Thursday, December 31, 2015

Preview Post: Lake Wapogasset Park

Lake Wapogasset Park is on Lake Wapogasset in the Town of Garfield, which is next to Amery.  There is a nice covered picnic area and a playground for the kids.  The park also houses a boat launch and lots of shoreline, but there is not a swimming area from what I can tell.

The park also contains a trail and bathrooms.

Lake Wapogasset Park
130th Street ~ Amery, WI ~ (715)268-4857

Preview Post: Amery School Forest

The Amery School Forest is open to the public to explore.  There are trails and a shelter.  It is focused mainly on the plant life in the area, but I'm sure their is fauna to be found as well!  This looks like a nice place to take the family for a couple of hours.

Amery School Forest
Parking at the schools: 501 Minneapolis Avenue ~ Amery, WI ~ (715)268-9771

Preview Post: Glenna Farms

Glenna Farms in Amery is primarily a maple  Orchard? I guess I'm not sure what you call that, but syrup is their thing!

While Glenna Farms' store is open year-round, they welcome the general public to the rest of the farm for various events throughout the year.

The pumpkin patch in the Fall comes with a free horse-drawn hayride, cider, and cookies.  They also have tour and tasting events.  There is a free pancake breakfast in the spring...with maple syrup, of course!

Glenna Farms
1333 120th Street ~ Amery, WI ~ (715)268-4702

Preview Post: D D Kennedy Environmental Area

The D D Kennedy Environmental Area in Amery is a huge conversation land.  There is prairie, river, and dam.  They have trails and lots of wildlife.  There are also picnic areas and multiple bathrooms.  There is a playground next to the pavilion. 

D D Kennedy Environmental Area
1459 Kennedy Mill Avenue ~ Amery, WI ~ (715)268-7565

Preview Post: Amery Ice Arena

The Amery Ice Arena is home to the Amery Youth Hockey Association, but they also host open skating.  They do have skates to rent.

Amery Ice Arena
1065 Riverplace Drive ~ Amery, WI
Admission: Varies - $5 per person or family, $3 skate rental

Preview Post: York Park

If you are looking to explore the great outdoors, look no further than York Park in Amery.  This is a 40-acre park with lots of adventure waiting inside.  It is not your "sit and watch the kids play" kind of park.  This is the park where you bring your backpack and see where the day takes you.

They have woods, lake, and bog.  York Park is also recognized as a great place for bird watching, and I would guess you may find your fair share of other critters here, too.

There are trails and a picnic area.

York Park
Highway 46 & N Bend Street ~ Amery, WI

Preview Post: South Twin Park

South Twin Park looks like a great place to play in Amery!  There is a sandy beach on South Twin Lake.  There is no life guard on duty, so watch closely.  There is a large, covered picnic area and a building with showers (and I would assume toilets?).

I see plenty of space to run around. The park is listed as having a playground, but that looks to consist of a few swings and maybe a see-saw.

South Twin Park
W Elm Street & Water Avenue ~ Amery, WI

Preview Post: Soo Line Park

Soo Line Park in Amery boasts a large, open space as well as a nice pavilion.  There are benches and picnic tables.  It is also the start of a trail and hosts farmers' markets.  There is no playground.

Free wifi available.

Soo Line Park
Keller Avenue & Center Street W ~ Amery, WI

Preview Post: Schumacher Park

Schumacher Park in Amery sounds like a quiet place for a picnic.  There doesn't seem to be a whole lot there, so I wouldn't plan on spending an afternoon.  It is right on the river, so there might be some potential for feeding ducks!

Schumacher Park
Keller Avenue & Riverview Boulevard ~ Amery, WI

Tower Lanes

Tower Lanes in Beaver Dam is a fairly typical bowling alley, but they do have some pretty nice features for kids.

While Tower Lanes has your bumpers and kid-friendly balls, they also have these super cute bowling ramps.  It's basically a big plastic dragon slide for your bowling ball.  It greatly improved our experience instead of waiting in agony, hoping that s-l-o-w preschool ball was actually going to make it to the pins.

Tower Lanes also participates in the "Kids Bowl Free" program, allowing you some cheap family fun all summer long!

