Mr. Golf's natural grass pastures unfurl invitingly into the Wisconsin plains, beckoning dimpled golf balls onto the verdant landscape of its driving range, putting green, and chipping area. With two extra-large buckets of range golf balls at hand, golfers can fine-tune their follow-through while facing nine different targets, requiring guests to moderate the power of their swing with the accuracy of an Aztec calendar. Stop by the pro shop to look over some freshly sharpened cleats or use the computer to recommend clubs by analyzing your swing (not included with today's Groupon).
Heritage Hill State Historical Park is a living-history museum, dedicated to the preservation of buildings and artifacts of Northeast Wisconsin and its citizens. The 50-acre park houses carefully reproduced greenery and actual log cabins and buildings from the 1800s, such as a U.S. military fort hospital and a fur trader’s cabin, where mammals of all shapes and sizes would trade their dusty old pelts for feature-loaded furs. Heritage Hill State Historical Park also proudly displays a collection of more than 11,000 artifacts, including original artwork, books, clothing, and furnishings. To truly bring Wisconsin history to life, volunteers representing a way of life interact with park attendants, showing curious customers the various trades and methods of early Wisconsin living.
Resting beneath natural light from the skylights mounted above it, the hulking figure of the 1.2 million-pound Union Pacific Big Boy cloaks visitors in a shadow that stretches for nearly 50 yards. As guests ascend the monstrous cab of this steam locomotive, they enter the centerpiece of the National Railroad Museum, a chamber echoing with more than 150 years of American railroading history.
After exiting Big Boy, guests can view a computer-generated porter that recounts how African-American rail workers formed the nation's first all-black labor union, and another stop invites passengers to view inside a portion of General Eisenhower's WWII command train. Elsewhere in the museum, various collections are housed with more than 15,000 photographs, archives such as maps and engineering drawings, and more than 5,000 artifacts including uniforms and tools.
The National Railroad Museum has over 60 pieces of rolling stock, including diesel, steam, and electric locomotives, and passenger and freight cars. Among these are some of the most influential and unique pieces in railroading history, including a number of items that pertain to the state of Wisconsin.
Other must-sees of the museum include General Motors’ experimental Aerotrain; the streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad No. 4890, a GG-1 electric locomotive; and the Frederick Bauer Drumhead Collection, the largest, single collection of railroad drumheads known to exist in the United States. Most facilities are accessible, except where rolling stock cannot be altered due to their historic nature. The Museum’s train ride is accessible, and a wheelchair lift is available.
A train ride is offered on a daily basis from May through September and guided tours are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Museum also hosts a variety of special events for all ages.
Brothers Aric and Brad Schmiling cultivated a passion for viticulture while growing up on their parents’ Italian-style winery. After moving to Green Bay, the duo set out to remedy the area’s winery deficit by founding Captain’s Walk Winery, where trained vintner Aric produces small-batch wines in water-bent French-oak barrels. Situated in a restored pre-Civil War building, the facility entices eyes with old-fashioned design features, including plaster crown moulding, an antique tasting bar, and a television from the eighteenth century. During the summer months, an on-site herb garden mimics the flavor and aroma profile of each wine, and a year-round tasting room offers guests an unpretentious glimpse into winemaking with laid-back tastings and a cellar viewing window carved into the wooden floor.
Bert Earehart grew up on horse farms alongside his three brothers, learning horsemanship fundamentals by watching his father and sneaking rides on his siblings’ shoulders. He and his brothers honed their craft by working with a wide range of breeds, including morgans, arabians, and ponies.
Today, hoofs beat sharp drumrolls across 38 acres of woods and fenced pastures at Bert’s own operation, Copper Leaf Stable. Bert passes on his keen equine insight to students through lessons on the stable’s half-mile outdoor track or inside the heated indoor arena. Instruction can be geared toward riders with all skill sets and goals, from those aiming to show one day to those searching for outdoor exercise or trying not to disappoint the yearbook writers who named them Most Likely to Become a Train Robber.
The crunch of fallen leaves or packed snow telegraphs the motions of warriors hidden in the underbrush on the outdoor fields at Commando Paintball Sports. Paintballs whisper through the air, flitting out from the barrels of Tippmann FT-12 or Piranha markers. The projectiles splatter against two-story forts or hollowed-out vehicles on the three wooded fields, which stay open year-round in almost any weather. On the urban combat field, patrons take cover in any of 20 buildings, including a three-story bell tower perfect for getting a birds-eye-view of opponents. Those seeking tournament-style play compete in a hyperball field designed by expert players. Laser tag keeps clothing clean while still eliciting floods of adrenaline.