Check out these unique destinations that reflect the genuine character of our region.
Old World Wisconsin
W372 S9727 Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-6301, oldworldwisconsin.wisconsinhistory.org
You’ve heard of New Yorkers who’ve never visited the Empire State Building, right? Our equivalent is locals who’ve never visited Old World Wisconsin (OWW), the largest open-air museum of rural life in the U.S.
Owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society, OWW encompasses 1800s-era working farms where heirloom animal breeds and crops are raised using vintage methods. Costumed interpreters work the farms, which include vintage barns, cabins and other structures collected from around the state and re-assembled. They represent styles of craftsmanship brought here by Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian and other settlers.
Experiences range from gathering fresh eggs to watching a historic baseball game and riding a vintage tricycle. Learn how beer was brewed during special demonstrations in June and July; see animals sheared and fiber spun. June 9 brings a Wisconsin Wine & Cheese fest and on July 4, celebrate America’s birthday as the settlers did.
Wander the grounds at your own pace or use the hop-on, hop-off weekend tram service; there are guided tram rides and reduced ticket prices on weekdays.
Plan to spend the whole day. The park is open most days through Oct. 13, but check the website for exceptions and special events.
3088 Flora Road, Belvidere, (815) 547-4852, summerfieldfarmandzoo.com
If you haven’t yet visited this zoo, you may be surprised to find mountain lions, zebra, lemurs, giant tortoises, wolves, reindeer, monkeys and more. You’ll also see beautiful Arabian horses that owners Rick and Tammy Anderson have bred for 20 years.
“As a small zoo, visitors can get up close and meet many of our animals in person,” says Rick Anderson. Visitors enjoy animal presentations, bottle-feeding baby goats, pony rides and interacting with animals in the petting zoo.
While it’s fun just to show up, you can also pre-schedule up-close baby animal encounters with a zookeeper present. The zoo also offers periodic events such as Breakfast or Lunch with the Otters, in which up to four visitors enjoy a meal while watching Emmitt and Octavia play in their pond and waterfall.
Field trips and private group tours take place on days the zoo is not open to the public and include an educational guided tour of all of the species at the zoo. Sign up for special events by emailing SummerfieldFarmandZoo@gmail.com or by sending a private Facebook message.
Admission: $10 adults; $8 seniors/veterans; $6 kids. Everyone is $6 on Wed. & Thurs. Daily animal shows are included with admission and all proceeds go to the care of the animals.
Hours: Wed., Thurs. & Fri. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
‘The Women’s Hour’ Exhibit
Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda, 2 E. Main St., Madison, Wis.
Did you know Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gives women the right to vote?
On June 13, 1919, Senator David James of Richland Center, Wis., reported to Washington D.C. to file ratification documents his peers had approved three days earlier on June 10.
In celebration of this 100th anniversary, a large paneled exhibit, “The Women’s Hour Has Struck, Wisconsin: The First State to Ratify the 19th Amendment,” has been installed in the Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda by the Wisconsin State Historical Society (WHS). It explores the origins of the movement, a suffrage timeline, the 1912 referendum, Wisconsin’s role, how the 19th Amendment was passed, and women important to the suffrage movement.
After more than 70 years of women pushing for the right to vote in federal elections, the U.S. Congress amended the Constitution in 1919. As with all amendments, it needed to be ratified by 36 states. Suffrage supporters in each state petitioned their state legislatures to approve it.
The exhibit will be up until November. Learn more at wisconsinhistory.org.