Tower Lanes
1660 North Spring Street ~ Beaver Dam, WI ~ (920) 887-8000
Admission: Varies - Generally $3.50-$3.75 per game, plus $2.75 shoe rental

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Preview Post: North Twin Park

North Twin Park is more of the same in Amery: a sweet little picnic and fishing spot.  Not much more.  It does have a pretty nice pier to sit on to enjoy the views.

North Twin Park
Hwy 46 & Cameron Bridge Dr ~ Amery, WI

Preview Post: North Park

Now, if I were looking for a park to which to take the kiddos in Amery, North Park might just be the place I'd pick first.  It sounds like they have a little bit of everything.  While they do have that old Amery standard of fishing and picnicking, there is also a playground!  They also have everything I can think of wanting to do at a park: horseshoes, skateboarding, disc golf, baseball, and the list goes on.

Bathrooms are listed for this park...and wifi!  Fancy.

North Park
Hwy 46 & Oak St ~ Amery, WI

Preview Post: Michael Park

Michael Park is also known as Bobber Park (on account of the giant bobber sculpture) or Dam Park (on account of the dam).  This looks like another great place in Amery to picnic and fish, but there doesn't really seem to be any equipment or particular places to play.

Michael Park
132 Central St ~ Amery, WI

Preview Post: Flag Pole Park

From what I can tell, Flag Pole Park offers either a nice place to get out of the car and stretch your legs as your passing through or a quiet spot for a picnic and some fishing.  If you're not looking for one of those particular circumstances, I don't see much to do there.

Flag Pole Park
Hwy 46 & Wisconsin Ave ~ Amery, WI

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Preview Post: Black Brook County Park

Black Brook County Park is near Amery.  It lies on the dam between the Apple River and the Black Brook Flowage.  Black Brook County Park is a wooded park; it contains a picnic area and a playground.  It also looks like a great place to feed the ducks!

Preview Post: Apple River County Park

Apple River County Park is on the Apple River in Amery.  It's covered in woods, but contains a playground and a campground.  If you've been, leave a comment and let us know what you thought!

Apple River County Park
1040 Mains Crossing Ave ~ Amery, WI

Jelli's Market

Our clan took a trip out Jelli's Market to pick some apples.  Aside from pick-your-own apples, they also set up a few fun activities to make the trip a little more interesting.  One of my kiddo's favorite was the lawn Jenga game.

Another big hit seemed to be the "real life" Angry Birds.  They have an actual slingshot and rubber duckies:)

There are other fruit selections when in season as well as a market.  It's a nice little place to spend a couple of hours.

Jelli's Market
N5648 S. Farmington Rd. ~ Helenville, WI ~ (262) 593-5133

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark is the ultimate water park - America's largest in fact:)  They have wave pools, lazy rivers, and water coasters and water slides for a wide range of adventure levels.  My kiddo and I had a blast!  There is really more than you can do in a day, so if you're going to be in town and water parks are your thing, I would recommend getting their second day deal before you leave the park.  It gives you drastically reduced prices for a whole additional day of fun!

There are the old classics like the Bermuda Triangle slides and the Adventure Rivers, as well as some new thrillers.  The Point of No Return is a see-through, big-drop individual slide.  The Scorpion's Tail flips you upside down!  Those are two of the more unique slides.

The best part about Noah's Ark is that there really is something for everyone.  They range from the tame to the insane.

Noah's Ark is one of the most well-known Wisconsin attractions, but it is definitely worth a visit at least once as a family.

Noah's Ark Water Park
1410 Wisconsin Dells Parkway ~ Wisconsin Dells, WI ~ (608) 254-6351

Admission: Prices range from $20-$40, but I would highly recommend checking around for deals.  You can almost always find discounted tickets at a local grocery store or through the local recreation department.  Also check their website for specials.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Grampa's Farm

Looking for some old-fashioned, fall family fun? (Try saying that three times fast!)  Head over to Grampa's Farm!  Grampa's Farm is actually a deer farm that pulls out all the stops for a few weekends every autumn to throw a big, down-home experience especially for families who don't have their own grandpa's farms to visit.

When you get to Grampa's Farm, be sure to check in to get a map and a line-up of the day's scheduled activities.

Our first stop was the logging camp.  The kids get to stamp their initials in the wood - just like the lumberjacks used to do!  The best part is they end up with an awesome souvenir to take home with them.  My kiddo is excited to display hers in her bedroom :)

Well, the next stop OF COURSE had to be the horse ride!  Let me tell you, the trip would have been worth it for her if that was all she had gotten to do.  They even get to choose from a small, medium, or large horse to ride.  So cool!

After she rode her horse, we spent some time climbing the giant haystack...
 and playing on the tire playground. 

Lots to climb on!  There were even those fun see-saws that you can't seem to find much anymore. 

When Mommy and Daddy were ready for a change of scenery, we headed to the petting area.  There were lots of farm animals to touch and feed.  Some were caged, but some wandered freely, which was pretty fun.  My little man got a kick out of touching the sheep.

Make sure you are around for the milking demonstration.  Your kiddos may get to try their hands at it themselves!

There are also apple cider and ice cream demonstrations in the barn where you can see and explore what Grandma & Grandpa's houses and schools would have been like back in the day.  It actually really did make me feel like I stepped back into my grandparents' old house from when I was growing up.  The top hit for both my kiddos inside the barn, though, was the GIANT rocking horse.

Since the farm is only set up for this event a few weeks of the year, they bring in port-a-potties and temporary sinks.  I was pretty excited, though, to see they had a special baby care room set up in the barn.  It is a cozy (yes, cozy) little spot with a real old-school changing table, high chair, and rocking chair.  It is not always easy to find a spot to nurse the baby in places like this, and it was great to have a place to change diapers other than the ground.  Super awesome touch!

The only thing I would caution is that when we were there the lunch line was super long and slow, so plan accordingly.  One of us held our spot in line while the other took the kiddos to look at more animals.  The food was delicious though - my hubs couldn't get over how good the fries were!

All in all, we had a great time!  The kids got to do lots of things they have not had a chance to experience elsewhere.

Remember, Grampa's Farm only happens a few weeks each year, so mark your calendar!

Oh, and don't forget to take the hayride out to find that special pumpkin!!

Be sure to visit their website for dates and a complete list of the activities available.

Grampa's Farm
N2613 Norwegian Rd ~ Merrill, WI ~ (715) 536-8909
Admission: $10 per person, 2&under free

Monday, August 10, 2015

Waterworks Park

Waterworks Park is in Beaver Dam.  My kiddo was pretty disappointed to discover there was not actually any water to play in...

 but she quickly recovered when she saw the awesome pirate ship playground.
Waterworks Park is an inclusive, handicapped-accessible park.  The playground is also entirely fenced in with only one opening, which makes it a bit more reassuring to give the kids some independence.

There is a picnic shelter with bathrooms.

Waterworks Park
858 Denning Ave ~ Beaver Dam, WI

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park in Watertown is your typical park.  We had fun playing on the two playsets.  There is also a sandbox and some swings.

The park also has lots of green space and a picnic shelter with bathrooms.

Lincoln Park
Elm Street & Union Street ~ Watertown, WI

South Park

South Park in Oshkosh has a little something for everyone.  There is a beautiful bridge often used for wedding photos, ducks to feed, multiple playgrounds (one of which is an inclusive playground that is handicapped-accessible), and a splash pad.  There are also restrooms.

South Park
West South Park Ave & Georgia Street ~ Oshkosh, WI

Dodge County YMCA

The Dodge County YMCA has plenty to keep your family busy!  There are a couple of playgrounds, athletic facilities...and pools!  Our family has spent our time in the family adventure pool.

This is a great place for little ones.  It has a zero-depth entry with a kiddie slide and some water fountains and features.  There is a lazy river and a tube waterslide as well.

Be sure to check the schedules online because you can only play during designated "open swim" times.

YMCA of Dodge County
220 Corporate Drive ~ Beaver Dam, WI ~ 920-887-8811
Admission: lots of options!  Day passes start at $6/child, $12/adult, $20/family; memberships available

Union Park

Union Park in Watertown is on a dead-end street in an out-of-the-way part of town.  It is home to two blue and white play structures.

We had lots of fun trying both!  There are some unique features, like this fun tv featuring your very own programming.

There is quite a bit of open space as well as a picnic shelter with bathrooms.

Union Park
South Monroe Street & Lafayette Street ~ Watertown, WI

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mary Rose Park

 Mary Rose Park is a small park in a quiet Watertown neighborhood near the hospital.

They have some really unique equipment.  There is a large climber and one a bit smaller.  There is also some green space with a volleyball net and soccer field.  There is a port-a-potty.

Mary Rose Park
Meadowbrook Drive ~ Watertown, WI

Wildwood Wildlife Park

 We had so much fun at Wildwood Wildlife Park in Minocqua!  Our favorite part was the petting zoo area.  They had lots of barnyard animals, but they also had a few exotics the handlers rotated out of the cages to pet as well.

I learned that Wildwood Wildlife Park is actually the second largest zoo in Wisconsin.  They really did have an amazing assortment of animals and offered many ways to interact with them.  That was the best part!

The one major complaint I have is that they have NO diaper changing tables.  One of the workers told me it was because someone ripped the one they had off the wall, so they decided it wasn't worth replacing it.  Excuse me?!  You are an establishment aimed toward families and children.  Every other place we went to on our little mini-vacation had a changing station, including our other stops in Minocqua.  I'm pretty sure if almost every other business can figure out how to provide a changing station for their patrons, you can manage to do the same.  The fact that a place specifically for children doesn't have a place to change diapers is unacceptable to me.  I would probably not pay again to get in until I didn't have to worry about this for the day.

That being said, we really did have a lot of fun.

Wildwood Wildlife Park
10094 State Highway 70 West ~ Minocqua, WI ~ 715-356-5588
Admission: $16.99/adult, $11.99/child, under 2 free, season passes available; lots of extra possibilities for additional cost

Harry Nelson Recreation Center

 The Harry Nelson Recreation Center is on the edge of the town of La Pointe on Madeline Island.

They have a nice little playground that entertained my kiddo for about as long as most playgrounds do.  There is also a ball diamond, tennis courts, and picnic shelter.  They do have bathrooms.

Harry Nelson Recreation Center
Corner of Middle Road and Rice Street ~ La Pointe, WI ~ 715-747-6913

Big Bay Town Park

Big Bay Town Park is a superior park on Lake Superior!  (See what I did there?)  It is one of the parks on Madeline Island, the only Apostle Island that is not part of the Apostle Island National Shoreline.

There is not a playground, but there are trails and a great lagoon for swimming or kayaking/canoeing (available to rent).  Lake Superior is really too cold for swimming, but this lagoon is nice and warm-ish...and gorgeous!  We even saw a deer swim across the lagoon.  There is also beach to play in on the shore of Lake Superior.

Big Bay Town Park
2305 Town Park Circle ~ La Pointe, WI ~ 715-747-3031

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The Apostle Island National Lakeshore is one of Wisconsin's most unique parks, and one of only two national parks in the state.  It consists mostly of islands, which are accessible only by kayak or boat.

 This is the headquarters in Bayfield.
Some of the park is on the mainland along the Lake Superior shoreline.  The largest draw to the Apostle Islands are the caves, especially the ice caves in the winter.  These can't really be seen from the mainland shore.

There are plenty of other activities, especially if you are willing to pay for them.  There is an Apostle Island cruise available.  We chose not to do that one due to the cost and duration (3 hours!) of the cruise.  You can also fish, tour some lighthouses, and there is plenty of hiking!

The park may be accessed for free, but there are fees for many specific uses.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Bayfield Headquarters
415 Washington Avenue ~ Bayfield, WI ~ 715-779-3397

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

 The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is just outside of Ashland.  It is a cooperative center run through the partnerships of multiple organizations.

They have a large property with trails to explore.  There is also a pond with some fish to feed.  We also found a giant turtle in the pond!
 Climb the observation tower for this awesome view!

 Be sure to walk through the interactive museum inside as well.  It's all about the history of the region, including the native heritage, the mining industry, and the fishing industry.  You can even try your hand at the detonator in the mine.

If you are in the area, this is a great place to stop and get some good information.  This is where we learned of the Powwow we attended while we were up there.

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
29270 County Highway G ~ Ashland, WI ~ 715-685-9983

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Astico County Park

I took my kiddo to Astico County Park mostly because I discovered they had canoe rentals, and I thought it would be fun to give it a try.
 Word to the wise: Don't give your 3-year-old a canoe paddle unless you are looking for a MAJOR arm workout trying to paddle against the one permanently dragging in the water!  My newly toned arms thank my daughter for the boot camp:)

The website says they offer half-day or full-day rentals, but onsite they also give the option of hourly.  One hour was perfect for us.

Once we got our canoe safely back to harbor, we did a little more exploring of the park.  It was mostly campsites and trails, but we did find a little playground.  I definitely wouldn't go to this park specifically looking to play on their playground because it was pretty minimal, but it was a nice enough pit stop.

Astico Park does have bathrooms.

Astico Park
N3620 County Road TT ~ Columbus, WI ~ 920-386-3700
Admission: There is no entrance fee, but there are fees to rent canoes/kayaks and to camp.

Wirth Park

Brookfield's Wirth Park has so much to offer!

We spent most of our time in the Tot Place (playground)...

 ...but we did also meander down this interactive path to get to the bathrooms.  On the way, we encountered a little league baseball game as well.
From what I can gather, we only saw a small portion of this fantastic park.  There are various trails, volleyball & tennis courts, soccer fields, ball diamonds, an ice rink in the winter, and a pool in the summer.  Wow!  We sure enjoyed ourselves when we were there!

Wirth Park does have bathrooms.

Wirth Park 
2585 Pilgrim Road ~ Brookfield, WI

Brandenstein Park

Brandenstein Park in Watertown is your typical neighborhood park.  There is a sand-padded playground.

There is also a volleyball net and a baseball diamond.  When we were at Brandenstein Park, there was a pile of bikes with a group of kids playing a game of kickball.  There is plenty of green space for picnics as well.

There is a port-a-potty.

Brandenstein Park
30 West Spaulding Street ~ Watertown, WI

Brandt/Quirk Park

 Brandt/Quirk Park is Watertown's largest park...without a playground!

That being said, it really is a nice park.  There are soccer fields, a frisbee golf course, and baseball diamonds.

There are also walking trails throughout the park, which is what we did when we visited.  We've also been for a couple of baseball games.  There was a sand and water play area near the ball diamonds at one point, but I did not notice that when we were there for a game last night, so either they got rid of it or I just got lucky that my kiddo didn't find it:)

Dogs are allowed, but I have not come across any enclosures.  Anyone know if they have one?

The park has actual restrooms.

Brandt/Quirk Park
800 Carriage Hill Drive ~ Watertown, WI

Little Amerricka

 We had so much fun at Little Amerricka!!  We started with the kiddie rides.  My kiddo loved these, as expected.  They have quite a few to choose from.

Then we moved onto something a little more advanced:)   My kiddo went on her first roller coaster!

They were not super busy that day, so they sent us around THREE times before stopping the ride!  We had very little wait time for any of the rides.  A much better option for us than Great America, especially with the little ones.

Little Amerricka's pricing allows for lots of customization.  Another perk of this amusement park, there is no general admission, so if anyone wants to go along to watch without riding, they don't need to pay to get in.  They have pay-per-ride tickets as well as wristbands.  Different color wristbands allow you to do different activities throughout the park.  Our whole group had gold wristbands, and we really didn't have time to take full advantage of them.  I would strongly recommend looking at the ride list for each wristband and choosing based on what each person is able/wants to do.  A better option for many might be to purchase one of the lower level wristbands and then buy tickets to do an extra activity or two.  The park is generally only open for a few hours a day, so that is important to keep in mind as well.  While we may have liked to do more that our wristbands allowed, there just really wasn't time to go on all the rides AND go-karts AND bumper cars AND mini golfing.

It was a fun day and a great alternative to Six Flags!  Smaller, less crowded, and locally owned!

One other word of advise: be sure to check the website for hours of operation before you make your plans.  Their schedule is kind of all over the place and changes throughout the summer.

Little Amerricka
700 East Main Street ~ Marshall, WI ~ 608-620-5224
Admission: no general admission; prices vary based on your ride selection: rides start at $1.50/ride, wristbands available from $10.95-$21.95, season passes available as well