On June 30, 1904 Col. William and Anna Vilas donated a tract of land to become a public park and free recreational space in memory of their son, Henry, who died due to complications from diabetes at a young age. They added numerous improvements over the decade and in 1911, the Henry Vilas Zoo gained its first animal exhibits. Today, the zoo covers 30 acres and features a number of creatures from around the world, ranging from the vanishing chimpanzee and endangered red panda to locals such as the great horned owl and american alligator. The zoo also remains one of the few free AZA-accredited zoos across the country.
Leading up to and following the zoo's centennial, the ReZOOvenation project has expanded the visitor areas, replacing the entrance and gift shop and adding a tropical-rainforest aviary and big-cat complex. A variety of annual events are scheduled, including Halloween at the Zoo, with costumes and stops for sustainable palm-oil candy, and earth day, when children can plant trees to help lower the global temperature just enough for icicles to form. The zoo’s many conservation projects also engage the public in protecting the environment and its inhabitants by installing solar-energy panels, sponsoring trips to save endangered orangutans, and collecting old cell phones.
The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin strives to ensure bicycling is safe, accessible, and fun for residents across the state to achieve its vision of making Wisconsin one of the world’s best places to ride. Along with supporting campaigns such as Bike to Work Week and youth bike camps, the federation works to create bicycle-friendly policies that support riding opportunities throughout Wisconsin, reduce air pollution, and lessen traffic congestion. At neighborhood bike rides and safety presentations, city alders, community members, and police officers are invited to participate and learn about cycling options in their neighborhoods.
Michaela Torcaso, the owner and CEO of Tibia Healing Center, couldn't decide what the world needed more—inner or outer peace—so she decided to give it both. The former begins its incubation in the massage school, where aspiring massage therapists spend 675 hours training for their certification. From there, calm is channeled through graduates' hands and into the minds and muscles of the clients of the Tibia Healing Center, where myriad modalities address everything from injury to stress from trying to balance a checkbook on one's nose.
When she's not planting the seeds of inner peace in her clients, Tibia's owner is spreading it outwards through her nonprofit, Creating a Peaceful World, which volunteers healing bodywork services to individuals including the families of murder victims and charity participants. Torcaso also offers scholarships to aspiring massage therapists who need financial assistance to pursue their education.
In addition to helping support the Union, a completely self-supporting, non-profit organization, a community membership to the Wisconsin Union grants card-carriers access to grand opening events, hotel discounts, specialty classes, and more. During summer, the Terrace on the shores of Lake Mendota hosts live music five nights a week, and the Lakeside Cinema screens films on Monday nights. Throughout the year, members can take advantage of renting rooms for events, purchasing food from the Union’s 21 eateries, campus-wide WiFi access, and a connection to the heart, soul, and sweaty date-night palms of the University of Wisconsin student body.
Lucky’s satisfies appetites for pub fare and sports with a lunch and dinner menu and 50 televisions broadcasting all major sports packages from above a dark wood bar. Patrons can commence flavor explorations with six wings, which cooks toss with a choice of buffalo, barbecue, or garlic-parmesan sauce ($6.99), before strapping one to each shoulder to attract newly single griffins ($6.99). For the Wild West burger, grillmasters herd a beef patty and strips of applewood-smoked bacon onto a fresh kaiser roll smothered with barbeque sauce, grilled onions, and cheddar cheese ($6.99). As parents masticate on the sauerkraut-filled Regent Street reuben ($7.49), pint-sized palates can step up to bat with the minor leaguer’s menu and punt a slider hamburger into a side of fries or applesauce ($2.95).
Groundbreaking Canadian chanteuse K.D. Lang has always been ahead of her time. During the late '80s, while country music was busy trying on rock 'n' roll britches, K.D. moseyed in with a voice as pure as a Mountie's heart, giving honky-tonk purity back to the airwaves while curing the cowgirl blues. Her striking stage presence and ability to lasso Patsy Cline’s poltergeist with her herculean larynx led to multiple Grammy awards, and her sound branched out into lush pop territories in hits such as “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine.” With the support of her first backing band in 23 years, Siss Boom Bang, K.D. yowls and purrs with grace and intensity through a live set of twangy barnburners and heart-tugging torch songs in support of her latest album, Sing it Loud. From comfy and wide lumbar-supported seats, fans savor the majesty and opulence of Overture Hall, where the exemplary acoustics allow K.D.’s unmistakable voice to reverberate like whale calls through the Grand Canyon.