Up for a road trip? Sometimes you’ve just got to get outta Dodge (or Milwaukee).
There are so many adventures to be had within just a couple of hours. We rounded up the best places we could find, and all of them can be reached by car within two hours of the general Milwaukee area.
Here are some of the best day trips for the whole family, arranged conveniently by area.
1. Cedarburg Historic District
Located just 22 miles north of Milwaukee, the historic small town of Cedarburg is a great place to visit for the whole family. Your first stop can be Cedar Creek Settlement, or check out the General Store Museum. Just a stone’s throw away is the last covered bridge in Wisconsin. It was originally known as “Red Bridge,” and it’s located in Covered Bridge Park near the junction of Highways 60 and 143 on Covered Bridge Road. (At one time there were over 40 covered bridges in Wisconsin. Fun fact: Bridges used to be covered because oxen feared crossing water on an open bridge.)
Keep an eye out for Cedarburg’s family-friendly festivals throughout the year, including the popular Strawberry Festival and Oktoberfest.
Pro Tip: Beautiful Cedar Creek Park has a nice playground along the river next to Cedar Creek Brewery.
2. East Troy Electric Railroad
2002 Church St., East Troy, WI 53120
These historic rail cars travel a 10-mile trip through Southeast Wisconsin. Board at either the depot in East Troy or at The Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago. Meander through the depot museum, where kids can be a trolley motorman, discover the joy of model layouts and learn about electricity. The gift shop features a unique selection of railroad souvenirs for all ages. For more fun, try the ice cream at J. Lauber’s Ice Cream Parlor next to the depot, or enjoy a meal at Ivan’s on the Square in East Troy.
3. Holy Hill
1525 Carmel Rd., Hubertus, Wisconsin 53033
More than 500,000 people from all over the United States and the world visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill each year.
You can admire the beautiful architecture of the neo-Romanesque church built in 1926, enjoy the expansive views, and even climb the scenic tower, which stretches 192 feet at its base and has 178 stairs. The views of the Kettle Moraine area are breathtaking. It’s also a great spot to take in the changing leaves in the fall.
NOTE: The Scenic Tower will be closed when the following conditions are present: gusty winds; threatening weather; fog, rain, or electrical storms; wet stairs following a storm; frost or snow.
4. Port Washington
Your kids will love the giant, castle-like Possibility Playground. It’s a huge all-access playground set in a beautiful park overlooking Lake Michigan. You can also check out the marina, historic art deco lighthouse, and charming downtown area.
5. Museum of Wisconsin Art
205 Veterans Ave., West Bend, WI 53095
You’ve been to the Milwaukee Art Museum, but have you been to the Museum of Wisconsin Art? Just minutes from Milwaukee, West Bend is nestled in the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine. One must-visit place is the Museum of Wisconsin Art which is dedicated solely to the art and culture of Wisconsin. It houses almost 5,000 works of contemporary and historic works of art by more than 350 artists, and spans 32,000 square feet in the downtown area along the west bend of the Milwaukee River. Expansive windows follow the curve of the river bank. Every Saturday, the museum hosts Studio Saturday for kids, featuring hands-on art projects with different creative themes.
6. Shalom Wildlife Zoo
1901 Shalom Dr, West Bend, WI 53090
One of the best things to do in West Bend, Wisconsin, is to visit Shalom Wildlife Zoo. Experience nature at its best on foot, or rent a golf cart. Explore over three miles of gravel road on foot or in a golf cart and spot bison, deer, elk, wild sheep, along with wolves, cougar, bear, zebra, camel and much more in large natural environments. There are learning centers and educational signage posted along the way.
7. Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum
533 Milwaukee Ave., Burlington, WI 53105
This quirky museum/shop gets mixed reviews. It houses a 2,000-item exhibition of antique and modern spinning tops, yo-yos, patches, and more. You can also view videos about spin tops and learn about the science behind spinners. Kids will have the chance to play and experiment with toy tops and spinning top games, plus enjoy a live presentation by Judith Schulz, toy top collector. You should definitely call before your visit, and plan to spend a couple of hours there.
8. Paradise Springs
W374 S8640, County Rd N, Eagle, WI 53119
Paradise Springs is a magical place, and you’ve never seen a more stunning freshwater spring in Wisconsin. The paths are paved, and the hike is less than a mile. There’s also an observation deck and waterfall.
It also has a rich history. It used to be a resort in the summer months for Milwaukee’s wealthiest folks. There was a horse track and shuffleboard court, and a spring water bottling plant (sold under the name “Lullaby Baby Drinking Water”).
The Springhouse was built by Louis Petit, who was dubbed the “Salt King” because he became wealthy in the salt mining business. (His grandson is August Pabst, who became a beer executive and inherited this property.)
Warning! Paradise Springs is about a 50-minute drive away from Milwaukee, and you’ll probably only spend about 30 minutes there. You can pair up your visit with a trip to Fox River Park in Waukesha, just 20 minutes away from Paradise Springs. (Read on for more info on Fox River Park.)
9. Fox River Park
W264 S4500 River Rd., Waukesha, WI 53189
This very special Waukesha County Park includes a 30-foot slide built into a hill, plus a playground behind the slide that features natural materials. There are also many trails to explore. It costs $6 per car, or you can use your Waukesha County Parks pass.
10. Lapham Peak – Kettle Moraine State Forest
W329 N846, County Rd C, Delafield, WI 53018
At this Delafield destination, there’s plenty of wildlife to see, and lots of kid-friendly hiking options. One of the highlights of the forest is the 45-foot observation tower, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
We recommend Plantation Path, a one-mile, blacktopped, accessible trail through a prairie and wooded area. The Butterfly Garden is located just east of this path. Check the map before you go!
