Hello Camp Courageous!!
The Travel Group is back in Wisconsin Dells!! We started off our day picking up travelers Tessie Cass, Lynn Airey and Jim Butterbaugh and volunteer Karagan Fisher in Coralville. Next up we made our way to Marion where we picked up travelers John Larkin, Andrew Loggins, Melissa Howe, Maggie Carr, Norman Cobb and Paul Dougherty. We made one last stop at Camp to pick up traveler Michael Lewis and volunteers Treva Guyer and Sam LaFrance.
Now it was time to head to the Wisconsin!! The travelers were super excited to visit the Dells!! Most of the travelers have never been to the Dells before so they can’t wait to explore this city! We had a great drive despite the rain and we made it to the Dells around 5:45pm. We went straight to Uno Chicago for dinner, where we met up with volunteer Audra Kramer!
Uno Chicago is know for it’s delicious pizza and that’s what most of the group ordered! This restaurant also has really great mini desserts!! What better way to start a trip than with a delicious dinner and dessert?! The travelers had the choice between a peanut butter cup, triple chocolate brownie, cinnamon apples or a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie! It was a tough choice but the majority of the group chose the peanut butter cup. The travelers loved the surprise dessert!
Once everyone finished eating we made our way to our hotel which was right across the street! We got settled in our rooms and are now resting up for our fun weekend! Stay tuned to hear all about our adventures!
Hello Camp Courageous!!
The Travel Group has a blast today! We started off our day with a delicious breakfast at our hotel before heading out to do some shopping! First we went to Market Square Cheese. They have a little of everything at this shop and all of the travelers got some great souvenirs! Traveler Tessie Cass spotted a bracelet that said “Courageous” on it and had to buy it! Traveler Norman Cobb bought some delicious Wisconsin cheese!
Next we headed downtown to do some more shopping! We split up into our groups and started exploring the shops on Broadway. Every group stopped at Swiss Maid Fudge and it was a good thing they did!! This store had samples of fudge, flavored popcorn and hot cider! The travelers loved the samples! They were delicious! Traveler Jim Butterbaugh was excited to try hot apple cider for the first time! Traveler Andrew Loggins enjoyed the cookies and cream fudge! Travelers Tessie Cass, Norman Cobb and Melissa Howe tried some of the home-brewed hot chocolate!
After we had our fill of samples and shopping, we made our way to Lost Rios, the waterpark at Chula Vista Resort. We checked in and headed to Crash Landing, the cafeteria at the park. We had a pizza party lunch before exploring the waterpark! This waterpark is really nice because there is something for everyone!
Part of the group went straight to the waterslides! Travelers Tessie Cass, Norman Cobb, Michael Lewis, John Larkin and Andrew Loggins were a part “Team Water Slides”. These travelers went on the waterslides so many times! They had so much fun! The other half of the group, Paul Dougherty, Maggie Carr, Melissa Howe, Lynn Airey and Jim Butterbaugh went to the Lazy River. Maggie swam through the Lazy River while the rest of the group lounged on floats.
All of the travelers relaxed in the hot tub during some point of our time at the waterpark. Travelers Melissa Howe and Lynn Airey liked relaxing by the jets! After the hot tub Maggie Carr, Melissa Howe, Norman Cobb, Michael Lewis and John Larkin went to check out the activity pool. This pool had basketball hoops on the side of the pool and a giant snake you could climb across. Melissa, Maggie and Michael played basketball with volunteer Treva Guyer. Maggie, Michael and John took on the challenge of climbing across the giant snake!! They all made it across and did an awesome job!
We spent a couple of hours at the waterpark and everyone really enjoyed Lost Rios! As our time at the park was winding down a few travelers decided to go down the waterslides one more time. This time traveler Lynn Airey decided to give it a try and he loved it!! Way to go, Lynn! After we changed we went back to the hotel freshen up before our dinner and show.
After showering and resting up, we hopped back on the bus and went down the street to the Palace Theater. When we arrived the theater markee was lit up so we took a group picture before heading inside. While we waited for the theater to open, we took some pictures with all of the Christmas decorations in the lobby.
Before we knew it, it was time to head into the theater. The usher directed us to our seats where we found our tables set up for dinner! We had great seats in the second row with a perfect view of the stage! Our tables were already filled with delicious bread and salad to start so we quickly grabbed our seats and started eating!! Our next course was a bowl of creamy tomato basil soup! The main course included ham, turkey breast, stuffing, roasted veggies and a twice baked stuffed sweet potato! The food was delicious!
After we enjoyed our dinner it was just in time for the show to start (Sorry, we don’t have pictures of the show, photographs were not allowed during the performance). Christmas at the Palace is the name of the show and the theme this year was “Christmas in the City”. The first act featured lots of great Christmas songs such as “Deck the Halls”, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, Silver Bells” and more! The cast portrayed New York City residents getting ready for Christmas, elves, carolers and toy soldiers while singing and dancing away! Travelers Tessie Cass and Norman Cobb commented on how beautiful the cast member’s outfits were and how talented the singers were! The cast did a lot of medleys where they combined multiple songs into one number. The travelers loved it! They were singing and dancing along in their seats, especially travelers Norman Cobb, Micheal Lewis and John Larkin. Traveler Andrew Loggins thought the cast members dressed up as elves were hilarious! Traveler John Larkin rocked out on his air guitar while the cast sang “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.
After the first act, there was an intermission. The travelers loved the first act and couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the second act. Intermission meant that we had some time to get up and stretch our legs but it also meant it was time for dessert!! Our servers brought out our delicious dessert which was a white cake with layers of lemon and drizzled with raspberry sauce and whipped cream Yum! Traveler Paul Dougherty sure loved the cheesecake that he got for dessert!
