Known as the top dairy producer in the country and home to football’s Green Bay Packers, there’s more to Wisconsin than cheese and die-hard fans. The land of cheese, bratwurst, fishing villages, farms, lighthouses and sandy beaches is constantly moving ahead as its state motto, “Forward,” suggests. With countless student performance venues, cultural spots and exquisite cuisine, there are plenty of educational and entertaining avenues to take on your trip to the Badger State.
Get Your Shine On
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton is student-budget friendly and offers the chance for students to perform on stage. The second largest theater in Wisconsin is a hot spot for student groups.
Music and drama groups will get a kick out of the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson. Not only does Fireside allow students the chance to perform, it also attracts students from specific disciplines. French students might attend Les Miserables, English students Romeo and Juliet. Educational seminars before the dinner show focus on the theater-in-the-round, performance space and how it prepares a show from casting to opening day.
In Milwaukee, Skylight Music Theatre’s education program, Enlighten, looks to instill appreciation of the arts, develop future audience members, encourage aspiring young artists and establish arts education as a vital component of a well-rounded curriculum. Its student matinee series gives students the opportunity to be a part of a main stage production. All performances take place in the Renaissance-inspired Cabot Theater, with its beautiful gold trim and royal blue seats.
Wisconsin’s Place in History
Kohler Design Center in Kohler is a three-floor showcase of the innovative design and technology that have impacted the world of interior design. The space displays examples of Kohler Company’s bathroom and kitchen products. A three-hour tour through the factory shows what goes into creating its state-of-the-art sinks and tubs.
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg has educational activities to tailor to your school group’s needs. Visit fiber art exhibits, create art with a hands-on fiber project, explore an 1850s German farmstead and learn about Wisconsin life in the 19th century. Participate in restoration projects around the farmstead, or switch roles and be the fiber arts teacher for young children. Create a group quilt to tell your community’s history.
Ready to hit the ground running and see Green Bay? Or rolling, we should say. Segway the Fox Tours lets you hop on a Segway and choose from a handful of tours. Nature-themed tours weave between hardwood and coniferous trees. History tours explore the quaint downtown and outdoor art. There’s even a Packer-themed tour for history on the iconic Green Bay team.
View the Great Outdoors
The new Zoo and Adventure Park in Suamico has nearly 90 different animal species, including a pair of giraffes you can feed by hand. Zoo classes are available for various species. Plight of the Penguins discusses the lives of African penguins and their status as endangered species. Fur, Feathers, Shells and Scales focuses on animal classification and differences among mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. The Veterinary Tour would be helpful for high school students considering veterinary medicine as a career choice. For a high-flying adventure, race an opponent on a 1,000-foot zip line at 35 miles per hour.
Horicon Marsh, known as the “Little Everglades of the North” encompasses 31,000 acres north of Milwaukee. Start your tour with a five-mile hiking trail or rent a kayak to tour the marsh. There are also two nature centers, pontoon boat tours, floating boardwalks and step-on guide services. Bring your biology class to observe over 350 varieties of birds including heron, egrets and migrating geese.
No trip to Wisconsin is complete without a visit to Wisconsin Dells, the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” With close to 100 attractions, there are enough activities around for large student groups. Indoor and outdoor waterparks, amusement parks, museums, live theater entertainment, animal grounds and sport opportunities all flow through this destination. Visit Noah’s Ark Waterpark, the largest outdoor waterpark in the country, to make a splash in over 16 million gallons of water.
Wisconsin is the largest goat dairy producer in the country. Tour LaClare Goat Farms in Malone to see a one-of-a-kind goat dairy and creamery. It milks 400 goats daily and allows visitors to watch the milking process. Continue on to watch the cheese making process, where raw milk naturally curdles and is drained and pressed. Enjoy lunch in the Café with seasonal dishes, all revolving around cheese, and buy some cheese for the road.
Take a hayride passing herds of cattle, groves of black walnut and maple trees, beehives and strawberry patches at Meuer Farm in Chilton. Spend a day learning about biology, forestry, and soil and water conservation on a real working farm. Activities include making maple syrup in the syrup shed, tours through the woods and a corn maze. Grab a bite to eat at Farm Flavors restaurant to get a taste of authentic farm cuisine.
Lake Geneva Canopy Tours is an eco-friendly canopy tour in Lake Geneva that explores the forest from top to bottom. For around two-and-a-half hours long, move through the trees on one of its eight zip lines, five sky bridges, three spiral stairways or the unique floating double-helix stairway. This sightseeing adventure shows the natural beauty of the 100-acre forest, including wildlife, and gives a bird’s-eye view of Lake Como.
On Milwaukee Food Tours, sample cannoli, prosciutto, cottage pie and other ethnic flavors reflecting Italian, Polish, Irish and German influences. Its newest tour is French-themed. Visit Pere Marquette Park and St. Joan of Arc Chapel to see French-inspired buildings. Sample frites and dipping sauces at Café Benelux. Try beef bourguignon at Chez Jacques and converse with the owner in his native French.
Lake Geneva School of Cooking, located in the Geneva Village Shops, offers year-round culinary classes and team-building opportunities. Learn to cook where Iron Chef contestants train in one of its kids’ cuisine classes with award-winning chef John Bogan.
Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty in Minocqua is the perfect dining destination for group appetites with a historic twist. The restaurant features 1890s logging artifacts, fixtures and photos. Try its famous, fresh Paul Bunyan donuts.
Wisconsin is the ideal place to plan a student-friendly adventure. Give feedback on your trip to Wisconsin below!