After more than a week in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, we’re ready to take a go a bit farther and explore Wisconsin a bit. This state north of Illinois has a diverse geography, with its interior featuring forests and farmlands. The latter is immediately visible as we drive the interstate, while the former takes a bit of getting out of the main roads. Wisconsin overall is a charming place, and it makes for a great weekend road trip.
Wisconsin Deer Park
After about a three-hour drive (lengthened by a stop at a Pizza Hut restaurant, where we chatted with the friendly manager), we first stop at the Wisconsin Deer Park. The name’s self-explanatory: the park is home to herds of deer, primarily consisting of white-tailed deer and European fallow deer. White-tailed deer are native to North America and are known for their distinct white tail and graceful appearance. European fallow deer are originally from Europe and have a distinctive spotted coat.
One of the highlights of the park is the opportunity to feed the deer. Visitors can purchase deer feed at the front desk for $6 a bag. Feeding the deer allows for a close and personal interaction with these gentle animals. Guidelines provided by the park ensure the safety of both visitors and the deer.
The deer in the park are accustomed to human presence and have become tame over time. They approach visitors and expect to be fed. This creates an up-close experience with the deer and offers the chance to observe their behavior and characteristics.
There are other species as well, but they’re enclosed in cages, including a large, majestic elk, a couple of llamas, and Japanese sika deer (which produces a cute high-pitched noise).
Visiting the Wisconsin Deer Park can be a fun and educational experience, particularly for families and animal lovers. It offers an opportunity to connect with nature and observe wildlife up close.
Wisconsin River Boat Tour
Afterwards, we head a bit north at the Dells Boat Tours, where we avail of the hour-long trip down the Lower Wisconsin River. It’s a cold afternoon, but we don’t mind as we cruise along the river, as a river boat tour in the Wisconsin Dells is often considered a highlight of a visit to this city. The tour takes us along the Wisconsin River, showing us the natural beauty of the area. The towering rock formations, carved by water over millions of years, create a stunning backdrop for our cruise. The Dells’ unique geological features, including cliffs, canyons, and caves, make for a visually captivating experience.
Wisconsin Dells local Gary, our boat driver and tour guide, dishes various information on the river’s ecosystem as well as the history of his city.
The river boat tour provides a unique perspective on the area’s natural wonders, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surroundings and learn about its history.
Afterwards, rather than return to Illinois in the evening, we check in at a cheap hotel just outside Wisconsin Dells, with the idea of exploring one more city in Wisconsin the next day.