Illuming Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort for the third year, the Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights ornaments a nearly mile-long drive-thru trail with more than a million lights. Leisurely drift past scenes of elves tinkering away in Santa's workshop, Rudolph bravely piloting Santa's sleigh, a life-size carousel, four enormous gingerbread houses adorned in candies, and a ranch where formerly feral stockings live happily domesticated. Cups of regular coffee or apple cider await trekkers in Santa's Coffee Shop after their radiant voyage.
Single-seat Formula K go-karts sidle beside two-seaters on Kristof Entertainment Center's family-friendly driving track. After letting the wind tussle hair, friends and families compete on the 18-hole scenic miniature-golf course replete with challenging holes and flanked by waterfalls, fountains, and castles. In batting cages, baseballs and softballs hurl toward bat-wielders, and players send bowling balls careening toward pins across lanes during regular or cosmic bowling. Sports skills are further tested at seven billiards tables that leave ample opportunity for sinking in eight-balls, and the arcade's classic redemption games such as skee-ball facilitate fun and prizes. After exhausting all one's rounds of play, Kristof's Bar reenergizes visitors with Pepsi products and snacks while broadcasting sports on its many televisions.
Designed for mature audiences, Realm of Terror's maze winds past zombies hovering over hospital patients and masked madmen adorned in scarlet-stained clothes. A creative team of filmmakers, makeup artists, and set designers collaborates on the gory, over-the-top attraction, which uses actors, strobe lighting, startlingly loud noises, and whispered Danzig lyrics to spook guests as they duck, climb, and crawl through. While waiting in line to enter the critically lauded haunted house, guests can sip beverages from an onsite bar, which is stocked with soft drinks and alcohol for visitors of drinking age.
All Community Events gathers together athletes of all stripes to set off on brisk, well-organized outdoor runs. In the one-mile Run the Pier jaunt, sprinters can goggle at the skyscrapers surrounding Navy Pier, dash beneath its towering ferris wheel, and reach underneath the pier to grab fistfuls of the cotton candy keeping it afloat before finishing through its welcoming arch. The World's Largest Corn Maze Run/Walk weaves through five kilometers of paths that wind through a dense cornfield, while a pair of Turkey Trots let exercise-hounds burn off calories in advance of the day's traditional feast. Though its exact date will be pinned down as the event draws closer, the Chi Town Half Marathon pits runners against 13.1 miles of verdant north-side terrain. The challenging but beginner-friendly race's March date places it well before most of the year's other major races, and provides a compelling reason to step outside during the dark, werewolf-riddled chill of winter.
Rudolph Valentino DiTommaso has 5,000 growing children to look after. That's how many vines are on the viticulturist's estate, a 20-acre stretch of ripening grapes in Long Grove. Throughout the season, Rudolph and his team harvest their fruits and age their elixirs in barrels made of French and American oak to yield more than 20 types of wine, instead of just one weird smoothie. And they take just as much delight in showing off their libations as they do in making them. The vineyard regularly hosts seminars and tastings, which guests can pair with tours of the vineyard.
Hosted by Shaker's Ghost Tours, Dahmer Tours grants a spine-chilling glimpse into the life of Jeffrey Dahmer from within his hunting grounds. The guides, who are neither insensitive to the victims’ families nor approbating of Dahmer’s monstrous acts, narrate thoroughly researched information about the crimes and their historical impact over the course of a one-mile walk. The company crosschecks all their material with former members of Milwaukee's legal community and several unturned stones to ensure that every fact and trail is credible. As guests’ feet cover the very tracks that Dahmer stalked upon, guides dissect his mad world to grant access into the mind of a serial killer.
As the bartender looks up from his stool, he sees the world around him has started to spin. But drinking on the job isn't to blame: the scenery shifts around him as the mobile Pedal Tavern rolls down the streets of Milwaukee, powered by the cycling feet of up to 15 of his friends. Ten seats with bicycle-style pedals, plus five seats for non-pedaling passengers, circle up around the wooden bar-in-the-round where the “bartender”—actually one of the passengers—leads the carousing and doles out snacks the group has packed. A flat roof shades passengers as a Pedal Tavern employee steers the craft around corners and curves. Though there's no alcohol onboard the Pedal Tavern itself—in line with current legislation—the bars and taverns along routes in the Third Ward and Walker's Point pour beers and cocktails, including perpetual happy-hour specials for Pedal Tavern riders.