During the 2011 college football season, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Oregon Ducks combined to score a whopping 1,112 points. And each team did so at nearly the same clip—the Badgers put up 564 points to the Ducks’ 548. So it’s a natural fit that the two heavyweight teams will battle January 2 in the 2012 Rose Bowl, a game that pundits predict will be one of the highest-scoring Rose Bowls in history. To get an up-close view of the offensive fireworks, Badger Trips has tailored comprehensive travel packages: after tailgating and getting amped up at team pep rallies, fans will attend the Rose Bowl itself.On the morning of New Year’s Eve, Badger fans will board a private, chartered jet from Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) in Madison direct to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The long trip is made breezy thanks to a stylish aircraft: travels can sink into plush seats and watch movies, listen to music, and play video games on the entertainment systems.Once on the ground, travelers will be taken by shuttle to the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza, a Four Diamond retreat situated atop historical Bunker Hill. For three nights, guests can take advantage of all the Omni has to offer, whether they wish to camp out in recently renovated deluxe rooms, ease pre-game anxiety at the onsite spa, or debate the merits of the wishbone offense at the romantic Noé Restaurant, voted Best Romantic Restaurant by the Los Angeles Times Readers Choice Awards. Leading up to the big game, fans can use shuttle services to freely hop to and from various festivities and sightseeing opportunities: on Saturday there’s a massive group pep rally and on Sunday a four-hour tour of Los Angeles and a group viewing of the Green Bay Packers game. Check out a detailed trip itinerary here.On Monday morning, buses board for Pasadena to the storied Rose Parade, which is followed by the Badger Huddle—a massive tailgate that serves beers, brats, and a spread of snacks. And then, finally, the main event kicks off at 2 p.m., when the University of Wisconsin will compete to be crowned Rose Bowl champion. Established in 1902, the Rose Bowl is known as the “Granddaddy of Them All” and, outside of fishing marshmallows from cereal, is the oldest bowl game known to man. At the center of the legendary 90,000-seat stadium, players such as Wisconsin Badger running back Montee Ball—who has scored 38 touchdowns this season—will look to turn in a legendary performance to join Wisconsin alum and Heisman Trophy-winner Alan Ameche in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Though Ted Davis sits in the back of a green New Standard Model D-25 biplane, he won't be taking a nap. Originally built in 1929 to perform stunts and give rides—or barnstorming, as it was known—the D-25 can host up to five people on every flight—four passengers in the front and Davis, a certified commercial pilot, at the rear controls. Today, its hunter-green fuselage has been fully restored and carefully maintained to comply with modern FAA standards. In this steed, Davis, who has logged more than 5,500 flying hours since his first ascent at age 16, continues the barnstorming tradition, escorting passengers on bird's-eye views of the Wisconsin landscape as Icarus struggles to keep pace with his homemade penguin wings.
Situated inside a renovated historical building, Northleaf Winery pays tribute to the location’s agricultural past while bottling more than a dozen wines. Fragrant samples of peppery zinfandel and floral pinot grigio are poured at the wooden tasting bar, which hosts open tastings and private pairings of wine and artisanal chocolates or cheese. Next door, the bistro and market stocks a tempting selection of Wisconsin cheeses and party trays, along with fresh salads and build-your-own grilled sandwiches with included blueprints.
The circus comes to the Boone County Fairgrounds every year, but it's hardly a matter for celebration. The clowns of this carnival cover their faces equally in paint and blood and travel only by a 40-capacity hearse. Visitors are assailed on all sides by hillbilly carnies soaked in gore. Inside this unnerving indoor attraction, a 3D maze harbors sideshow-worthy horrors from swamp monsters to murderous living dolls.
Lake Geneva Canopy Tours elevates tree trekkers 10–75 feet above the 100-acre park to zip along an aerial route surrounded by wildlife, mature forest, and tranquil trails. After gearing up, crews practice zipline techniques a few feet above the ground under the watchful eye of guides and judgmental eagles before implementing their recently honed skills on the canopy course. Nine ziplines navigate patrons across the park along with 18 platforms, five SkyBridges, three tree-based spiral stairways, and a double-helix stairway wrapped around an ash tree that holds the genetic code of Tarzan. Upon reuniting with terra firma, customers conclude their 2.5-hour eco adventure by gearing down and penning thank-you notes to hawks encountered on the expedition. Lake Geneva Canopy Tours begins its daily sessions at 8 a.m. and sends its last group skyward at 3 p.m.
Chuckleberry Farm & Winery invites guests to sample its diverse assortment of wines crafted with blackberry, blueberry, peach, pomegranate, and other delectable fruits, clearing palates with its own homemade jam and jellies. Sniff and sip 14 specialty table wines, with flavors ranging from cherry to elderberry. Tastings harmonize with complimentary cheese, crackers, and a slew of jellies and jams. Following sipping sessions, tasters receive souvenir glasses embellished with the winery's moniker, as well as a take-home bottle of wine handpicked by Chuckleberry's vintners and a Japanese wine-drinking robot. Should the tour's palate-cleansing comestibles catch tongues' attention, Chuckleberry Farm & Winery also stocks pantries with a mélange of full-bodied jellies ($5) and jams ($3.50).