9 Amusement Parks and Attractions to Visit in Wisconsin Dells

Vacationing with Bluegreen Resorts means that you have access to a wide range of unique, all-season vacation destinations around the United States, including Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. With resorts such as Christmas Mountain Village and Bluegreen Odyssey Dells, you can explore the scenic and exciting Wisconsin Dells, known for its seven-mile-long expanse of canyon, as well as its prime skiing locations and bevy of amusement parks.

Wisconsin Dells’ many amusement parks and attractions are famous for offering a variety of diversions, from waterslides to zip lines. If you’re looking for an adventure in Wisconsin Dells, here are nine of the top amusement parks and attractions in the area.

Noah’s Ark Waterpark

wisconsin dells noah's ark

Image courtesy Dave Reid | Flickr

One of the most popular water parks in Wisconsin Dells, Noah’s Ark Waterpark offers more than 70 acres of thrilling water rides and family fun. Noah’s Ark helped Wisconsin Dells earn the title of Waterpark Capital of the World. With two endless rivers, four water playgrounds for kids, and two large wave pools, Noah’s Ark offers some of the most exciting water rides in the country.

On the Black Anaconda ride, which was named America’s Most Thrilling Water Coaster, you reach speeds of 30 miles per hour while spiraling along a snake-shaped chute that is part waterslide, part roller coaster. Noah’s Ark is also famous for Scorpion’s Tail, a 400-foot long, 10-story-high waterslide that drops you down at more than 50 feet per second.

Along with water-fueled excitement, Noah’s Ark features a 4-D movie theater and various dining options. The park is open between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day every year.

Timber Falls Adventure Park

Located in downtown Wisconsin Dells, Timber Falls Adventure Park has something for everyone: for thrill-seekers, the exciting Hellcat Roller coaster, and for families looking for laidback fun, the jungle-themed Montazula’s Revenge minigolf course. The Hellcat’s 10-story drops and 90-degree turns have been featured on the Today Show, but it’s not the only wild ride at Timber Falls. On the Skyscraper Ride, you can pull 4 Gs at 60 miles per hour and fly 160 feet off the ground for a true adrenaline rush. If you’re interested in more mild fun, check out Timber Falls’ Howling Log Flume ride and bumper boats.

Heightened Adventures Aerial Park

At Heightened Adventures Aerial Park, you can explore six acres of aerial ropes courses, with four separate courses of varying levels of difficulty. The courses can take you anywhere from 10 to 45 feet in the air, and from the tree tops, you can experience stunning views of the Wisconsin River.

Perfect for guests of all skill levels, Heightened Adventures Aerial Park can provide experienced park monitors to help you navigate the courses, or you can explore independently on self-guided tours. The arborist-evaluated park is one of Wisconsin Dells’ eco-adventure attractions.

Olympus Water and Theme Park

Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park is another one of Wisconsin Dells’ most famous water parks, featuring 44 waterslides, two wave pools with nine-foot-high waves, and three lazy rivers. The park also includes the Lost City of Atlantis, a six-story water fortress with numerous waterslides and a massive water bucket that soaks anyone below it. In addition to plenty of speed slides and tube slides for the thrill-seekers, Mt. Olympus has Kiddie City for younger kids.

At the Mt. Olympus Outdoor Theme Park, you will find roller coasters instead of water rides. Some of the park’s most exciting rides are the 140-foot Manticore swing and the Hades 360 roller coaster, which is the only upside-down barrel roller coaster and the longest underground roller coaster on a fully wooden track in the world. If you tire of roller coasters, you can also visit the park’s arcades, batting cages, and go-kart tracks.

Top Secret

A truly unique year-round destination in Wisconsin Dells, Top Secret offers tours through an upside-down White House. Tours start every 10 to 15 minutes and reveal all of the secrets of the White House, including the top secret information stored in the basement. Open until 10 p.m. every day, Top Secret is a fun way for visitors of all ages to spend the evening.

Kalahari Indoor Theme Park

Spanning 100,000 square feet, the Kalahari Indoor Theme Park is a prime indoor escape when the weather isn’t ideal. Come inside to ride a six-story Ferris wheel, explore a ropes course, or compete in a round of laser tag. For younger visitors, the park also offers an African-themed carousel and mini-golf. The whole family can enjoy bowling and go-carts, or the adults can go relax in the sports bar and take a swing in a high-definition golf simulator.

