Fun Family Trips · Travel with Kids

15 Tips You Need to Have an Awesome Family Getaway to The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells


Are you looking for a fun family getaway for a weekend in the Midwest? Look no further than Wisconsin Dells,”The Waterpark Capitol of the World”!  I know this place can get a bad rap for being too cheesy but it’s not that way anymore. Our family recently took a quick 3-day trip to the Wilderness Resort and loved it!

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The resort has so much to do for all ages, from the many pools to all the exciting waterslides. The Wilderness does a great job of having a mix of older kid areas and younger kid areas together. This makes it a great choice for families with kids of different ages. Everyone will find something they like to do. And when the kids have had enough of the pools and slides, head to all the great indoor activities like 3D Mini Golf, Laser Tag, Laser Maze, Go-Karts, an Indoor Ropes Course, arcades and much more. The indoor activities are what really put this resort over the top to make it such a fun family getaway any time of year.

Are you excited about going now? Your family is gonna love it! Take a look at the tips I picked up while visiting the resort. I hope your trip to Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells is as memorable and fun as our family vacation.

Wilderness Resort Logo

Family Getaway Tips for The Wilderness Resort


1. Check into Wilderness

Starting at noon on your arrival day you can begin using all the resort amenities. If you cannot get in your room right away, start with the dry indoor activities like Laser Tag and 3-D Mini Golf first. That way you are not all wet when you have to go back to your car for your luggage and changing in the bathrooms into your bathing suits. There will be plenty of pool time after you get your room.

2. Shorter Check in Lines

Check in lines can be long, so if you are staying in the condos, cabins or villas bypass the first check in area you drive up to and follow the parking lot around to the Wild West Lobby entrance. Most people stop at the New Frontier Lobby at the front of hotel so the lines there are longer. Either way you are getting back in your car after check in to park so it really doesn’t matter that it’s further away especially if it saves you time.

3. Find Resort Deals

Check Groupon for rate deals or other promotional sites like Travel Zoo. We found a great deal on Groupon that included the unlimited passes for the indoor activities. This made a big difference in the price of our trip.

4. Room Location in The Wilderness Hotel

When booking your room, ask to not be on the second floor if you are in the main lodge. The second floor is the hallway that connects all of the buildings and everyone takes it to get around the resort so it is loud and crowded all the time. We were on the third floor and it was quiet.

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5. Fun Passes

When checking in, they will ask you if you want to purchase the Fun Pass for the indoor activities. These are not included in your stay, only the pool access is included. The Fun Pass includes one admission to the indoor ropes course, mini golf, bumper boats, laser tag, laser maze, and indoor go-karts. If you have kids who are going to want to try all the indoor activities, paying for the pass might make sense. If they are going to want to do these activities over and over again you might want to upgrade to the Unlimited Pass. The Unlimited Pass costs $50.00 a day and the Fun Pass is $29.00 at the time of writing this article. Our kids did laser tag three times in a row all three days plus all the other activities so it was worth it for us. The high price of the Unlimited pass is another reason to keep an eye out for promotions including the fun pass.

There are height restrictions on many of the activities so keep that in mind too. If you have younger kids who are too short, this might not be worth the money. You will have to decide what works best for your family. Below are the height requirements and some of the activities. It was too dark to get good pictures of the huge 4,000-square -foot Laser tag arena but it was by far our whole families favorite.

Height requirements for the Wilderness Resort
Height Requirements for Activities at The Wilderness Resort
Northern Lights Indoor Ropes Course
Northern Lights Indoor Ropes Course
3-D Indoor Mini Golf Course
3-D Indoor Mini Golf Course
Indoor Go-Karts with three levels of track to race.
Indoor Go-Karts with three levels of track to race.

6. Timberland Playhouse

There is a new free indoor climber called Timberland Playhouse. It is located in the Wild West Region and it is four stories of fun from slides to swings, tunnels, and bridges. The area is for kids 12 and under. There is also a separate gated area for kids four and under. My kids (age 6-9) loved climbing around this huge space and spent tons of time here. This is a great alternative to paying for the other indoor activities if you are mostly going to be using the pools. One issue is it is hard for parents to fit if they are chasing younger ones around the older area. So, most kids run around by themselves and the parents watch from seats below. The other issue is it is right by the arcade so if you don’t want to pay for arcade games, make sure to warn the kids ahead of time.

Timberland Playhouse at the Wilderness Resort
Timberland Playhouse at the Wilderness Resort

7. Towels for the Pool

They do provide towels at the pool. When you check in they will give you a towel card for each person. Every pool area has a towel desk to get towels and replace them when they are wet. The towels are small so we replaced them after every use so we had dry towels after we got out of the pool. You could also bring your own towel if you prefer but then you have wet towels in your room at night.

8. Temperature inside the Hotel

When using the indoor pools bring a light sweatshirt or robe to wear when you leave the pool and head back to your room through the hallways. The hallways tend to be cool especially in the winter.

