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Appleton, WI
Click on Another Link and I will Disappear
Harry Houdini Historical Center - One of the greatest magicians and escape artists in the world, Harry Houdini (1824-1926), was born in Appleton, Wisconsin. So he says anyway. Houdini could escape from all the handcuffs, straight-jackets, milk cans, jail cells or buried caskets that came his way. And though his passion was for magic he also spent much of his time debunking spiritualists and phony psychics. His life came to an abrupt end on Halloween Day, after a punch to the stomach (permitted by Harry) ruptured an already infected appendix. The Harry Houdini Historical Center offers a glimpse into Houdini's life through photographs, exhibits, and several of the magician's magic tricks (including his secrets).
 
Baraboo, WI
Circus World Museum
Circus World Museum - From 1884 to 1919 the Ringling Brothers ran their circus from the tiny town of Baraboo. Started by five brothers, the Ringling Brother's Circus merged with its rival Barnum & Bailey to become the largest circus in the world, the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus. The Circus World Museum located on the original grounds displays over 200 original circus wagons, roughly 10,000 circus posters, photos and daily live circus performances (summer months only).
 
Bayfield, WI
Named for the 12 Apostles
Apostle Island National Lakeshore - The Apostle Island National Lakeshore is recognized as one of the most pristine National Parks in the USA. The area attracts outdoor enthusiasts with its fantastic kayaking, beaches, sea caves, and wildlife viewing (which include black bears and bald eagles). The islands also play host to six lighthouses, including the octagonal Sand Island Light Station. Originally named the Apostle Islands because it was thought there were only 12 islands, there are actually 22 islands that make up the archipelago.
 
Fish Creek, WI
A Charming Piece of Wisconsin
Peninsula State Park - Door County (geographically the thumb of the state) is like a little piece of New England that floated over and attached itself to Wisconsin. It has all the charm of a small coastal town without having to drive 1,000 miles to the coast. With cherry trees, apple orchards, wineries, micro-breweries, B&Bs, and miles of lake front, it is a perfect vacation get-away. Some of the more popular day trip destinations are Peninsula State Park for camping and Washington Island for sightseeing. A ferry is needed to get to Washington Island, and once there just grab a moped to ride around.
 
Green Bay, WI
The Frozen Tundra
Green Bay Packers - Not only one of the oldest NFL teams, but arguably one of the best. Founded in 1919, the Green Bay Packers are the only non-profit team in the league and have won more championships (9 NFL championships and 3 Super Bowls) than any other. Their storied past includes the legendary coach Vince Lombardi and 16 season quarterback Brett Favre. To feel real football, take in a Packers-Bears game in December at Lambeau Field, paint a number on your bare chest and yell like a howler monkey. It's exhilarating!!! If you can't make the game, be sure to take a tour of the stadium and check out the Packers Hall of Fame.
 
Hayward, WI
I Caught This One on Bass Lake
National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame - The place to see the largest Muskellunge (Muskie) in the world is at the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Not only can you see this 143 foot "Big Muskie" you can climb inside its tail to an observation deck in its mouth roughly 40 feet off the ground. After doing that, enjoy the fine collection of antique boat motors, vintage rods and reels, mounted fish and a primitive fisherman in the museum. The hall of fame also tracks world record freshwater fish catches.
 
Madison, WI
The Snowy Wisconsin Capitol Building
State Capitol - The Wisconsin State Capitol rises over 200 feet above a narrow isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona (it is the only US capitol built on an isthmus). Construction was completed in 1917, on this the 4th building to be used as a Wisconsin's capitol building. The building is constructed with some of the finest marbles and granites in the world and the dome is adorned with a gold leaf statue signifying the state motto of "Forward". Free tours are available throughout the year and while you're there, be sure to rub the badger's nose for good luck.
 
Madison, WI
One More Round Bucky
State Street - The University of Wisconsin - Madison always makes it into the 10 ten party colleges in the USA, and the place those party monkeys love to gather is on State Street. State Street is a pedestrian mall with an assortment of funky bars, eclectic shops, street performers, and good ol' Cheesehead charm. Because I only make it back to Wisconsin a few times a year, I head straight to State Street Brats. Here I can enjoy three things Wisconsin - an ice cold Lienenkugels, a brat with sauerkraut, and Badger Football. On Wisconsin!!!
 
