New events, attractions, exhibits and activities make their debut in 2010
Wisconsin’s tourism industry has a penchant for attracting national-level events, creating new attractions and expanding old favorites, and searching for ways to make the travel experience fresh and exciting year after year. And 2010 is no exception. Whether your ideal getaway is to be entertained, learn something new, get active or just reconnect with family and friends, you’ll find something new to experience in Wisconsin this year. So here’s a sampling of fun and relaxing things to see and do in 2010.
Attractions and Exhibits
Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures, the largest temporary exhibit ever produced by the Milwaukee Public Museum, brings together archaeological objects and manuscripts to tell a story 2,000 years in the making. Witness actual Dead Sea Scrolls and other early biblical artifacts to learn how transmission of these early writings has shaped the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity and influenced aspects of Islam. This limited engagement runs thru June 6. (888-700-9069; www.mpm.edu)
The newly-opened and family-owned Tourdot Winery in the Wisconsin Dells will be showcasing 10 wines made from California grapes. Additionally, visitors can tour the estate to see grapes maturing now that will be made into 2011’s wines. For those who prefer beer, Tourdot carries 25 different craft beers. Also new this year, there will be picnicking in the 36-acre forest that adjoins the vineyard. (608-253-4400; www.tourdotwinery.com)
The Wisconsin Humanities Council kicks off the decade with two programs that explore the human connection to our environment. Key Ingredients: America By Food, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program, looks at how culture and traditions impact the foods Americans produce, prepare, preserve and present at the table. The exhibits, a selection of artifacts, photographs and illustrations, will make stops in two Wisconsin communities in 2010: Reedsburg (Oct. 20-Dec. 3, 2010) and Rhinelander (Dec. 10-Jan. 21, 2011). The exhibit will make four more stops in River Falls, Westfield, Osseo and Brodhead in 2011.
New and Noteworthy Events
If you’re a Betty Boop fan, don’t miss the official Betty Boop Festival Wisconsin to be held in Wisconsin Rapids on Aug. 6-8. The festival will mark the anniversary of Betty Boop’s animation debut on August 9, 1930, and honors Grim Natwick, a Wisconsin Rapids native and Betty’s original top animator at Fleischer Studios, for his lifelong achievements. The event will showcase an expanded Grim Natwick animation exhibit, scenic motorcycle tours, an animated film festival, visual art gallery and an animation art collectors show. (firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bettyboopfestivalwi.com)
The PGA Championship and its historic Wanamaker Trophy will return to Whistling Straits for the 92nd PGA Championship on Aug. 9-15. Be a part of history as the world’s premiere players once again test their skills on one of the most challenging venues in golf set along the shores of Lake Michigan. Tickets are currently on sale for this major championship featuring golf’s greatest. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets early as demand for the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits was unprecedented. New for 2010 will be a ticket upgrade opportunity and an updated junior ticket policy. Juniors, age 17 and under, will be allowed free access into the Championship Grounds with an accompanying ticketed adult. Each ticketed adult will be allowed four junior admissions to the PGA Championship at no additional charge. (800-618-5535; www.pga.com/pgachampionship/2010)
Green Bay is one of only six ports in North America and the only port in Wisconsin to be honored as a host for the 2010 Tall Ship Festival when twelve vintage vessels will sail into the Port of Green Bay and dock on the shores of the Fox River on Aug. 13-15. Visitors can experience the history and romance of maritime life during ship tours and sails on these sailing vessels, including Wisconsin’s own flagship schooner the S/V Denis Sullivan. Entertainment and food round out this unique festival. The ships race to five ports on the Great Lakes after sailing from Toronto in the American Sail Training Association (ASTA) Tall Ships Challenge®, a race to encourage water preservation and protection. (920-497-5664; www.tallshipgreenbay.com)
Indulge in America’s Dairyland at the second annual Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival at Madison’s Monona Terrace on Nov. 5-7. Taste hundreds of unique cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses at the Cheesemaker’s Gala. Get your ticket early as this event will be limited to 300 attendees.
