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Explore the History of Wisconsin
Visitors to Wisconsin have no shortage of opportunities to check out world-class museums that will spark your imagination and prove that learning can be fun.
A favorite of visiting families is the Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee. This 12,000 square foot facility features hands-on exhibits, learning labs, television and audio studios, and the Reiman aquarium. Some of the highlights of the museum include the 3-D virtual experiences, the touch tank in the World of Water exhibit, and the Johnson Controls TechnoJungle.
Located in Baraboo, Circus World features a vast collection of circus artifacts that are preserved and exhibited by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Throughout the complex, you will see buildings like Ringlingville – a National Historic Landmark and the original winter housing of the Ringling Bros and Circus – and Irvin Feld Exhibit Hall host interactive exhibits and performances.
Head just outside of Madison and you will find the Leopold Nature Center, located in Monona. The center is home to a vast collection of displays, fun activities, and hands-on exhibits, like the Green Building, Nature Nook, and the Climate Science Education Center. During your visit, explore the unique scenery surrounding the center along two nature trails.
The Little Falls Railroad & Doll Museum
Set just outside of downtown Cataract, the Little Falls Railroad and Doll Museum is a family-friendly attraction unique to southern Wisconsin. Some of the on-site features include the model railroad, Madame Alexander doll collection, and 40-foot play train, ideal for young children. Open Thursday through Sunday, from May 1st to October 31st, the museum also offers a playground and the Toddler’s Trike Trail for the young ones. And for the adults, be sure and stop in the Railroad Museum for some intriguing bits of history.
Featuring a vast collection of circus artifacts, Circus World is a museum located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society, the southern Wisconsin attraction invites visitors to witness daily live circus performances all summer long. Throughout the complex, buildings like Ringlingville – a National Historic Landmark and the original winter housing of the Ringling Bros. Circus – and Irvin Feld Exhibit Hall host interactive exhibits and performances.
Discovery World Museum
A favorite of visiting families, the Discovery World Museum is a 120,000 square foot facility located in Milwaukee. The hands-on exhibits, learning labs, television and audio studios, and the Reiman aquarium keep Milwaukee visitors busy. A few of the museum highlights include the 3-D virtual experiences, the touch tank in the World of Water exhibit, and the Johnson Controls TechnoJungle. Music fans love spending time in the Les Paul's House of Sound, while the 137-foot S/V Denis Sullivan schooner, moored in Lake Michigan, provides fun on the water.
Aldo Leopold Nature Center
Established in 1994, the Leopold Nature Center is an interactive park located in Monona – a suburb of Madison in central Wisconsin. The center was named after renowned scientist and ecologist Aldo Leopold. The center houses a deep collection of interactive exhibits, displays, activities, and more, including the Green Building, Nature Nook, and the Climate Science Education Center. Visitors are encouraged to explore the unique scenery surrounding the center along two ALNC Nature Trails.
Museum of Minerals & Crystals
Located north of Dodgeville, the Museum of Minerals and Crystals features one of the best collections of minerals in the midwest. The museum neighbors Governor Dodge State Park, lending itself to outstanding southern Wisconsin scenery nearby. Specific things to do at the museum include touring the 1845 mine and a ride on the 1931 mine train. Another must-see attraction in Dodgeville is the Dodge Mining Camp Cabin built in 1827.
Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum
Established in 1934, the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum in Eau Claire showcases logging camp-life in the 1890s. Begin your museum visit by watching the film in the Dale Syth Theatre, and continue your visit by stopping by the interpretive center and viewing the logging artifacts and memorabilia. Enjoy exploring the museum's on-site buildings, including the barn, blacksmith shop, cook shanty, bunkhouse, wanigan, foreman's office, and heavy equipment shed. Tour the Big Cut Room to fully understand the impact of logging on southern Wisconsin forests.