So many people complain of cabin fever in the winter months. In all reality, its merely your motivation that is needed to get you out-and-about for some serious fun!
Things to do in December:
Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge
If you’re looking for an actual retreat and not just a day activity, Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells, featuring Snowland, might be the perfect place for you. Beginning November 28 with a visit from Santa and the annual tree lighting, Great Wolf Lodge becomes a winter wonderland full of magic and delight. Continuing until January 3, a stay at the Great Wolf Lodge includes elaborate decorations, Santa visits, activities at North Pole University and a real, life-size gingerbread house that you can actual reserve to dine in. Snowland Suites are limited, but reservations can guarantee yours. Included also is a commemorative Snowland throw to keep, a free winter story book, and an evening delivery of milk and cookies to your children by one of the Great Wolf Lodge characters!
The annual Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train always makes a stop in Wisconsin Dells! Not only is the sight of Santa and the live music always a thrill for the little ones, but attending the event benefits the local community. Collecting food and donations for the holiday food drive, the brightly-lit train is your once-a-year chance to see this popular touring event. Although dates have not yet been posted for the 2015 year, you can click here for the most up-to-date information as it becomes available. Directions are also available through that link.
Winter/ Holiday Buffets
- Trappers Turn Restaurant features a scrumptious Christmas Buffet from 10 am – 3 pm on Christmas Day. Prices for the 2016 season are posted at $29.99 for adults and children for $10.99.
- The Kalahari Winter Holiday Buffet kicks off on December 25 from 2 pm – 7 pm with current prices posted at $29.99 for adults and $11.99 for children. Questions or reservation requests can be directed to (608) 254-3217.
Cross Country Ski and Snowshoeing Trails
One of the great ways to explore Wisconsin outdoors near the Dells is by taking a trek on one of the many abundant cross country ski and snowshoeing trails. Mirror Lake State Park, just south of Wisconsin Dells, is one of those spectacular areas offering over 20 miles of groomed trails! Devil’s Lake State Park also boasts 17 more miles of additional groomed trails for the adventurous outdoorsman. A state park vehicle admission sticker is required for both.
Winter camping is not for the faint of heart! However, when done correctly, it can be quite the memorable experience! Mirror Lake State Park and Devil’s Lake State Park are not only located right next to Wisconsin Dells, but also offer year-round camping for those who want to brave the elements. Some tips to make your experience a positive one include:
- Bring your own local wood or purchase it there at the camp site. Keep it up off the ground and dry at all times! Nothing can dampen your spirits more that the inability to light a crackling fire to warm yourself by!
- Pack extra (thick) dry socks and wear them in layers. You can’t bring too many. In a pinch, socks can double as mittens when yours are wet.
- Remove as much snow as possible from the ground before lighting a fire. DO not try and start one on snow as the melting snow or ice will steam your logs and just make it smoke. Building a small platform out of wood to have your fire on helps a ton.
- We want to hear your winter camping suggestions or experiences! Be sure to include them in the comments below and look for extra hints!
New Year’s Eve
Kalahari New Year’s Eve Buffet kicks off from 5 pm – 10 pm on December 31. Prices are posted at $29.99 for adults and $11.99 for children. Reservations and questions can be directed to (608) 254-3217.
Trapper’s Turn New Year’s Eve Buffet runs from 5 pm – 9 pm on New Year’s Eve. Prices for adults are posted at $34.99, with children’s prices listed at $10.99.
The Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells has a good selection of New Year’s Eve activities across the ages. Featuring the DJ Dance Party, this 21 and over only party is a popular way to ring in the new year. The teenage arcade offers a unique near-by setting for the older youth in your group with plenty of arcade games, pool tables and air hockey. The arcade is straight smack-dab in the middle of the New Year’s Eve activities so they certainly will be enjoying the fun. They are also hosting the Chula Vista New Year’s Eve Carnival for the young ones and those young at heart. Carnival games, food, drinks and plenty of fun games, activities and a balloon drop are available for the entire family. Dining is available at their Kilbourn City Grill as well as at the Kaminski’s Chop House.
Christmas Mountain Village hosts an annual snow tubing event at their New Year’s Adult and New Year’s Kid’s Parties. The most up-to-date information has not been posted as of yet on the day of writing this, but numbers listed to call are (608) 254-3977 for information on the adult event and (608) 254-3998 for the kid’s event.
Sledding/ Snow Tubing
With little ones in tow, skiing may not always be an option. Or maybe the sport just isn’t your cup of tea anyways. For those, sledding and snow tubing is an excellent option for some outdoor winter fun! Christmas Mountain Village offers snow tubing once the hill is ready to kick off for the season. (Check here for current information.) Admission can be purchased for a few hours or an all day unlimited pass.
Cascade Mountain, just ten miles southeast of Wisconsin Dells, also offers great hills for snow tubing. Cascade also offers a great discounted rate for the last five hours of the night, (they close at midnight during their holiday hours) a perfect gathering for the adventurous night out!
Things to do in January:
Rick Wilcox Magic Theatre
Forget about the outside weather and come indoors for some jaw-dropping entertainment! Rated five stars by TripAdvisor, the Rick Wilcox Magic Theatre in Wisconsin Dells offers some very original family-friendly fun! Despite boasting a 550-seat theater, they regularly play to a packed crowd due to the popularity of his show.
