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Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Top Field Trips in Wisconsin (31 Days of Field Trips) with Wisconsin Field Trips Link Up



Wisconsin is a state rich in history, natural beauty, and culture. I was born and raised in Milwaukee  along Lake Michigan and later returned briefly to live in South Central Wisconsin near the Dells and Madison. It is a state full of exciting variety and plenty of field trip opportunities to suit any interests or levels. It was incredibly hard to narrow it down, but here are my top 10 field trip recommendations for Wisconsin.
Top 10 Field Trips in Wisconsin
  1.       Lake Michigan, Devil’s Lake State Park and other state parks
Lake Michigan is spectacular. If you don’t live near it, make sure you take the time to drive east to spend a day on the lake at some point. Devil’s Lake State Park was my favorite place when we were living between the Dells and Madison. It is a beautiful lake with great hiking trails. I highly recommend visiting during the week to avoid crowds. Check out the entire Wisconsin State Park System here.
  2.       Henry Vilas Zoo
The Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens is excellent and we always enjoy trips there to see the wide variety of animals and ride the train, but the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison should not be overlooked. It is much smaller, but still manages to offer a wide array of animals including giraffes, lions, and monkeys. It is a nice size for younger children to walk and is free. If you are looking for a more unique animal experience, the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo WI is certainly a unique collection of animals.
  3.       Milwaukee Art Museum
There are several art museums around Wisconsin, but the Milwaukee Art Museum is worth the trip.  The famous Burke Brise Soleil (or moveable white wings) that soar over the museum and lake front are hard to miss. They have become a landmark in Milwaukee, but that is really just the beginning. The art museum houses a great collection, visiting exhibits, and has some excellent programming for kids.
  4.       Madison Children’s Museum or other children’s museum
The Madison Children’s Museum is one of my favorite children’s museums, period. There are however other great children’s museums in Milwaukee (the Betty Brinn), Sheboygan (Above and Beyond), and Appleton (Building for Kids), to name a few. These are a great hands on environment for kids to explore a variety of topics in a larger space with greater freedom.
  5.       Old World Wisconsin and other historical sites
I still remember visiting Old World Wisconsin from my childhood. It brings to life the village and farm life of European settlers. If you are looking for more modern history, visit the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison which is open to the public for free tours.
  6.       Nature Centers
The Schlitz Audubon Center and UrbanEcology Centers in the Milwaukee area are excellent, but there are nature centers throughout the state. They are a great way to connect children with nature and foster an appreciation for the natural wonders of the state.
  7.       Theater
First Stage in Milwaukee or the Children’sTheater of Madison are both great resources for families offering family friendly plays throughout the year. I loved seeing Anne of Green Gables brought to life at CTM a few years ago.
  8.       Farm
Drive about 30 minutes from any larger city in Wisconsin and you will find a wonderful family friendly farm. Drawing the connection between food and table is strongest when kids can see where things are grown. Take a trip to the country to pick apples, pumpkins, or berries. Make sure to check the website or call before you go to ensure that their crop is ready for picking.
  9.       Lakefront Festival
Milwaukee is famous for Summerfest (the largest outdoor music festival in the country), but throughout the summer there are a variety of cultural festivals on the Summerfest grounds and along the lakefront. We really enjoy the Irish Fest, Kite Festivals, and Dragon Boat festival every summer. Check out this website for more information.
  10.   National Railroad Museum
Our twins love trains possibly more than anything else and so we have visited a plethora of train related sites. The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay is an amazing resource for anyone with a similarly train-enthusiastic child.
profileErin Buhr is an Early Childhood educator and consultant, freelance writer, and mama to twin four year olds. She currently lives in Mississippi where she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time outside with her family. You can read more by Erin here or at www.bambinitravel.com

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