Skaters circle around Slice of Ice in Red Arrow Park—part of the Milwaukee County Parks system—amid trees strung with lights and the arched façade of the 1000 North Water Street building. The refrigerated oval rink accommodates 100 skaters at a time, making it ideal for family outings and confusing games of super-hockey. And inside the rink’s warming house, visitors can hide from the chill with a cup of coffee.
There's a time, right at dusk, when the expansive greens of Brookfield Hills Golf Course look more like velvet than grass. These greens are the most forgiving aspect on a course riddled with water hazards and precisely placed bunkers.
On the par-32 front nine, the wooded framework of towering deciduous and pine trees makes it easy to forget the course is located in a busy suburb. The eighth hole works those trees into its design, challenging players to shoot their balls or launch them with slingshots over the treetops en route to the green. At par 30, the back nine puts more of an emphasis on the short game, and six of the holes feature imposing water hazards.
Course at a Glance:
From the tee box on the fourth hole, golfers might notice something familiar about the green at which they're aiming: it's in the shape of Wisconsin. The geographically-inspired green is just one of many novel features that make up Missing Links 9-hole, par-three golf course, which was designed with the help of Jack Nicklaus. Ponds and berms splotched with native grasses characterize the terrain throughout the course. Before sticking their tee or railroad spike into the soil on the first hole, golfers can warm up at a practice facility with a grass tee driving range, putting greens, and practice bunkers.
Framed by dense wooded tracts and thickets of knee-high grass, Deer Haven’s 18-hole executive course spans 3,473 yards on a par 60 track comprised entirely of par-3s and par-4s. Though the course favors precision off of the tee over power, the 15th hole—the longest on the course at 363 yards—invites players to unsheathe their driver or conveniently holstered war hammer to drive the ball deep into the fairway.
At the driving range, golfers can prepare swings for wrapping high fades or power draws around the course’s multiple curving fairways and occasional water hazards. Inside the rustic, wood-paneled exterior of Deer Haven’s clubhouse, golfers can raise a glass from the full-service bar to toast the retirement of their 3-wood’s loyal head cover, which will be replaced by the sweaty embrace of a fresh-off-the-foot tube sock.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer, The Bog’s 7,221-yard layout sprawls across 297 acres of tree-lined fairways, wetlands, and rolling , mounded terrain. The well-bunkered course incorporates all of the native surroundings into one seamless, award-winning layout, in which golfers must send balls somersaulting over intervening water hazards, avoid sprawling thickets of native tall grasses, and resist the urge to forsake humanity in favor of the vibrant ecosystem of the Cedarburg Bog, which forms a natural border on multiple fairways. Hole 17—a par 5 that forms the longest and most demanding hole on the course—embodies many of the course’s distinct characteristics, as stick-flickersclubbers drive from a low, water-kissed tee-box before climbing an uphill, 593-yard split fairway that doglegs left around sprawling waste hazard areas and into a green fortified by six bunkers and mounded rough. A duo of PGA-certified instructors roam throughout the course and its adjacent driving range, imparting score-shaving advice in lessons and fending off rogue windmills hoping to upgrade from their mini- golf residences.
Course at a Glance:
SpongeBob's house is shaking, rattling, and rolling to a soundtrack of giggles. At Bounce Realm, kids bound about in large inflatables such as SpongeBob's abode, as well as a Cars moonwalk and a giant air-filled obstacle course. This inflatable world inflates imaginations and excites kids into bouts of exercise as they run, jump, and climb. In between leaps and bounds inside safe and clean bounce houses, kids sprint between arcade games and air-hockey battles. Parents can tote sock-clad little ones into this plush world for open-bounce sessions or private parties. Those shindigs can get extra festive with visits from favorite characters, such Dora the Explorer and Spider-Man. SpongeBob himself might even stop by to see what all the excitement is about.
Five trails descend down the slopes at Highlands of Olympia, ranging from the beginner-friendly bunny hill to the East Bowl, a black diamond that challenges advanced skiers to face the biting winds as they carve through the incline. The mountain also features a terrain park where snowboarders grind over rails and boxes, and tow ropes pull inner tubes up the hill before they are released for a speedy 1,000-foot-long descent that covers a 60-foot vertical drop. A half-hour’s drive from downtown Milwaukee, Highlands packs a day’s worth of entertainment into the neatly packed snow, from the onsite bar and restaurant to lessons in which instructors impart the secrets of picking up ham-radio signals with outstretched ski poles.