Timbavati Wildlife Park at Storybook Gardens

Dells Advice on September 4th

Storybook Gardens has been a part of the Dells for just about as long as dirt has been on the ground.  I remember visiting as a young child many years ago.  Since having children of my own a few years ago, we have visited Storybook Gardens once a summer during a visit to the Dells.  The kids like it, and that is what it is all about, right?  A few years ago, ownership changed hands and the new owners incorporated the “Timbavati Wildlife Park” into Storybook Gardens.  It is hard to believe that the attraction operated for so many years as just Storybook Gardens.  Frankly, the Storybook part is old and tired.  The displays and attractions are the same as they were almost 30 years ago.  The Timbavati addition has breathed new life into this relic.

When visiting for the past 3 years, we have always used the “Buy One Get One Free” admission coupon from the Entertainment Book.  The admission prices are pretty steep, but the coupon in the book made it a little more palatable.  During our visit this summer, they would not accept the coupon.  Apparently they have asked the Entertainment folks not to include them in the book the past couple of years, but they have printed the coupon anyways.  I was a disappointed that they wouldn’t take the coupon, and if it hadn’t been for my 2 children I would have left.  (Actually, if it hadn’t been for my 2 children I wouldn’t have been there in the first place!)  Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for kids.  Luckily my youngest was under 2, so we only had to pay 1 kid admission.  They even gave us $2 off because they wouldn’t take our Entertainment coupon.

The place can make for a nice couple of hours away from your hotel and water park.  They have a nice selection of animals (my favorite being the giraffes that you can feed).  They have a little train that runs around the property once an hour, and a wildlife show a couple of times a day.  There is a playground and a merry-go-round that the kids like. 

We’ll probably go back to Storybook Gardens again at some point in the future, but I don’t think it will be a once-a-summer visit anymore.  I can’t see spending nearly $50 for a family of 4 to get in.  Maybe next year we’ll try the Wisconsin Deer Park, which is a part of the Dells City Pass. 

It is disappointing that the management of Storybook Gardens has decided not to participate in the Entertainment Book.  In our case, they would lose $12 in admission revenue from the one free ticket, but they would have gotten $22 in admission revenue from the other 2 tickets.  Next season, they’ll most likely be losing all of the revenue from our tickets.

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