Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Wonderful Wisconsin Dells

What a great family vacation we've had this past week!  All of the planning and the prepping was totally worth it...and now I can't wait for us to start planning our next vacation.  Plus, I haven't checked my work email this entire time, so I feel like I truly have had a break from things (I was at work until 10pm the night before we left, so I definitely needed that break!)

We're on the road...and fast asleep!


Except for Ava...she was awake and chatty for the entire drive there...


We stopped and had lunch on a waterfront patio in La Crosse.  Ava was quite taken with the baby ducks in the river.




We finally made it there!  The line to check in was super long...I'm so glad Scott and G stayed in the truck while Ava and I took care of things.



After settling in, we decided it was time to explore. I had done my research on the resort, and decided that Ava would like the MagiQuest game (searching for different items in order to collect runes with her wand.) At first she was hesitant, but after we learned the lay of the land and what we were supposed to be doing, she loved it!  We left with a few quests uncompleted, but if we go back next year, we should be able to pick right back up!

Ava tried to turn her brother into a frog with her wand.  He was not impressed.
 

After walking through the entire hotel (however, we completely missed the little kids activity area...dangit!), we decided it was time to eat some train-delivered food!  We took a leisurely stroll and made our way to Buffalo Phil's.  


Not only did the train deliver food, but it also blew bubbles - G loved it!


Look at my cute kid's sundae!


Who wouldn't want their meal delivered by a buffalo-covered vehicle?


After dinner, we took advantage of a free "train" ride given during dinner...it was a little roller coaster to which Ava and I were happy to say "PASS!"  G had so much fun with Scott, though!


The next morning was spent at the waterparks...I didn't take any pictures there, as we both had our hands full with the kids.  There truly was something for everyone!  Now that Ava's a bit more comfortable in the water, she had no issues going into the deeper ends of the pools (still only rode one waterslide...and said that was enough for her.) The weather was gorgeous on Thursday, so we were able to enjoy the outdoor pools, as well.  I'm so glad we did, as the weather was much cooler and rainy on Friday.  At one point, on Friday afternoon, Ava and Scott went outdoors to the pool, and G wanted to follow them, not heeding my warnings about how cold it was. Within 3 seconds of being outside, he yelled, "It's cold, it's cold...I want to go inside!"  We repeated this a few more times before I told him we were going to stay outside for just a few minutes.

G wasn't sure what to make of the waterparks...there was water flying out of so many different features, every where he looked, he'd get wet!  By the end of our stay, he enjoyed the wave pool (probably my favorite too) and also going down a little slide in one of the kiddie features.  At one point, a little girl, just a little bit bigger than G, was waiting at the bottom of the slide, with her arms open, to catch us.  The first time she did that, G told her thank you when we got to the bottom.  So polite!!  She continued to do it for several more rounds until I think she realized I wasn't going to let a 3-year old catch another mommy/son pair.  Too cute!

One of Ava's favorite parts was the hot tub...her little lips and fingers were getting so blue after being in the water for a few hours, so we hit the hot tub to warm up.  Awesome!  We also took advantage of their snack bars in the park, so we didn't have to run back to the room to eat.  I loved the fact that our wristbands were coded to our rooms, so we didn't even have to carry money with us...we could just charge it all to the wristband.  Brilliant!

After we had our fill of the waterparks on Thursday, we walked over to the outlet malls, and did some shopping before dinner.  Both kids got new Crocs and pjs. I asked Ava what she thought about going to Disneyworld in a few years...she said she thought it would be nice, but she would also really like some charms for her Crocs. So, I asked her if she had a choice between the two (Croc charms or Disneyworld,) which would she take...the charms won out.  Sigh...

During G's nap on Thursday afternoon, Scott and Ava hit the arcade in the resort (and I enjoyed some quiet time reading on the balcony,) so it was only fair that G got to have a little spaceship ride at the outlets!


Each kid received a set of wolf ears upon check in...here, Ava was watching some birds out the window while we were waiting for our dinner at the restaurant at the resort.

 

She was tired of smiling pretty for my camera...


G thoroughly enjoyed his strawberry dessert...it was all over his face!



We had to stop and take some pics with the animals in the lobby area...




Before bed on Thursday, we got the kids in their pjs, and headed down to the lobby for the Clock Tower Show (music and singing by the animals of the resort...no, they're not real animals...)  After that, we stayed for story time, and then hit the hay!  We got about 10 hours of sleep each night, which was amazing!  A big storm rolled through on Thursday night, and we lost power twice.  We were all up for a bit during that time.

When we woke up on Friday, the weather was rainy and cool, so we decided it would be a great day to explore more of the Dells.  We bought our tickets for the duck boat tour, and off we went!  Lots of fun, and a great way to see the beauty of the area.


 

Although, Ava wasn't happy with how many pictures I was taking...






After we had our fill of the boats, it was time to eat lunch!  We stopped at a sports bar on a golf course...and G completely flipped out over the fact that each of the pendant lights over the tables was a different ball (soccer, football, and basketball.)  Great atmosphere, great service, and great food!

 

This time Scott stayed with G while he napped in the afternoon on Friday, and Ava and I completed three more MagiQuests.  All of the quests we had done so far were contained within the MQ building...but our last one took us all over the resort.  We actually had to stop and ask for help, as we couldn't find the black hole...


Once everyone was up and ready to go, we headed out for dinner to MooseJaw...a pizza place in the area.  So yummy!





Another early night for us...and more sleep!  Our nights were so low key...and that was perfect. I think I would choose a different room type for the next time, though.  There are suites available where there is a separate kids room with bunks and a twin bed.  That way, they can sleep in peace, while we were still awake.

Ava and I enjoyed a Mommy and Me pedi yesterday morning.  I picked out a dark purple polish, thinking it will be perfect during Vikings football.  The woman who did our nails (a die-hard Packers fan) said that now she wasn't sure she could ever use that color again. LOL  


 

Ava chose a sea green color with dark pink sparkles...it turned out great!


G was fascinated with this dino who was sticking out of a building by our resort.  Every time we passed it, he would laugh and tell us "The dinosaur doesn't fit!"


We had lunch at a great Irish pub in La Crosse...and Scott commented that once a month, we need to go to a different restaurant for lunch, with the kids.  Just to try new things...YES!!!

I asked Ava to open her eyes more for the 2nd picture...so she opened them really wide, and G made a show of shutting his.  Kids!



All eyes open here!


Overall, we had a fantastic time on our first family vacation...picking the right location was imperative.  The Dells were a perfect place, not too far away (3.5 hours by car), and they catered to all ages.  I cannot wait to go back for our next visit!

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