Paintball to Ping-Pong: Indoor Activities Beyond the Indoor Waterpark

By Mary Bergin

Plan on hibernating until spring? Nonsense. Subzero temps and nasty windchills need not turn us into couch potatoes because we fear frostbite. People, you have excellent outlets for staying active indoors – and they go beyond the thick wave of waterparks in Wisconsin Dells.

Eight examples:


Is table tennis your sport? Then head to this action packed entertainment outlet, which offers exercise, meals and cocktails. Although open to families, the vibe is a better fit for adults who seek a place to both burn calories and relax. Reserva a table by the hour, check out the Pro shop, join a ping-pong league or book a room (with a private bar and playing table). Evolution's 13 table tennis courts are in use day and night: during lunch breaks, after work to unwind and into the wee hours of nightclubbing.


No experience is necessary to confront two climbing walls, each 30 feet high, through Stout Adventures at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Eleven ropes and at least 40 routes head skyward. These courses are designed to appeal to all skill levels of rappelling. Day passes to annual memberships are available. Sign up for a “try climbing” class, an introduction to the climbing that includes an explanation of the sport, equipment rental, and assistance during four climbs.


Turn back the clock and take your honey to a 1928 ballroom southeast of Appleton, near the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, for dancing the way it used to be: coupled, hand-in-hand and cheek-to-cheek.

You likely won’t linger on the Crystal Ballroom’s verandah or deck during this time of year, but any season is fine for a foxtrot, rumba, samba or elegant waltz. Ballroom dances welcome all levels of skill from 8-11 p.m. Fridays and 2-5 p.m. first Sunday of the month. Feeling out of your element? Lessons (for a nominal fee) happen before the dancing begins on Fridays.


Suit up, load up on ammo and prepare to meet the enemy. The Midwest’s biggest indoor facility for paintball will test your stealth, reflexes and ability to work in a team. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never played. Staffers routinely and deliberately mix novices and veterans before games begin. It is the same with equipment: If you don’t have your own (paintball guns to masks), it is available to rent.
Come alone or with friends. Shoot up to 1,000 paintballs in a day. If paint splats don’t sound fun, laser tag is another option.

KNUCKLEHEADS - Wisconsin Dells

Under the roof of one of the state’s largest indoor amusement parks is entertainment for all ages. Among the dozen diversions: a game arcade, train roller coaster, four-dimension theater ride, indoor jumping pillow, inflatable jumping pirate ship, bumper cars, bowling lanes and go kart tracks (some cars are designed to carry an adult and small child). It’s one price to play all day, or pay per ride. Amuse yourself with Ballocity, where ball shooters climb tunnels and slides. Expand the day by booking a meal in a party room whose theme matches your children’s interests.


No bowling center in Wisconsin is bigger than this one, which boasts 72 lanes and is on the outskirts of Milwaukee. Strike up whatever mood seems suitable and fun. Sure, there’s bowling as you’ve always known it, but consider showing up for Xtreme Bowling, which adds unusual bowling challenges, dimmed lights and hyped-up music. 


The two outdoor Vitense miniature golf courses sure look forlorn during this time of year, but that’s a fooler. Inside are another 18 holes to test your skills and burn the kids’ excess energy. Maneuver a remote control boat around the little lakes that are a part of this course. Or buy a bucket of balls to practice full-size swings at 18 covered and heated tees. Another option is venturing to the indoor putting green. Add a little Skee-Ball at the game arcade, and the day’s complete.


Bow hunters who want to hone up on skills all year head to the new Antlers Archery, where three-dimensional targets up to 40 yards away make practice possible in any kind of weather. The 28 shooting stations accommodate single hunters to groups of up to 28. Expect targets in woodland settings to include forms that resemble exotic animals, wolves, deer, buffalo. Beginners take aim at bales of hay.

Practice on your own or sign up for league play and special events. 

This entry was posted in Things to Do, Entertainment and Attractions and tagged Features and Profiles