An annual park sticker is required.
11. Retzer Nature Center
S14 W28167 Madison St, Waukesha, WI 53188
Even for the littlest feet, Retzer Nature Center’s “Adventure Trail” is filled with majestic pines, picnic tables, and is very short. You can also explore “Vista Trail,” where you’ll get a good view of Waukesha, and the “Nature Trail,” where there are boardwalks and babbling brooks.⠀
12. Green Meadows Farm
33603 High Dr. (Hwy 20), East Troy, WI
Green Meadows offers a hands-on, interactive learning experience that can last the whole day. Kids can pet, feed, and in some cases even hold the farm animals, including baby chicks, bunnies, and goats. They can also milk a cow if they’re up for it!
Be sure to visit the kitten barn, filled with sweet, soft kittens for petting and cuddling. There are also pony, wagon, and hay rides. Finally, don’t miss the playground that includes a fire truck the kids can climb, wooden wagons, and a John Deere tractor with a slide.
13. Old World Wisconsin
W372 S9727 Wisconsin 67, Eagle, WI 53119
Old World Wisconsin brings 19th century history to life like no other place in the great state of Wisconsin. In fact, it’s the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the entire country. Original structures from across the region were painstakingly dismantled and reconstructed to build this 600-acre open-air museum. There are over 60 buildings to explore, including a schoolhouse, church, and furnished houses.
In the Crossroad Village, visitors can learn iron-crafting techniques, watch shoemaking demonstrations, and experience what a typical church service was like. On the farmsteads, you’ll see horses, roosters, pigs, sheep, and other livestock, and learn about old-fashioned farm machinery, tools, and agricultural techniques.
Throughout the experience, visitors will learn about food preparation and preservation techniques in a world of harsh winters. You’ll see authentic wood stoves, outdoor cooking demonstrations, and learn about holiday food traditions. You can also learn about gardening techniques and stroll through beautifully maintained heirloom gardens, filled with lavender, herbs and seasonal produce.
The best part about a visit to Old World Wisconsin is participating in hands-on activities including ice cream making, crafts, outdoor games, churning butter, domestic chores, and walking on wooden stilts. They also host vintage baseball games during the summer.
14. Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm
6831 Big Bend Rd., Waterford, WI 53185
This family-owned zoo houses traditional farm animals like baby chicks, goats, and cows. They are also home to more exotic animals like lemurs, kangaroos, and llamas. Kids can pet and interact with almost all of the animals.
This zoo is open on Saturdays (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) and Sundays (11 a.m.-4 p.m.), May through October. Weekday hours (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) start on June 14, 2022.
15. Imagination Station
700 S. Main St, Oconomowoc, WI 53066
Imagination Station is a huge, universally accessible playground in Oconomowoc. It is located in Roosevelt Park and features rubberized surfacing, therapeutic swings, multi-sensory activity structures, musical components, one entrance and exit for added safety, and more!
16. Pike Lake
3544 Kettle Moraine Road, Hartford, WI 53027
The Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is in the middle of the Kettle Moraine, a strip of glacial landforms which extends through southeast Wisconsin. The forest is named after the 522-acre, spring-fed kettle lake. Powder Hill, a large glacial kame, provides terrific views of the landscape. Visitors can enjoy camping, swimming, hiking, fishing, picnicking and more.
17. The Grove at Village Park
W244 N6260 Weaver Drive, Susssex, WI 53089
The Grove at Village Park features a splash pad, pavilion, inclusive playground, and multi-sport courts. There is also a Splash Pad in the summer that our readers rave about!
18. Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive
Explore the beauty, variety and geology of southeast Wisconsin by driving the 115 \-mile Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive through six Wisconsin counties. The northern end begins near Elkhart Lake in northern Sheboygan County and the southern end begins at Whitewater Lake in southeastern Walworth County. Along the way, you can picnic, hike, swim, visit historical sites, and more. The best time to take this drive is in early October when the leaves are starting to peak. Find out all about it here.
19. Ten Chimneys
S43 W31575 Depot Rd, Waukesha, WI 53189
This is the perfect place to visit for kids (and adults) who love theater or history. It is the estate created by Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. You can take a tour of the unique collection they amassed during their lives, and learn about their personal and professional lives.
20. Bookworm Gardens
1415 Campus Dr., Sheboygan, WI 53081
Bookworm Gardens is a whimsical children’s garden based completely on children’s literature. The two acre garden offers the young and young at heart the opportunity for free, unstructured play in a beautiful and secure environment.
Special elements of the garden include outdoor classrooms, a small amphitheater, greenhouse and outdoor creation station. Nooks and crannies for reading are plentiful, as are benches for resting and chatting.
21. Above and Beyond Children’s Museum
902 N. 8th St. #4005, Sheboygan, WI 53081
Enjoy almost 10,000 square feet of exhibit space on three floors and a mezzanine. It’s a vast interactive environment where families can discover and learn together.
Making impressions on the life-size Giant Pin Screen, voyage in the USS Efroymson ship, or play teacher in the 1900s schoolhouse. There’s also a really long sky crawl and a “Whompamaphone” (PVC pipe organ).
The museum is currently working on downtown Sheboygan’s first ADA-accessible outdoor play space. The All-Abilities Purple Octopus Playground will be 90 feet long and 47 feet wide, with landscape designed by Bookworm Gardens. It’s expected to be completed in late summer or early fall of 2022.
