Family Fun In Lake Geneva

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and there was a lot more to do with kids than I thought there was going to be. It’s definitely a town I’d recommend if you are looking for a quick vacation this summer! I wanted to share some of our favorite activities that we did while we were there along with suggesting a great place to stay and a couple places you may want to eat at.

Paradise Miniature Golf

This 18-hole miniature golf course is fairly inexpensive fun in a touristy town. The course was nice and well-maintained though the waterfall seemed to be under construction or not turned on yet for the season (which didn’t impact play in any way).  The course only had a few other families using it while we were there so it was quiet. We enjoyed playing and had a lot of laughs when a couple of our balls ended up in the water and we had to try to fish them out.

Moose Mountain Falls Indoor Waterpark (Located Inside Timber Ridge Lodge)

Guests staying at Timber Ridge Lodge can enjoy full access to Moose Mountain Falls indoor waterpark and the outdoor pool areas. The indoor waterpark is perfect for rainy day fun and easily won the “favorite thing to do” title from the boys. I like that the indoor waterpark was split in to two pools- one that was great for babies and toddlers and one for everyone else. The deeper one had basketball hoops on one end and Jacob ended up spending most his time there. There are two large water slides- a tube slide and a raft slide- that the boys loved going down along with two smaller slides. There was also an “adults only” hot tub (though I didn’t have a chance to try it out) and a lazy river. The outdoor pool areas are a little small in my opinion but if it’s nice out you probably don’t want to be sitting around the hotel anyway! Parents of young children will appreciate that the little kids have a separate pool area to play in.

Geneva Lake Museum of History

I’m going to be honest- visiting the history museum wasn’t on my list of things to-do when I headed to Lake Geneva. We had arrived at our lunch restaurant an hour before it opened so we had some free time and the museum happened to be across the street so we decided to go. I’m so glad we did! The boys, especially Lucas, really liked exploring it and I enjoyed checking it out as well. The first part was a “Main Street” that had replica homes you could go in to see how people lived during certain time periods. There are also a number of exhibits including a shoe exhibit, military exhibit, and train exhibit. Kids get in free to this museum and to make it even more fun for them, make sure to ask for a BINGO game they can play while walking through the museum!

Downtown Lake Geneva

One of my favorite things to do is walk around towns that have cute little downtown areas and Lake Geneva’s did not disappoint. Downtown Lake Geneva is fairly large with lots of great stores to check out and plenty of restaurants with outdoor seating areas. The boys enjoyed playing Pokemon Go as we explored the area. They also discovered a comic book store and a children’s book store which they thought were awesome. I enjoyed shopping at all of the stores with “lake life” decor as I imagined furnishing my dream lake home. Another great thing about the downtown area was that parking was so cheap! It was only $1 an hour to park downtown which will shock those from nearby cities like Chicago or Milwaukee.

Riviera Beach

Located right in the heart of downtown Lake Geneva, Riviera Beach provides the perfect way to cool off when it’s hot outside. Though the city was packed last weekend, the beach itself wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. The beach area was clean and had lifeguards watching the water. There was a charge to get in the beach area but, if you are looking to save money and don’t care about getting in the water, there is a large grassy area right behind the beach that’s great for picnics and doesn’t cost anything to enjoy. Make sure to stop in the adjacent Riviera Pavilion for some ice cream, too!

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:

If you are traveling via car make sure to stop by the nearby Jelly Belly Factory for a free tour and candy. The Mars Cheese Castle is a great place to stop for lunch and some snacks on your way to Lake Geneva as well!

Families will love staying in a suite at Timber Ridge Lodge for waterpark access. (They also have giant jet tubs for a little end of the day relaxing….)

We ate at a handful of restaurants but a couple I’d suggest are Carvetti’s Bar & Grill and Popeye’s. Carvetti’s has a nice patio area and, best of all, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal! Popeye’s is right across from the beach and has nice lake views. I loved sitting in their outdoor table area and their food was really good.

Have you visited Lake Geneva before? If so, I’d love to hear about your favorite family-friendly activities!

 

Wisconsin Getaway

Disclosure: I am receiving a free stay at the resort in exchange for a post.

We’ve started planning our spring and summer trips and I’m so excited to visit some new places! Along with a couple longer trips we try to take smaller road trips that are just a day or two long because with Sinisa’s work schedule these are the easiest for us to do. We get up to Wisconsin quite often and I’m looking forward to exploring a new town. We will be staying at the beautiful Blue Harbor Resort & Spa in Sheboygan.

