Oddly, up until last weekend, I had gone to all of the water parks in The Dells except Noah's Ark, which has been in existence since 1979 and is the largest outdoor water park in America.
For people like myself who love The Dells, going to Noah's Ark is almost a rite of passage, and I'm surprised it took me so long to check it out.
First of all, I was blown away by the large size of Noah's Ark. It's 70 acres and features 51 water rides, two wave pools and two endless rivers. To me, it felt more like Six Flags Great America than a water park.
Because of the ride range of water experiences available, Noah's Ark really will appeal to people of all ages. For those still wearing Lil' Swimmers, there are multiple waterplay areas including the tadpole kiddie area, which is colorful, interactive and very shallow, and for those who seek a moderate level of water thrills, the zip lines are fun as well as many other "middle of the road" slides like the four-person Kowabunga and the classic bumper boats.
For the ultimate thrill seekers, the new Quadzilla, Black Anaconda and Scorpion's Tale are the lines to get in. We tried all of the slides, and found the Black Anaconda to be our favorite because it's very much like a water roller coaster â€“ in fact, it's called a "watercoaster" â€“ and it's 1/4-mile long.
There's also a new 4-D theater featuring a part-ride / part "eye-popping" movie experience. For some unknown reason, we did not try this one, but will certainly do so next time.
The lines definitely get long, so marketing director Amy Muller suggests coming to Noah's Ark for the whole day, but coming and going to avoid the midday peak time.
Visitors can leave the water park with a wristband, and many people choose to tailgate, which is permitted. Otherwise, food options include the usual fair-type foods: burgers, hot dogs, fries and sweets like cotton candy, funnel cakes and fudge. There's also a few outdoor bars and a new barbecue restaurant.
It's also less crowded on rainy or cooler summer days. As long as it's not storming and there's no lightning, Noah's Ark stays open during summer rains. "You'll get the run of the park," says Muller.
Also, Noah's Ark offers wetsuits for free, with a $30 deposit. They come in all different sizes and are handy for people visiting at the beginning or end of the season.
Be sure to bring a towel. Noah's Ark does not rent towels, but they are for sale for $10-$18 in the gift shop. Wear flip-flops or water shoes, too, because there's lots of walking on blacktop in between attractions. Lockers are also available.
We deeply appreciated the availability of chairs / seating inside the park. Although it was a warm, busy day, we never had a problem finding a table or chairs and usually in the shade. We also appreciated how many lifeguards were on duty. Twice, we saw a lifeguard in action and were amazed by how swiftly they brought the struggling swimmer to safety.
Ironically, however, the event that had the most impact on us had nothing to do with water. We witnessed a security guard ask a man with a large swastika tattoo on his chest to leave the park. The man did not put up a fight, but said a few strong words, put his shirt on and left.
We had a conversation with the kids about what happened, and thanked the security guard for asking the man to leave.
"Of course," he said. "That's very offensive."
Tickets to Noah's Ark cost $36.99 plus tax. Kids who are 47 inches or shorter are $28.99 plus tax and kids 2 and under are free.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Nov. 30, 2015
OnMilwaukee heard Children's Hospital was in need of socks, and so we decided to help out with a Holiday Sock Drive to collect pairs and packages of socks for infants, children, teens and adults.
Published Nov. 29, 2015
Recently, OnMilwaukee caught up with Chris March, a finalist on season four of "Project Runway," "Project Runway All-Star Challenge" and creator of the exuberant, whimsical costumes for the Skylight's "My Fair Lady."
Published Nov. 27, 2015
On a recent Friday afternoon, we stopped in for lunch at Liquid Johnny's in West Allis. No, we did not have a "liquid lunch," despite the name of the bar and restaurant, but we certainly thought about it.
Published Nov. 26, 2015
The Black Friday shopping experience is a big, mixed bag of savings and safety issues. Milwaukee's Melanie Rice and Bryan Zysk know this first-hand. One even suffered a broken foot in a brawl over a DVD player.
Published Nov. 25, 2015
Recently, OnMilwaukee's Molly Snyder went to the Brew City Bruisers Boot Camp to test her roller skating skills and bad assery. Turns out, she spent a lot of time on her bad ass.
Published Nov. 24, 2015
Candy Cane Lane will celebrate 30 years this season when it plugs in the lights on Friday, Nov. 27. They will stay aglow through Sunday, Dec. 27.
Published Nov. 22, 2015
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin offers an array of social services, including The Robyn's Nest, run by Lona Long and a team of volunteers to provide clothing and other items to kids and foster families.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
Earlier this week, after looking at tragic photos of Syrian refugee children on Facebook, Gretchen Mead decided she was going to invite refugees to stay in extra rooms in her bungalow-style home in Shorewood.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
Suddenly, the warm-and-comfy factor in bars is a big deal, and so OnMilwaukee stepped up and went out on a couple of windy, chilly nights last week to scout out some of the city's coziest bars.
Published Nov. 19, 2015
Recently, we posted a story about the now-defunct Captain's Steak Joynt chain of restaurants and many readers remembered its famous cheese fondue. We got the recipe and last night we made it.