The beautiful state of Wisconsin is located in the northwestern region of the United States. Wisconsin is famous for being a natural state with plenty of outdoor activities. Also, Wisconsin cheddar cheese is some of the best cheese you can eat.
The state of Wisconsin was first explored by Jean Nicolet, a Frenchman who was looking for a faster route to China in 1634. Regardless of the nationality of its first explorer, Wisconsin doesn’t have much French influence.
Wisconsin is nicknamed the Badger State because the early settlers were lead miners who burrowed for shelter deep into the hills.
During the U.S. Civil War, the state was an important hub in the famous Underground Railroad. Enslaved people who were seeking freedom in Canada found a temporary safe haven in Wisconsin.
While there are tons of outdoor activities you can enjoy in Wisconsin, there are many other things to check out while visiting.
Famous Landmarks in Wisconsin
Sometimes known as Taliesin East, Taliesin was the studio and primary home of the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The home is located in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and the site has several buildings that Wright himself designed.
Since Wright’s time, the site has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.
The 37,000-square-foot studio, home, and school are located on an estate of 800 acres. One notable building on the estate is Unity Chapel, which Wright designed when he was only 18 years old. Frank Lloyd Wright is buried in a cemetery on the property.
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Beginning in April every year, the preservation organization offers tours of the house, the estate, and the driftless landscape.
Additionally, the organization also has virtual educational opportunities for classrooms and teachers where children can learn about the field of architecture.
2. Wisconsin State Capitol
The Wisconsin State Capitol Building was completed in 2017, and the building is built on an isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. From the Capitol, you can see the lakeshore, and the building is open every day for free tours.
The top of the building features a 284-foot roof with a high dome. The building is the tallest in Madison, Wisconsin. If you go on the weekend in the summer, you can visit a farmer’s market and buy flowers, vegetables, fresh fruits, and craft items.
For a weekday visit, you can have lunch in the area’s many restaurants in Capitol Square, and shopping is also available. In the summer, the rooftop is accessible.
3. Milwaukee Art Museum
The city’s first art gallery opened in 1888, and later, this early beginning turned into the Milwaukee Art Museum. In the early days of the art gallery, the city’s art lovers tried unsuccessfully to establish the gallery.
Eventually, a couple of smaller art galleries in the area merged their collections to create what they called the Milwaukee Art Center.
Today, the museum’s four floors hold more than 25,000 pieces of artwork, with many dating back as far as the 15th century.
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One of the most prominent collections in the museum is paintings by artists who are Wisconsin natives, including artwork by Georgia O’Keeffe. The museum also has a large European art collection.
In addition to viewing the amazing artwork, families can also enjoy some of the museum’s many activities for people of all ages.
4. Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Located on 16 beautiful acres, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a must-see for anyone who loves gardens, flowers, birds, and butterflies. The botanical gardens were founded in 1951 and are named for Michael Olbrich, the founder.
Equally important is the 10,000-square-foot Bolz Conservatory, which serves as a greenhouse for more than 750 plant varieties that are native to sub-tropical and tropical regions of the globe.
The conservatory is a glass pyramid that rises to 50 feet at its apex. Inside the conservatory, an ambient temperature of between 65 and 80 degrees is maintained.
Inside the conservatory, you can also enjoy viewing a myriad of bird varieties, including owl finches, Gouldian finches, diamond doves, canaries, and waxbills. A large koi point features koi and goldfish, and you will also encounter toads, frogs, and geckos.
5. Lambeau Field
If you’re a sports fan, you won’t want to miss touring Lambeau Field, the home of the Green Bay Packers football team. At the stadium, you can take tours, view the Packers Hall of Fame, and enjoy the many exhibits to learn about the history of the Packers.
Inside the stadium, you can view more than 145 pieces of artwork that were created by a group of 19 artists who have close ties to the state of Wisconsin.
The art features the glory and grandeur of the Green Bay Packers franchise, and the artwork has photographs, sketches, assemblages, mixed media, oil on canvas, and more.
In the East parking lot, you can visit Johnsonville Tailgate Village. The facility has a spacious bar, a full kitchen, and a huge party deck. Near Lambeau Field is Titletown, where you can eat at restaurants, play outdoor games, and enjoy the beautiful public park.
6. Cave of the Mounds
If you’re a spelunker (a cave explorer), you will enjoy a visit to Cave of the Mounds. At this national limestone cave, visitors can view stalactites, stalagmites, and crystal formations when they go underground.
The self-guided tours are the ideal way to enjoy a cave without employees hovering over you, but signs and helpful staff are available to guide you. Best of all, the cave is open regardless of bad weather.
Above ground, families can enjoy trails and take in the wildlife and nature through the Rain and Butterfly garden, the Prairie Restoration Center, and the Bird Observation Center.
The park where the cave is located is known for being home to many different varieties of birds, including the blue jay, cardinal, American goldfinch, downy woodpecker, dark-eyed junco, black-capped chickadee, and many more.
7. Circus World Museum
If you make it to Baraboo, Wisconsin, don’t miss a trip to Circus World Museum, which is devoted entirely to circus-related history. The museum was started when Ringling Brothers attorney John Kelley moved to Baraboo.
Because he felt it was important to preserve the rich history of the railroad circuses, Kelley partnered with the Gollman family, who were related to the Ringling family.
Every year, the Ringling Brothers Circus returned to the area for their winter break, where they would train, re-paint equipment, and take care of other essential tasks.
The start of this museum was small, but today, the museum is located on 64 acres, where you can tour seven winter quarters buildings, 30 permanent structures, 260 circus wagons, and the Circus Train shed complex. The museum is owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
8. National Railroad Museum
Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin’s National Railroad Museum was founded in 1956 and serves to interpret and preserve the history of America’s railroads. In 1958, Congress officially made this museum the official railroad museum.
Featured exhibits include the Dwight D. Eisenhower train, the Union Pacific “Big Boy,” Pullman porters, the Milwaukee Beer Line, Joseph Lister’s Hospital Car, and the famed General Motors Aerotrain.
In addition to the exhibits, the museum also sponsors several events and annual festivals, including the Festival of Trees during the holiday season, February’s Brewfest, the Polar Express, and the Great Pumpkin Train.
For the youngest railroad fans, there are activities that include education and outreach programs. Schools can tour the museum, and the Children’s Discovery Depot introduces young children to the railroad. In the summer, kids can attend summer railroad camps.
9. Pabst Mansion
The famed Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is recognizable to many people because it has been so commonly photographed.
The mansion is built in the grand Flemish Renaissance Revival style and dates back to 1892 when it was built by the founder of the Pabst Brewing Company.
You can tour the mansion during regular hours, or you can enjoy one of the Twilight Tours that they offer in the evenings. With a self-guided tour, you can experience live holiday music, twinkling lights, and traditional German hot beverages such as hot pecan whiskey cider and glühwein.
Every holiday season, Father Christmas walks the halls of the mansion carrying his lantern and interacting with guests.
10. Aztalan State Park
Aztalan State Park is an important Wisconsin archaeological site that’s located between Milwaukee and Madison. At the site, there are earthen mounds that were created by an ancient Native American Middle Mississippian settlement between the years 1000 and 1300 A.D.
The people who settled in the area used the nearby river for the purpose of trading. They also built stockades, earthen mounds, and houses. The site was abandoned between the years 1200 and 1300 A.D. The park covers about 172 acres and is situated along the Crawfish River.
Since 1952, the park has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark. At the park, you can enjoy hiking, trapping and hunting, canoeing, boating, fishing, kayaking, and picnicking.