Week Twenty-One: What to do in Wisconsin

Last week the kidlets and I were raiding one of the local thrift stores during our spare time. Lo and behold, I finally found the wondrous book I would need to conquer this summer: Wisconsin With Kids. Surely it would be chock-full of interesting day trips to entertain and educate us.

Um, not so much. My county is not listed, nor is the adjacent county to the south. That seems to imply that our region lacks greatly in Interesting Things To Do Mit Kinder.

Apparently the book has a few blank pages here and we need to fill them in ourselves. Challenge accepted!

Within walking distance of my house we have extremely local Rome Raiders baseball. Weather was a big factor in our not being able to attend any games last season, but we will make up for it this year. The kids are just beginning to be interested in baseball to the point where Colleen will ask questions about rules and calls. When the weather is good, they want to play baseball in the back yard. (Here in the country, that means “at the top of the hill between the garage and the barn; don’t hit the ball into the cornfield.”)

Rome Raiders

Other baseball options are the Madison Mallards, a collegiate baseball league, and the Eagle Diamonds, who play by 1860s rules at Old World Wisconsin.

Eagle Diamonds

Old World Wisconsin also has special programs for “The World of Little House,” which Colleen is now reading, and “Civil War Wisconsin,” which starts August 1.

Speaking of Laura Ingalls Wilder, her parents (remember Charles and Caroline Ingalls? Of course you do!) were married in very nearby Concord. This isn’t where Laura grew up (that was Pepin, west of Eau Claire), but it’s part of the local fabric.

And speaking of the Civil War, reenactments are big around here, and it’s time we saw one of them. There is an annual encampment in Waukesha (which is also the hometown of guitar legend Les Paul). Failing that, we need to travel to Madison to visit legendary friend Dale-Harriet in her capacities at the Wisconsin State Historical Museum. While we’re downtown, we should probably tour the capitol building. I haven’t been there since JC, now 14, was a six-month-old in an umbrella stroller. That was one interesting climb to the top of the rotunda!

Wisconsin State Capital on a clear summer day. Aerial photo.

Jefferson has a local museum, and surely so do Cambridge, Watertown, Whitewater, Lake Mills, Palmyra, and Eagle.

Trek Bicycles are manufactured in not-too-far-away Waterloo. I wonder if they have a racing-bike museum or give tours? Why, yes, they do!

GoTrekhall1

We have several area libraries to visit, some of which have regular meetings of Lego Clubs and Pokémon Clubs.

There’s a local petting zoo in addition to the Madison and Milwaukee zoos. Waukesha has a planetarium. UW-Whitewater is fixing up its big telescope, and as long as we’re down there, the campus is our playground for the summer. There are tennis courts, basketball hoops, Starin Park, and the University Center, which will let us play video games on its big screens for free.

Every tiny town around here has a huge and impressive aquatic center, because it does get hot here. There is also a big beach at Pewaukee Lake, which they have already asked to visit.

Pewaukee Lake Beach

We can buy a trail pass through the WI DNR and get access to all the state’s parks, trails, and scenic sites for the rest of the year.

Considering that they are signed up for summer school during June, will have from a weekend to a week with their dad at the family farm in the U.P., will spend two weeks in Ohio with me, and there will also be Youth Football in August for one of them… I don’t know how we’re going to find enough time to do all these things.

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Published in: on May 23, 2013 at 7:11 am  Leave a Comment  

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