Wild Fun Zone

If you’re looking for something fun to do in downtown Wisconsin Dells, Wild Fun Zone offers an assortment of exciting activities. The center features the black-light 3D Jungle Mini Golf and one of the largest laser tag arenas in Wisconsin Dells. In the Wild Fun Zone arcade, you can enjoy classic arcade favorites or try an exciting new game, like the virtual roller coaster ride. Wild Fun Zone operates seasonally and reopens its doors around spring break.

Bigfoot Zipline Tours

The largest zipline tour in Wisconsin Dells, Bigfoot Zipline Tours is more than 20 football fields long, with seven exciting lines and seven world-class towers. The two-hour adventure is a surefire way to experience a rush and enjoy nature at the same time. With Bigfoot Zipline Tours, you can fly over Bigfoot Island and soar through the white oak and red pine forest that encircles Sasquatch Lake.

Wizard Quest

Set in a 13,000-square-foot labyrinth called the Quadrasphere, Wizard Quest lets you play interactive computer games live. In a quest to locate and free imprisoned wizards, players enter a fantasy-themed world that features secret passages, traps, and hidden entrances. Players also encounter dragons and a devious opponent named Havoc.

5 Fun Facts to Know When Visiting Big Bear, California

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that offers fresh air and outdoor adventures, join Bluegreen in Southern California’s scenic San Bernardino Mountains at The Club at Big Bear Village. Big Bear Lake is a perfect vacation spot in every season and is easily accessible from nearby Los Angeles. In Big Bear, you can stay busy skiing the slopes, boating on the lake, or horseback riding and hiking through the forest.

To fully appreciate Big Bear’s rugged terrain and natural beauty, it’s helpful to know a little about the region’s rich history, which involves gold mining and grizzlies. Here are some fun facts about beautiful Big Bear, California:

1. People have lived in Big Bear Valley for thousands of years.

Big Bear Valley has been home to humans for thousands of years, and Southern California sustained as many as 30,000 Native Americans before Spanish settlers arrived in the region. In Big Bear, the Native Americans referred to themselves as the Yuhaviatam and called their territory Yuhaviat, or “pine place.” When Spanish settlers encountered the Native Americans, they called the tribe Serrano, meaning highlander or people from the mountains.

Over the years, the population of Native Americans in Southern California dwindled and just a few dozen were left by the 1890s. Currently, the Serrano (Yuhaviatam) tribe has around 200 members who continue to conduct sacred ceremonies at significant locations in the area, such as Baldwin Lake. It is believed that the tribe’s founder, Krukat, died at the lake.

2. Big Bear Lake isn’t that old.

big bear lake dam

Image courtesy WaterArchives.org | Flickr

While enjoying a day on Big Bear Lake, keep in mind that the lake has only been around for about 130 years. The lake is a man-made basin created because farmers from the nearby agricultural town of Redlands needed a reservoir for irrigation downstream. In 1883, Frank E. Brown engineered and started construction on a dam that would be the first substantial one in the area. The dam was designed to contain more water than any other dam that had been built before, and many people worried that the cement wall wouldn’t withstand the intense water pressure.

Completed in 1884, the dam made Big Bear Lake the largest man-made lake in the world at the time and people once called it the “eighth wonder of the world.” In 1912, another damn was built to enlarge Big Bear Lake in response to years of heavy snowfall. The original dam still stands, although it’s usually submerged in the lake.

3. A grizzly population led to the name Big Bear.

While Big Bear was once known as Yuhaviat, an event in 1845 prompted locals to start referring to the area as Big Bear. That year a 20-man posse led by Benjamin Davis Wilson rode into Yuhaviat Valley to retaliate against Native Americans who had raided ranches in Riverside. When the men rode into the valley, they discovered a large group of grizzly bears. The men divided into teams, and each team roped a bear to bring to their camp at Baldwin Lake. With the group of bears gathered at the lake, Wilson coined the named Big Bear Lake, a name that spread across the region.

Grizzlies were once abundant in the Big Bear region, but the population was hunted into extinction by the early 1900s. The California Department of Fish and Game chose to reintroduce a population of bears in Southern California in 1933, believing that outdoor enthusiasts and tourists would appreciate the wildlife. After securing 27 black bears from Yosemite, the department released six of them in the Big Bear area. These six animals helped establish Big Bear’s current black bear population.

big bear lake panorama

Image courtesy erenemre on Flickr

4. Big Bear was a gold mining mecca.

Before Big Bear Lake became a popular resort destination, it was a gold mining hub that sparked Southern California’s biggest gold rush. Records indicate that a bear hunter named William Holcomb found gold in 1860 while he was following a bear that led him to a mountain creek running with flakes of gold. Although Holcomb tried to hide his discovery, the secret was soon out and prospectors crowded into the area between 1860 and 1875.

