How to Spend 24 Amazing Hours in the Dells…. Without Hitting the Waterparks!

We all know the Wisconsin Dells are “the waterpark capital of the world”…but there is SO much to do and see outside of the waterparks. In fact, we spent 24 fun-and-family-friendly-filled hours in the Dells recently and it was a blast! If you’re looking to try something new this summer, or you’d like to beat the heat and stay indoors for a day or two, check out our recent itinerary for ideas and inspiration for your next adventure!

Stop One: Knuckleheads Amusement Park

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Spend the morning bouncing at Wisconsin Dell’s only indoor trampoline park, hitting the arcade, trying the brand-new mini golf course or cruising the rides at Knuckleheads Amusement Park.

Our kids (aged 9-11) absolutely LOVED the XD Dark Ride, which was a simulated ride while using lasers to shoot robots or zombies. The ride keeps track of who does the most damage, and shares a shot of you playing the game, which our kids found pretty awesome! For the adventurist kiddos, other rides include the Tornado (a spinning ride, obviously!), a jumping pillow, bumper cars and Go-Karts.

After checking out the rides, I’d highly recommend checking out the brand new Puttheads Mini Golf course, which was a huge hit with the kids (and grown ups). The course uses a digital scoring system, so you actually “register” your club through the computer when you check in, and then each hole keeps track of your shots and total points. The vibe is really cool, too, with dim lighting, neon lights and funky holes. 

On-site options also include a full arcade (with some great prizes, including the Squishmallows my daughter was eyeing) and a full Bar & Grill. 

Since Knuckleheads is open year-round, it’s a great option to visit in the dead of winter or to take a break from the heat of the summer. For more information about attractions at Knuckleheads, be sure to visit their website.

Stop Two: Lunch at Buffalo Phil’s

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Once you’ve tired out your kids at Knuckleheads, walk next door to the conveniently located (and absolutely adorable) Buffalo Phil’s restaurant. Your food will be delivered by TRAIN, which drives over drinks, appetizers and full meals. The restaurant has an old-lodge type theme, with model trains set up throughout the space. Our kids especially loved the souvenir fishbowl drinks, complete with a light up ice cube inside. 

Stop Three: Slime Lab at Booby Trap Escape Rooms

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Our kids love slime, and there’s nothing better than making it somewhere other than your own home! The Slime Lab at Booby Trap Escape Rooms was so much fun – the kids got to create their very own pot of slime to take home before we even entered the escape room. Once inside, the kids needed to work together to find a way out of the “lab” by finding puzzle pieces, looking for clues and following the prompts. All in all, it was a great time for both kids and adults!

After finishing the Slime Lab, our kids begged us to do another escape room (Booby Trap offers 6 other family-friendly options!) but alas, all were booked. We’ll definitely go back another time, since Booby Trap is open year-round in a super convenient location next to Knuckleheads! 

Other Escape Rooms available at Booby Trap include: Cell Block E (try to escape a prison cell!), Pharaoh’s Revenge (discover the mysterious illness affecting a team of archeologists), Singularity (fix a spaceship’s nuclear reactor before time runs out), Mayday (a trip on a malfunctioning submarine) and the Inventor’s Workshop (uncover the secrets a famous inventor left for you through a series of clues). For more information, visit their website.

Stop Four: La Quinta Hotel


By the time our day was over, we were all ready to relax. We headed back to our hotel (La Quinta in the Dells) and checked in. The hotel was super family-friendly, with lots of fun, colorful seating in the lobby, a pool, and complimentary breakfast. My kids loved swimming in the pool (and taking a dip in the hot tub), and making their very own waffles for breakfast in the morning. The hotel rooms were huge, and we used the pull out couch to let the kids watch a movie with friends before bed. 

We loved trying new places on our trip, and hope we’ve given you some new destinations to try this summer! 

Madison is such a cool city. We love it around here. We live here too and our vision is to create a platform where real parents share real stories and we can all learn from one another. You will get to know real moms doing life right here in our neighborhoods and find information on a wealth of topics – local summer camps, preschools, swim lessons, shops and boutiques, events and experiences as so much more.


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