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?