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Travel Logs July 2014

Compulsive Traveler

Ten Great Things to Do in Wisconsin’s Fox Cities

By Sandra Scott

The History Museum at the Castle has an excellent hands-on Houdini exhibit that shares some of the great magician’s secrets. The Hearthstone House, which had the best of everything, was the first home in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity.

Looking for a place off the beaten path with an amazing variety of the things to see and do? If so, head to Wisconsin and explore the cities, towns and villages along the Fox River. Even though the Fox Cities make up the third largest metropolitan area of Wisconsin, the small towns have traditional main streets with a plethora of things to enjoy. Think of it as “life in a slow lane.”

  1. Shopping: Looking for something new or something old or something unique? Then you will surely find it at the Fox River Mall called “Wisconsin’s Shopping Place” with more than 180 retailers, or the Harp Gallery dubbed “Wisconsin’s Best Antique Store,” or the unique shops in the downtowns of Appleton, Neenah, and Menasha.
  2. Museums: The History Museum at the Castle has an excellent hands-on Houdini exhibit that shares some of the great magician’s secrets. The Hearthstone House, which had the best of everything, was the first home in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity. The Museum of Glass has an impressive collection of paper weights.
  3. Science: The Barlow Planetarium is a world-class facility with a 48-foot projection dome and star projector. Interactive keypads at each seat allows for audience participation in the shows. Next door is the Weis Earth Science Museum where visitors can learn about “The Restless Earth” with a focus on Wisconsin’s mineral heritage and mining history.
  4. Nature: Enjoy nature on the eight miles of trails at the Gordon Bubloz Nature Preserve. Or, hike the Red Bird Trail at High Cliff State Park located on the shores of Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland lake. The hike features the Winnebago Indian Chief Red Bird statue, a 40-foot observation tower, and panoramic views.
  5. Chocolate: Chocolate sweetens any trip. Take a tour of the family-owned Vande Walle’s Candies and don’t leave without trying the Angelfood Candy. At Wilmar Chocolate you can “Build Your Own Bar” by opting to include such unique ingredients as cayenne pepper, ginger and sea salt. Both confectioners are passionate about their quality products.
  6. Sports: Enjoy a baseball game at the Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Timber Rattlers, a Class A minor league team where Alex Rodriguez made his debut. The High Cliffs Golf Course is just one place in the area to tee off. There is also the Appleton Family Ice Center, the Fox Valley Roller Rink plus boating and fishing.
  7. Iconic Wisconsin: Wisconsin is renowned for cheese so no trip is complete without a visit to Simon’s Specialist Cheese Store to try their cheese curds and chocolate cheese. To learn about the Wisconsin’s paper industry visit the Paper Discovery Center with many hands-on displays but don’t leave without making your one piece of paper.
  8. The Arts: The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center presents Broadway shows and other world-class shows in their state-of-the-art theater. Get in touch with your creative side at The Fire art studio where they offer pottery painting, jewelry making and more. The Trout Museum of Art has an eclectic mix of artwork.
  9. Time out: Stone Cellar Brew Pub and the Appleton Beer Factory both serve great locally made beer along with fun food. Oenophiles, head to Kerrigan Brothers Winery and tour their wine making facility then relax on their patio. For unique dining experience check out Ione’s Dining Room at Fox Valley Tech College and Vince Lombardi’s Steakhouse.
  10. Special events: Check FoxCities.org for more information and special events that range from Ladies Day Downtown complete with fashion show and freebies, to Thursday Afternoon at the Movies, to Iron Man Competitions.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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