9. Food and Restaurants

Food and drinks are expensive. You do have mini fridges and microwaves in your room so you might want to bring some breakfast food. They do have signs saying no food at the pool area but no one seems to check and everyone had tons of outside food at their tables. I would suggest bringing some snacks in your pool bag.

A way to save on dinner is ordering pizza for the whole family. There is a Domino’s across the street and we had pizza in our room one night as our break from the activities. The hotel also will let you order a whole pizza from their restaurant Klondike Pizza Kitchen and they will deliver it to wherever you are in the resort. Each pool area also has food you can purchase to eat poolside such as chicken fingers, pizza slices, sandwiches, burgers etc. There are also several restaurants on site if you want to change out of your bathing suits and have a sit down meal.


Wild West Water Park play structure.
Wild West Water Park Play Structure for Older Kids.
Wild West Water Park Play Structure For Younger Children

Wilderness Resort Indoor Wave Pool
Wild WaterDome Water Park with Indoor Wave Pool

10. Refillable water station

In the Wild WaterDome Water Park there are refillable water bottle stations so bring your water bottles from home with you.

11. Adults only Swim up Bar

When you need a break from the kiddos, the indoor wave pool area has an adults only swim up pool bar. There is a security guard there to make sure no kids get into this pool, which is located in the Wild WaterDome Water Park. If you have kids that are good on their own in the wave pool, head over there for a break.

12. Mark your Territory

Go down early in the morning to save seats as it gets pretty crowded and hard to find seats anywhere to put your stuff down later in the day.

13. Keeping Your Phone Dry

Most likely you will be leaving your stuff at your table while you go in the pools. I was worried about leaving my phone plus I wanted to take pictures of the kids in the pool so I brought a water proof phone case. It could hold my room key, credit card and phone. That way when we are away from the table for a while I didn’t have to worry. Here is a picture of the case I used and really liked. You can hang it around your neck or use the Velcro arm band.Cell phone case

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14. Check out

On check out day, you can stay and use the resort the whole day. We got up and did some of the indoor activities before check out. Then we went back to our room to change into our suits, checked out and spent the rest of the day at the pool. The changing rooms are not great at the waterpark. They are located in the bathrooms and are just an open space at the end. It is fine for kids but may be awkward for adults.

15. Lockers

They do have lockers you can use on the day you arrive or day you check out to store some of your items. You may want to throw your purse or other valuable items in one to keep safe while you swim.

Our family had so much fun on this getaway and I hope these tips will help your family have a great time too!! Below you can find some other items I packed to use at the waterpark.

Extra Tips on things to bring to the waterpark:

We love the speedo googles for the kids they seem to be really durable with my rough boys. Here is the set we liked, their favorite is the one with the cool holographic fish eye effect. 

My kids played with these Toypedoes in the wave pool while waiting for the waves to start again. They’re a ton of fun and great for your local pools too. Bonus the toypedoes are cheap so if you lose them it’s okay.


Here are a few other items that are great for a waterpark family trip.


Ready to book a vacation? Here is the link to the Wilderness Resort

Let me know what your thoughts of the tips or if you have any to add to the list in the comments down below.

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15 Tips for your First Visit to the Wilderness Resort Wisconsin Dells, Families have so much fun at this resort between with all the cool things to do like pools, arcade, go karts, laser guns and ropes course your family will love it. Be prepared for you trip with tips on where to park, which room to stay in, restaurants to eat at, activities to do and more. #WildernessResort, #wisconsinDells, #familytravel, #familytrip, #traveltips15 Awesome tips to the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells for the best family vacation. Read these family friendly tips before you go and be ready for a fun vacation!

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4 thoughts on “15 Tips You Need to Have an Awesome Family Getaway to The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells

  1. Great article! We have been to the Wilderness several times now, it is our kids favorite place to go in the cold weather. We did get a great deal on the room but it was because it was during the week, so we let the kids miss 2 days of school. Totally worth it for a family getaway! Also, since it was during the week at non-peek times, they closed the Wild West waterpark at that time. But we didn’t really miss it, there was so much to do. We have been there and done ALL the indoor activities, and we have gone and warned the kids ahead of time that we would not be spending the money on the fun passes. They had a fantastic time EITHER way. When not in the water, my kids (12, 10, 9) wanted to spend ALL their time at Timberland! They could play in there for hours! Gave me time to relax and read my books! Make sure you take the kids some water bottles as they will get hot and sweaty in there! My kids just wore shorts. For the parents, they have Yummy margaritas! There is an Uno’s Pizza across the street also which we love so much. My husband just ran over and got a couple to bring back (we ate the leftovers for breakfast too, LOL). We definately stayed for hours after checkout too. I just packed a bag with clothes for the car and I agree about the dressing rooms not being ideal. We will definately be going back!

    1. Paula – So glad to hear that your family had as much fun as my family at the Wilderness. It is really a great resort for family getaways. I also love all your helpful tips. Thanks for sharing!

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