We drove past an amazing steamboat of breakfast goodness on Tuesday night, so we made it our first stop on Wednesday. Mr. Pancake Restaurant, surprisingly, serves dozens of types of pancakes, ranging from this-is-probably-not-good-for-you unhealthy to you-may-die-at-the-table unhealthy. There is a reason this boat is grounded–it would not float with all the carbs it holds as cargo.
“Mr. Pancake is so dreamy,” thought Ned.
Strawberry! (PS–This is NOT whipped cream; it’s whipped topping. I thought Wisconsin was America’s Dairyland!)
Banana! (PS–This is NOT whipped topping; it’s a mound of butter. Wisconsin IS America’s Dairyland!)
Quasi-healthy Corn–with a mound of butter. And, a huge ham steak. Hmmm …. breakfast ham!
And, as a native Wisconsin-ite, I will tell you no one (not even Waffle House) does hash browns like Wisconsin. Crisped brown in butter, topped with onions (grilled in butter), liberally salted. Potatoes were made to be eaten this way. But not too often, or you will die.
Where do you go after eating your weight in pancakes? Noah’s Ark Water Park! The day was a bit chillier than anticipated and cloudy, but we’re Upstaters, so whatevs.
Plus, if one has no intention of getting wet at a water park, the weather doesn’t matter. Note the new Wisconsin Ducks shirt.
Imagine what it took for Ned to go to a place called “Noah’s Ark” and buy a towel saying “Noah’s Ark”–yep, this was a pretty cool place. It’s billed as America’s Largest Water Park. Who knows–but it is big!
Some of the water slides there seem almost crazily dangerous. LIke this one that replicates the effect of skateboarding in an empty pool in the 1970s, but in water park form.
Plus, notice the now beautiful blue skies!
Here are the children saying, “That was horrifying!”, in a completely joyful way 🙂
Their enthusiasm tricked their father into going down a slide. Immediately soaked through and buoyed by adrenalin, he offered to go again, then rescinded in a second. Ah, the wisdom of age.
Look at that sky! The penultimate ride of the day was a simple log flume.
What made it extraordinary was the level of splash it delivered!
See where the bridge intersects with the wave? That’s where Ned stood 🙂
A rainbow, at Noah’s Ark!
Ned survived the flood, but came out one by one, as his two by two stood safely out of disaster’s way.
And, our children being our children, the actual last ride was a dorky, outboard motor driven bumper boats ride in which Harper bashed into Penn and Penn went in circles alternately making peace signs and some symbolic gesture from Mad Max Fury Road. Ah, our children, we think we’ll keep them.
We went to Noah’s Ark thinking we’d stay a few hours; we left just as it was closing (classic Kress-Davis family). Like all of the Dells, we enjoyed it even more than we thought we would.
The only thing that can top bumper boats surrounded by chainlink fence is a trip to the main drag of the Dells. If you’ve been to Niagara Falls, you understand what I mean.
First, check out this soda machine!
How old is it? Well, I don’t know, but it has a slot to deposit pull rings from soda cans! This machine might have been here since my patrols trip.
Only in the Dells would you find a friendly three card monty guy. He really was good, but had only one bit.
We decided to eat at a newish restaurant: MACS. In keeping with the state’s theme, it served variants of mac and cheese, and cheese melts. (To show my shared loyalties, I ordered a buffalo chicken melt. Represent, NY!) MACS was started by locals who are hoping to turn it into a statewide chain. The food was good and inexpensive, and the line was to the door. Both are excellent signs for its future. And the signs on the wall are pretty cool, too! Harper’s doing her best badger.
Ned’s recreating his Wisconsin Ducks shirt, but I like to think that the photo above him could be little Ned on one of the many Davis family vacations to North Carolina.
As at many places in the Dells, we were struck by how many of our servers were from other nations. I researched it, and apparently, there’s a bit of controversy about this. The young people are on student work visas (J-1), and the Dells is a heavy user of J-1s with the argument that the small local population (most towns in the region have populations well below 1000) cannot provide the workforce needed for such a massive tourist destination. This makes sense, but the student workers raise concerns about substandard housing, transportation, and unrealized promises of jobs and hours. Complex. Still, it was interesting to get a lesson in economics and labor issues while enjoying skillets of mac and cheese served by women who looked like Slavic supermodels.
These cool footpath stones sure weren’t here in the 70s!
But, I’ll bet this place was. As many sophisticated places as our children have visited, they’re still kids, and nothing calls out to a kid like a mirror maze. Or, as Harper pleaded, “I’ve wanted to do one of these my whole life!” Who could say no? Not us. I did, however, say no to the Museum of Torture one door down. There’s got to be a line somewhere, and it was drawn and quartered at that door.
Kids get a mirror maze, I get a pair of mocassins. Grey and green–pretty hip, Minnetonka!
Ned gets to look like a giant gorilla getting attacked by an even more giant squid. Ah, Dells! Always following the 18th Century maxim: to instruct and delight in equal measure.
By the way, the mirror maze totally delivered! Check out these reactions:
We drove home at sunset down the main drag …
Past the Trojan Horse-themed go kart track (because Dells) …
And, found Penn on a billboard.
Not shown in this blog: Ned and the kids taking on and killing a six pack of drunk, amusingly colorful Wisconsin teens in two rounds of laser tag, and then adding in some indoor go-karting for good measure. See, to instruct and delight! Water Park Wednesday brought both in full and equal measure!