Manitowoc, WI
Next to the Sputnik 4 Marker
Sputnik 4 Crash Site - On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 which ignited the space race between the Soviets and the USA. Dozens of Sputniks have been launched into space, but only one crash-landed in Wisconsin. Sputnik 4 was launched May 14, 1960, and because of a mechanical failure, the orbiter drifted in space until September 5, 1962 at which time it headed straight for the dairy state. The Sputnik 4 Crash Site is in the middle of US 10 North (8th Street) right across the street from the Rahr-West Art Museum. A small circle designates the crash site as does a granite marker on the northwest corner of the street. Check out a replica in the Rahr-West Art Museum.
 
Milwaukee, WI
Me and the Fonz
The Bronze Fonz - He was call Arthur Fonzarelli, The Fonz, and Fonzie from 1975 to 1985 on the long running comedy "Happy Days", but now he has another name, The Bronze Fonz. In 2008 a statue of Fonzie was set up in downtown Milwaukee to commemorate the character, the actor (Henry Winkler), and the show depicting 1950s life in Wisconsin. The Fonz could start a car by rapping it on its hood, was never short on lady friends and even jumped a shark on water skis. It's great to see the statue, and while you are there, you have to say Aaayyy!!!
 
Milwaukee, WI
The Flag of Summerfest
City of Festivals - Milwaukee is known as the "City of Festivals", because almost every day of summer is filled with entertainment, food, and drinks somewhere in the city. The big festival of the year is Summerfest, which attracts nearly one million visitors annually to watch over 700 bands perform live. It is certified as the largest musical festival in the world and has some of the industries big headliners as well as local artists. Other fests include Irish Fest, Festa Italiana, German Fest, Festa Mexicana, Polish Fest, Indian Summer, African World Festival, Oktoberfest, Asian Moon Festival and Pride Fest (but I'm sure there's more).
 
Milwaukee, WI
In Hog Heaven
Harley Davidson Museum and Tours - The first motorized bicycle was created by William Harley and Arthur Davidson in 1901. And as they say, the rest is history. The Harley Davidson Museum chronicles the evolution of these fine bikes from the early 1900s through present day. The 130,000 square foot facility is packed with everything Harley including Elvis's 1956 Hog. If seeing a factory is more your speed, head to the Powertrain Operations in Wauwatosa. On the floor you'll see the powertrain assembly-line create and hot-test their distinctive sounding motors.
 
Milwaukee, WI
Beer Capital of the World
Miller Brewing Factory Tour - On any given day, the smell of brewer's yeast will be drifting through the air of Milwaukee - the beer capital of the world. Follow this wonderful smell to the Miller Brewing Company and sign up for a very informative tour. Start the tour with a "tasteful" 15 minute film and then head out to the Miller's famous Plank Road. Stops along the way include the brew house, packaging center, distribution center, historic caves and finally the beer garden. Miller Brewing Company was founded by Frederick Miller in 1855 and is currently the second largest beer manufacturer in the USA.
 
Oshkosh, WI
World's Greatest Airshow
EAA AirVenture - Every year for one week in July at the Whitman Field in Oshkosh, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) puts on the greatest air show in the world, the EAA AirVenture. Like locusts, between 10,000 and 15,000 aircraft swarm in from around the world to this little city. For that week, Whitman Filed becomes the busiest airport in the world, surpassing Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Starting out in 1953 as an experimental or home-built fly-in, the event is now a place to see almost any aircraft in the world. From a Russian MiG to a US Predator B drone and from an experimental New Zealand Jet Pack to a Royal Canadian Air Force FG-1D Corsair you will find it here. There are also rides available in dozens of aircraft.
 
Peshtigo, WI
The Worst Conflagration
Peshtigo Fire Museum - On October 8, 1871 the worst recoded firestorm in US history erupted, taking between 1,200 and 2,400 lives and burning nearly 1.5 million acres of land. Fanned by strong winds, the fire burned so hot and fast, that only a few hundred people survived by immersing themselves in the Peshtigo River. Because this enormous tragedy occurred the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, it is almost forgotten. To make sure it isn't completely forgotten, the Peshtigo Fire Museum invites guests to see the few remaining objects of the fire (including a small Bible) and tour the cemetery with a mass grave containing nearly 350 victims.
 
