Have you heard about Land of Natura in Wisconsin Dells? This manmade lake was developed as a way for visitors to enjoy a more natural, chlorine-free, outdoor water experience. The lake has a HUGE inflatable course that they call Waterworld. They also have a Mini Waterworld for the younger kids, a beachfront on the manmade lake and the river, kayaks for rent, food, a large bar and patio, hiking trails, and more. The pictures looked fun, and we were super excited to review the new Land of Natura attraction. I planned for us to stay a few hours, but we ended up being there all day as there was plenty to do.
Land of Natura-An Overview and a Work in Progress
Land of Natura opened in July of 2023 but is still a work in progress. The man-made lake is filled with fresh water and sandy bottoms. The depth varies depending on the area, but there are plenty of shallow areas for play and deeper water for swimming and jumping.
The main welcome center hosts the restaurant, lockers, life vests, and a large bar and patio overlooking Waterworld-the inflatable play area for kids and adults. Mini Waterworld is adjacent to the main Waterworld area. There are two large beach areas as well as kayak, raft, and paddle board rentals. Crystal cascades are the lake’s edge with small waterfalls to sit on or explore.
On the opposite area of the main parking lots, they are developing some biking and hiking trails. There are additional trails between the main area and Rivertopia.
The Rivertopia area will have two smaller parking lots once complete. There is a beautiful area of riverfront beach here as well as the canopy walk and the start of a woodland playground. You can either walk or drive between the main area and Rivertopia.
Read ahead for all the details as of late July 2023.
Pictures of Waterworld at Land of Natura are what really drew my attention and made me want to check this place out. Sure other campgrounds and such have some inflatables, but this one is HUGE. My husband and I LOVED exploring the various obstacles. There are plenty of wobbly walkways to get you started, step up your game, and try some of the challenges. There are Lilly pads, bridges, tunnels, monkey bars, a trapeze, towers, slanted walls, wagon wheels, and more. Climb to the top and slide down, or if you are feeling extra gutsy, make a leap from the top.
We saw people of all ages, from kids around early elementary, up to grandmas that were clearly young at heart! The website says 6 years and up and at least 48″ tall, but they did not appear to be strictly enforcing that. The water to get to Waterworld is pretty deep. You will definitely have to swim to get there. Under the slides, and tall jump towers, the water is deep enough that I didn’t touch when jumping.
Behind Waterworld is the slides. They look steep but aren’t as fast as I expected. To get to the slides you either need to walk across the beach and then across the crystal cascades, or swim across the lake.
Waterworld-Tips and Tricks
Waterworld will tire most people out pretty quickly. Even walking across the “easier” obstacles is a workout. You are using all sorts of smaller muscles in your body for balance, and you are sure to slide, trip, or tumble into the water, probably sooner than later. People in the review often note the difficulty of getting out of the water and back onto the inflatables so I was pleasantly surprised to see there is a step at each “entrance.” Even with the step, you need strength, flexibility, and balance to pull yourself up.
A word of caution, be sure to be aware of those around you. There are guidelines showing which slides are for two people to slide down at a time vs one as well as a few guards reminding people of the rules, but overall there is minimal oversight. This can really give a sense of freedom, but there is also the chance someone accidentally slips and takes you out. Everyone is required to wear a life vest, and this is definitely a rule they enforce on the inflatables, but I would still hesitate to encourage an inexperienced swimmer to participate. Life vests are provided free of charge for all sizes at the welcome center. I did see some people who chose to wear their own.
Mini Waterworld at Land of Natura
The website says Mini Waterworld is for 4-5 years olds. When I called ahead, they said it was no problem for my 3-year-old to play too. The Land of Natura guards tell kids over 9 to stay off.
My kids loved Mini Waterworld at Land of Natura. There was a challenge without too much chaos, excitement without too much fear. It was a great place to practice getting onto the inflatables, falling into the water, and getting used to walking on the obstacles.
Beachfront on the Manmade Lake
Overlooking Waterworld are two sandy beaches. The website says no plastic toys are allowed, but I believe this refers to the Waterworld. We saw lots of kids with buckets making sandcastles. There are lots of beach chairs available as well.
Land of Natura rents kayaks, canoes, swim mats, and paddle boards. Our family loves paddling, but we weren’t tempted to rent the boats. They cost $15 an hour, and there wasn’t a very big area to explore, so we didn’t paddle. Perhaps they will expand to renting on the river, which may make me change my mind!
The rental shop sells drinks, and it looks like they have plans to rent beach games in the future.
Fishook Island and the Snorkeling Cavern
Near the rental shop is Fishhook Island. It is a small island with a handful of beach chairs. Next to it is the designated snorkeling cavern. We swam through, but nothing here over anywhere else made me want to snorkel. The kids had some fun climbing on the rocky edges of the cavern.
Crystal Cascades and the Beach Rocks Area
Behind fishhook island is crystal cascades. It’s a long stretch of rocky waterfalls, perhaps 3 feet tall. You can walk or sit along the top or walk along the bottom. In front of the crystal cascades are the Beach Rocks Area which each sits a couple of beach chairs.
Food and Water Options at Land of Natura
Land of Natura does not allow you to bring in food, but you can bring in empty water bottles, and there are places to fill your water. There are tons of drink options of any type available for sale. This includes Starbucks bottled water, soda, juice, and a full bar. Starbucks also sells cedar chest ice cream.
