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What’s New for Wisconsin-Bound Travelers in 2010

Kalahari Water Park, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Kalahari Water Park, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s tourism indus­try has a pen­chant for attract­ing national-level events, cre­at­ing new attrac­tions and expand­ing old favorites, and search­ing for ways to make the travel expe­ri­ence fresh and excit­ing year after year. And 2010 is no excep­tion. Whether your ideal get­away is to be enter­tained, learn some­thing new, get active or just recon­nect with fam­ily and friends, you’ll find some­thing new to expe­ri­ence in Wisconsin this year. So here’s a run­down of what’s com­ing in 2010.

Attractions and Exhibits

Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures

The largest tem­po­rary exhibit ever pro­duced by the Milwaukee Public Museum brings together archae­o­log­i­cal objects and man­u­scripts to tell a story 2,000 years in the mak­ing. Witness actual Dead Sea Scrolls and other early bib­li­cal arti­facts to learn how trans­mis­sion of these early writ­ings has shaped the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity and influ­enced aspects of Islam. This lim­ited engage­ment runs Jan. 22–June 6 (888–700-9069;

The Moving Wall

Vietnam Veterans and their fam­i­lies and sup­port­ers are invited to LZ Lambeau, a spe­cial wel­come home cel­e­bra­tion to be held at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on May 20–23. This touch­ing event will include sev­eral days of con­certs, reunions and exhibits, includ­ing The Moving Wall™, a trav­el­ing replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The event kicks off with a motor­cy­cle rally on May 21 start­ing in La Crosse and end­ing at the “land­ing zone” of Lambeau Field (

Stevens Point Sculpture Park

The 20-acre Stevens Point Sculpture Park, which will fea­ture art­work from local, regional and national artists, cel­e­brates its grand open­ing June 12. The park con­nects to the Green Circle Trail, a 30.5-mile hik­ing and bik­ing trail that loops around the Stevens Point area through nat­ural forests and wet­lands. The park will build on the area’s com­mit­ment to enhanc­ing the qual­ity of life for res­i­dents and vis­i­tors by host­ing sea­sonal events and edu­ca­tion pro­grams year round (;

Little Chute Windmill

The Little Chute Windmill is an authen­tic 1850s design from the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands where vol­un­teer millers will oper­ate the wind­mill and demon­strate for vis­i­tors the ancient process of grind­ing grain into flour. The ground­break­ing is planned for spring with an antic­i­pated open­ing in sum­mer 2010. In addi­tion, the Van Asten Visitor Center will fea­ture exhibits on the his­tory and legacy of Dutch set­tle­ment in the Fox River Valley and north­east Wisconsin (920–788-2629;

Tourdot Winery

The newly-opened and family-owned Tourdot Winery in the Wisconsin Dells will be show­cas­ing 10 wines made from California grapes. Additionally, vis­i­tors can tour the estate to see grapes matur­ing now that will be made into 2011’s wines. For those who pre­fer beer, Tourdot car­ries 25 dif­fer­ent craft beers. Also new this year, there will be pic­nick­ing in the 36-acre for­est that adjoins the vine­yard (608–253-4400;

Key Ingredients: America By Food

The Wisconsin Humanities Council kicks off the decade with two pro­grams that explore the human con­nec­tion to our envi­ron­ment. Key Ingredients: America By Food, a trav­el­ing exhi­bi­tion from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street pro­gram, looks at how cul­ture and tra­di­tions impact the foods Americans pro­duce, pre­pare, pre­serve and present at the table. The exhibits, a selec­tion of arti­facts, pho­tographs and illus­tra­tions, will make stops in two Wisconsin com­mu­ni­ties in 2010: Reedsburg (Oct. 20–Dec. 3, 2010) and Rhinelander (Dec. 10–Jan. 21, 2011). The exhibit will make four more stops in River Falls, Westfield, Osseo and Brodhead in 2011.

