When I first moved to Wisconsin, we spent a lot of time checking out all the things to do in Milwaukee. We hit the museum, the festivals and tried a LOT of new restaurants. There was plenty to keep us busy! After we moved out the suburbs and started a family, we also started exploring other Wisconsin locations – places that were an easy drive for us and offered their own unique things to do.
Appleton quickly became a favorite place to visit and we have been up there to celebrate Josh’s birthday several times. (He has elected to take a trip rather than have a party for the past five years. I guess he inherited his mother’s wanderlust!) Appleton is a little over an hour and a half away from Milwaukee and can be easily enjoyed as a day trip or a fun weekend away.
After having visited several times now, we definitely have a number of things we love to do when we are in Appleton and I’m thrilled to be able to share our favorite family friendly activities:
We are a baseball-loving family, but going to Brewer games can get expensive pretty quickly, especially if you have a larger family. The Timber Rattlers have been the Midwest League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers since 2009 and play at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The park is small enough that there really isn’t a bad seat in the place. Tickets start at $6 for general admission grass seating and go up to $25 for seats including an all-you-can-eat option. Typical reserved seating tickets are just $9!
Josh requests a visit to Badger Sports Park every single time we visit Appleton. We generally set aside a whole day to spend there as there is SO much to do. Badger Sports Park offers go carts, batting cages and mini golf outside. Inside the huge building you can find mini-bowling, arcade games, laser tag, a BreakOut escape room, a laser maze, inflatables, and snacks. Can you see why we need a whole day? The staff is attentive and helpful and we have always been impressed with how impeccably clean they keep everything!
Badger Sports Park offers several different ways to enjoy everything they have to offer. You can either purchase a Load ‘n Go card where you deposit a set amount of money on it and debit the cost of each attraction as you use it. You can also load your ticket winnings onto the card so there is no fear of losing them. Another option is the Utopia Card where you purchase unlimited play for a set amount of time in 2 or 3 hour increments or all-day. (This option is not available on winter weekends.)
Josh originally requested we visit the History Museum at the Castle because of their Harry Houdini exhibit which is what they are very well known for. They have an entire floor dedicated to Houdini and explore is life including his days in Appleton. The exhibit offers many hands-on ways to replicate some of Houdini’s best know tricks and even some of his behind-the-scenes secrets.
But do not neglect to visit the other floors of the museum! There are both permanent and changing exhibits throughout the museum that highlight the history of Appleton and the Fox Cities area. At the time of our visit, the Shifting Gears exhibit explored the 130 year history of cycling in Wisconsin. We also spent time at (in)Visible which gave touching insight into the experiences of people facing homelessness in the Fox Cities through their own photos and words. A Stone of Hope traced the history of African Americans from the 1700 through the present. The Play exhibit highlights several toy companies who called the Appleton area their home.
Other exhibits include Edna Ferber, Tools of Change, and Why McCarthy. Admission rates are incredible reasonable at $7.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. Family and group packages are also available.
We are already looking forward to our next trip up to Appleton and can’t wait to check out even more of what the area has to offer. If you are familiar with the Appleton area, what do you recommend we do next?
When I used to live in Minnesota that we would go to Appleton to go River rafting! It was a lot of fun. I should go back and discover the city itself.
Pam Wattenbarger says
I love learning about new places to go when I travel. If I am ever in Appleton, these all sound great.
valmg @ Mom Knows It All says
I love having insights from locals when I visit a place. The sports park looks like a fun way for the kids to spend an afternoon.
It’s been almost 20 years but I spent a couple of days in Appleton visiting a friend. I didn’t get to do much sightseeing as we had a wedding to go to.
Liz Mays says
The ball game would be oodles of fun! Actually all of these suggestions would be. Wisconsin here I come!
These are all fun things to do in Appleton. I would love to explore the History Museum at the Castle.
Tammi Roy says
My kids would love to go to Badger Sports Park. Appleton Wisconsin looks like a great place to go for a visit.
Mama to 6 Blessings says
They sound like great places to visit. I would love taking my kids to the History Museum, a great homeschool field trip.
Lisa Favre says
I have never been to Wisconsin but my husband has and he really liked the experience. Appleton seems like a great place to visit!
That looks like a lot of fun. I actually live in Wisconsin and I don’t think I have been to Appleton. I have certainly heard of it though. I need to go sometime.
Claudia Krusch says
These are great things to do in Appleton. I would love to explore the History Museum!! Thank you for sharing it!
Thanks for sharing! I love discovering new places in the Midwest. Adding this to our road trip list!
Janeane Davis says
I never heard of this place before reading your post. You certainly made it sound like an interesting place to spend time with the family.
Cathi Crismon says
My husband and I are travelers. We love exploring new places and you’ve sold me on Appleton!!
Dawn Lopez says
My family would find Badger Sports Park to be a perfect family adventure! Appleton looks like a great place for us to visit someday. 🙂
Aimee Smith says
How fun. My family would love to do all of the things you suggested.
We’ve been to Appleton a number of times, an old friend of my wife’s lives there. It’s a great town, lots to do!
Nancy at Whispered Inspirations says
Sounds like a great place to visit. I will have to keep this in mind for my bucket list.
Wisconsin is such a beautiful state. Thanks for sharing some new things to do that I didn’t already know about.
Autumn Reo says
I’ve never been to Wi or heard of Appleton, but it’s totally a great place for families as I see from your experience. I need to put this one on the bucket list.
Reesa Lewandowski says
There looks like there is a lot of fun to get into. One day I will venture to Wisconsin!
Amanda West says
One of the few states I haven’t been to. So cool to see the photos! Looks like it would be a great place to visit with the family