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.
More than a century after it blossomed into a circus headquarters and hosted dozens of acts, including P.T. Barnum's legendary Greatest Show on Earth, the town of Delavan proudly exhibits its distinctive past. Big-top tributes can be seen at Tower Park, where statues of circus animals such as a giraffe and an elephant savor their amnesty from mini-golf courses. Delavan's early days live on through Greek Revival architecture that dates back to the mid-1800s, including the Allyn Mansion and the Israel Stowell Temperance House, originally an alcohol-free safe haven that eventually served as a government meeting center.Delavan's quaint downtown district, lined with old-fashioned lampposts and brick-paved walkways, boasts an assortment of antique stores and small cafés. Throughout the rest of the town, well-manicured parks and 13 miles of forested shoreline along Delavan Lake create a scenic backdrop for horseback rides, hiking, water recreation, and composing haikus on the ground with leaves.
Situated inside the historic Power & Light building, the Geneva Lake Museum replicates Lake Geneva's Main Street from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inside the museum, visitors stroll around admiring the turn-of-the-century Georgian and Italianate architecture that forms historic stores, a school room, and a 1920s dental workstation, among other spaces. Guests may walk into the rooms themselves and closely examine old-fashioned farm implements, a telephone switchboard, or Potawatami tools and arrowheads. Beyond Main Street, museum visitors can study up on Frank Lloyd Wright's Hotel Geneva or the Chicago & North Western Railway. Sightseers can also explore Lake Geneva, the city's namesake and a 7.6-mile body of water that empties into the White River. The lake is surrounded by a 23-mile public path, which makes the area attractive to Midwesterners who want to take a scenic day trip or ducks that want to train for a marathon.
Designed by esteemed fairway forger Thomas Bendelow—whose prolific career as a course architect earned him the moniker “The Johnny Appleseed of Golf”—Country Club Estates Golf Course’s nine-hole course gently rises and falls over 3,011 yards of kempt greenery. Guests pass through a medieval-style arch to gain access to the course, entering a realm populated by sand traps, water hazards, and squirrels dressed as court jesters. The layout challenges golfers with many shots to blind targets, placing confident swings and sound course management at a premium. Before rounds, players can peruse the pro shop to upgrade aging golf gear or motivate underperforming clubs by introducing them their potential replacements.
Painted the distinctive international orange of the Golden Gate Bridge, to which it bears more than a passing resemblance, the signature bridge at Browns Lake Golf Course crosses the Fox River in style. Players walk over this sleek structure after they’ve made their play off the tee on the par 3 12th hole. Thankfully, they need not fly the San Francisco Bay or lay up on Alcatraz to reach the green in regulation: a 150-yard strike with enough loft ought to do the trick.
Players have been attempting this feat with varying degrees of success since 1921, when the course opened. Wedged between the river to the west and Browns Lake to the east, it's designed to challenge golfers of all handicaps. A round here represents a 6,449-yard loop from the back tees, filled with enough elevated greens to make players reconsider both their club selections and their reluctance to ask their caddies for a piggy-back ride. Though they may want to steer their golf balls clear of it, visitors can admire a bunker in the shape of comic-strip character Andy Gump on the par 3 fourth hole, which was designed to pay homage to local native Sidney Smith, his creator.
Course at a Glance: