When choosing lodging at a Wisconsin Dells’ water park, people usually make decisions like whether or not they want a room or a suite. But recently, when planning our trip to Mt. Olympus, we picked ... wait for it ... a tree house.
The tree houses – located a few blocks from the main attractions – are actually "tree houses." They are not in a real tree, but are perched atop a large, somewhat-real-looking, trunk-like construction and elevated 12 feet in the air.
There’s a flight of stairs that lead to the door of the tree house, which was slightly disappointing for the kids, who hoped for a rope ladder, but made hauling luggage into the space a breeze.
There is a double bed and a bunk bed in each house and a cot is available for a fifth sleeper if need be. The space is pretty simple: lots of exposed wood and a couple of silly signs on the wall like "No Grown Ups Allowed."
The windows, tilted and wonky on purpose, are the most endearing aspect of the structure.
There’s also a microwave, refrigerator, television and heating/cooling unit inside and a picnic table, fire pit and grill outside.
However, there is not a bathroom inside the tree house, which made us a bit skeptical of the experience originally, but turned out to be no big deal.
There’s a very nice, clean bathroom just a few hundred yards from the cluster of tree houses, and especially for those who camp, walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night is just part of the fun.
"The experience is supposed to feel like staying in someone’s backyard tree house," says Adam Makowski, the general manager at Mt. Olympus.
The price of the tree houses is $80-200 per night depending on the date. Rental includes admission to Mt. Olympus' water and amusement park.
"It’s something different," says Makowski.
Overall, the tree houses are definitely "something different" and the kids really loved the experience, which always makes or breaks it for parents. It’s particularly meaningful if kids are familiar with the popular "Magic Tree House" series of books by Mary Pope Osborne.
Plus, tree house rental can be an affordable choice if families are able to go during the week and prepare meals on the grill to eat at the picnic table.
For those who don’t like to camp and / or stay in cabins, however, the tree houses might not be the right choice.
Opened in 2004, Mt. Olympus features four main areas: an outdoor theme park called Zeus' Playground, Poseidon's outdoor water park, an indoor water park named after Medusa and an indoor amusement park, the Parthenon.
The access to the amusement parks definitely adds more thrill to the visit. Both the indoor and the outdoor park features rides for very young children as well as a range of roller coasters – all, with the exception of one, are wooden – and range from the tame to the terrifying.
This year, the biggest coaster, Hades, was upgraded to include an upside-down loop, along with the 65-foot drop and the world's longest underground tunnel. At one point there's an unexpected 90-degree turn in total darkness.
Hades is as thrilling as any ride at Six Flags. And the rickety-ness of wooden coasters always adds extra oomph to the thrill.
"Hades is the world’s first upside-down wooden roller coaster," says Makowski.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.