If you're looking for a fun family weekend just a
few hours away from Chicago, then you should put the Kalahari
Resort in the Wisconsin Dells at the top of your
When you think of the Wisconsin Dells you immediately
think of water slides . . . and more water slides. In fact, they
are the self-proclaimed "Waterpark capital of the world." And it is
true. There are tons of waterpark hotels to choose from.
For some reason, we've sampled many of them in the six
years that we've lived in Chicago. Bottom line: my kid's favorite
waterpark, hands down, is the Kalahari Resort. It is said that
Kalahari is the Dells' largest indoor waterpark under one roof. It
is also America's second largest indoor waterpark at 125,000 square
feet. Regardless of the factual correctness of this statement, my
kids vote it #1.
Best array of slides for kids of all
ages: Kalahari has everything from small kiddie slides to
tall body and tube slides. There's a flowrider, a water coaster and
my favorite, the lazy river. For a family with kids of multiple
ages (especially the tweens and teens) this is the park you want to
visit. Your little ones will love the huge state-of-the-art kid's
play zone called Tiko's Watering Hole. The older ones will love the
grand water slides, especially The Master Blaster, the huge wave
pool and the Screaming Hyena where you go down a trap-door that
drops you into a near-vertical plunge at up to 25 miles per
Cabanas for rent: This might be the
reason why my husband and I like Kalahari so much. They have a
fabulous service where you can rent cabanas either for the indoor
waterpark or the outside waterpark for the day. Of course you have
to pay $$$ for it, but it is so worth it. It's especially great if
you have small children or if you're traveling with another family
and can share the cost. Cabanas are designated private areas that
are reserved for you and your party. They come with comfortable
lounge chairs, sofas, a safe (where you can lock up your phone,
watch and other valuables), a mini fridge stocked with water, food
service and a flat screen tv (which is actually really nice if you
want your kids to take a rest after eating lunch before jumping
back into the fray).
No real need to leave the property for food or
entertainment: This can be a Godsend depending on the ages
that you're traveling with. They have a ton of restaurants and
snack bar options throughout the resort if you prefer to stay on
premise. We do like to leave the property, even if just for a quick
dinner, (I'll tell you where we like to go further down) but it is
not a necessity which is really nice.
Family-friendly restaurants should you choose to
leave the property: As I mentioned, my husband and I do
like to pack up the kids and venture off-site to a local
restaurant. Two easy choices are: Ginza of Tokyo, a traditional
hibachi grill and sushi bar that my kids really enjoy. And second
is Famous Dave's BBQ for,
you guessed it, fall off the bone ribs and other goodies. And on
your way out of the Dells, you may want to stop in at the Sandbar
(which is a bar) for what is considered to be one of the best
cheesesteak sandwiches outside of Philly.
On-site theme park, arcade movie theatre and
bowling alley: Why should the fun end after dinner? Well,
at Kalahari it doesn't. Your kids will love the indoor theme park
and arcade. It is packed with everything from a ferris wheel,
carousel, ropes course, elevated go karts, lazer tag, bowling, tons
of arcade games and lots more.
Nearby attractions for when you just can't face one more
water slide: If you're there in nice weather and just
can't another couple of hours at the waterpark, there are some
great attractions in the nearby area to keep the action coming. Try
Bigfoot ziplining, the Wisconin Dells Army Duck tour
or a round of golf.
Parents will like it: Regardless of what
us parents think of the water park concept, your kids will have an
absolute blast. We spent four days here last memorial day and it
was a torrential rain storm for much of it and my kids still told
us it was the best trip we'd ever taken! The place is well kept and
clean. Your kids will think it's the weekend of a lifetime just as
Chrissy Jones is a local Chicago mom blogger with three children (12,7 & 4). Her blog Beyondthepark.com showcases the best special events, activities, restaurants and products for Chicago families.
See more of Chrissy's stories here.
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