By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jun 22, 2022 at 4:01 PM Photography: Bear Paw Beach Facebook

It's officially summer, and temperatures are scraping triple-digits, so we're all looking for a place to cool off. Well, there are few places cooler – in all definitions of the word – than Bear Paw Beach and Adventure Island in Caledonia.

Located adjacent to Jellystone Park camp and resort, Bear Paw Beach offers tons of fun under the sun for kids young, old and young at heart – from a giant man-made lake to splash around in to nightly drone shows and plentiful beach space to lounge away a sweltering day. But the star of the show is Adventure Island, Bear Paw Beach's impressive inflatable water park found in the middle of the lake, the largest of its kind in the Midwest featuring all sorts of tricky obstacles, slippery slides, bouncy bridges and more. 

Adventure Island was already massive when I bounced by (and not-so-gracefully bounced off its many challenges) last year. But somehow Bear Paw Beach's star summer attraction got even bigger in 2022, adding several new obstacles – namely "The Mountain," an intimidating 13-foot-tall piece featuring multiple ways to slide off, all ending with a satisfying splashdown. And according to Bear Paw Beach, there's even more new obstacles still on their way this summer. 

What's NOT new, however, is how utterly terrible I am at navigating this floating obstacle oasis. See for yourself:

And in round two of Matt versus Adventure Island, the latter comes out with the win once again while I just come out with wet clothes.

But while I once again stumbled, splattered and splashed my way across Adventure Island with all the grace and dignity of a drunken seal, I also once again had a blast doing it. For adults, it's a great flashback to the obstacle courses of one's youth as well as an outstanding workout – one far more fun and engaging than merely swimming laps or running on the treadmill. And obviously for kids, it's an entertaining hoot, confirmed by all the laughs and smiles from those playing away the hot summer day around me. (Though they might have all just been laughing at me too.)

To dive into Adventure Island and Bear Paw Beach for yourself, admission and more information is available at the locale's website. Have fun and stay cool out there, Milwaukee!

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.