It wouldn’t seem like winter in Wisconsin without a time or two out ice fishing. Lake Delton, recently restocked after the tragic dam break of 2008, is one of those must-try locations. (See their fishing report here.)
Jeremy Allan Grand Illusion Show
Year-round, the Jeremy Allan’s Grand Illusion Show offers evening shows of amazing feats and shocking illusions. Master Magician Jeremy Allen will leave you breathless while watching! Interaction is encouraged from the audience, with several children volunteers needed throughout the show. Jeremy Allen’s illusions are not your simple tricks with ropes, hats, coins or cards. You won’t leave disappointed!
A high-powered winter alternative, snowmobiling is a very popular activity in Wisconsin due to our high amount of annual snow fall. As of July, 2015, you do need a trail pass to take on the routes and, as usual, your snowmobile must be registered. Trail availability does vary due to current snow reports, so unfortunately its not always as easy as just giving you a recommendation. Before you plan your excursion, check out this nifty snow conditions report here so you can see exactly which trails are best for you right now.
Move out of the cold and inside to The Palace Theatre in Wisconsin Dells for a unique, family-fun theatre experience you won’t forget. The theatre offers a great option for groups, families, friends and couples while featuring a professional production of Broadway musicals . Because of the shows enthusiastic displays, guests aged two are younger need to stay home so as to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone. Options include the ability to purchases tickets for dinner and the show or just the show alone.
Devil’s Head Resort and Convention Center, Cascade Mountain and Christmas Mountain Village are all great choices for the skiing enthusiast! All three are conveniently located right around Wisconsin Dells- you merely have to choose which one offers the unique experience you’re after. All three have great websites featuring their current snow reports, prices and special events, so be sure to check them out before planning your trip!
Things to do in February:
There is just something about the Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co. that just has me captivated. As the only microbrewery in Wisconsin Dells, Moosejaw brews and serves straight from the tank to your glass in a warm, Northern lodge-style atmosphere. Ten handcrafted brews are made on-site and are available to try along with your hearty pizza or other ordered meal. This family-friendly restaurant also has a large arcade, pool tables, darts, air hockey and sports viewing. Highly recommended for ANY time of year.
Indoor Water Parks
Wisconsin Dells has a unique selection of indoor water parks that are such to lift you out of the winter blues. With the warm indoor air, heated waters and a tropical feel, a retreat like this can be the perfect way to perk up your winter! Some Wisconsin Dells options are the Kalahari Waterpark Resort, Wilderness Resort, Chula Vista Resort and Waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge and Waterpark, Mt. Olympus Theme and Waterpark. All offer day pass admission for a fee, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and want a real retreat, admission to the waterparks come with your stay!
Log Cabin Rental
Rustic Ridge Log Cabins are a mere 18 miles southeast from Wisconsin Dells. Tucked away in the Baraboo Bluffs, this gorgeous 4-season cabin rental location is extremely intimate and a perfect get away for an anniversary or special occasion. Although designed to look rustic, you certainly are not missing out on any luxuries. Nestle up close in your cabin close to the crackling fireplace or relax in the fully furnished living area complete with TV and free WiFi! With Devil’s Head and Cascade Mountain ski resorts nearby, this could be the prime location for a home-away-from-home retreat. Also nearby is Devil’s Lake State Park for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
The Kalahari Indoor Theme Park offers a LOT of indoor choices for fun and recreation. Indoor activities include an exquisite African-themed carousel, a breathtaking six-story Ferris wheel (in glass enclosure), climbing wall, rope course, bowling, laser tag, arcade, mini golf, sports bar, and elevated go-carts which race you through the upper expanse of the park
Knuckleheads in Wisconsin Dells is almost a must for families. Whether you are looking for a place to host a birthday party, gathering or merely wanting to get the family out for the day, this attraction has it all! With all indoor activities, you can try out the trampoline park, rope course, 4-D theatre, bumper cars, tornado, roller coaster, ball-o-city and MUCH, MUCH more, this place is easily an all-day, one-stop drop. Other amenities include bowling, restaurant, bar and a large arcade. (I personally have found this place very generous with their tickets which you redeem for actual decent prizes.) One of the best features is that with the purchase of a bracelet (which have height requirements), you can easily choose unlimited fun versus pay-per-ride.
Desert Star Movie Theater
The Desert Star movie theatre in Wisconsin Dells boasts plentiful seating and a comfortable environment. Featuring a large selection of screens with tiered seating for better views, this theatre is a great escape from the outdoor dreariness that can come with winter. One amazing highlight is the elaborately decorated ceiling in the vast lobby. With concessions available as well as seating, you can take in the spectacular sight while also enjoying the numerous arcade-style games that surround the lobby!
Indoor Mini Golf
The Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort hosts not only indoor but outdoor mini golf. With three indoor 3-D courses and an elaborate outdoor Lost World Jurassic course, there are plenty of courses to please no matter what the weather forecast that day.
Ho-Chunk Gaming Casino
When the weather is a little down, it might be the perfect time to try your luck indoors at the Wisconsin Dells Ho-Chunk Gaming Casino. This smoke-free casino offers everything from your standard slot machines to poker, bingo, blackjack and much, much more! They also offer fine dining and live entertainment by some of today’s biggest stars. (Check their website to see the lineup!) Enjoy the fun 24-hours a day for a very flexible way to retreat from the winter weather.
What are some of your best memories of Wisconsin Dells winter activities? Include them in the comments below so we can be sure to recommend them!