The bar is on the edge of the building, so you can sit inside in the shade or out in the sun overlooking the lake.
The main welcome center restaurant has pizza, burrito bowls, burgers, BBQ, and more. They are still figuring out the details and didn’t have burgers or sour cream the day we went, but I assume they will work out those hiccups soon. The food was more expensive than I’d like, but I did appreciate the options. The kids’ options were $10, and most of the adult options were $12-$14 plus $4 for a side and a drink.
There is a small gift shop area with the expected array of shirts, swimsuits, goggles, towels, a few toys, sunglasses, etc.
Lockers and Showers
There are lockers available at the welcome center of Land of Natura. They are $10-15, depending on the size.
There are standard men’s and women’s bathrooms in the welcome center. They have fairly small family-sized shower rooms instead of two large shower areas separated by gender. This is SO convenient for a family! My husband, two young kids, and I were able to fit snugly in one, so we didn’t have to split up to get showered off. The shower water was pleasantly warm, but the temperature was not adjustable. One downside was there were no hooks to hang things in the shower room.
Rivertopia at Land of Natura
There is a separate parking area for the Land of Natura Rivertopia. The $10 parking pass for the main park works for this area as well. If you don’t want to drive, you could walk on the trails.
The freshwater beach at Rivertopia is beautiful! It overlooks some of the natural Wisconsin Dells scenery, and you will see various boat tours touring people around the Dells. We were there on a hot Monday in mid-July and only a handful of people were at the river. The water is shallow near the beach, and there is a dock to play on. They also have a hammock to rest in and a few picnic tables.
Canopy Walk and Playground at Rivertopia
Right next to the river access is the Mystic Treetop Walk, a suspension canopy walk. We love a fun canopy walk, and this one had more swing than most we explored. The kids thought this was a bonus, but it would make it a more challenging walk for some.
On Land of Natura’s website, they advertise a Woodland Adventure under the canopy walk. They are still developing this. There were 2-3 obstacles and a swing. In hindsight, the website says the swing was for 10 years and up, but my 3 and 5-year-old loved it, and a handful of other young kids were enjoying it as well. My husband and I took a turn, and it made me smile, but once was enough. Hopefully, they will continue to develop this play area. The website shows plans for a low ropes course which sounds like a lot of potential.
Hiking and Biking Trails
Right at the entrance to the Rivertopia beach and the tree top walk is the trailhead to the Sugar bowl Lookout. The hike to the top is short, maybe 1/4 mile, but it is steep. The top offers beautiful views of the river. The drop from the rocks to the river is steep, keep kids close. There is no fence of man made outlook.
There are over 10 miles of trails advertised on the website. As of 7/24/23, they were still being developed. The trails are there, but they don’t appear to be complete yet. I’m sure they will be a fun addition once they are finished. They do not appear to be single-track mountain bike trails but more family-friendly trails.
Pricing Review for Land of Natura
As Land of Natura just opened, they have a pretty sweet deal running this summer. General admission is free. You have to “reserve your spot” online, but there is no payment needed. General admission gives you access to the lake, beaches, fishhook island, the snorkeling cavern, crystal cascades, the hiking/biking trails (these are not done yet), and the river.
Right now, for $20 for 4-year-olds and up, you can get access to all of the above plus Waterworld, Mini Waterworld, the canopy walk, and the natural water slides (there were not open 7/24/23 but are advertised to re-open 7/28/23).
Parking is $15 online or at the gate. There really is nowhere else to park, so you are sort of stuck paying for their parking. The price already went up within the first couple of weeks of opening.
There are lots of places to sit, but if you want to reserve one of the best, grab a floating cabana. The $200 price tag was a bit too steep for us, but I’m sure they would be a great basecamp for Waterworld. There are also umbrellas to rent on the beach.
Land of Natura is brand new, and there are still lots of things in development. If you check them out, keep an open mind as they are still refining their operation. I will update this review of Land of Natura as we see changes. The natural waterslides look like they have a lot of potential, I’m excited to see their trail system come together, and they have lots of final touches, such as beach game rental coming soon. The greenhouse area you walk through at the entrance is hot and humid, with tropical plants and even a hummingbird flying around. It looks like they have plans to expand, as most of it is currently blocked off.
The wristbands we got had a time on them. When we went, you could come and go into Waterworld at your leisure. I suspect that as the park gets busier, you will have time slots for when you are able to be on the Waterworld. While this is less convenient, it is better than a bigger crowd on the inflatables than they can handle.
If you love exploring the great outdoors and the natural beauty of the Dells, check out Rocky Arbor, Mirror Lake, or Devil’s Lake State Parks. Try a Wisconsin Duck Tour or Dells Boat Tour if you would rather sit and relax. To see and interact with some native Wisconsin animals, go to Wisconsin Deer Park.
Here are my recommendations for restaurants in Wisconsin Dells.
In Conclusion, for my Review of Land of Natura…
We had a great time at Land of Natura, and per my review, I thought it was 100% worth the $20-a-person entrance fee. We saw people of all ages enjoying various parts of the park, and my kids are already asking if we could go back. The energy and challenge of the Waterworld was my favorite, but the kids also had a great time playing at the Rivertopia beach, and it was such a calm and beautiful place.
Have you been to Land of Natura? What did you think?