The Original Wisconsin Ducks tours have been taking visitors for a ride for almost 70 years, and they really are pretty unique. Originally used to transport soldiers during WWII, these amphibious “ducks” take riders on an hour-long tour of Wisconsin’s Lake Delton, scenic wilderness, and through the Wisconsin River’s Lower Dells.
The Good: The tour starts off on land and takes you over some hills – my toddler was a little scared of the roller coaster-style drops. But, amazingly, he fell asleep in my lap almost as soon as the boat hit the water. Our guide told some pretty cheesy jokes throughout the tour, but she knew a lot about the area and it was nice to learn a little Wisconsin Dells history (albeit in the middle of a corny punch line).
The rock formations along the Wisconsin River were really gorgeous. The boat travels slowly through the water and the scenery was very peaceful.
The Bad: As trvljunkiefamily mentions in her review, towards the end of the tour is an awkward moment where the boat (well, it was on land at this point) stops in the middle of a wooded area to hand out booklets that give a bit more history and information about the duck tour. (At the time, there were 4 other duck boats stopped in the same area – I thought that this was the time where we’d all get cut up, Halloween-style. Seriously, it was pretty creepy.) She then went on to say how she purchased the books herself and was asking for a $5 donation to help her with college tuition to keep the books. (Mind you, the regular price of the tour is already $25 per person.) I felt bad for her and would’ve purchased the book if I carried cash on me, but it was more than uncomfortable to have to hand her back the book at the end of the tour after listening to her story.
Overall: Awkwardness aside, the picturesque tour was really nice, and my whole family enjoyed the ride…well, all except the two-year-old who slept through most of it.
If you’re planning to take the Original Wisconsin Ducks tour, I’d look online for coupons and specials before I shelled out the $25 per person to ride the ducks.
On my past Dells visits, I would always see those famous Ducks roaming around. Instead of carrying soldiers as it has in the past, this 7 ton half land, half water vehicles, now carry enthusiastic passengers curious about these vehicles’ capabilities - including our family.
Nitty Gritty: We were here on a Friday evening in July. During the summer, the last departure is at 6:00 p.m. There are plenty of Ducks eager to take passengers, so we never waited more than 10 minutes for our turn. There’s a concession stand where you can buy food and bring it with you on your ride. Admission is $24.41 for adults, $12.25 for children 4 - 11, and those children under 3 are free. Don’t forget to look for discounts.
After taking a picture for our Duck photographer, we were on our way and eager to experience what the Ducks were all about. It did not disappoint! Our Duck maneuvered through the woods, down steep drops and turns, then dipped into the Wisconsin River where you could see beautiful views of the cliffs and sandstone. Then finally, we splashed in Lake Delton. The entire ride was a perfect mixture of excitement and relaxation. Even my two-year-old toddler, whose attention span is usually nonexistent, enjoyed the ride immensely exclaiming “Whoa!!” with every sudden turn and drop. On the other hand, I felt that the ride was safe enough for my 7-month-old. In fact, he had fallen asleep when we were on the Wisconsin River.
Our guide told cheesy jokes with his narration, but honestly I didn’t mind at all. I think that's what made it so entertaining. Though I have to admit, his request for tips towards the end was a bit awkward. I'm all for giving tips but believe it could have been done in a different manner.
Son’s favorite part: Going down the steep hills and each time the Duck “splashed” in the water
Bottom Line: Yes, I would definitely recommend this to any fun-loving family. In fact, going on the Ducks may now have to become our family tradition. Hopefully, by that time the way tips are requested will be changed so it isn’t awkward.
Tip: If you want to get wet, sit in the back. If you want a better view, stay on the left side of the boat.
Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary tour by the Original Wisconsin Ducks. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view. The opinions I express are entirely my own.
I've been to the dells several times and one of the "must do" things is the Ducks tour. It was definitely worth every penny. You get to go through a large area of forest before you change pace and go plunging into the water! The entire vehicle goes from being this bus like truck that carries several people instantly changes into a floating boat with one big splash!! The bluffs and views are amazing!!