Today, evidence of the gold rush, including historic structures and relics, can be found throughout the region. Gold mining tours are conducted year round, and Big Bear Discovery Center also offers brochures for self-guided tours. During tours, visitors can learn about the many gold mining landmarks in the area, such as Lucky Baldwin Mine, Wilbur’s Grave, Hangman’s Tree, and Two Gun Bill’s Saloon.

5. Big Bear landscapes have appeared in many Hollywood films.

With Los Angeles just three hours away, Big Bear has served as the backdrop for many Hollywood movies for over a century. Big Bear’s picturesque woods and mountains have been featured in a number of famous films, including Birth of a Nation in 1915, Gone with the Wind in 1939, and Old Yeller in 1957. In the 1930s and 40s, filmmakers were especially active in the area, and Big Bear was the backdrop for more than 110 films in just those 20 years.

7 of the Best Places to Eat in New Orleans

You’ll enjoy a wide range of memorable vacation experiences with Bluegreen Resorts, from attending a luau in Hawaii to relaxing on a beach in the Florida Keys. But for a truly unique adventure, try a stay at Bluegreen Club La Pension™ in New Orleans. You can discover New Orleans’ history, culture, and energy while touring plantations along River Road, wandering through the French Quarter, and enjoying the party on Bourbon Street.

While New Orleans is famous for its whimsical charm, it might be even more renowned for its internationally-recognized culinary scene. Exceptional cuisine has been at the core of New Orleans for more than a century, and the city continues to attract many of the best chefs in the world. From Southern soul food to French-Creole creations, New Orleans is a paradise that will please even the most fastidious foodie. Here are just seven of the many celebrated restaurants in New Orleans:

1. Commander’s Palace

commander's place restaurant

Image courtesy Wally Gobetz on Flickr

A culinary landmark in New Orleans since 1880, Commander’s Palace serves up award-winning haute Creole cuisine at a historic home nestled in the Garden District. Over the years, the restaurant has hosted renowned guests such as Mark Twain, and has featured famous chefs including Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shannon.

Currently under the leadership of Executive Chef Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace offers innovative dishes like Jamaican jerk cabrito empanadas and classic Creole favorites like Louisiana Gulf shrimp. Well-known food critics and magazines have recognized Commander’s Palace as one of the best restaurants both in New Orleans and the United States. The restaurant has also earned awards from the prestigious James Beard Foundation and the Culinary Institute of America.

2. Domilise’s Po-Boys and Bar

A family-owned and operated eatery founded in 1918, Domilise’s is the quintessential po-boy venue in New Orleans. The shop has stuck with its signature recipes over the years and still serves shrimp, sausage, roast beef, and oysters on fresh Leidenheimer bread.

Located in a small yellow house on the corner of Annunciation and Bellecastle Streets, Domilise’s often boasts lines out the door, but critics agree that the food is worth the wait. The restaurant has been featured in Southern Living and on the Food Network.

3. Galatoire’s

The epitome of fine dining on Bourbon Street, Galatoire’s was founded by Jean Galatoire, who emigrated from a village in France to establish the restaurant in New Orleans in 1905. Several Galatoire descendants still partially own and operate the famous restaurant, which serves a variety of French-Creole classics, such as trout amandine and crabmeat ravigote.

Galatoire’s delicious cuisine and Parisian atmosphere have been recognized by the James Beard Foundation and a number of top publications, including Saveur magazine and The New York Times.

4. GW Fins

GW Fins' dish

Image courtesy David Berkowitz | Flickr

Featuring a menu that is “simple yet sophisticated,” GW Fins serves high quality seafood from around the world, and its menu changes frequently, based on the season. The restaurant focuses on enhancing rather than masking seafood flavors, so sauces are minimal and heavy sauces are a rarity.

Centrally located in New Orleans’ French Quarter, GW Fins is known for serving dishes like New Bedford sea scallops, Gulf flounder, and red grouper. The seafood is often complemented by local produce, such as long grain rice and sweet potatoes. Zagat describes the restaurant’s biscuits as “addictive.”

5. Cochon

Specializing in classic Cajun Southern cuisine, Cochon uses fresh produce, locally sourced pork, Louisiana-caught seafood, and traditional methods to create authentic Cajun flavors. Pork hock served in a cast-iron skillet is one of Cochon’s most popular dishes, but the restaurant also serves distinctive creations like catfish court bouillon and fried alligator with chili garlic mayonnaise.

