The "Ducks" are actually World War II vehicles that were code named "DUKWs"; the D stood for the year 1942, the U was for amphibious utility vehicle, the K for front wheel drive and the W for the twin rear-driving axles. Naturally the servicemen quickly nicknamed the vehicles "Ducks". The DUKWS were invented as landing craft for bringing troops to shore from ships and were first used to land troops in Sicily and continued to be used throughout the war both in Europe and in the Pacific.
After the war, area businessmen in the Dells purchased a "Duck" for use in hauling tourists around through local forests and the Wisconsin River as an innovative, fun way for people to see the area. The idea caught on and the Original Wisconsin Ducks company has over 90 amphibious vehicles and there are several competitors in town who also provide the service. I asked if there was a difference in the companies and our tour guide/driver informed me that the Original Wisconsin Ducks was the only company that owned woodland access in town; the other companies pretty much have to travel on local roadways.
The Duck ride consists of some travel through woods and canyon areas, some river travel and a fun splash down into Lake Delton.
The Ducks ride lasts about an hour and after we were brought back to the downtown Wisconsin Dells area by Duck shuttle Denny and I walked down the two story flight of stairs to wait for our boat trip up the Wisconsin River. Again narrated by a tour guide, this peaceful two hour trip up river is interrupted by two brief stops to walk around a bit and stretch your legs (and buy souvenirs and food).
Black Hawk Rock, named for its supposed resemblance to a Native American tribal member. Can you see his profile below?
Stand Rock, made famous by Henry Hamilton Bennett, a photographer credited with inventing the stop action photo. His photo of his son Ashley leaping across the gap between the ledge and the rock column below is known world wide. Today, for the entertainment of the tourists who are brought here by boat, a German Shepherd makes the jump.
This is simply a shot of the Trojan Horse ride at a local amusement park that is near the entrance to the Original Wisconsin Ducks ride.
While we were out grocery shopping I noticed movement in a nearby field and zooming in with the camera I realized I was seeing my first sandhill crane in summer plumage. He really was well camouflaged in the dry grasses.
I'm glad we had this one great day in Wisconsin--the rest of the week, not so much.