Blue Harbor Resort & Spa is the #1 resort on Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coast. With stunning beachfront and water views, Blue Harbor Resort features 182 suites, 64 villas, more than 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a 54,000 square-foot indoor waterpark entertainment area including a mini glow golf course, a full service spa, three restaurants, and recreation amenities including watersports and access to the Bull golf course. This award winning resort is located just two hours north of Chicago in nearby and scenic Sheboygan, WI, and is known as the “Malibu of the Midwest.”

To plan a trip to the resort yourself, visit BlueHarborResort.com or call 866.701.BLUE. My Readers receive FREE Water Park Passes and Savings Up to 30% OFF with this exclusive Blue Harbor Resort coupon http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=11746&dealid=1749.

Escape The Cold At Wilderness Resort {Wisconsin Dells}

My family and I received a complimentary stay at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells but thoughts are my own.

During the winter, on frigid Chicago days, we like to escape to the indoor water parks of Wisconsin Dells. We recently visited the Wilderness Resort to explore all the new indoor fun they had from water slides to go karts to mini golf.

We spent the majority of our time in our bathing suits playing at three of the four indoor water parks on the property. Our favorite one was the Klondike Kavern and their large family friendly play structure called the Bonanza Bluff. The boys especially loved the fact that they could go down the water slides all by themselves. The Wild WaterDome’s wave pool (the largest indoor wave pool in the nation!) was fun for all and I really liked all of the sunlight coming through the roof.

We didn’t go on many water slides as a family while we were there since the kids are both small but there are a variety of both tube and raft slides to choose from. We went on one that was completely dark throughout most of the ride which we all enjoyed.

After a water filled day of fun we had a nice, spacious room to go back to. The room had two double beds, two person table and dresser with tv on one side of a privacy wall and then a wet bar with stools and sitting area on the other. The sitting area features a sleeper sofa, coffee table, television, and sink area.

The room had both a microwave and mini-fridge which means you can bring your own snacks and meals for the kids. The room also features a deck off the sleeping area which is perfect for trips taken in the warmer months. Ours faced a wooded area which would make for a relaxing way to end the day.

Though the draw of the Wilderness Resort is the water parks, they also feature a lot of other family friendly activities to do. We got Wild Fun Passes which gave us admission to some of the top attractions at the resort. We played blacklight mini-golf together and raced go karts.

Sinisa and the boys even went on a high ropes course. I was so proud of the boys, especially Jacob who is afraid of heights but tried the course anyways.

I’m really glad that we got the Wild Fun Pass because we were able to do things that we normally wouldn’t (like the sky ropes course). The passes can be used by anyone in the family so if one person doesn’t want to do something on their pass another family member can use it. If you are interested in this pass, I saw on the website today that these passes are buy three, get one free. Learn more about the pass and the limited time offer here.

We can’t wait to visit the Wilderness Resort again soon!

Take A Mini-Vacation At Chula Vista Resort {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I am a Chula Vista Resort Ambassador and received a free stay at the resort. All thoughts are my own.)

Everyone needs to get away from it all once in a while so I’m really excited to be working with Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells to offer a giveaway for a two-night stay! Their indoor waterpark is the perfect way to escape the cold winter days. We went there this summer and had a great time! Here are some pictures of the resort:

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GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a two-night stay in the tower guest rooms at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

(The winner will be able to upgrade to a suite, villa, or condo for a nominal fee if they’d like to.)

HOW TO ENTER: 

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Check out Chula Vista’s website and tell me what your favorite thing about the resort is

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @ChulaVistaWI on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Subscribe to this blog via email

6) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends December 10, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 21 or older to enter. Giveaway includes resort stay only, no other fees are covered.

Chula Vista Resort Exclusive Discount For My Readers {25% Off Your Stay!}

I am so excited to bring you all this exclusive discount to Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells! I am a Chula Vista Resort Brand Ambassador along with 8 other bloggers and this discount we are sharing is the best discount that you will find. I loved our stay at Chula Vista Resort and I’m sure you will enjoy a stay there as well.

Here are the details on this exclusive discount:

The discount is valid any Sunday–Thursday, now through November 27, 2013, and on any room style. The only day it’s not valid is October 13, 2013. Find out more about the resort, the discount details and make reservations using this link to get the 25% off.

(Disclosure: As an ambassador, my family stayed at the resort for free. Thoughts are my own. I may receive compensation for posting this discount.)

Cave Of The Mounds {Blue Mounds, WI}

Last month we went on a mini-vacation to Wisconsin Dells. On our way there we made a slight detour off our route because I had arranged for my family to go on a press tour of Cave of the Mounds, a National Natural Landmark. I had never heard of this cave before July but it sounded really interesting so it was worth the 45 minutes or so of additional drive time.

Once we arrived at Cave of the Mounds we signed up for a cave tour time and then went into a little gift shop filled with beautiful rocks and gemstones.

