Story by

Sheena Tatum

August 13th, 2015

Two years ago, we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Wisconsin Dells. It was something we had been wanting to do all summer. The opportunity to travel came three days before Jayden's first day of school, so what did we do? We made last-minute reservations, hopped in our truck and took the four-hour road trip! We had such a fun time exploring the town. Since we went so late in the summer, we scored a lot of great deals. We enjoyed our time so much that we decided to make it a tradition.

This June, we were able to return to Wisconsin Dells. Since we were visiting during their peak season, we chose more modest lodgings in order to be able to enjoy more attractions. After all, that's why we were there!

There are plenty of resorts in town, but since we spend so little time inside, to us it's not worth paying for all the extra fancies. Wisconsin Dells is known for its motels, which to me add a touch of nostalgia that I love. During our recent visit, we stayed at Twi-Lite, a quaint motel owned by a family who lives on-site.

By keeping our lodging simple, we were able to explore more of the town on our modest budget. Wisconsin Dells is known as "The Waterpark Capital of the World ®," and we definitely took advantage of the endless offering of pools, slides and thrill rides. However, today I want to share the natural beauty of the Dells you'll find nestled beyond the strip.

Wisconsin Deer Park

We kicked off our adventure at a familiar place: the Wisconsin Deer Park, which is one of our favorite places to stroll. It's truly an amazing little oasis. Our first visit was magical and our second was nothing short of that.

Where else can you feed and pet deer...or spot a white-tailed mama deer that had just given birth to two tiny fawns? One of the babies wandered a few feet from mama (how is that even possible for a little creature fresh out of the womb?!) and we were able to pet her. She was absolutely precious and had the silkiest coat of fur. Jayden commented on how mama resembled a kangaroo.

While named the Wisconsin Deer Park, it is also home to several deer species and a gang of other animals including goats, pigs, llamas and game birds. The goats are just as greedy as the deer, so we were sure to purchase an extra pack of crackers to share. I think Jayden was both intrigued and a little weirded out by the goats. "Why do their eyes look like that?" he asked. Unable to explain, we promised to Google it later. (Haha.)

Milestone! Jaxon was only nine months old during our first visit to the park. This time around – at two years of age – he was able to explore the park stroller-free and join big brother feeding deer old friends.

Letting Jaxon loose in the deer park didn't come without its challenges, however. He had the time of his life running wild...sometimes getting a little too up-close-and-personal with the deer at times. When it was time leave, he threw the loudest fit, which served as proof that we made the right choice of visiting again.

Upper Dells Boat Tour

We concluded our Wisconsin Dells adventure with an Upper Dells Boat Tour. It was the perfect way to wind down from previous days of thrill seeking, show browsing and dining out with a toddler...while pregnant (the struggle is real).

We embarked on a two-hour journey cruising the upper region of the Wisconsin River (north of the hydroelectric dam), learning about the history of the Dells and its beautiful sandstone formations and cliffs. Two hours sounds incredibly long, but there were stops at two shore landings along the way.

Our first stop was at Witches Gulch. I totally felt like I was in a 1970s film. Our path led to a concession and souvenir stand where I picked up a spear for Jax and a fridge magnet as a momento.

Our second stop lead us to the famous Stand Rock (left) where we got to see a dog leap across to the top of Stand Rock. For safety precautions, there is a net between the two rocks to catch the doggie if he falls. After our mini show, we grabbed ice cream at the concessions and we headed back to the boat docks, then home.

The dog leap replaced the Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial that was discontinued in 1997. The ceremony provided a glimpse into the ceremonies and dances performed by the Winnebago, Sioux, Kiowa and southwestern Native American tribes.

After our mini show, we wrapped up our adventure by finally grabbing some ice cream at the concessions and made our trek back to the landing. We relaxed on our journey back to the dock, soaking up the sun and gorgeous views.

Our entire Wisconsin Dells trip was a blast, but discovering the natural beauty of Wisconsin Dells never gets old.

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