Making it Home Film Festival

Also new from the Wisconsin Humanities Council is a part­ner­ship with the com­mu­ni­ties of Baraboo, Dodgeville, Milwaukee and the Chequamegon Bay area to bring the Making it Home Film Festival this March and April. Each com­mu­nity will present a week­end of events and films that reflect their own unique sense of place. More infor­ma­tion about both events is avail­able through the Wisconsin Humanities Council (608–262-0706;

New and Noteworthy Events

Betty Boop Festival Wisconsin

If you’re a Betty Boop fan, don’t miss the offi­cial Betty Boop Festival Wisconsin to be held in Wisconsin Rapids on Aug. 6–8. The fes­ti­val will mark the anniver­sary of Betty Boop’s ani­ma­tion debut on August 9, 1930, and hon­ors Grim Natwick, a Wisconsin Rapids native and Betty’s orig­i­nal top ani­ma­tor at Fleischer Studios, for his life­long achieve­ments. The event will show­case an expanded Grim Natwick ani­ma­tion exhibit, scenic motor­cy­cle tours, an ani­mated film fes­ti­val, visual art gallery and an ani­ma­tion art col­lec­tors show (

92nd PGA Championship

The PGA Championship and its his­toric Wanamaker Trophy will return to Whistling Straits for the 92nd PGA Championship on Aug. 9–15. Be a part of his­tory as the world’s pre­miere play­ers once again test their skills on one of the most chal­leng­ing venues in golf set along the shores of Lake Michigan. Tickets are cur­rently on sale for this major cham­pi­onship fea­tur­ing golf’s great­est. Fans are encour­aged to pur­chase their tick­ets early as demand for the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits was unprece­dented. New for 2010 will be a ticket upgrade oppor­tu­nity and an updated junior ticket pol­icy. Juniors, age 17 and under, will be allowed free access into the Championship Grounds with an accom­pa­ny­ing tick­eted adult. Each tick­eted adult will be allowed four junior admis­sions to the PGA Championship at no addi­tional charge (800–618-5535;

2010 Tall Ship Festival

Green Bay is one of only six ports in North America and the only port in Wisconsin to be hon­ored as a host for the 2010 Tall Ship Festival when 12 vin­tage ves­sels will sail into the Port of Green Bay and dock on the shores of the Fox River on Aug. 13–15. Visitors can expe­ri­ence the his­tory and romance of mar­itime life dur­ing ship tours and sails on these sail­ing ves­sels, includ­ing Wisconsin’s own flag­ship schooner the S/V Denis Sullivan. Entertainment and food round out this unique fes­ti­val. The ships race to five ports on the Great Lakes after sail­ing from Toronto in the American Sail Training Association (ASTA) Tall Ships Challenge®, a race to encour­age water preser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion (920–497-5664;

Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival

Indulge in America’s Dairyland at the sec­ond annual Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival at Madison’s Monona Terrace on Nov. 5–7. Taste hun­dreds of unique cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses at the Cheesemaker’s Gala. Get your ticket early as this event will be lim­ited to 300 atten­dees. New this year is a Festival Marketplace that will show­case the state’s cheese­mak­ers, dairies, winer­ies, micro­brews, authors and artists in a farmer’s mar­ket­place set­ting, where atten­dees may sam­ple and pur­chase prod­uct. Offsite events include behind-the-scenes tours at nearby dairy farms and cheese-making facil­i­ties (608–261-4000;

Active Vacations

Cycle Southwest Wisconsin

Let Cycle Southwest Wisconsin be your guide to bik­ing through south­west Wisconsin’s chal­leng­ing rolling hills and pic­turesque farm land. A newly devel­oped bike trail map details 28 loops that com­bine the area’s his­tory and quaint small towns with excel­lent shop­ping, art and eater­ies. It’s no won­der the League of American Bicyclists ranked Wisconsin No. 2 in the nation for Bicycle Friendly States and sev­eral of the routes were selected by the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee. Free trail maps and details on bik­ing events from May through September are avail­able online (608–723-2125;

Centurion Cycling Event

Experience your own Tour de France for a day right here in Wisconsin dur­ing the Centurion Cycling event tak­ing place out­side of Madison on Aug. 7–8. The course cov­ers the beau­ti­ful but dif­fi­cult hills of Blue Mounds State Park in west­ern Dane County and is designed to appeal to the seri­ous, com­pet­i­tive and recre­ational cyclist. Based on the European con­cept of gran fon­dos, the Centurion offers 25, 50 and 100 mile options enhanced with supe­rior tech­ni­cal, med­ical and race sup­port, traf­fic con­trol, gourmet food sta­tions, sports expo and train­ing sem­i­nars. Wisconsin along with California and Colorado are the only loca­tions offer­ing this event (303–376-6362;

Great Midwest Marathon and Endurance Festival

Elkhart Lake will host the Great Midwest Marathon and Endurance Festival, a new endurance com­pe­ti­tion that includes run­ning, cycling, inline skat­ing and moun­tain bik­ing endurance com­pe­ti­tions, May 29–31. To cre­ate a fes­tive and fam­ily atmos­phere for com­peti­tors and spec­ta­tors alike, the sport­ing events are linked with evening activ­i­ties and enter­tain­ment pro­grams planned by Elkhart Lake’s resorts (877–355-3554;