In the gift shop were bags of sand for purchase. These weren’t just filled with sand but some had gemstones hidden inside and some had fossils in them. We chose to dig for gemstones. Once we got the bags we went to the “mining” area and dumped the bags out into sifters.

At first the boys just dug through the sand and then rinsed the rocks off in the water. Eventually though they immersed the whole sifter of sand in the running water and found the smaller rocks that way.

The boys thought this mining process was lots of fun. Each boy found about 15 rocks/gemstones in their bag of sand. After we did our mining it was time for our cave tour. The small group of people on the tour are first led into a small room where we watched a movie about the cave and it’s history.

I found the movie really interesting though it was kind of hard for the kids to sit through because they are used to animated shows. Once we watched the movies we were led into the cold, dark cave. I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

The inside of the cave was beautiful. All these rock formations had formed inside and our tour guide explained how this cave had been built over thousands of years.

The tour ended up lasting a lot longer than I thought it was going to. The boys behaved pretty well during it and only started getting antsy at the end.

I took so many pictures inside the cave but the pictures don’t really do it justice. It’s really something you just have to experience yourself :)

Once the tour was over Lucas wanted to dig for more gemstones. We went to a big sandbox full of gemstones where the kids could use shovels to dig for goodies they could take home.

Look at this pretty rock I found!

Also, on the grounds are a beautiful garden area and plenty of greenery. We wanted to finish our trip to the Dells so we didn’t get a chance to check out the garden area but it looked nice and serene.

Overall, we had a great afternoon at Cave of the Mounds. It was a fun way to enjoy nature and was definitely worth the drive. Learn more about Cave of the Mounds, National Natural Landmark, here.

(Disclosure: We received press tickets but all thoughts are my own.)

Original Wisconsin Ducks {Wisconsin Dells, WI}

When I was younger my family went to Wisconsin Dells and rode on vehicles called “Ducks”. That is one of the things I wanted to do with my own family when we went to the Dells last week. There are multiple different “Ducks” there now, so I wasn’t sure which one I had gone on when I was little so we decided to stick with the “Original” ones.

Since I didn’t know how long the wait was until the next ride, the boys and I sat in the car while Sinisa went and bought our tickets. When he came back, tickets in hand, and told me he’d just spent almost $80 I could not believe it. Obviously, I did not look at prices when I was younger so I don’t know if that’s how much it was or if the price had went up a lot.

The Ducks depart every 10 minutes so we didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes. They travel on both land and water. Each Duck has a driver who also acts as a tour guide. Ours was hilarious and told jokes must of the ride. He also pointed things out along the way.

The views from the boat were beautiful and I really enjoyed being on the water. The boat didn’t travel as fast as I had remembered it did. We went into the water at one point and made a splash with the boat but other than that it was a pretty calm ride. On land we didn’t go more than 20 miles per hour but there were points in the woods where I definitely felt like I was on a roller coaster (and Jacob loved that part).

Overall, it was a nice way to relax in the constant flurry of a tourist town. I think it’s something that every Wisconsin Dells visitor should do at least once just because of it’s iconic status.

(Disclosure: As stated above we bought our own tickets. This post is not compensated in any way.)

Chula Vista Resort {Wisconsin Dells, WI}

I am so excited to be heading to Wisconsin Dells in a couple weeks. I am a Chula Vista Resort Ambassador so my family will be staying at the Chula Vista Resort which I’ve never been to before. The pictures on the website make me even more excited because it looks like we are going to have an amazing time. I am looking forward to relaxing and my kids are looking forward to checking out the waterpark.

And you don’t think I’d leave you all, my readers, out of the fun do you!? After our mini-vacation I will be giving away a 2 night stay at Chula Vista Resort to one of you so you can take your family on a fun vacation, too!

(Disclosure: As stated above, I am a Chula Vista Resort Ambassador so I am receiving a complementary stay. All thoughts are my own.)

Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty {Wisconsin Dells, WI}

One of my favorite Midwest vacation destinations is Wisconsin Dells. I remember going there when I was younger and we would always have breakfast at least one morning at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty.

Now that I have kids of my own I knew we had to stop by the restaurant when we went to the Dells for our very first family vacation.

Everything was just like I had remembered. Old fashioned tables and tableware and homemade food served family style. It was a great way to start off the day. My favorite are their sugar covered doughnuts! And just a heads up- if you want French Toast you need to get there early in the morning because that’s the only time they offer them.

Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty serves lunch and dinner as well but I’ve never tried anything but their breakfast selection. They also have a cute little touristy store that you can shop in while you wait for your table.

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. We paid for our meal and all thoughts are my own.)