One of 12 indoor 400-meter ovals in the world and the only sea-level oval in the United States accessible to athletes, the nonprofit Pettit National Ice Center has become an essential destination for speed skaters training for the 2014 Olympic Games. Practicing skaters join the ranks of Apolo Anton Ohno, Chad Hedrick, and Shani Davis, all of whom have competed or trained at Pettit, participated in the last five Winter Olympics, and beaten an avalanche into submission. With its 155,000-square-foot arena and 97,000 square feet of ice, the Olympic training site has hosted the 2005 U.S. National Short Track Championship and eight international speed-skating competitions.
In addition to Olympic-caliber sportspersons, Pettit accommodates nearly 400,000 annual visitors for public-skating sessions and lessons in skating, figure skating, and speed skating. Skating clubs, hockey leagues, curling, and wheelchair- and special-needs-skating classes commence on two 100'x200' rinks. Meanwhile, spectators and Olympic torches on their day off can sidestep the ice by contemplating infinity while resting in a lounge overlooking the arena, or jogging around the 443-meter track circling the ice oval.
Dogs may be man's best friend, but having a horse show up at your wedding is more likely to impress. Milwaukee Coach and Carriage arranges such romantic gestures with its fleet of well-mannered equines and spacious coaches. Its custom wagon rides wend to and from marriage ceremonies as well as birthday parties, grand openings, and other special events, imbuing passengers? evenings with timeless flair and romance.
For a more casual trot around the city, Milwaukee Coach and Carriage also leads 30- or 60-minute tours of downtown, rolling past popular landmarks to create a memorable date without getting involved in a high-speed chase. Each wagon holds up to four adults and two children total, though 12-person wagons are available for larger groups.
CMP Tactical Lazer Tag brings cathode combat into the modern video-game era with high-tech weapons and a tactical playing experience that includes a variety of high-stakes missions. Groups ultimately succeed or fail as a team, and all of CMP's sessions promote teamwork as allied players capture a building, rescue a hostage, or draw a mustache on the dictator's self-portraits. In each high-tech shootout, lightweight sensors worn on the head emit audible hit-recognition sounds when digital bullets strike.
Open year-round, this 185-acre sanctuary is just 15-minutes outside the city, making it the perfect place to get away from the bustle of urban life. In warmer months, couples can explore hiking trails spot wildlife from the 60-foot observation tower, while winter months present opportunities for activities such as cross-country skiing.
It's rare for museums to have cozy dining rooms, but the Charles Allis Art Museum wasn't always a museum. Earlier in the 20th century, it was businessman and arts patron Charles Allis's Tudor-style mansion. Allis bequeathed it to the public along with his massive art collection, though, and nowadays, visitors can stop by to see pieces that span 2,000 years. Some highlights? Works by Winslow Homer, Classic antiquities, a large collection of Asian ceramics, plus rotating exhibits by local Wisconsin artists.
The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum nestles in a historic mansion, too, albeit a different one. This one was built in the likeness of an Italian Renaissance villa in 1923, by architect David Adler. Its art spans a smaller period, from the 15th century through to the 18th. Visitors can browse wrought-iron work by Cyril Colnik, and explore a formal, outdoor Renaissance garden.
Brown Deer Lanes sprawls before sparring sphere tossers a synthetic battlefield of meticulously maintained lanes and brave battalions of crisp, white pins. Competitors will slide into a pair of prismatic kicks, which are available in half sizes, before carefully adopting a choice ball from a robust harvest of able orbs. After evading gutters, picking up strikes, and high-fiving gregarious pinsetters, victors can celebrate by noshing on the sizzling slices of a large, two-topping pizza. Although not included with today's Groupon, Brown Deer Lanes also volunteers its thundering alleys to parties and frequent glow bowls. A fully stocked menu houses a variety of other snacks, while weekly Packer parties gather to cheer on Wisconsin's revered cricket team.