We took the Original WI Ducks tour on a vacation with my extended family in March 2009. My daughter was 2 years old. The duck vehicles do have life jackets on board, but we took our own since we had them along anyways for swimming in the hotel pool. It just made me more comfortable.
We did the tour sometime after the big rain in this area and they were still rebuilding Lake Delton. We have done this tour several times over the years, and this was the first time that we didn't actually go into Lake Delton. It was still interesting though.
My daughter enjoyed the ride but did get a little scared when we had close quarters going between the cliffs. Also, it was a little long for her and the bumps and the humming of the vehicle put her to sleep for the last 15 min of the tour.
My family and a few friends went on the ducks tour adventure in Aug 2010. It was a great tour for both the adults and the kids. The tour takes you over land and water and explores what made the Wisconsin Dells famous. Throughout the tour we were given information about special landmarks and also the flooding of lake Delton and the refilling process that the lake just recently went through. The only negative aspects of the ducks is the price and the sales pitch of the driver to tip him. The price in its self is alittle high and to have the driver stop the duck in a wooded area to do a sales pitch to tip him was asking a little much. All in all I would go on another Ducks tour when in the area again.
We did this with our 4 middle children last (6-18 at the time) and they all enjoyed it. You got to see areas that you normally wouldn't get to see and the scenery on the river was absolutely beautiful. They do get up to some faster speeds but for the most part it is a slower paced ride and not scary. Look for the discount coupons you find in ever Wisconsin Dells book. We had purchased the wrist bands that let us pick 5 out of 10 activities to do for everyone which was great because we wouldn't have gone on these otherwise and I was really glad we did
The vehicle you're traveling in is awesome to begin with. It takes you through some beautiful areas and the guide points out some interesting things on the tour. It is a relaxing thing to do on any day. I have been when it has been hot out and cold out. There are less people when it is cold out and it is still beautiful but in a different way. Keep your eye out for bald eagles. Kids could get bored but the thrill of the ride should keep them interested.
You must try this at least once! This is such a wonderful ride. We have done it almost every summer since I was a kid and its always just as fun as the time before. My kids get a kick out of being able to drive on land and in water in the same vehicle. The tour guides are funny and make the trip even better. Worth every penny!
We live about an hour from the Dells and LOVE the ducks, especially our three year old. The wait can sometimes be long and the price for a child can be a little on the high side, but look for coupons, along with specials sometimes you can get the special of some other attractions for half the price when you buy ducks tickets. The tour guide are always fun! I would recommend this for all ages!
We went on these rides when I was a kid and I really enjoyed it. I took my kids on it last summer and they liked it. For the first few mins. :) It was hard to keep a 1 year old on my lap for the whole ride. So, but the time it was over she was so done.. We will go again when the kids are older.
It's in the same area as the Original Wisconsin Ducks,(entrance lines are right next to each other )but we went on that last year so we tried the Jet Boats., It fits about 50 ppl and it goes pretty fast with 360 turns and you get soooo soaked on this boat ride, it lasts about 40 minutes and is well worth the 20 bucks. My kids and Husband loved it, even though at first they thought it was gonna be boring....I knew it would be fun. Except children 2 and under cannot ride because they need to hold on to the railing bar, but my 4 yr old was able to get on and 4 and under are free ;)
We enjoyed the ride on the WW2-era duck vehicle through the cool shaded dells, on the Wisconsin River, and the big splash into Lake Delton. The vehicle is loud at times, and fast at times, so be aware if you have fearful children.
The narration is filled with self-described "cheesy" humor, which got groans from the adults and left the kids wondering what they were missing.
There are usually discount coupons available, so try not to pay full price.
There are a few different Duck tours in the Dells now; but the Original Ducks are just that, the original ones - and they are definitely the best, hands down! They take you on a long, winding tour through the heart of the Wisconsin Dells, showing you historical monuments as well as current popular attractions. They tour the Wisconsin River as well as Lake Delton; though last year they had to forego the lake as it had emptied in a natural disaster (they did get as close as they could). The tour guides are knowledgeable, affable and downright fun to be around!