22. Kohler Arts Center
608 New York Ave., Sheboygan, WI 53081
The Kohler Arts Center is an art museum offering free admission, free parking, and plenty for the kids to explore. There is an art space just for kids, an outdoor garden, and ever-changing exhibits.
One of the highlights of your visit might actually be a trip to the restrooms. Colorful tiles and whimsical designs fill the bathrooms, so there’s never a dull moment.
23. Harrington Beach State Park
531 Co Rd D, Belgium, WI 53004
Harrington Beach State Park boasts more than a mile of beautiful, clean beach along Lake Michigan. Take a walking path down to the scenic limestone quarry lake. The park is also dog-friendly.
For stargazing, visit the Jim and Gwen Plunkett Observatory that has a 20-inch telescope weighing over 2,000 pounds. The roof of the observatory is designed to expose the full night sky. Throughout the summer and early fall, the North Cross Science Foundation holds free astronomy evenings that are open to the public.
24. Kohler-Andrae State Park
1020 Beach Park Ln., Sheboygan, WI 53081
One of the last remaining nature preserves along Lake Michigan, Kohler-Andrae State Park offers hikes along sandy beaches and rolling sand dunes, and through pine trees and wildlife.
The Sanderling Nature Center is situated among the sand dunes right on the shore of the lake. There are interactive exhibits, nature films, picture books, and a rooftop observation deck.
The Creeping Juniper Nature Trail starts and ends at the nature center and will immerse you among the sand dunes. Other short hikes include the Black River Marsh Boardwalk (just a quarter-mile hike through wetland), and the Fishing Pond Trail (another quarter-mile hike with a flat surface for strollers and plenty of resting spots). The one-mile Woodland Dunes Nature Trail is also stroller accessible, and it starts and ends at the playground.
25. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center
7001 Gass Lake Rd., Manitowoc, WI 54220
The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is now open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (check online for availability).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It’s packed with interactive, kid-friendly exhibits like a cow-milking station, butter churner, kinetic sand to learn about rainfall, a tractor simulator and more. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Plus, check out the Land O’ Lakes Birthing Barn, where you can actually watch a baby calf being born.
26. Kohler Design Center
101 Upper Rd, Kohler, WI 53044
The Kohler Design Center is a three-level showcase of Kohler’s product design and technology throughout American history. The 36,000-square-foot space highlights Kohler products, and is sure to leave visitors inspired. There’s a product pavilion, a museum and a designer’s gallery.
27. Lottie Cooper Shipwreck
Deland Park, Sheboygan
On the evening of April 8, 1894, the wooden schooner Lottie Cooper was caught by a strong northwest wind. Crew members dropped anchor to wait until morning, but by then water had flooded the ship.
Before help could arrive, the ship capsized and sank. The next morning, the destroyed hull drifted onto shore. The wreckage of the lumber schooner was discovered in 1990, and an 89-foot section of the ship was salvaged and put on display near the Harbor Centre Marina in Deland Park.
28. Elkhart Lake
A little more than an hour’s drive north of Milwaukee, Elkhart Lake offers natural beauty, beaches and parks, hiking, golfing, biking, shopping, and more.
Relax on the warm sandy beaches. Try swimming, boating, fishing or paddlesports in the blue-green waters. Go hiking in the Kettle Moraine State Forest along the Ice Age Trail. The options are endless!
29. Forest Beach Migratory Preserve
4970 Country Club Rd., Port Washington, WI 53074
Forest Beach Migratory Preserve consists of 116 acres along Lake Michigan in the town of Belgium. Visitors will find hardwood forests, grassland and prairie, migratory birds, reptiles, and lots of walking trails. Guests can hike, bird watch, fish, hunt, or cross country ski.
30. Shaw Family Playground
2614 Pine Grove Ave., Sheboygan, WI 53083
This sprawling, colorful playground in Sheboygan is the area’s first ADA-accessible playground. It’s a great stop if you’re in the area.
Where to eat:
Old World Creamery
1806 Erie Ave., Sheboygan, WI 53083
It doesn’t get much more Wisconsin than this. Old World Creamery is a part of a fourth generation family-owned company that makes high-quality cheese, butter, and other dairy items. Their store features butter made right in the plant, along with cheese, cheese spreads, and more.
Whispering Orchards & Cafe
W1650 County Rd MM, Cleveland, WI 53015
Visit this small, family-operated Apple Orchard and café, where they serve homemade apple cider and offer a free petting zoo. Cats and peacocks roam the grounds, and you’ll find baby goats, sheep and large rabbits in the caged area.
In the fall, you’ll find tunnels using hay bales for the kids to play on and wander through. It is located just north of Sheboygan.
Fond Du Lac
31. Fondy Sports Park
N5820 County Rd. D, Fond du Lac, WI 54937
Fondy Sports Park is a great destination for go-karts, mini-golf, bumper-boats, an arcade, off-road karts, batting cages, a rock climbing wall, and more.
When you’ve had your fill of the sports park, hop on over to the Fondy Aqua Park. It’s a freshwater pond with a sandy beach, water slides, zip lines, a Wibit floating inflatable obstacle course, and water equipment rentals (stand-up paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, row boats, and fishing gear).
32. Lakeside Park
555 N. Park Ave., Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Lakeside Park is situated on Lake Winnebago (one of the country’s largest inland lakes), and it’s 400 acres of family fun.