Lost Canyon Zip Line

Zip lines are becom­ing all the rage with thrill-seekers, and Wisconsin is right on the cusp of this trend. Visitors of the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort in Wisconsin Dells will find adven­ture in the new Lost Canyon Zip Line Canopy Tour, a zip line that takes rid­ers over the tree canopy of Lost Canyon behind the resort. The zip line’s final run spans 900 feet in length and reaches speeds of 30 mph (608–253-9729;

Gravity Trails in Door County

Another zip line, Gravity Trails in Door County, pro­vides a birds-eye view of ponds and sand dunes in this Door County ver­sion of an “ewok” vil­lage in the trees (920–854-9292;

Family Friendly Attractions

The Scorpion’s Tail, Wisconsin Dells

Always a leader in enter­tain­ment inno­va­tion, the Wisconsin Dells has added sev­eral new attrac­tions to its inven­tory start­ing with “The Scorpion’s Tail” water slide ride at Noah’s Ark. Debuting on May 29, “The Scorpion’s Tail” is America’s first loop­ing tube water slide and the tallest and largest of its kind in the world. Riders drop through a trap door below their feet and speed through a 45-degree loop in an enclosed, gravity-defying slide (608–254-6351;

MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge

Fans of fan­tasy and wiz­ardry will want to check out the new MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells. Young adven­tur­ers use a magic wand that they can cus­tomize and keep to nav­i­gate through this four-story, Renaissance-themed inter­ac­tive adven­ture. Children and adults are sure to be mys­ti­fied (608–253-2222; Great Wolf is also cur­rently offer­ing a “Game, Stay & Play” pack­age through March 31 that includes overnight accom­mo­da­tions in a Family Suite, MagiQuest passes, water­park passes, Knuckleheads Indoor Amusement Park wrist­bands and a free game of bowl­ing with shoe rental for every reg­is­tered guest at a sav­ings of $80.

Madison Children’s Museum

The Madison Children’s Museum is reopen­ing Aug. 14 at its new loca­tion on Madison’s Capitol Square. This four-story museum, tar­geted to chil­dren up to age 12, will have more than three times the space of the museum’s last facil­ity and fea­tures an art stu­dio, rooftop ter­race and a café. New exhibits include the Early Learning Gallery and Possibile-opolis, a city of art and sci­ence where any­thing can hap­pen (608–256-6445;


The Green Leaf Inn

The Green Leaf Inn, a 19-room lux­ury bed and break­fast inn, will be the Midwest’s first all-green pur­pose built bed and break­fast when it opens the fall of 2010 in Delavan, accord­ing to owner Catherine McQueen and Fritz Kreiss. Their ulti­mate goal? To get as green as they can get. The Inn will adopt a wide-ranging list of over 50 green prac­tices or tech­nolo­gies incor­po­rat­ing green energy sources, renew­able and sus­tain­able mate­ri­als and prac­tices, and envi­ron­men­tally respon­si­ble land and water use. Visitors can expect to see a wind tur­bine right on the prop­erty as well as The Eco-Vision Sustainable Learning Center that teaches green liv­ing prac­tices (262–248-0948;

Aloft Hotel

The just-opened, trendy Aloft Hotel is merely steps from Milwaukee’s scenic Riverwalk and the city’s top din­ing and brew pubs. Aside from the ter­rific mod­ern design, this mem­ber of the Starwood Hotels fam­ily offers an alter­na­tive to lux­ury hotel brands like W. It’s a casual and afford­able option that’s not short on ameni­ties and ser­vice. This is the first Aloft prop­erty in Milwaukee and the first hotel con­structed in the down­town area since 2001 (414–226-0122;e

Metropolis Resort

Opened in 2009, the Metropolis Resort is Eau Claire’s designer hotel where no two rooms are alike. It’s loaded with ameni­ties and inte­grates the lat­est envi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive green prac­tices into its oper­a­tion. Adjacent to the hotel is Chaos Waterpark and Action City, which offers laser tag, mini-golf, bat­ting cages, a climb­ing wall, bumper cars and a super-sized arcade (715–852-6000;

Travelers look­ing for year round Wisconsin travel ideas, tips and events can become a fan on Facebook at For Wisconsin travel plan­ning infor­ma­tion and free travel guides, trav­el­ers can visit or call 1–800-432-TRIP.

Photo by aman­der­bear

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