Monday, April 16, 2012

Warm Weather Means Early Start to Wisconsin Dells Attractions

Wisconsin Dells, WI, USA /PRWEB/ -- Wisconsin Dells outdoor attractions typically spend the spring cleaning up debris and dirt left behind by the harsh winter, while still dodging snowflakes to get their properties ready for the busy travel season. But this spring’s unusual warm streak has allowed operations such as the Original Wisconsin Ducks to open early and begin taking visitors out for open-air rides on the family-favorite vintage amphibious vehicles.

“Some years we actually have to plow snow from our trails in order to open in the spring,” said Dan Gavinski, general manager of Original Wisconsin Ducks. “So this beautiful warm weather is fantastic and has increased spring business substantially over last year at this time.”

The Original Wisconsin Ducks opened for tours March 10, one of the earliest opening dates ever for the operation now in its 67th season. The good weather and early opening means more families can take in a Duck ride during their spring break trips to the Dells. Last year the area saw a horrible spring, with cold temperatures and lots of rain. That took a major toll on the Duck’s spring business, which can have a measured effect on the overall visitor numbers for such outdoor attractions that have a limited window of opportunity each year.

At the Ducks sister attraction, Dells Boat Tours, it is the first time in many years the crew has been able to begin offering tours this early on the Upper Dells portion of the Wisconsin River. The first excursions went out March 14, about 10 days earlier than normal. Typically tours don’t ramp up until April 1, due to cold weather and tourists not wanting to go out on the water Gavinski said. If the warm weather holds out, more tours may be added to the schedule and the shorelandings may open early. Right now the tours still can’t make the two stops because, believe it or not, there is still some ice lurking deep in the gulches along the river.

Down the street at the Tommy Bartlett Show, it’s been tempting to slip on the water skis and dive into Lake Delton, with air temperatures hovering near 80 degrees in recent days. But despite the warm air, water temperatures will still take some time to catch up. In just two short months, the Tommy Bartlett Water-ski Team hits the lake as the Show celebrates its 60th season on Lake Delton. They typically have ice in front of their water stage at this point. This year the balmy spring means getting out early to spruce up the Show’s 5,000-seat amphitheater and grounds, as well as opening up employee housing and beginning to get the ski boat fleet ready to launch.

“Getting that site prep work out of the way early helps us a great deal this year, as we have a big Tommy Bartlett alumni reunion weekend to plan in celebration of our 60th year, so more time outside to get ready is always welcome,” said Jill Diehl, Vice President of Marketing and Finance for Tommy Bartlett, Inc.

And while the water-ski show doesn’t start until Memorial Day weekend, Diehl says the nice weather is still a boon to their year-round attraction, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, an interactive science center. Warm weather may draw more people to the area, plus they are putting in a new outdoor exhibit at the Exploratory, and Diehl says good conditions will help that installation. The new Giant Lever involves a large 67-foot beam, weighing almost three tons, on a support, allowing visitors to pull a rope and test their strength while lifting a full-sized vehicle off the ground.

While the weather is cooperating nicely for now, all are cautiously optimistic the warm streak will continue. Spring can be a fickle time in Wisconsin and it’s not unusual to still see snowflakes flying in April. For now, they just take advantage of the warm days and hope visitors will be itching to get out and enjoy getaways sooner and later.

Located 55 miles northwest of Madison, Wis., the Wisconsin Dells area had its beginnings in tourism more than 160 years ago. The beauty of the Wisconsin River’s rare sandstone cliffs drew visitors as early as the mid-1800s. Today Wisconsin Dells is the Midwest’s premier family vacation destination and the “Waterpark Capital of the World®.” The area’s diverse attractions and warm hospitality entertain visitors from across the nation.