There’s a walk-up lighthouse, picnic area, playground, splash pad, zip line, petting zoo, marina, kayak and pedal-boat rentals, nostalgic miniature train rides, an antique carousel and more. During the holidays, the park glows with thousands of lights and animated displays.
33. Kelley Country Creamery
W5215 Co Rd B, Fond du Lac, WI 54937
They call themselves the “best ice cream in the middle of nowhere,” but Kelley Country Creamery is actually not far off the highway. The best time to go is during sunflower season (early August), when you can roam through their sunflower fields.
Oshkosh / Appleton
34. EAA Aviation Museum
3000 Poberezny Rd. Oshkosh, WI 54902
With a collection of more than 200 historic airplanes, along with world-class galleries and displays, the EAA Aviation Museum is a year-round destination.
Marvel at aviation innovations, and get “hands-on” in the interactive KidVenture Gallery for kids of all ages. Check out the annual AirVenture event every summer.
35. Maritime Museum
75 Maritime Dr., Manitowoc, WI 54220
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum houses an extensive photograph collection and artifacts. Kids can learn in a hands-on way and spend hours learning about the sailors, shipbuilders and submariners who made history.
The Children’s Waterways Room allows children of all ages to launch boats and navigate through Wisconsin’s maritime landscape.
In the Aquatic Invasive Species Lab, you can become a fisheries biologist. Read clues that lead you to information about some of the many aquatic invaders impacting the ecosystems of waterways throughout the Great Lakes.
Finally, the Little Lakefarers Room offers a hands-on environment for young children and their parents to relax, explore, look through a periscope, play maritime games, and read about life on and near the water.
36. Union Star Cheese Factory
7742 County Rd II, Fremont, WI 54940
Union Star Cheese Factory gives visitors the chance to taste fine Wisconsin cheese, see a real cheese factory in operation, and learn more about how cheese is made.
Free 30-minute tours are available on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and everyone gets to sample the freshest cheese curds at the end.
37. Menominee Park & Zoo
520 Pratt Trail, Oshkosh, WI 54901
Admission is free at Menominee Park Zoo, located near Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh. The Zoo is approximately eight acres and carries 30-50 animals during the season.
There are four permanent exhibits (wolf, elk, otter, and eagle), but the majority of the zoo animals are leased, allowing a different variety each year. They plan to add more permanent exhibits for native species as they grow.
38. Washington House Museum (Home of the ice cream sundae)
1622 Jefferson Street, Two Rivers, WI 54241
The Washington House Museum is a hotel built in 1850. It contains an original 1890s saloon, ballroom, Victorian dollhouse and antique toy exhibit, plus a replica of Ed Berner’s Ice Cream Parlor. Legend has it that Berner’s invented the ice cream sundae there in 1881.
39. London Dairy Alpaca Farm
6827 State Hwy 147, Two Rivers, WI 54241
This fully operational ranch in Two Rivers offers pre-scheduled tours (walk-ups are not accommodated).
The behind-the-scenes grand tour allows visitors to interact with, feed and take selfies with the alpacas. Learn about these beautiful and friendly animals and the uses of their fiber, the uniqueness of this century owned family ranch, and how to sort fiber like the natives from South America.
There is one tour per day, and it lasts approximately one hour.
Green Bay Area
40. Bay Beach Amusement Park
1313 Bay Beach Rd., Green Bay, WI 54302
Bay Beach Amusement Park is a municipal amusement park in Green Bay. Situated near the mouth of the Fox River on the east bank as it flows into Green Bay, the park contains a ferris wheel, bumper cars and boats, a giant slide, concessions, a roller coaster and more.
The thing we love most about Bay Beach is its affordability. There is no admission charge or parking fee, and ride tickets cost only 25 cents each (rides range from 1 to 4 tickets per rider).
41. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
1660 E Shore Dr, Green Bay, WI 54302
Visit this beautiful 700-acre urban wildlife refuge featuring live animal exhibits, educational displays, miles of hiking/skiing trails and various wildlife viewing opportunities.
It is the largest park in the Green Bay Park system, and it’s home to the second largest wildlife rehabilitation program in Wisconsin. They care for more than 4,500 orphaned and injured animals annually.
42. Lambeau Field
1265 Lombardi Ave., Green Bay, WI 54304
If you have cheeseheads in your family, then Lambeau Field is a must-see destination, even in the off-season! Stadium tours allow fans to experience the Packers’ history-rich facility first-hand and see several behind-the-scenes areas.
Various types of stadium tours are offered on most days. They range from 55 minutes to 2 hours in length, and all of them allow you to walk through the player’s tunnel and onto the sideline. Stadium tours are accessible.
For the ultimate fan experience, combine your stadium tour with admission to the Packers Hall of Fame.
43. National Railroad Museum
2285 S. Broadway, Green Bay, WI 54304
The National Railroad Museum is home to seven permanent exhibits featuring historic trains and train history. Visitors can take a 25-minute tour aboard a vintage train pulled by a diesel locomotive.
Plan ahead to grab tickets for special events throughout the year, including a pumpkin train, a bunny train, and the Polar Express ride.
44. Green Bay Botanical Garden
2600 Larsen Rd, Green Bay, WI 54303
Green Bay Botanical Garden’s is home to 47 acres of display gardens capturing northeast Wisconsin’s beautiful four seasons. There is a Veterans Garden, Rose Garden, Wellhouse, and a children’s garden with a slide tower surrounded by Mr. McGregor’s Garden, a maze, a koi pond, and the Stumpf Hobbit House restroom.
