Although disputably known for having the best dairy products and football team in the nation, Wisconsin has much more to offer student group travelers. Unique interactive museums, state parks abounding with natural beauty and remarkable historical landmarks make Wisconsin a must-see destination.
Take a Walk with Mother Nature
Peninsula State Park
With over one million visitors per year, Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek is the third largest state park in Wisconsin and serves as a perfect spot for student group travelers to venture and explore. Students can climb the 76-foot Eagle Tower to catch a panoramic view of the park, surrounding islands and the Michigan shoreline or tour the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse authorized by President Andrew Jackson in 1866. For a more cultured experience, students can catch a show at the Northern Sky Theater, where comedic plays are put on by a group of professional actors and musicians.
Cave of the Mounds
Cave of the Mounds in Madison is a natural limestone cave filled with educational opportunities. Considered to be “the significant cave of the upper Midwest” by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, this National Natural Landmark began forming over one million years ago. Students can take a tour of this geologic phenomenon and learn about the cave’s stalactites, stalagmites, columns and other crystallized rock formations.
Original Wisconsin Ducks Inc.
For a unique experience not to be found anywhere else, take a boat tour with Original Wisconsin Ducks Inc. in Wisconsin Dells, the world’s first and only Duck tour in continuous operation since 1946. At the height of World War II, militaries needed a way to deliver troops and supplies from water to land. Due to this, Allied Forces built the first amphibious craft known as DUKW in order to perform such tasks. Today, the Duck vehicles offer student groups the chance to tour exclusive territory of the Wisconsin Dells that couldn’t be reached any other way.
Out of the Ordinary Attractions
Logic Puzzle Museum
The Logic Puzzle Museum in Burlington offers student groups a unique educational experience with hands-on mechanical and 3-D logic puzzles and brain teasers. The museum has different ingenious and diabolical puzzle types including geometrics, tangrams, disentanglement and packing puzzles. It also has a “Vintage and Unusual Brain Puzzles” exhibit with hundreds of vintage puzzles and Victorian style parlor toys and games. Students must put on their thinking caps for this out of the ordinary attraction!
Students won’t run out of things to do at Discovery World in Milwaukee. Focusing on innovation and technology, the museum is filled with interactive learning opportunities for students of all ages. Students can operate the controls of the retractable domes of Miller Park and the Milwaukee Art Museum in the “Rockwell Automation Dream Machine” exhibit or gaze at legendary musician Les Paul’s Grammy Awards, the first Gibson guitar he created and the “Klunker” he used to produce top ten hits at the “Les Paul’s House of Sound.”
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin
Discover Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal architectural laboratory at the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green. The location served as the renowned architect’s primary home base for almost 50 years and helped breed some of his most important innovations. The 800-acre campus includes buildings for every decade of his career. Students can partake in the “Hillside Studio and Theater Tour” of the building that Wright designed for his aunts’ groundbreaking boarding school or the “Estate Tour” for a four-hour hiking journey of the entire Taliesin property.
Tommy Bartlett Exploratory
With more than 175 interactive activities, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory in Wisconsin Dells is a perfect destination for student groups looking for hands-on educational experiences. Celebrating the life of Wisconsin showman and entertainment tycoon Tommy Bartlett, the museum is a Wisconsin Dells must-see attraction. Students can ride the High Wire SkyCycle on the world’s thinnest bike trail, a one-inch cable 12 feet in the air, or experience an authentic Russian Space Station MIR core module. Other attractions include virtual reality adventures, simulator excitement, mirrors, magic, puzzles and holograms.
Blasts from the Past
Fred Scheer’s Lumberjack Shows
For a comedic look into the past of the life of a lumberjack, Fred Scheer’s Lumberjack Shows in Hayward are sure to amuse and entertain student travel groups. As seen on ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games, the lumberjack shows combine sport, history and comedy with ten exhilarating thrill events per show. Students can watch world champions compete in the “Olympics of the Forest” or participate in the intermission activity where audience members are invited onto the stage to crosscut saw with the lumberjacks.
The Aztalan Museum in Lake Mills is a destination rich with history and educational learning experiences for student groups. The archeological site was once home to hundreds of Native Americans between 1000 and 1300 A.D. This ancient Middle Mississippian village was abandoned by its inhabitants about 200 years before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas, and the reason why they left still remains unclear. Filled with mystery, the Aztalan museum offers students the opportunity to view the ruins and even old dug up bones found in the community.
National Natural Landmark
Previously home to the prominent H. Louis Dousman family, the Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien is a National Natural Landmark operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. This historical site was where American and British troops fought at the Siege of Prairie du Chien, hoping to control Fort Shelby during the War of 1812. Student groups can participate in “Behind the Scenes,” “Restoration” and “Decorative Arts” focus tours.
By Ally Mahoney