Located in a renovated New Orleans warehouse, Cochon is under the direction of Executive Chef Donald Link and Chef and Co-owner Stephen Stryjewski. The restaurant has earned numerous accolades since it opened in 2006, including a James Beard Foundation award. Bon Appétit also included Cochon on its list of the “20 Most Important Restaurants in America.”

6. Arnaud’s

Established by a French wine dealer named Arnaud Cazenave, Arnaud’s has been dedicated to serving Creole cuisine for nearly a century. The menu features both classic and creative dishes, with the option to dine from the three-course prix fixe Table D’Hôte Menu, or select dishes à la carté. Serving a wide range of meats and seafood, Arnaud’s was deemed one of the best New Orleans restaurants by Southern Living magazine. Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include speckled trout meunière, frog legs provencale, and veal wohl.

Located in New Orleans’ French Quarter, Arnaud’s allows guests to choose between the energetic Jazz Bistro dining room and the intimate main dining room.

7. Café du Monde

Café du Monde is a traditional coffee shop that originally started as a coffee stand in 1862. A staple of the French Quarter for more than 150 years, Café du Monde is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year except Christmas, so it’s the perfect place to stop for a late night treat. The shop is known for its café au lait and mouth-watering beignets, which are French-style doughnuts topped with powdered sugar.

5 Historical Attractions in the White Mountains Region

When you stay at Bluegreen Vacations’ South Mountain Resort in Lincoln, New Hampshire, you can experience the scenic landscapes, engaging outdoor activities, and rich history that have made the White Mountains region famous. This part of upper New England is full of beauty and entertainment all year round, with hiking and water activities in the warmer months and snow sports in the winter.

In every season, you can also explore the numerous historical attractions. The following are some of the most popular historical sites in the White Mountains region:

The Frost Place

A museum and educational center located in Robert Frost’s historical homestead, The Frost Place has long been a hub for poetry and the arts in Franconia, New Hampshire. Since 1976, the town has owned and managed the home where the famous poet spent 19 summers and lived full-time for five years starting in 1915. The carefully maintained homestead was built in the 1860s and provides stunning views of the White Mountains that inspired Frost’s work.

Visitors can wander through the small home and walk along a nature trail adorned with plaques showcasing the poems Frost wrote while living in Franconia. In addition to the museum, The Frost Place organization runs numerous programs for poets and scholars. In 1977, the nonprofit established an annual fellowship for emerging American poets that allows the winner to reside and write at The Frost Place over the summer months. The Frost Place also hosts an advanced poetry seminar and a teacher’s poetry conference every year.

Besaw Iron Furnace

The 200-year-old Besaw Iron Furnace is the sole blast furnace still intact in New Hampshire. It was constructed by the New Hampshire Iron Factory Company using local granite on the exterior and firebrick on the interior. In 1840, the furnace was rebuilt to include a hot blast, achieving its current height of 32 feet.

When the trees and ore in the area dwindled in the 1860s, the furnace was abandoned. Visitors today can examine a scale model of the furnace and view equipment that was used to make iron. While the actual stone stack is secured for safety reasons, visitors can still view the structure from across the Gale River.

Canterbury Shaker Village

syrup shop shaker village

Shaker Village Shop – Image courtesy user Liz on Flickr.

A National Historic Landmark, Canterbury Shaker Village features 25 restored original Shaker buildings as well as four reconstructed structures. The community is one of the best-preserved Shaker Villages, with the original Meetinghouse from 1792 and the first Dwelling House from 1793 still intact.

In addition to the preserved Shaker buildings, Canterbury Shaker Village includes 649 acres of land under permanent conservation easement. The charming Shaker structures, fields, forests, and ponds combine to create one of northern New England’s most scenic locations. Visitors can tour the historical buildings and grounds before exploring the fine dining and distinctive shopping available in the Village.

Museum of the White Mountains

Founded in 2013 at Plymouth State University, the Museum of the White Mountains is dedicated to preserving and sharing the cultural and environmental history of the White Mountains region. The free museum offers on-site and virtual exhibitions to make its materials accessible to more people.

Among the exhibitions it has hosted are an art show inspired by the region’s natural beauty and a show on the geological forms that facilitate outdoor activities in the area. At the gift shop, visitors can also discover items created from sustainable materials by local artisans.

Covered Bridges

In the White Mountains, some of the most popular historical landmarks are the covered bridges scattered across the region. Many of these structures were constructed between the early 1800s and the early 1900s, and they remain an iconic part of the White Mountains landscape.