Opening in 2023, an expansion called the Carol & Bruce Bell Children’s Garden will include a number of unique features, including a nature-based sculptures, a splash pad, a vegetable garden, tree houses and multiple play areas.
Jefferson / Fort Atkinson
45. Highway 18 Outdoor Theater
U.S. 18, Jefferson, WI 53549
Enjoy an old-fashioned drive-in movie on a 90-ft. screen at this seasonal drive-in theater. Snacks are available for purchase. The double feature starts at dusk (about 20 minutes after sunset). Check their website for the most current schedules and coming attractions.
46. Aztalan State Park
N6200 County Rd Q, Jefferson, WI 53549
Aztalan State Park is a National Historic Landmark where you can learn about an ancient village that thrived between A.D. 1000 and 1300.
The people who settled Aztalan built large, flat-topped pyramidal mounds and a stockade around their village. Portions of the stockade and two mounds have been reconstructed in the park. Wander around and get lost in ancient history.
47. Steffen Orchards
N633 McIntyre Rd. Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
Pick your own cherries and blueberries every year at this picturesque orchard. They have three cherry orchards that hold about 4,000 cherry bushes. Plus, you can use their mechanical pitter!
You can also purchase baked goods and local honey (free samples available). Opens when the fruit is ripe and closes when it is gone. Follow their Facebook page for updates.
48. Fort Atkinson’s Hoard Historical Museum
401 Whitewater Ave, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
Discover the people and events that make up Fort Atkinson’s history through the Hoard Museum’s impressive collection of artifacts and artwork. Kid-friendly activities include elementary-level scavenger hunts and a Kids’ Korner area for playing and reading while parents and grandparents explore the Museum Gift Shop.
Visitors will also enjoy The National Dairy Shrine’s Museum, which features a multimedia show that captures the sights and sounds of dairy farming: past, present, and future. Don’t miss the family photo op with the colorful fiberglass cow in the front entryway.
49. Henry Vilas Zoo
702 S. Randall Ave., Madison, WI 53715
This is a 28-acre free public zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. Owned by the city of Madison, the zoo charges no admission or parking fees. It receives over 750,000 visitors annually. The zoo houses an African lion, chimpanzees, a red panda and more!
50. Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark
2975 Cave of the Mounds Rd, Blue Mounds, WI 53517
Visit the premier cave in the upper Midwest and the jewel box of America’s major show caves. Guided tours of this geologic wonder follow paved, lighted walkways departing regularly every day of the year. Tours pass a stunning array of colorful crystal formations on paved lighted walkways.
Visitors also enjoy the gemstone mine, fossil dig, butterfly gardens, rock/gift shops, hiking/biking trails, snack bar and picnic area.
Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark is located in southwest Wisconsin, just 20 minutes west of Madison, off U.S. Highways 18/151.
51. House on the Rock
5754 Wisconsin 23, Spring Green, WI 53588
Marvel at the House On the Rock, an engineering and artistic masterpiece, and check out the eclectic, exotic and whimsical collections and displays. On your self-guided tour you will explore The Infinity Room, extending an unsupported length of 218 feet and soaring 156 above the valley floor, The World’s Largest Carousel featuring 269 handcrafted animals, 20,000 lights and 182 chandeliers, an enormous sea creature longer than the Statue of Liberty is tall, and a Japanese Garden including 14 foot quadruple waterfalls cascading into a garden pond.
52. Madison Children’s Museum
100 N Hamilton St., Madison, WI 53703
Learn through play as you explore and discover award-winning fun designed for kids ages 0 to 12. There are three exhibit floors, including the Wildernest for littles, the ever-creative art studio, and the rooftop garden’s grand view, and each one is bursting with family-friendly activities. The museum is located downtown, on Madison’s Capitol Square.
53. Dane County Farmer’s Market
An absolute must-visit Farmer’s Market, held around the State Capital every Saturday morning. Cheesy bread. Doughtnuts. Fresh, local produce. And so much more!
54. Sunflower Days at the Pope Farm Conservancy (Late July)
10333 Blackhawk Road, Middleton, WI 53562
See over 500,000 sunflowers in bloom in a 9-acre sunflower field at the Pope Farm Conservancy for an gorgeous and memorable day trip with your family.
55. Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704
Olbrich Botanical Gardens features 16 acres of outdoor display gardens showcasing the beauty of Midwest hardy plants in a setting of prairie-style architecture.
The Bolz Conservatory, a sunny 50-foot-high glass pyramid, houses a diverse collection of tropical plants, a rushing waterfall, free-flying birds, and blooming orchids year-round.
The Botanical Center is complete with a gift shop, horticultural library, and meeting rooms. Educational classes, programs, and events for adults and children are offered year-round.
56. Wisconsin State Capitol
2 East Main St, Madison, WI 53703
The best way to experience the beauty and grandeur of Wisconsin’s Capitol building is to see it for yourself. Free tours are offered daily, except on New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas. Plan on spending 45-55 minutes for a tour.
Groups of 10 or more can make a reservation online or by calling (608) 266-0382. A sixth-floor museum and observation deck are also open in summer.
57. Mt. Horeb Troll Stroll
Mt. Horeb, WI
Did you know that Mt. Horeb is the Troll Capital of the world? Whether you’re visiting or just biking through, the trolls of Mt. Horeb are waiting to meet you and guide you on an offbeat adventure filled with numerous attractions and rich Norwegian heritage. Discover many hidden treasures, including casual cafes, gourmet restaurants, delightful bakeries, a world-class brewpub, award-winning wineries, scenic bike trails and so much more.
