Plot your next getaway while waiting for spring to truly arrive

WISDELLS.COM PHOTO

“In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”

The quote belongs to writer Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Change is business as usual during this time of year, so while waiting for weather to settle and blossoms to sprout, plot both the garden and your next little getaway.

In Wisconsin Dells, spring is the time to come up with a list of the area’s newest attractions and expansions. My recent mention of “Raja – the World’s Largest King Cobra,” a new waterslide at Noah’s Ark Waterpark, was just the start of it. noahsarkwaterpark.com

A major expansion at Sundara Inn and Spa doubles the resort’s size, should be finished in summer and coincides with the 15th anniversary of the business. Features include a demonstration kitchen and salt treatment room. Changes at River Inn Resort (previously a part of Mt. Olympus Village) position the property as a boutique hotel with Wisconsin River views. sundaraspa.com, dellsriverinn.com

Look for new virtual reality experiences and escape rooms at VR Universe, Kalahari Resorts and Wilderness Resort (whose new Titanic-themed escape room includes replicas of ship artifacts; each clue tells a real part of the ship’s story). vruniversearcade.com, kalahariresorts.com, wildernessresort.com

The new Summer House Grill and Bar – accessible by car or boat – faces Lake Delton and opens soon. Ishnala Supper Club is adding a lower-level lounge and bar that overlooks Mirror Lake. shgrill.com, ishnala.com

Wollersheim Winery and Distillery recently released its newest liquor: a rye whiskey, aged in oak barrels at least two years. Prairie Hawk Winery this summer releases strawberry, cranberry and lemon meads (wines made with honey). wollersheim.com, prairiehawkwinery.com

A new Chula Choo Choo miniature train for kids weaves around the outdoor waterpark at Chula Vista Resort. In nearby North Freedom, the nonprofit Mid-Continent Railway Museum opens a new shed to display more of its holdings, which include one of the nation’s biggest collections of restored wooden rail cars. chulavistaresort.com, midcontinent.org

For more about the Wisconsin Dells area: wisdells.com, 800-223-3557.

Up for sale in Door County is Alpine Resort and Golf Course, a four-generation and 95-year-old business in Egg Harbor. Twenty members of the Bertschinger family own the operation, which “has become increasingly more complex over the years,” stated this month’s newsletter for customers.

So make a reservation for a taste of the nostalgic while its time-stand-still décor and classic German restaurant menu remain. All is business as usual “to make every guest’s stay a special one,” and the family reassures that event reservations will not be affected by a property sale. Guest houses are not on the sales block. alpineresort.com

Science geeks converge near Lake Geneva for the third annual Starlight Festival during Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27. Think aerospace dynamics, robotics and head-on sun studies.

The event is a mix of child’s play and adult exposure to technology, science, art and music on the 80-acre Yerkes Observatory campus.

This is the sesquicentennial of astronomer George Ellery Hale’s birth: He is the father of astrophysics who designed some of the world’s biggest telescopes. That includes the refracting telescope at Yerkes, which at 40 inches wide remains big enough to watch the universe glide by.

That’s what brought Carl Sagan, Edwin Hubble and other researchers to Yerkes long ago. starlightfestival.com

“Lights, Camera, Action” is the theme for the 46th annual Iola Old Car Show, July 12-14 on 300 acres in the community whose population is 1,300. “What Sturgis is to cycles, Iola is to cars,” event organizers contend.

Expect 2,200 show cars, including an array of service vehicles and cars featured in television or movie productions. Celebrities expected to attend include Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie on “Happy Days,” and Butch Patrick, Eddie Munster on “The Munsters” television series. iolaoldcarshow.com

“Libations of Spring,” a new event in Kohler, is two days of beverage/food tastings and seminars, especially involving craft cocktails and craft beer. Tickets to the April 13-14 gathering are $30 to $89 (it depends on which events you attend).

“Passport to Beer,” for $30, allows the sampling of beer at six Kohler locations, plus a mixed six-pack of beer after all six passport stamps are collected.

At the high end of events is the “Four Chefs, Four Beers, Four Courses” dinner at 6 p.m. April 13.

Hotel packages start at $187. destinationkohler.com

Want to think bigger and farther? Adventure Tours, organized through the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, traverse the world and fill up fast. Small-group travel openings remain for:

Hidden Cultural Riches of Japan, July 20-31, $3,969
South African Adventure, Aug. 6-19, $3,989
Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Hiking, Sept. 22-27, $2,339.
New Zealand Cultural/Ecological Adventure, Dec. 28 to Jan. 14, 2019, $4,449.

Prices do not include roundtrip airfare. Find trip details at uwsp.edu (search “adventure tours”), 715-346-4968.

Check out ifonly.com, which curates unusual travel experiences, especially in major U.S. cities. Some are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Count culinary, adventure, the arts, fashion, wellness and beer/wine/spirits among the categories addressed.

Options are as simple as a class in jam making or pickling, as exclusive as a hot air balloon ride at the Grand Canyon or Mount Everest. For Mother’s Day ideas, look over ifonly.com/mothers-day-guide.