By Danielle Papineau
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
The annual summer family vacation is long awaited by parents and children alike. While the trip itself is all about fun, it’s the special memories created during these outings that truly last a lifetime.
Before you head out for your next summer vacation, consider these four kid-friendly getaways in Wisconsin. These one-of-a-kind vacations are created for all types of tykes, making sure no one is left out this summer.
For the Adventure-Seeker
For the young adventure seeker, the newer the summer attraction, the better. The NEW Zoo Adventure Park, located in Suamico, has only been around since 2014 but is already home to several exciting courses.
First, adventurers can challenge themselves to the Aerial Adventure Course, a 16-element obstacle course completed in three levels. Each level of the course takes participants higher and higher off the ground (not to worry…a user-friendly, smart snap safety system is used at all times) as they make their way through a wobble bridge, spider web, cargo net and more. The three-level system also allows for small children to explore at their own pace and only participate in the levels on which they feel comfortable.
Next, participants are challenged to a three-sided, 40-foot climbing tower. The climbing tower is open to all ages and the three sides provide a variety of levels of difficulty.
Finish off the exciting afternoon with a swing down the park’s zip line. Recommended for those 80 lbs. and up, the zip line’s side-by-side, 1,000-feet-long cables let families ride together while reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
After all the excitement, young adventurers can cap off their day with a walk around the zoo and a thousand stories to tell in the days to come.
For the Cowboy/Cowgirl
When your little cowboy or cowgirl hears the call of the wild – west, that is – look no further for some outdoor fun than the Wild West Campground located in Amherst. This campground features RV, camper or tent sites on a working 1850s horse ranch!
Of course, any trip to the Wild West wouldn’t be complete without a horseback ride or two. The campground offers a variety of riding options with an experienced guide and more than 20 horses to hit the trail with. Children seven years and older can ride their own horse with parental permission.
Just because you’re in the Wild West doesn’t mean modern-day amenities have to disappear. The campground features a game room, playground, volleyball, horseshoes, tetherball and more. Before you ride off into the sunset on this vacation make sure to also check out the tractor-pulled hayride and other weekly special events.
For the Foodie
In the summer months, Apple Holler is home to sugar snap pea, apple, peach and other pick-your-own patches perfect for a family with helping hands. Looking for something more filling? Apple Holler also boasts its own on-site restaurant featuring local favorites such as a Friday night fish fry, applewood-smoked roast turkey, all-you-can-eat apple pancakes and other local classics.
Once everyone’s bellies are full, head out for something to "holler" about. Meet the Farmyard Animal Friends including goats, horses, rabbits, ducks and other farm favorites. Once everyone is acquainted, children can discover and play at the farm park. While activities can vary by month, the farm park features pony rides, a tractor-pulled wagon through the Enchanted Forest, pedal carts, cow/corn maze, straw mountain, rainbow play system, a giant slide and more.
After you find your way back from all the fun, try one of Apple Holler’s many special events! During the summer, special activities include a trip to the Cedarburg Strawberry Festival complete with an Apple Holler breakfast, along with a Girls Day Out, the Madison Land and Lake Tour and more!
Is your child obsessed with games on the iPad? Do they love to pretend they are heroes of the stories they read? Let tykes step into a video/computer game of their own at Wizard Quest in Wisconsin Dells.
Wizard Quest is a fusion of a story-driven computer game combined with a real-life, 13,000-square-foot play place. During the adventure, guests come face-to-face with fairies, wizards, trolls, dragons and more as they try to find and free four realm wizards. Children will enjoy solving riddles, finding clues and discovering secret passageways in this unique environment. Wizard Quest offers two quests, with one targeting smaller children to ensure everyone can participate.
Once you have saved the day, spend time exploring the many other great activities located in Wisconsin Dells…while bragging about your heroic abilities, of course!