58. Frank Lloyd Wright Self-Guided Tour
Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, 5607 County Road C, Spring Green, WI, 53588
Walk the 800-acre Taliesin estate with this family-friendly self-guided tour. This experience offers visitors a chance to explore the stunning Driftless Area landscapes of Southwest Wisconsin while also providing a unique look into the estate’s history from architectural and agricultural viewpoints.
At check-in, visitors will come to the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center and be provided with a map and information regarding both the estate buildings and our agricultural efforts, past and present. A scavenger hunt for our younger guests will also be included.
This tour is only offered a handful of times every year, and they often sell out, so plan ahead!
59. Little Amerricka Amusement Park
700 E Main St., Marshall, WI 53559
Little Amerricka features twenty-six rides, attractions, and roller coasters including their classic 1950’s Wooden Roller Coaster The Meteor. The unique park features restored rides from classic amusement parks of a bygone era.
60. Governor Dodge State Park
Governor Dodge State Park, 4175 WI-23, Dodgeville, WI 53533
One of Wisconsin’s largest parks, Governor Dodge has more than 5,000 acres of steep hills, bluffs and deep valleys, plus two lakes and a waterfall. Located in Wisconsin’s scenic Driftless Region, Governor Dodge offers camping, picnicking, hiking, canoeing, biking, hunting, fishing, off-road biking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.
61. Doby Stables
4228 WI-23 Trunk, Dodgeville, WI 53533
Choose between a 45-minute ride through the ranch property and a 1-hour ride through Governor Dodge State Park. Advance reservations are required. Any child riding double with an adult enjoys half-price admission.
62. Devil’s Lake State Park
S5975 Park Rd., Baraboo, WI 53913
Devil’s Lake State Park is truly one of the most beautiful and popular state parks in all of Wisconsin. Situated along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the park offers magnificent views from 500-foot quartzite bluffs overlooking a 360-acre lake. Visitors enjoy nearly 30 miles of hiking trails, lakeshore picnic areas, swimming beaches, paddling opportunities, and year-round naturalist programs. A must-visit section of the park is Parfrey’s Glen.
63. Dr. Evermore’s Sculpture Park
S7703 US-12, North Freedom, WI 53951
Dr. Evermore’s Sculpture Park is home to the Forevertron – the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. Built in the 1980s, it stands 50 feet tall and 120 feet wide, and weighs 300 tons.
64. Deer Park (Opens in May)
2183 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
One of the original attractions in Wisconsin Dells, this family-owned and operated park offers 40 acres of land for live deer and other animals to explore. While strolling four blocks of well-groomed trails, you can expect to see a large variety of animal species, including white-tailed deer, American elk, American bison, European fallow deer, Japanese sika deer, goats, game birds, llamas, horses, emus and lemurs.
65. Noah’s Ark
1410 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
It’s perhaps the best known water park in the State of Wisconsin, and it’s a must-visit for anyone’s first time to the Wisconsin Dells.
Water rides and slides galore, Noah’s Ark has something for everyone from toddlers to adults, including wave pools, a water coaster, and two lazy rivers to relax in throughout the day.
66. Witches Gulch
3951 River Rd, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Witches Gulch is one of the most beautiful places in the Wisconsin Dells, and you’ve probably never seen anything like it before. Accessed via an Upper Dells Boat Tour, Witches Gulch is a spectacular and spooky walk through a narrow canyon carved by wind and water and filled with fern glens, shadowy passages and hidden whirlpool chambers.
67. Rick Wilcox Magic Theater
1670 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Since opening their 550-seat Wisconsin Dells theater in 1999, master illusionists Rick & Suzan Wilcox have entertained and amazed thousands with a combination of magic and comedy. Updated every year, this live show features original, fast-paced illusions. You can even meet the stars after the show!
68. Tommy Bartlett Exploratory
560 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy N, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
One of the most exciting Wisconsin Dells attractions, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory is the place to be for hands-on family fun. In 2018, they moved to a new building with updated exhibits, including more than 175 interactive activities.
Enter the Exploratory and get lost in the wonders of science, technology, space and fun! See, feel and experience an authentic Russian Space Station MIR core module, or test your strength on the Giant Lever as you lift a 5000-lb. car off the ground.
Racine / Kenosha Area
69. Mars Cheese Castle
2800 W. Frontage Rd., Kenosha, WI 53144
You know you’ve always wanted to check it out! Taste cheeses, bakery, sausage and more. There’s also a restaurant onsite where you can get burgers, brats, sandwiches, cheese curds, kids’ meals, ice cream and more.
70. Dinosaur Discovery Museum
5608 10th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53140
Learn all about dinosaurs, see dinosaur skeletons in the main gallery that are casts of actual dinosaur fossil bones, and listen to the environmental and animal sounds in the exhibit gallery. Read more about our visit to the Dinosaur Discovery Museum here.
71. America’s Action Territory Family Fun Park
12345 75th St., Kenosha WI
Open year-round, this family-fun haven has something for everyone in the family. Go for a joy ride in go-karts (single and double cars available), get competitive on the mini-golf courses, or enjoy the classic arcade experience! If it’s hot outside, hop in the bumper boats and soak everyone! When you’re hungry, head inside for pizza, pretzels, popcorn, mac and cheese bites, funnel fries, or Oreo Churro Bites.
72. Kenosha Public Museum
5500 1st Ave., Kenosha, WI 53140
Check out this natural sciences and arts museum with exhibits featuring mammoths, world cultures, Native Americans, zoology, geology, fossils, and fine and decorative arts. The Field Station section offers hands-on activities especially for kids. Take a closer look at insects, fossils, and shells and identify the neighborhood birds.