New this year is a Festival Marketplace that will showcase the state’s cheesemakers, dairies, wineries, microbreweries, authors and artists in a farmer’s marketplace setting, where attendees may sample and purchase product. Offsite events include behind-the-scenes tours at nearby dairy farms and cheese-making facilities. (608- 261-4000; www.wicheesefest.com)
Zip lines are becoming all the rage with thrill-seekers, and Wisconsin is right on the cusp of this trend. Visitors of the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort in Wisconsin Dells will find adventure on the new Wilderness Canyon Zip Line Canopy Tour, a zip line that takes riders over the tree canopy of Lost Canyon behind the resort. The zip line’s final run spans 900 feet in length and reaches speeds of 30 mph. (608-253-9729; www.wildernessterritory.com)
Another zip line, Gravity Trails in Door County, provides a birds-eye view of ponds and sand dunes in this Door County version of an “ewok” village in the trees. (920-854- 9292; www.doorcountyzip.com)
Family Friendly Attractions
Always a leader in entertainment innovation, the Wisconsin Dells has added several new attractions to their inventory starting with “The Scorpion’s Tail” water slide ride at Noah’s Ark. Debuting on May 29, “The Scorpion’s Tail” is America’s first looping tube water slide and the tallest and largest of its kind in the world. Riders drop through a trap door below their feet and speed through a 45-degree loop in an enclosed, gravitydefying slide. (608-254-6351; www.noahsarkwaterpark.com)
Fans of fantasy and wizardry will want to check out the new MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells. Young adventurers use a magic wand that they can customize and keep to navigate through this four-story, renaissance-themed interactive adventure. Children and adults are sure to be mystified. (608-253-2222; www.magiquest.com)
The Madison Children’s Museum is reopening Aug. 14 at its new location on Madison’s Capitol Square. This four-story museum, targeted to children up to age 12, will have more than three times the space of the museum’s last facility and features an art studio, rooftop terrace and a café. New exhibits include the Early Learning Gallery and Possibile-opolis, a city of art and science where anything can happen. (608-256-6445; www.madisonchildrensmuseum.org)
The Green Leaf Inn, a 19- room luxury bed and breakfast inn, will be the Midwest’s first all-green purpose built bed and breakfast when it opens the fall of 2010 in Delavan, according to owner Catherine McQueen and Fritz Kreiss. Their ultimate goal? To get as green as they can get.
The Inn will adopt a wideranging list of over 50 green practices or technologies incorporating green energy sources, renewable and sustainable materials and practices, and environmentally responsible land and water use. Visitors can expect to see a wind turbine right on the property as well as The Eco-Vision Sustainable Learning Center that teaches green living practices. (262-248-0948; www.thegreenleafinn.com)
The just-opened, trendy Aloft Hotel is merely steps from Milwaukee’s scenic Riverwalk and the city’s top dining and brew pubs. Aside from the terrific modern design, this member of the Starwood Hotels family offers an alternative to luxury hotel brands like W. It’s a casual and affordable option that’s not short on amenities and service. This is the first Aloft property in Milwaukee and the first hotel constructed in the downtown area since 2001. (414-226-0122; www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels)
Opened in 2009, the Metropolis Resort is Eau Claire’s designer hotel where no two rooms are alike. It’s loaded with amenities and integrates the latest environmentally sensitive green practices into its operation. Adjacent to the hotel is Chaos Waterpark and Action City, which offers laser tag, mini-golf, batting cages, a climbing wall, bumper cars and a super-sized arcade. (715-852-6000; www.chaosresort.com)
Travelers looking for year round Wisconsin travel ideas, tips and events can become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/travelwisconsin. For Wisconsin travel planning information and free travel guides, travelers can visit TravelWisconsin.com or call 1-800-432-TRIP.