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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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  5. Tour Tall Ships at the Maritime Heritage Festival in Port Washington, Wisconsin

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