Random Facts about Wisconsin Dells

As the premier family vacation destination in the Midwest, Wisconsin Dells offers nearly twenty square miles of attractions set against a backdrop of breathtaking rock formations and sandstone cliffs along the banks of the Wisconsin River. As “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®” some of the most famous attractions include extreme plunge slides, tube rides, racing speed slides, water roller coasters, massive wave pools, and lazy rivers. Add in scenic boat tours, challenging golf courses, world-class spa services, restaurants, shopping, attractions, and a vibrant downtown and you start to get a picture of why this family-friendly destination has been attracting visitors for more than 150 years.


Residents and visitors alike are certainly aware of the wondrous water parks, but did you know these five random factoids about Wisconsin Dells?

  • Wisconsin Dells landscape photographer H.H. Bennett is credited with the invention of Stop Action Photography, as evidenced by his 1886 “Leaping the Chasm at Stand Rock” photo of his son Ashley frozen in mid-air (the story goes that mother was not aware this was going on). He was also a bit of a marketing pioneer, making Wisconsin Dells famous thanks to his hauntingly beautiful images of the Wisconsin River and bluffs that he posted in train stations between the Dells and Chicago.
  • The world’s largest fleet of WWII land-to-water vehicles, known as DUCKS (military shorthand), had their finest moment on D-Day, June 4, 1944, when more than 2,000 of these amphibious vehicles were put into service to deliver troops to the rough shores of Normandy, France. In 1946, a man by the name of Melvin Flath brought the first DUCKs to Wisconsin Dells and set up a tour company to take visitors on scenic tours of the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton.


  • The United States’ first indoor waterpark was opened in Wisconsin Dells in 1989 at the Polynesian Water Park Resort. The idea started with a sketch on a napkin after local business partners attended a waterpark convention in Texas. No kidding – the blueprint for the first indoor waterpark was actually hand-drawn on a napkin.
  • Wisconsin Dells can rightfully claim three titled waterparks: America’s largest outdoor waterpark (Noah’s Ark Waterpark), America’s largest indoor/outdoor combination waterpark (Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort) and Wisconsin’s largest indoor waterpark (Kalahari Resort Waterparks). All told, the area boasts more than 200 waterslides, 16+ million gallons of water and over 3,820 inner tubes.
  • Lost Canyon is the longest and deepest land canyon in Wisconsin, formed by glacial flooding that most likely cut the gorges in the Dells in a matter of days or weeks as the swift flood water eroded away the soft sandstone. Some parts of the canyon have not felt the sun in more than 50,000 years.


If you know of some other interesting facts about Wisconsin Dells, please share by leaving a comment below. Click the following link to read about other Random Factoid Friday destinations.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


  1. Well, what a timely post, Mr. Mike. I’m heading to the dairy state next month to visit family. Although I’m a native cheesehead, I’ve never been to the Dells…maybe I need to fix that with this trip back to the homeland. Thanks for the interesting post, Mike!

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