Wisconsin Dells is the waterpark capital of the world, and so is home to some of the world’s scariest waterslides. I should know, as I live near the Dells and have been there countless times, both for story research and fun. Now, I don’t particularly like heights. Nor do I care to scare myself needlessly. And scary waterslides tend to combine height, speed and novel features to get your heart racing. But I’ll do (almost) anything for a good story.
In 2018, the folks with the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau said they’d conducted a survey of the major waterparks in town, asking them which of their waterslides were the scariest. You know, the ones where people chickened out at the last minute or were screaming their heads off as they went down. The waterparks came up with a list, so I decided to check things out for myself. Meaning, I’d go down all of those scary waterslides to make sure they really were scary. And then I’d proclaim the scariest of them all.
So Which Is the Scariest Waterslide?
Well, I’m not going to tell you the results of my interesting experiment. You can read my conclusions in the article above. But suffice it to say, all of them had some fear factor to them. And some I’d be happy never to ride down again.
For those of you who don’t know much, or anything, about Wisconsin Dells, I’ll give you a quick primer here. The Dells sits about 40 minutes north of Madison, Wis. Back in the late 1800s, a photographer named H.H. Bennett began photographing the gorgeous, intricately carved sandstone cliffs lining the Wisconsin River, which runs through the Dells. His photos lured visitors to the area. Over the next several decades, attractions, lodging and restaurants sprang up. By the mid-1950s, the Dells wasn’t so much about the rock formations, but more about go-karts, oddball museums and fun attractions.
Then, in the 1979, the Waterman family – that’s really their name – opened Noah’s Ark, a massive outdoor waterpark. Waterparks were a novelty back then, and it quickly became a hit. In the mid-1990s, another Dells resort added an indoor waterpark to their offerings. It was intended to amuse people on rainy summer days, but what it did instead was draw families there during the winter. Voila, the indoor waterpark craze began.
The Dells Today
Today, several million people come to Wisconsin Dells every year, all year-round. It’s one of the top attractions in the Midwest and consistently claims the top spots in TripAdvisor polls, among others. Thankfully, it is morphing into a better version of its previous self, offering a nationally acclaimed spa, arts district and more nature-based attractions. Come check it out!
Photos courtesy of Chula Vista Resort
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