Tag Archives: boat tours

The Photographer of the Dells

Wisconsin Dells is known for its waterparks. It is the waterpark capital of the world, after all. But the Dells were famous and drawing visitors from all over the country and the world long before the first waterpark, Noah’s Ark Waterpark, opened in 1979. The stunning natural landscape of the Dells, Witches Gulch and Coldwater Canyon have been attracting humans for as long as humans have been there.

The Native Americans told a legend of how the Wisconsin Riverbed was formed by a great serpent, wriggling down from the north and his home by the Big Lake. As the legend goes, the serpent crawled over forest and fields and his huge body wore an immense groove in the land and the lake water rushed in behind him. When he came to the sandstone ridge of the Dells, he pushed his head into a crevice and pushed the rocks aside to create the narrow winding passage. The lesser serpents fled from him as he approached, which is the legend’s explanation for the formation of Coldwater Canyon and Witches’ Gulch.

wisconsin dells ducksIn 1875, early landscape photographer H. H. Bennett established a studio in the city and took many photos of the sandstone formations in the dells, including stereoscopic views. The rugged gulch was relatively inaccessible in those days, so Bennett reportedly trekked the area when it was iced over.  Carving steps into the ice as he traveled through the gulch photographing the incredible sandstone formations as he went. Prints of these photographs were distributed across the United States enhancing the status of the area as a destination for sightseers. While in Wisconsin Dells take some time to visit the H. H. Bennett Studio, a historic site operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Original Wisconsin DucksThe gulch today is just as scenic and unbelievably gorgeous, but easily accessed by a wooden walkway. Even if you come to the Dells for the waterparks, you would be remiss to not take the opportunity to explore this wilderness wonderland. There are a number of boat tours which include a walk through Witches Gulch, and they are absolutely the best way to go. In addition to the chance to walk the gulch, you can view the impressive rock formations along the Wisconsin River, and you’ll learn so much from the guides about the geological formation, the legends, the history of the region and fascinating tales about individual sandstone sculptures.

dThe Upper Dells Boat Tour features the famous ‘stand rock’ where H.H. Bennett took the very first stop-action photo, and you will witness a trained dog leaping the great chasm, in addition to visiting the Witches Gulch. The Wisconsin Dells Sunset Dinner Cruise includes a lovely dinner and beautifully painted landscapes as the sun sets over the Dells and moonlight walk through the glen. Still others, portraying the glen as a ‘spooky’ place, and playing on the name and legends, promise a scary time. the Ghost Boat Wisconsin Dells Boat Tour includes many a spooky legend and an after dark adventure along the winding boardwalk.


Chula Vista Resort

What if we told you there was a place with two waterparks, a golf course, spa, boat tours, hiking, miniature golf and an arcade?  Suppose this place also offered one, two or three bedroom condominiums, and villas for up to six people?  Sounds almost too good to be true.  But such a place exists and it is in Wisconsin Dells.

The Chula Vista Resort and Indoor & Outdoor Waterparks really does have it all.  Send Dad out to play the 18 hole Cold Water Canyon Golf Course.  Check.  Now get the kids to the indoor and outdoor waterparks, where they will gladly spend the day splashing through the multi-level fun and extreme waterslides.  Check.  Now, Mom gets the pampering she has earned with a day of treatments at the Spa Del Sol.  Ahhh….

Chula Vista ResortAt the end of the day well spent the family can get back together and share all the delights of their day over dinner at one of the eight on-site restaurants.  Then relax in the comfort of your suite complete with private balcony, fireplace and Jacuzzi.  Or maybe you chose a theme suite, like African Safari, Outer Space or Pirates of the Caribbean (Sorry, Johnny Depp is not included)

You could easily spend a week at the resort and never get bored, but while you’re in the Dells area you really should take advantage of the natural beauty, with a Ducks Sightseeing Cruise or an Upper Dells or Lower Dells Boat Tour.  For a special treat take the whole family for a Sunset Dinner Cruise.  There is much to enjoy in Wisconsin Dells.