A two-story brick house from the late 1800s stands within walking distance of a wooden fur-trader’s cabin from the 1700s. Just down the road, cheesemongers and printmakers ply their time-honored trades behind open storefronts, and the ringing of a blacksmith’s hammer joins with the click of a digital camera’s shutter in a soundtrack several centuries in the making. It’s safe to say that Heritage Hill State Historical Park’s anachronistic blending of historical eras might confuse an uninformed onlooker, but visitors who know better will relish the park’s four outdoor areas, each of which depicts a unique period in Wisconsin’s history. The living-history museum sits on 50 acres along the banks of the Fox River and features more than 25 original and reconstructed buildings that illustrate the lives of their residents—a list that includes French-influenced fur traders, the federal occupants of Fort Howard, and Belgian immigrants. The museum’s curators have brought these former residents back to life through strange and unexpected means; the fur-trader’s cabin was discovered almost by accident by a demolition crew who found it hidden inside a larger house. In each of the park’s areas, historic interpreters dressed according to their time period divulge facts about the buildings’ histories and their inhabitants’ day-to-day lives, which often included hours of churning butter and playing 8-bit Atari games. Five of the original on-site buildings can be found on the National Register of Historic Places, and museum groundskeepers further ensure each area’s historical accuracy by planting period-appropriate trees and plants. Tours take visitors of all ages on regular journeys through the past, and museum staffers organize field trips and summer camps especially for youth groups. Seasonal events include craft workshops, live concerts, and raucous fiddle-shredding contests.
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.
Tucked along the east side of the bay, Shorewood Golf Course?s 2,792-yard, nine-hole layout challenges club-swingers with unforgiving fairways and small, breaking greens whose impressive upkeep earned the course an appearance and maintenance award in 2009. Since the first post-putt strut in 1931, the course?s oak- and hickory-lined fairways have invited players to overcome undulating terrain both scenic and demanding. The zenith of these hilly hazards is found on the 492-yard par 5 fourth hole, where golfers must overcome a dogleg right off the tee before hitting multiple shots to the green located at the end of a narrow fairway that encourages conga lines along its gradual incline. After a day out in the sun, golfers can adjourn to the course?s restaurant to munch on pizza and sandwiches or enjoy a frosty beverage.
Course at a Glance:
Nine-hole, par-35 course
Length of 2,792 yards from the farthest set of tees
Course rating of 35.9 from the farthest set of tees
Slope rating of 124 from the farthest set of tees
Five tee boxes for varying skill levels
Link to helpful course notes
All year round, Nelson Field Laser Tag's battle zones join forces to send warriors into simulated combat. A field peppered with camo forts and towers at the Green Bay location scintillates during winter months as groups of up to 16 players use the scopes on heavy-duty, military-grade laser guns to pick off opponents and point out mustard stains on a teammate's pants. Meanwhile, unfolding across outdoor combat arenas, paintball and airsoft squads dip, dash, and dive behind natural and manmade barriers. Seven woodball fields camouflage matches amid troves of trees, and on an urban combat field, shooters utilize 19 buildings and one rogue hot-dog cart as shelter. Upon striking a truce, friends can reconvene at Nelson Field's onsite sports bars.
Though Nelson Field Laser Tag sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
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.