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Museum Guide for Wisconsin Dells

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When looking around at all the water parks and boat tour offerings in Wisconsin Dells, it might not be obvious that the history of the area goes back almost 500 million years — all the way to the Cambrian Period! The area that so fascinates visitors today was a simple sandy shore until about 15,000 years ago, when a huge glacier melted to form Lake Wisconsin, followed by a massive flood which proceeded to gauge out the narrow gorges, rock formations, and steep-sided canyons that now characterize the region. As could be expected therefore, Wisconsin Dells has no shortage of museums devoted to aspects of this fascinating past. Here are some of the best museums in the area.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker

8 Places

4 City Tips

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Map

8 Places

H.H. Bennett Studio

Historic Sites, History Museums, Speciality Museums

Museum of Historic Torture Devices

History Museums

Ripley's Believe It or Not Wisconsin Dells

Speciality Museums

Circus World

Speciality Museums

Parsons Indian Trading Post

Gift & Speciality Shops

Tommy Bartlett Exploratory

Speciality Museums

Aldo Leopold Foundation

Historic Sites

The Bavarian Village

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Melanie F's City Tips

  • You don't have to drive everywhere in Wisconsin Dells, thanks to ample bus, rail, and ferry route options.
  • Off-season and weekday visits can save money, and you'll deal with smaller crowds.
  • You'll want to take in some nature, so be sure to bring sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Ask the front desk at wherever you're staying for discount coupons to attractions in the area.
  • H.H. Bennett Studio
    Historic Sites, History Museums, Speciality Museums
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    Melanie F Says:

    Civil War veteran, landscape photographer, inventor, and visual historian, H.H. Bennett played a crucial role in making Wisconsin Dells famous. His restored 1875 studio is a treasure trove of history, from Bennett's workspaces to his works themselves. The interactive exhibits here allow visitors to experience the photographer's innovative stereoscopic works through both a 19th-century stereoscopic viewer and modern, high-tech 3D imaging.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Family admission prices are available.
    • Metered parking is usually available.
    • During peak season, the museum is open daily, but note that it is closed from late October through early May.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 43 things to do in Wisconsin Dells
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun and well-reserved history on the Dells' main street 22/09/2018
    • This is where it all started! 09/08/2018
    • H.H. Bennett Studio
    Address:
    215 Broadway
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-1504
    Phone:
    +1 608-253-3523
    Price range:
    US$10 - US$10
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Museum of Historic Torture Devices
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Melanie F Says:

    The Museum of Historic Torture Devices is definitely not for everyone, but for those so inclined it offers a captivating way to spend an afternoon. Located in Downtown Wisconsin Dells, the museum showcases a private collection of torture devices from all over the world. There's even a special exhibit dedicated to Chicago's own serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Check the website for admission coupons.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 43 things to do in Wisconsin Dells
    • Good fun 26/07/2018
    • Wish I had my money back 01/07/2018
    • Museum of Historic Torture Devices
    Address:
    305 Broadway
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-1592
    Phone:
    +1 630-628-9696
    Other:
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not Wisconsin Dells
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Melanie F Says:

    Three floors and 11 galleries of fun, Ripley's Believe It or Not is home to a wild and wacky collection of the truly bizarro.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Don't miss the vampire gallery.
    • Lot parking is available.
    • Purchase tickets on the website to receive a discount.
    • The museum is open daily until 11pm - which also makes it a fun and alternative evening out.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 43 things to do in Wisconsin Dells
    • Interesting Curiosities 11/10/2018
    • A fun place to experience 10/10/2018
    • Ripley's Believe It or Not Wisconsin Dells
    Address:
    115 Broadway
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-1549
    Phone:
    +1 608-254-2184
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
    Other:
  • Circus World
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Melanie F Says:

    The circus has always amazed and astounded young and old, and Circus World is no different. It allows all — ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls — to experience the magic up close and persona through its massive museum of circus-themed artifacts and exhibits, as well as live shows.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Bring comfortable walking shoes.
    • Shows are limited during the spring and fall seasons. To truly take advantage of the wonders that Circus World has to offer, it is best to visit during the summer.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 26 things to do in Baraboo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Loads to see! 11/10/2018
    • Circus Wagon Preserve History 05/10/2018
    • Circus World
    Address:
    550 Water St
    Baraboo, WI 53913-2578
    Phone:
    +1 608-356-8341
    Price range:
    US$19 - US$19
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Parsons Indian Trading Post
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    Melanie F Says:

    The oldest and the largest trading post and museum in all of the Midwest, Parson’s Trading Post & Museum has an impressive collection of Native American artifacts that will enchant history buffs and art lovers alike. The post originally opened as a general store in 1914 and Native Americans from various tribes in the area came here to purchase supplies and sell their own handcrafted wares. The museum showcases everything from weapons and household utensils to clothing and religious items.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Ask questions! The staff members here are really knowledgeable, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the culture and traditions of Native Americans.
    • Stop into the Trading Post shop for unique souvenirs and authentic items from Native American tribes from all over North America.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 18 Shopping in Wisconsin Dells
    • Wisconsin Dells must 14/08/2018
    • Very interesting place 06/08/2018
    • Parsons Indian Trading Post
    Address:
    370 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-9647
    Phone:
    +1 608-254-8533
  • Tommy Bartlett Exploratory
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Melanie F Says:

    Kids and adults alike will love learning and playing at Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, a fascinating museum with almost 200 interactive science displays. Try using the Giant Lever to lift a 5000-pound car, ride the High Wire SkyCycle, or experience the hair-raising (literally) Bridge of Fire exhibit. Whatever you try, you'll learn something and have fun in the process!

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The museum is open daily: 9am-9pm in summer, and 10am-4pm the rest of the year.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 43 things to do in Wisconsin Dells
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Weird (and Wonderful) Science! 11/10/2018
    • Learning fun! 18/09/2018
    • Tommy Bartlett Exploratory
    Address:
    560 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-8444
    Phone:
    +1 608-254-2525
    Other:
  • Aldo Leopold Foundation
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Melanie F Says:

    Aldo Leopold Foundation is not a traditional museum, but it's a great way to learn about and get in touch with nature. Located in Baraboo, about a 20-minute drive from Wisconsin Dells, the foundation aims to preserve and further the work of Aldo Leopold, an internationally renown conservationist, by promoting a relationship between people and land, and by teaching about restoration and conservation. The site is centered around the Leopold Shack, a re-built chicken coop where the ecologist spent weekends with his family, and visitors can explore exhibits about Leopold's legacy before or after exploring the surrounding trails.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Lot parking is available.
    • Tour trails are not accessible by wheelchair.
    • Check the website for special events and programs.
    • Guided and self-guided shack tours are available.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 26 things to do in Baraboo
    • Such an amazing place! 08/08/2018
    • The Place Where the Land Ethic Began 04/08/2018
    • Aldo Leopold Foundation
    Address:
    E13701 Levee Rd
    Baraboo, WI 53913-9727
    Phone:
    +1 608-355-0279
    Price range:
    US$7 - US$7
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Sat
    10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • The Bavarian Village
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Melanie F Says:

    If you've ever wondered what a Glockenspiel is, now's the chance to get up close and personal with one! The Bavarian Village is a small hamlet done up to resemble a traditional Bavarian village, replete with specialty shops, restaurants, and other living museum-type entertainments.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Open daily from 10am to 5pm.
    • Every half hour, there is a performance of the Pied Piper of Hamelin fairytale in front of the Glockenspiel.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #34 of 43 things to do in Wisconsin Dells
    • Its cute to take pictures of, but not much else. 04/09/2018
    • Cute little place to go 04/09/2018
    • The Bavarian Village
    Address:
    400 Broadway
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-1507
    Phone:
    +1 608-253-7598
    Other:
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