The second act was awesome! We had visits from Frosty, Rudolph and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus!! The travelers cheered and sang along louder when these characters came out on stage!! Traveler Jim Butterbaugh had been looking forward to hearing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” so he was happy when the cast sang this song. Santa asked the audience to do a sing-a-long with him to the songs, “Welcome Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claus”. Travelers Maggie Carr Andrew Loggins and Lynn Airey were dancing away when Santa came on stage!! There were also really great tap dancing and ballet routines and the second act featured great songs such as “Happy Holiday”, “Toyland”, and “I Wonder as I Wonder”. The show ended it a live nativity scene! It was beautiful! There was even a real life camel, donkey and two goats! The travelers couldn’t believed that there were live animals on stage!!! The cast sang a “Worship the Gift Medley” and ended with an amazing performance of “O Holy Night”.
When the travelers were asked what was their favorite part of the show the top votes were for the live nativity and the characters (Santa, Frosty, Rudolph). 1st time traveler Tessie Cass said that “As a 1st time traveler, tonight was awesome!” Norman Cobb told us that he “Liked the whole shebang!” What a fabulous night full of Christmas music, delicious food, laughter and great company!!
After the show, we made the short drive back to the hotel. Everyone is now resting up for our last day in the Dells!!
Hello Camp Courageous!!
The Travel Group had a wonderful weekend in the Dells!! We had another delicious breakfast at our hotel, packed up the bus and set off to finish off our trip with two more activities!! This was camp’s first time at each of today’s activities. Our first stop was a Trolley tour of Wisconsin Dells. We met our trolley tour guide, Jeremy right down the road from our hotel. We took a group picture in front of the trolley before climbing aboard. Jeremy was very welcoming to our group and had us laughing at his jokes the whole ride! Jeremy drove us around Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton while sharing fun facts about the city. Did you know that Wisconsin Dells is known as the Waterpark Capital of the World? This city has 27 waterparks and was home to the very first indoor waterpark! Traveler Tessie Cass said she wants to move to Wisconsin Dells and go to all of the waterparks!
Jeremy took us past Mirror Lake, Kilborn Dam, the Wisconsin River (did you know that the deepest part of this river can be up to 98-102ft deep?!?) and Lake Delton. In 2008, there was a big flood on Lake Delton causing lots and lots of damage to houses and roads. Jeremy showed us before and after pictures of the damage from this flood. We got to get off the trolley at a couple of stops including, Kilborn Dam and Lake Delton to take some pictures. We saw a lot of beautiful views on this tour.
Jeremy also shared with us that the first attractions in Wisconsin Dells was the Original Wisconsin Ducks (1946) and the Tommy Bartlett Show (1952). We also learned that Mt. Olympus, a huge theme and waterpark originally started off as a hot dog stand! We learned all kinds of fun facts on this tour! The travelers had a great time seeing the city and talking with Jeremy. At the end of our tour Jeremy offered to let the travelers come up and sit in the driver’s seat! Travelers John Larkin and Lynn Airey took advantage of this offer! Jeremy also took pictures with everyone before we said our goodbyes. We thanked Jeremy for the tour and then made our way to down the street to Subway for lunch.
After lunch we made our way to Rock Springs, WI to the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue. The Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue is a non profit organization that was founded by Jeff and Jenny Kozlowski in 2005. They take big cats from private owners and zoos who can’t take care of them anymore. They have 16 tigers, 5 lions and 4 leopards! Jenny gave our group a tour of the place and shared a little bit about each cat! Our first stop was to see Kenya, a 1/2 Siberian, 1/2 Bengal tiger. She was beautiful! She came right up to the edge of her enclosure to see us! The travelers loved getting to see these big cats up close! Jenny brought some gourds and a large cardboard tube to give to some of the cats to play with. There were two sibling tigers in one cage and Jenny tossed each of them a small gourd to play with. It was so fun to see the tigers jumping around and playing! Traveler Melissa Howe thought it was so cute! Jenny gave the giant cardboard tube to the male lion, Kimba. We got to watch as he stood up tall to reach the tube and pulled it through the fenced before running off to play with it.
Travlers Norman Cobb and Michael Lewis asked Jenny some great questions along the tour. Jenny was very friendly and knowledgable and answered all of our questions! Jenny shared facts about big cats with us along the way, did you know that the stripes on a tiger’s face is unique to that tiger, just like how our fingerprints our unique to each of us? Along the tour we saw a variety of tigers, including white tigers, leopards and lions! They were all so beautiful! Traveler Maggie Carr really enjoyed this tour! She took a lot of great pictures of the cats! We got to hear all kinds of sounds that these big cats make. It was so cool to experience this! One other thing we witnessed was a tiger spraying! Tigers spray (urine mixed with scent gland secretions) to mark territory. One tiger in particular wanted to make her territory known to us and sprayed! Luckily we were back just far enough to avoid it! Our last stop of the tour was a black leopard. Jenny told us that leopards can carry 3x their weight up a tree!! That meant that this leopard that we were looking at could carry 600 pounds up a tree! Crazy, right?! After we met each of the cats we made our way to the gift shop and before hopping back on the bus.
We had a nice drive back to Iowa! The travelers cheered as we crossed the bridge over the Mississippi. We continued our drive to Marion, where we stopped at Culver’s for dinner and dropped off 7 travelers. We then drove to Coralville to drop off the remaining 3 travelers. Thank you to Jim Butterbaugh, Lynn Airey, Tessie Cass, Melissa Howe, Maggie Carr, Norman Cobb, Paul Dougherty, Andrew Loggins, Michael Lewis and John Larkin for traveling to Wisconsin Dells with us! Thank you to Audra Kramer, Sam LaFrance, Treva Guyer and Karagan Fisher for volunteering this weekend.