on the ride. At the time of this being published, masking is required for this attraction.)
There are countless other ways to have fun and relax at The Wilderness – I haven’t touched on the pottery painting, the golf, the exclusive escape rooms, Wildkids Club, the other attractions that were a part of the Fun Passes, or Sundara Spa, which is one of the finest, top-rated destination spas in the Midwest. There really is something for everyone. You can come for a few days of family fun, with lots of waterpark play and poolside pizza, or you can come for a relaxing weekend of spa treatments and delectable dining, and you will feel taken care of with either.
I feel like it’s worth noting that there are Covid-19 safety measures in place, which is called their “Safer At Play” Program. I won’t go too into it here, since the state regulations may change, but our family was able to review their measures online before going to make sure it would work with the precautions we have been taking since last March.
I really hope that if you are considering a late winter getaway or spring break “Wisconsin staycation”, you think of The Wilderness Resort. I know that when we talk about our next vacation, it’s going to be near the top of our list…. and not just because it’s where my daughter won a stuffed puppy that’s almost as big as she is.