A Day With My Granddaughter: Part 3 of the Dells

A quick review of our trip so far. We had the very long car ride and then the very long ride to the festival where we saw a bunch of really neat things. But because of the heat and the long walk, we were all pretty happy to get back to the car. It was then that we decided to take one of the boat tours of the Dells.

Part three is the focus on the start of our tour of the Dells Boat Tours.

The Ride to the Dells Boat Tour

I wanted to ride the Duck Boat Tour. It was only an hour and I figured that would be easier to keep my granddaughter occupied and content than the two-hour Upper Dells Tour. I was outvoted, however, so it was off to the Dells Boat Tour.

These tours must be all connected because we rode one of the Duck Boats to get to the other tour!

Duck boatOur driver was a young lady who was a very good driver which made me happy because it was a madhouse downtown because of the festival!

So, once again, we were at the festival. Yep. If we had only known it we could have just gotten on the tour right there and wouldn’t have had to drive five miles back and then come back downtown…again!

This isn’t the greatest photo, but that’s my in-laws sitting in front of me and the young gal who was our driver of the Duck Boat.

In case you don’t know what I mean by a Duck Boat, it is a boat that has wheels and can travel on land and water. They were used by the military for use on land and water and are officially called a DUKW. According to an article in Wikipedia, “It is a a six-wheel-drive amphibious modification of the 2½-ton CCKW trucks used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War.”

Duck boatWe didn’t know that we were going to have a “mini” tour of the festival area, but because our Duck was used to transport people to and from the festival and to the Dells Boat Tour, we had a little tour!

Pictured is one of the Duck Boats from their brochure. If we go again, we are definitely taking the tour! I think it would be a great experience for my granddaughter!

Our driver was asked for directions to some place every single time we stopped. She was very gracious, though, and answered every person who asked her something. I’m guessing this is part of her job, but if not, she was a very amazing young lady!

We finally arrived at our stop and we were more than ready to get going on the “real” boat tour!

The Real Tour

The elevator that we took down to the boat launch had to have been operated by hand. It was so slow I could envision some tired man cranking the elevator up and down and taking VERY LONG breaks in between!

We finally got down to the launch just moments before the boat would depart. We gave the ticket-taker our tickets and boarded the boat.

I wanted to sit on the upper deck, but it was already packed full, so we went below which actually turned out to be a better thing because the weather was very warm and several people from the upper deck came down into the shady inner deck about part way through the tour.

I wasn’t sure what we were going to see on our tour. I figured water and rocks! I was pretty close. The fact is, though, the rocks and history are interesting. I would recommend the tour to anyone who is interested in the history of the Wisconsin River and specifically the Dells.

The tour features an amazing journey through the most pretty part of the Wisconsin River in the Upper Dells.

Our tour was to be two hours long to tour the 10 miles of that section of the river.

The Amazing Features in the Stone

sandstone cliffsThe rocks and cliffs that we saw were sandstone. The features were very amazing. It was strange to see trees growing through and out of the rocks.

The way the water had measured the years and events was evident and our guide and captain pointed out some interesting details.

We were shown many details along our trip. I just couldn’t get over the beautiful blue sky providing a backdrop to the awesome and majestic trees jutting from these cliffs.

I also found out something about the brown water that I will share with you.

When I saw how brown the river was, I thought, “This has to be the most polluted river I have ever seen.”

If you saw Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, you will know what I mean by the “chocolate river.”

In reality, the Wisconsin River is actually a very clean waterway.

According to the official Boat Tour Guidebook, “The brown color comes from a natural substance called tannic acid. The pigment is a harmless material derived primarily from the bark and roots of tamarack and oak trees in northern Wisconsin.”

Hmm…beautiful and educational, too!

Tying it all Together

There is more of the tour and you can enjoy the next installment soon!

Thank you for visiting my site. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please leave questions or comments below and I will get back to you very soon!

Notice: Purchases are made on external affiliate company websites. When you click on an affiliate link located on grandparentssecondstory.com to purchase an item, your are buying the item from the seller directly (not from grandparentssecondstory.com). Amazon and/or other companies pay grandparentssecondstory.com a small commission or other compensation for promoting their website or products through their affiliate program. Prices are exactly the same for you if your purchase is through an affiliate link or a non-affiliate link. You will not pay more by clicking through to the link through my site.

G.G. and JazAbout the author

Karin Nauber, “G.G.” is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping other grandparents who may be struggling with their role as parent/grandparents. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: gg@grandparentssecondstory.com.



  1. Hi Karin,
    I really enjoyed reading about your tour. We have three kids and try to take them to see new things and places several times a year. These are the best family experiences and memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. During the trips, we all get to know each other much better than during a boring daily routine.
    Keep posting and inspiring other parents and grandparents.

    • Mary,

      I am glad you have enjoyed reading about the tour. There is one more part to it, so check back soon, to catch our final leg of the journey! Traveling to points of interest is a great way to bond with the family. I always think about that film with Robin Williams—RV—it was a great story about a family reconnecting along with a lot of humor thrown in!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  2. Ok Karin, I am jealous LOL My friends are raising their granddaughter too and it looks like they are having a blast and so are you! I don’t have any grandchildren yet, BUT, I just found out we are going to be grandparents next February! I’d love to be able to go on trips like this with our grandson! These trips look like a lot of fun for everyone! Keep them coming! Love to see kids happy 🙂

    • Rob,
      There’s so much joy in raising a grandchild! There is so much joy in having grandchildren in your life! You will have so much fun when you are a grandpa! I bet you can hardly wait until that little guy is here! Spend as much time as you can because they grow up soon fast!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  3. Such beautiful pictures! I have many happy memories of going to the Dells as a kid. I grew up about 2 hours from there. I bet your granddaughter had the best time! I’ve never done the boat tour before, though.

    • Thanks for your comment, Holly. I think Wisconsin is a very pretty state. I love cliffs and rocks and interesting formations. It amazes me how the water and wind and elements can shape the rocks and give us a picture of the past events. If you ever get a chance to take the boat tour, I would encourage it. It was actually a lot of fun!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  4. I love reading your stories Karin, they always bring back some nice memories… My grannies would often take me to visit new places. My grandpa was the typical grumpy old man (just a front, he had a golden heart deep inside), any complication just made him angry. Honestly, he was involuntarily funny and my grandma and I just could not help bending over with laughters. She would whisper me: “Pretend you are coughing, otherwise he will realize you are making fun of him and get even angrier!”
    She was definitely my partner in crime. 🙂
    Love your website, definitely one of my favourite shelters for my nostalgia attacks.

    • Thank you, Andrew! I love that your grandma was your partner in crime! So was mine. She always had my back and would defend and support me through it all! I want to be that kind of grandma for my grandchildren. I am glad you enjoy my website!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *