Danielle Johnson, Wisconsin Department of Tourism
Lisa Marshall, Wisconsin Department of Tourism
Press Room: http://media.travelwisconsin.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DISCOVER A CURE FOR CABIN FEVER WITH
WISCONSIN’S TOP 15 WINTER ACTIVITIES FOR 2015
MADISON, Wis. (Dec. 15, 2014) — Leave hibernating in the winter for the bears, it’s time to come out and play in Wisconsin. From snow tubing to snowshoeing, ice caves to ice sculpting, there’s plenty to keep you busy outdoors until spring arrives. Prefer to stay in? No problem, we’ve got you covered. Indoor waterparks, cooking schools, brewery tours, spas and museums all provide snow-free entertainment.
1. No Speed Limits: Snow Tubing
Feeling too uncoordinated for snowboarding? Then snow tubing is your answer. Sit in the comfort of your tube downhill and then let the magic carpet whisk you back to the top. It’s for all ages and abilities with no experience required. Pick up a tube at the “World’s Largest Tubing Park,” Sunburst Winter Sports Park in Kewaskum. Sunburst’s snow making equipment means their 42 chutes are always ready to go. At Wilmot Mountain in Wilmont, race your way down one of the 1,000-foot-long tubing lanes; the winner gets a hot chocolate at the brand-new lodge.
2. Learn About Brews from the Best: Wisconsin Brewery Tours
New to Green Bay, Stillmank Brewing is an independently owned family craft beer company. What’s on the must-try list? This brewery is best known for Wisco Disco, a deep amber beer, with rich malt and hop flavors. Heading north to see the Lake Superior Ice Caves? Make a stop at Ashland’s South Shore Brewery – northern Wisconsin’s first microbrewery, and home to the award-winning Nut Brown Ale – followed by lunch at the Deep Water Grille restaurant.
3. Take your Exercise Outdoors: Candlelit Skiing, Hiking or Snowshoeing
Skip the gym and try night time skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. Wisconsin State Parks host a series of candlelight opportunities on virtually every weekend, January through mid-March. Trails are lit by luminaries, casting Wisconsin’s scenic beauty in a whole new light for a new way to experience Wisconsin’s State Park trails. After all the winter sports activities, enjoy hot cocoa and camaraderie around an outdoor fire. Sure beats the treadmill.
4. Smell the Flowers: Botanical Gardens
Missing the blossoming flowers of spring and summer? Indoor botanical gardens have just what you need and a tropical climate without booking a flight. At Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, spend an afternoon in the tropics at the Bolz Conservatory. Filled with exotic plants, flowers, orchids, birds and a waterfall, it’s a year-round paradise. At the Mitchell Park Conservatoryin Milwaukee – also known as “The Domes” – visitors can experience the desert, rainforest and a flower garden all under one roof. Don’t miss the Thursday night “Music Under Glass” series featuring different live music each week followed by a light show.
5. Dig Out the Flip-flops and Swim Suits: Indoor Waterparks
There’s only once place in the world that has the largest concentration of water parks, and it’s Wisconsin Dells. This "Waterpark Capital of the World" pumps out over 16 million gallons of water to keep 200 slides in operation. These super-sized indoor waterpark resorts don’t just stop at wet rides and slides. Find indoor rope courses, two story Go-Kart trails, 4-D cinemas, arcades, bowling, mini-golf and more. Plus swim up bars, spas and steakhouses make a trip here adult-friendly, too. Three waterpark resorts that offer it all include Chula Vista, Kalahari and the Wilderness Resort.
6. Rejuvenate and Relax: Spas
Appreciate the late dawns and early sunsets while relaxing at a spa. Book a service for the mind, body and soul at one of Wisconsin’s award-winning spas. Sundara Inn and Spa in Wisconsin Dells was named “Top 5 Destination Spa in the World for 2014” by readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine. Sundara’s winter-themed spa treatments offer the aroma of home-baked, buttery almond biscotti, and that’s to say nothing of the therapeutic benefits. Walk the 11-circuit labyrinth at Evensong Spa at the Heidel House, another award-winning spa with a nod from Spas of America as the #2 spa in Wisconsin. Kohler Waters Spa at the Americal Club Resort is one of only 41 five-star spas worldwide and their Sip, Spa & Ahh package, which includes a pedicure and massage, is made complete with a pink martini and delicious chocolate.
7. Revel Outside: Wisconsin’s Winter Festivals
Wisconsinites embrace the winter with a long list of festivals. In Madison, 90 truckloads of snow will transform the Capitol Square into a race and recreational venue for the Madison Winter Festival, Feb. 14-15, 2015. In Hudson, an event of epic proportions takes over the sky with spectacular hot air balloons. The Hudson Hot Air Affair, Feb. 6-8, 2015, is a winter showcase of brilliant color and family fun featuring 40 balloons from 100-foot-tall teddy bears and an 80-story duck.
8. Cast Your Reel on Ice: Winter Ice Fishing
Bundle up, find some solid ice and a shanty for DNR's Free Fishing Weekend, Jan. 17-18, 2015. For this weekend, a fishing license is not required. It’s the perfect time to set a line and try ice fishing for the first time. The DNR has equipment available to take advantage of this popular Wisconsin tradition. If you’ve been waiting to try and catch that large walleye mid-winter, or experience the thrill of watching the tip-up flags fly, this weekend is for you.
9. Snow + Ice = Art: Ice and Snow Sculpting
It’s your own personal Frozen movie where you can experience an ice palace worthy of Elsa the Snow Queen. Eagle River's Ice Palace is erected in early January by volunteers who cut nearly 3,000 blocks of ice from the lake to build a 20-foot castle. Bring the camera for a selfie beside the finished castle decked out with colored lights. Lake Geneva’s 20th Annual Winterfest weekend features the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition (Jan. 28-31, 2015) and enough family-friendly activities to make an entire day of it.
10. Eat and Be Entertained: Dinner Theaters
In the Wisconsin Dells, the new Palace Theater is a state-of-the-art theater destination, producing classic Broadway musicals, as well as bringing to life many Disney classics. A delicious meal is included in the ticket price. Fort Atkinson’s Fireside Dinner Theatre offers seven shows annually (plus an award-winning fish fry on Fridays). St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre in Hudson is presenting the show “Love Letters,” just in time for Valentine’s Day followed by “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” in March. Seems ironic, huh?
11. Brush Up on the Kitchen Skills: Cooking Schools
Chef John at the Lake Geneva School of Cooking knows how to make learning cooking techniques fun. It’s a party atmosphere in this hands-on class where it’s up to the students to prepare the meal under the supervision of Chef John who emphasizes the culinary essentials and likes to take a few dance breaks in between the chopping and the cooking. L’ecole de la Maisonat the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake offers a palate-pleaser solo workshop during your stay, or a five-day course in French cuisine. With a welcoming atmosphere, skilled chefs and a fabulous custom kitchen, you’re sure to recharge your culinary passion and take away new recipes to try at home.
12. Paint, Sip and Be Happy: Wine and Paint Bars
Anyone can be an artist and find their inner creativity at one of the trendy new wine and paint bars. Splash Studio in Milwaukee offers painters a chance to be guided by an artist and then paint whatever moves you at the moment, all while sipping a glass of wine, of course. Pinot’s Palette in Appleton is perfect for a fun night out that ends in a festive, whimsical and colorful painting. Artful Escapes in Fitchburg is just a brush stroke away from helping you find your inner Van Gogh. Indulge in a beverage as a local artist guides you through painting your masterpiece.
13. Beyond Blackjack and Bingo: Hotel Casinos
Try your luck at one of Wisconsin’s casinos and make it a weekend. Ho-Chunk Gaming in Baraboo has the state’s largest number of slot machines (2,400) and a premiere resort just a few miles from the amenities of Wisconsin Dells. Having fun at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee is definitely no gamble. Guests can try their hand at blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, bingo and slots and then top their day with a dinner at Dream Dance and a room with sophisticated comfort and views of downtown Milwaukee. At the Legendary Waters Resort & Casino, every room has an unbeatable view of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands while the casino has both table games and slots.
14. Take a Hike: Explore the Caves
Ready to be awed by Mother Nature? If Wisconsin is as lucky as last year, we’ll see the magnificent beauty of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore ice caves. Conditions must be just right for the development of the ice covered rock formations that hang from above and jut up from the ground below. It’s a cool adventure to get there via a one-mile trip on foot across frozen Lake Superior. At Cave of the Mounds in Blue Mounds, celebrate 75 years of stalactites and stalagmites. Guided tours showcase this cave that is a million years in the making. The best part of Cave of the Mounds is it’s always a constant 50-degree temperature. Or, strap on your snow shoes to enjoy a guided tour of rarely seen ice caves and frozen waterfalls during the Ice Cave Hike series at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in La Farge.
15. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Plus Motorcycles and Boats): Transportation Museums
If it has an engine and wheels, wings or rudder, Wisconsin’s got a museum for it. The EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh is one of the most extensive aviation attractions in the world, housing a stunning collection of 200 aircrafts that chronicle the history of aviation innovation. The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay is one of the largest rail museums in the nation, boasting 75 pieces of historic rolling stock. The collection is highlighted by a Union Pacific Big Boy, the world’s largest steam locomotive. The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee tells the motor company’s story through a collection of vintage motorcycles, interactive exhibits, photographs, rare documents and artifacts. Drop anchor and explore the state’s rich maritime history at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. The museum is home to a unique collection of model ships, an operating steam engine, displays of historic vessels and marine engines, and the USS Cobia Submarine. The Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford displays more than 90 collectible automobiles, along with vintage automobile signs and advertising art, license plates and other auto memorabilia.
For more great Travel Wisconsin ideas, check out TravelWisconsin.com and the Travel Green Wisconsin home page on your desktop, tablet or mobile device. You can also choose to “Like” Wisconsin Tourism atFacebook.com/TravelWisconsin, or follow along on Twitter at Twitter.com/TravelWI. And be sure to check out the Travel Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report to get the latest info on trail conditions.