Run by expert caretakers and trainers, Jo-Don Farms maintains a population of over 300 animals, who sometimes make trips off the property to visit TV studios, film sets, and even private parties. Of course, one can meet all the animals, including exotics such as tigers and zebras, by visiting the farms themselves. The animals all have names and a reasonable familiarity with people. Calling out to a pony or camel by name may get its attention and inspire a close-up visit. Other animals, such as the big cats, stay at a safe distance from guests at all times. Visitors can expect encounters both close and distant as they wander the 15 acres of paths and pens.
Throughout the week, Country Lanes offers open bowling hours and league opportunities for bowlers of all skill levels. In addition to indoor lanes, the alley welcomes outdoor revelers with courts for sand volleyball and horseshoes. The outdoor tiki bar keeps carousers stocked with cocktails and draft brews, and an indoor grill fires sandwiches, pizzas, and appetizers such as wonton wraps. A banquet hall is available for parties, and a teen glow-bowl league takes place on Fridays through the summer, allowing bioluminescent youngsters to bowl in their natural environment.
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.
HauntFest packs two terrifying stories of adrenaline-fueled fun inside a heated house fraught with this year’s Hollywood-themed phantoms. With a VIP pass, visitors can forgo lines and waiting rooms, skipping straight ahead toward 20,000 square feet of bloodied zombies, ghoulish skeletons, and curious medical students. Although the actors adhere to a strict no-touch policy, the festival's motion-based attraction, The Last Ride, jostles bodies and spirits with a startling simulation of being buried alive. Monsters roam HauntFest’s grounds, and DJs spin live tunes to fend off fiends with the demon-destroying power of the treble clef.
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.
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.