73. Kenosha Dream Playground
Petzke Park, 2820 14th Ave.
The Dream Playground Project Founders partnered with the Kenosha Achievement Center to raise funds for a fully accessible playground at Petzke Park. The 15,000- square-foot Dream Playground opened in October of 2015 as the City’s first fully accessible playground. More than 3,000 volunteers worked to raise, support, and construct this amazing playground.
74. Brightonwoods Orchard (Treehouse currently closed)
1072 288th Ave., Burlington, WI 53105
This family-run orchard features over 200 apple varieties, seeded and seedless grapes, quince and pears. There is no admission fee. They are not a pick-your-own orchard, but visitors are free to roam through the orchard and woods trail, and visit the two-story treehouse!
75. Racine Zoo
2131 N Main St, Racine, WI 53402
Nestled on the sandy shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, the Racine Zoo is home to some of the world’s most remarkable and endangered wildlife. The walk is easy for kids, making the Racine Zoo a great way to enjoy the outdoors with the family. Currently, the Racine Zoo cares for approximately 75 different species and over 300 individual animals from Wisconsin and around the world.
76. North Beach
100 Kewaunee St., Racine, WI 53402
With 2,500 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, this 50-acre beach is an ADA accessible, sandy oasis. Check out the Kid’s Cove Playground and a section of the Lake Michigan Pathway. Racine’s Beachside Oasis offers concessions, Zumba on the beach, and live music during the summer.
77. Apple Holler
5006 S. Sylvania Ave., Sturtevant, WI 53177
At Apple Holler, you can pick your own memories all year long! They have apples, of course, but they also grow peaches and pears. Families will love the Kids Korral Play Area, which includes a cool cow maze, a music garden, a corn maze, an Amish-built train and a Rainbow play structure.
Stop at the Golden Goat Bridge to visit with farm animals, and learn about bees at the Bee Observation Exhibit and Tree Life Cycle Exhibit. There’s also a brand-new biergarten, and the Applewood Grill serves up BBQ pulled pork, hamburgers, brats and more!
78. Bristol Renaissance Faire
12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53142
Travel back in time to the Dark Ages. These 30 acres of pure fun include 20 stages with a variety of entertainment, a fully armored joust, the Queen and her glittering Court, amazing arts and crafts, delicious food, fine spirits, music, dance, parades, rides and games, and entertainers in the streets all day long. Join us for a day of play!
79. Richard Bong State Recreation Area
26313 Burlington Rd, Kansasville, WI 53139
When you first arrive, stop by the Molinaro Visitor Center to check out the live animals, hands-on exhibits and displays, and a solarium with butterflies, play areas, and beautiful views. There are usually nature programs going on throughout the year. From the visitor center, you can hike a .7 mile-long nature trail that is stroller friendly. It runs through prairie and grasslands, and there’s a boardwalk that overlooks Wolf Lake.
Fun Fact: The Richard Bong State Recreation Area used to be a jet fighter base. It’s named after Major Richard I. Bong, a Wisconsinite who was America’s leading air ace during World War II. Plans were underway to pour a 12,500 foot runway for the air base, but it was abandoned three days before it was scheduled to happen. A group of locals decided to protect the natural area, and the rest is history.
Lake Geneva Area
Stroll through the historic and charming shops and restaurants, hear live music, walk along the shore path, and relax on the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva.
80. Black Point Estate & Gardens
W4270 Southland Rd., Lake Geneva, WI 53147
The only way to access this historic estate is via a 45-minute boat ride. From there you can explore the Victorian mansion, gardens and scenic property.
81. Dan Patch Stables
7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Dan Patch Stables is located at the entrance of the Grand Geneva, and offers pony rides, a free petting farm and trail rides. Trail rides are available 7 days a week by reservation. Trail guides and gentle horses will allow you to see the beauty of nature in a whole new way.
82. Animal Gardens Petting Zoo (Opens May 1)
5065 WI-50, Delavan, WI 53115
Visit this 40-acre venue, which serves as home to The Dancing Horses Theater and Echo the talking and singing parrot, most noted for his appearances on America’s Got Talent. You’ll find 16 species of exotic animals and over 60 hay-eating animals. Visit the interactive Baby Animal Barn where you can pet, hold and feed exotic and farm animal babies. Then, roam or ride the manicured trails.
Visit the deer park where you can hand-feed the deer. Venture to the Indian Village, the interactive petting zoo, and the pond, where you can enjoy a boat ride and paddle with the swans.
83. Big Foot Beach State Park
1452 S. Wells St., Lake Geneva, WI 53147
This 271-acre park on the shore of Geneva Lake is within driving distance to downtown Lake Geneva. It offers wooded campsites, a sand beach that’s rather close to the highway, 6.5 miles of hiking trails, and picnic areas.
84. Lake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures
N3232 Co Rd H, Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Year-round, outdoor adventures abound on this expansive 100-acre property that is home to zipline tours (9 lines or 4 lines), a high ropes course and a climbing tower, as well as approximately 12 miles of single-track mountain biking and hiking trails.
85. Six Flags Great America
1 Great America Pkwy., Gurnee, IL 60031
Visit this huge amusement park with over 100 rides and attractions. The latest is the DC Universe, an exciting, newly-themed section where guests can immerse themselves inside a DC comic book-inspired world. Purchase a Thrill Seeker Pass to also gain admission to Hurricane Harbor, the water park next door.