Poniatowski, WI
A Marker in the Middle of No Where
Center of the Northwest Hemisphere - If you happen to be looking for the exact center of the Northwest Hemisphere (45 degrees north latitude and 90 degrees west longitude), Poniatowski is where you need to be. At the site is a nice geographical survey marker and sign stating you are "exactly halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, and is a quarter of the way around the Earth from Greenwich, England". Fancy.
 
Ripon, WI
The Grand Ol' Party
Birthplace of the Republican Party - The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 allowed slavery to extend beyond the state boundries agreed upon in the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In response, roughly 30 opponents to the further extension of slavery gathered on February 28, 1854 in the "Little White Schoolhouse" and formed what is now known as the Republican Party. It was here where the name "Republican" was officially used for the first time. On February 22, 1856 in front of Abraham Lincoln in Pittsburg, PA the name Republican was officially adopted by the national organization meeting there. Abaraham Lincoln later went on to be the first Republican President.
 
Rudolph, WI
Home of the Cheeseheads
Cheese Making Tours - You can't visit the diary state without stopping in to at least one of its many cheese making factory. One of these is the Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company which offers guided tours with a short film of the cheese making process. Or you can just enjoy the view through an observation window. There are hundreds of different cheeses, a variety of meats and even home made ice cream to puchase. But this monkey's favorite will always be the squeeky goodness of the fresh cheese curds still warm from the vat.
 
Spring Green, WI
Houses of Spring Green
House on the Rock and Taliesin - There are two famous houses within a few miles of each other, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin and Alex Jordan's House on the Rock. Both are worth visiting. Built in 1911, Taliesin was Wright's summer home, drafting studio and continuous work-in-progress. You can see all of Wright's trademark details from the small entry ways to the blending of light, stone and water at Taliesin. The house is also the site of the tragic murder of his second wife. The House on the Rock was created by one of Wright's dropouts, Alex Jordan. In an effort to show off his talents, Jordan created a Wright-like structure with a cool Infinity Room and tons of low ceilings. But that's not all, there is a whole building packed with items straight from a circus.
 
Sturgeon Bay, WI
The Tug Boat John Purves
Door County Maritime Museum - The Door County Maritime Museum is a 20,000 square foot facility located on the inlet between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. Self guided tours wind through ever-changing exhibits chronicling the history of ship building, scale model ships, and fascinating pictorials of life on the Great Lakes. Located just outside the museum is the 1919 tug boat, John Purves. Half hour guided tours of this meticulously refurbished vessel take you through the galley, engine room and cabins.
 
Wausau, WI
I Spy a Cow, Two Cows Over There...
Rib Mountain - With an elevation of 1940 feet, Rib Mountain is one of the highest points in Wisconsin (the highest is Timm's Hill at 1951 feet) and with an age of one billion years, it is one of the oldest geological formations in the world. And just because it's old, doesn't mean it's boring. Rib Mountain is home to the Granite Peak Ski and Snowboard Area, as well as miles of snowmobile, cross-country, snowshoe and hiking trails. A climb to the top of the 60 foot Van Douser tower offers some spectacular views of the rolling hills of the Wisconsin countryside...and cows.
 
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Noah's Ark in the Dells
The Dells - Wisconsin Dells or "The Dells" is Wisconsin and Illinois' playground, attracting millions of visitors every year. Half the attraction is the scenic beauty, with sculpted sandstone cliffs and canyons, unique rock formations, and miles of winding rivers. And the best ways to see this natural wonder is to hop on a Duck (an old WWII Army vehicle) or take a dinner cruise on the river. The other half of Dells' attraction is the water parks and entertainment. The area features Noah's Ark (the largest outdoor water park in the USA) and Wilderness Territory (the largest indoor water park in the USA). There is also Tommy Bartlett's Ski Show, Wild Things Jet Boats, and much more.