From a covered bridge, you can watch a powerful river flow past, savor a quiet moment, or take refuge during a summer shower. Each bridge is distinct, so it’s worth stopping at a few to observe the different features and surrounding landscapes. Some of the oldest covered bridges in the White Mountains region are the Bartlett Covered Bridge (1851), the Bath-Haverhill Covered Bridge (1829), and the Bath Covered Bridge (1832).

Historically, covered bridges were referred to as “courting bridges,” but the original purpose of covered bridges is unclear. Some people posit that covered bridges were built because covered timbers last longer, while others suggest that horses were better at crossing enclosed passages. In many cases, covered bridges offered financial returns for owners who charged tolls.

7 Family Friendly Activities around Big Sky, Montana

If your family loves the outdoors, Bluegreen Vacations has a number of perfect vacation destinations for your next adventure, including Lake Condominiums at Big Sky, Montana, which is surrounded by beautiful and pristine mountains, lakes, and rivers. From the resort, you can easily explore nature while enjoying a wide range of family friendly activities, including the following:

Horseback Riding

For many families, the best way to experience Montana’s alpine scenery is from the back of a horse. Area outfitters and tour groups offer rides for people of all skill levels, with tours led by expert wranglers. Many organizations offer trail rides in any season, with outings ranging from one hour to all day long. One company even offers a dinner excursion consisting of a two-hour ride and a steak fry in the woods.

On a trail ride, visitors trek through secluded forests and often see a variety of wildlife, including elk and moose. Most outfitters have gentle horses that are perfect for the casual rider, as well as horses better suited to experienced equestrians.

Ziplining

Zipline tours are another fun way to take in the forests and rivers around Big Sky. At the Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park, you can feel the wind on your face and soar over gorgeous vistas on the park’s four zipline courses, which enable guests to “fly” for 1,000 feet.

Another firm, Yellowstone Zipline & Canopy Tours, allows you to soar down mountainsides and across the Gallatin River. If kids don’t meet weight requirements, they can still zipline with an experienced guide for maximum safety.

River Rafting

white water rafting montanaTo explore the clear rivers around Big Sky, you can book a river rafting trip with one of the many rafting organizations in the area. Groups like Geyser Whitewater Expeditions and River Source Rafting carry out trips based on experience levels along the smooth waters and exciting rapids of the Yellowstone River’s Yankee Jim Canyon and the Gallatin River.

Novice rafters can enjoy a gentle cruise through the Gallatin River’s upper canyon or experience class III rapids on the mid-level cruise, while more adventurous rafters can plunge through well-known rapids, such as Screaming Left and the Mad Mile. In Yankee Jim Canyon, rafters can take in the scenery during calm stretches, traverse class II and class III rapids, and play rafting games.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling tours allow families to easily speed through deep powder to explore large expanses of snow-covered forests and valleys. From the seat of your snowmobile, you can enjoy spectacular views as you journey through Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin Canyon, and Gallatin National Forest. Tours include stops at local attractions, such as Midway Geyser Basin and Fountain Paint Pot, where visitors can take pictures.

Exploring Palisade Falls

In the summer and fall, Palisade Falls is a popular destination for those staying in the Big Sky area. The stunning 80-foot waterfall flows over hexagonal, moss-flecked basalt columns that were created by prehistoric lava flow.

To access Palisade Falls, take the scenic Hyalite Canyon Road to Forrest Road, and then head west for one mile to reach the picnic grounds and trailhead. The half-mile paved trail to the falls, which is surrounded by Red Fir and Engelmann Spruce, has a maximum grade of just 11 percent, making it suitable for all family members.

Dog Sledding

dog sledding montanaIf your family loves dogs, sled dog trips are the ideal way to discover the winter wonderland around Big Sky. These excursions are suitable for visitors of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents, and experienced guides ensure the safety of each rider.

During a trip, you get to learn how to drive a sled, guide the dogs, and “mush.” Sled dog outings explore some of Montana’s most beautiful areas, including the Spanish Peaks and Lone Mountain.

Fishing

In addition to their beauty, Montana’s lakes and rivers are renowned for offering plenty of trout and hundreds of miles of prime fishing spots. River guide companies in the area conduct fishing trips in all seasons along the various rivers near Big Sky, including the Yellowstone, Bighorn, Missouri, and Madison Rivers. Anglers of all skills levels can catch trout with the help of expert guides who know the local waters.

You can choose from a number of trips that allow you to fish from the shore, wade in the water, or fish from a boat. There are streamside clinics that can be tailored to your needs, whether it’s teaching a first-time fisher or helping an angler find the best fishing spot. For a fishing trip that is even more family oriented, some groups host kid trips to a stocked pond and family trips with lake-side instruction and fishing on the Gallatin River.