86. Gurnee Mills
6170 W Grand Ave, Gurnee, IL 60031
Illinois’ largest indoor shopping mall, dining and entertainment destination.
87. Lambs Farm
14245 W Rockland Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048
Get up close with more than 300 animals, and feed nutritious hay to the horses, llamas, alpacas, donkeys and cows. Head to the Discovery Center to learn about small mammals, reptiles and exotic birds from the Animal Keepers. See pigs wallowing in the mud, an infamous camel named Joseph relaxing in the sun, geese and ducks swimming in their in-ground pond, and chickens perching on their branches.
Kids will also love playing miniature golf, taking a ride on the miniature train and enjoying the old world carousel with brightly colored horses.
The windy city is packed with fun places for kids and families. Here are some of our favorites.
88. Legoland Discovery Center
Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Visit LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago at Streets of Woodfield, Schaumburg. Inside the Center you can let your imagination run wild as you learn top tips from our Master Model Builder, join your favorite LEGO characters in our 4D cinema experiences, pedal fast on our Technicycle Ride and find plenty of places to build amazing LEGO creations.
89. Shedd Aquarium
1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
See beluga whales and dolphins splashing around, sharks swimming through giant waters, playful sea otters, colorful jellyfish, and more.
90. Navy Pier
600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Take in the view from the classic Centennial Wheel, ride the Carousel, hop on a boat tour, and grab lunch on Chicago’s famous Navy Pier.
91. Field Museum
1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Meet Sue, the largest and most complete T-Rex remains ever found. She was discovered in 1990 right here in the United States, in South Dakota. Now she is one display in the Field Museum just 90 minutes south of Milwaukee. There’s much more to see and do at the Field Museum, too, and the building itself is absolutely gorgeous.
92. Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo is the only privately managed, free zoo in the country. It’s open every day of the year and is a great family outing. It’s home to 200 unique species from around the world, and the landscape is beautiful, home to over 1,200 plant species, plus native birds, frogs, fish, turtles, and more.
Within the Zoo, the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo provides interactive and tactile learning experience for kids. The most popular feature is the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure, which has a 20-foot-high tree with satay netting that kids can climb.
93. Millennium Park
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
Snap a selfie with the iconic Bean sculpture, splash around in Crown Fountain, roam through Lurie Garden, and more.
94. Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
The Chicago Children’s Museum is located at Navy Pier and features three floors that your kids will love to explore. Stop by the Tinkering Lab, Pritzker Playsace, the Kohler Family Climbing Schooner, a WaterWays playground, the Treehouse Trails enchanted forest, a recreation of a real Saharan expedition, an Art studio, and the new Cloud Buster – 37 climbable feet of structural steel, wood, fiberglass, and more. It’s a fun place for kids of all ages.
Be sure to stop by one of the museum’s permanent exhibits called Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures.
Check the museum’s calendar for upcoming kid-friendly events, and purchase your tickets ahead of time.
95. Brookfield Zoo
8400 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL 60513
Brookfield Zoo is also known as the Chicago Zoological Park. It sits on 216 acres and is home to over 400 species of animals.
96. Adler Planetarium
1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
The Adler Planetarium is the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, and it’s the first planetarium in the United States.
There are plenty of interactive exhibits for kids to explore, demonstrations, telescope viewing, plus immersive planetarium shows and special exhibits to inspire your future space explorers.
Adler’s historic Sky Theater recreates the night sky, and the StarRider Theater is a digital, virtual outer space environment with controls on the seat armrests.
All tickets must be purchased online in advance.
97. Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
The Art Institute of Chicago may not be the first place you think of to visit with kids, but a stop to the Thorne Miniature Rooms, the displays of armor worn by Medieval knights, and the Elizabeth More Touch Gallery where kids are encouraged to touch art pieces are all sure hits for families. The Thorne Miniature Rooms include dozens of miniature room modes with intricately detailed interiors.
Don’t miss the contemporary section with pieces by Picasso, Dali, Pollock, Warhol, and Matisse.
Kids under 14 get free admission. Check their website for family-friendly art-making activities, self-guided tours, and more.
98. Bronzeville Children’s Museum
9301 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60617
This Bronzeville Children’s Museum is the first African-American children’s museum in the country, with a special guided tour format and plenty of hands-on play. Children of all ages can learn about African-American Inventors like Garrett A. Morgan, who invented the traffic light, plus famous politicians, artists, musicians and athletes that lived in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
99. American Girl Place
835 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
For doll-lovers everywhere, the American Girl Doll Store on Michigan Avenue is a mecca. Kids will love exploring the historical narratives of each doll character, or finding the doll that looks just like them, no matter their hair or skin tone. You can even visit the doll hospital for repairs, or get their hair done at the salon on-site. There’s also a restaurant where families can dine with their little friends. It’s so much fun for the little ones!
100. Sky Deck Chicago
233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Experience a view like you’ve never seen before on the The Ledge on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower). It’s the third tallest building in the Wester Hemisphere at 1,353 feet. The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.
101. Maggie Daley Park
337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Don’t miss the three-acre Play Garden at beautiful Maggie Daley Park inside of Millennium Park. You’ll find six themed play areas, fun spiral slides, suspension bridges, an outdoor climbing wall park, scooters for rent, a miniature golf course, a custom-built ship, a play pyramid, a winding path for roller skating., great views of the city, and lots of snack and ice cream options.
Did you like this article?
Check out “101 Best Things to do in Milwaukee With Kids“.