Tours in Portage

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During the 2011 college football season, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Oregon Ducks combined to score a whopping 1,112 points. And each team did so at nearly the same clip—the Badgers put up 564 points to the Ducks’ 548. So it’s a natural fit that the two heavyweight teams will battle January 2 in the 2012 Rose Bowl, a game that pundits predict will be one of the highest-scoring Rose Bowls in history. To get an up-close view of the offensive fireworks, Badger Trips has tailored comprehensive travel packages: after tailgating and getting amped up at team pep rallies, fans will attend the Rose Bowl itself.On the morning of New Year’s Eve, Badger fans will board a private, chartered jet from Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) in Madison direct to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The long trip is made breezy thanks to a stylish aircraft: travels can sink into plush seats and watch movies, listen to music, and play video games on the entertainment systems.Once on the ground, travelers will be taken by shuttle to the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza, a Four Diamond retreat situated atop historical Bunker Hill. For three nights, guests can take advantage of all the Omni has to offer, whether they wish to camp out in recently renovated deluxe rooms, ease pre-game anxiety at the onsite spa, or debate the merits of the wishbone offense at the romantic Noé Restaurant, voted Best Romantic Restaurant by the Los Angeles Times Readers Choice Awards. Leading up to the big game, fans can use shuttle services to freely hop to and from various festivities and sightseeing opportunities: on Saturday there’s a massive group pep rally and on Sunday a four-hour tour of Los Angeles and a group viewing of the Green Bay Packers game. Check out a detailed trip itinerary here.On Monday morning, buses board for Pasadena to the storied Rose Parade, which is followed by the Badger Huddle—a massive tailgate that serves beers, brats, and a spread of snacks. And then, finally, the main event kicks off at 2 p.m., when the University of Wisconsin will compete to be crowned Rose Bowl champion. Established in 1902, the Rose Bowl is known as the “Granddaddy of Them All” and, outside of fishing marshmallows from cereal, is the oldest bowl game known to man. At the center of the legendary 90,000-seat stadium, players such as Wisconsin Badger running back Montee Ball—who has scored 38 touchdowns this season—will look to turn in a legendary performance to join Wisconsin alum and Heisman Trophy-winner Alan Ameche in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

4000 International Lane
Madison,
WI
US

Forget actors, scripts, or props: Wisconsin Dells Ghost Tours likes its ghosts stripped bare of gimmicks and its encounters backed by bone-chilling authenticity. Its guides spin true tales of eerie happenings, all supported by police reports and historical documents, raising goose bumps as guests rumble through the darkest corners of the Dells on a luxury bus. The 75-minute expeditions visit more than 20 haunted locales, including unmarked burial grounds, houses plagued by spirits, and back alleys populated by dancing zombies. The tour guides open the closets of Newport, Wisconsin Dells, and Lake Delton to reveal skeletons lurking inside, and the tour’s well-researched, heart-quickening stories thrill and educate minds both old and young.

420 Wisconsin 13
Wisconsin Dells,
WI
US

The Waldvogel family has been planting pumpkins without incident each fall for the past 25 years. This year, however, something peculiar happened. Their 10-acre pumpkin patch yielded pink pumpkins. Before you blame the supernatural or last spring's pink-lemonade spill, know that the Waldvogels grew the pumpkins to promote awareness of breast cancer and raise money for breast-cancer research.

Once you've taken the complimentary hayride out to the pumpkin patch and picked a pumpkin—pink or orange—there's still plenty to do around the farm. Youngsters can sample the 16 attractions, including a 6-acre corn maze, a train ride, and a miniature golf course. Older visitors can browse the market's squash and jams, the bakery's apple pies, and the apple kitchen's fixings for creating your own caramel apple.

N7416 County Road I
Juneau,
WI
US

The Great Urban Race is a one-day event pitting teams of two against one another in a race combining physical challenges, scavenger hunts, and puzzles. Up to 700 twosomes will traverse 4 to 8 miles of Toronto terrain on foot and by public transportation as they solve 12 challenging clues in a fun quest to reach the finish line first. Sample clues and challenges from past Great Urban Races include charades, bubble-gum chewing, pig Latin deciphering, bicycle races, and word scrambles, making this race ideal for competitive eaters and cryptographers alike. Teams are encouraged to dress up in matching outfits, and prizes will be awarded for best costume. Prizes are also given for race results, with $300 going to first place, $200 to second place, and $100 to third place. The top 25 teams will qualify for the National Championship in New Orleans in November, with the top three teams receiving free entry. Each participant gets a T-shirt and postrace refreshments of fruit, granola bars, and a run through a Perrier sprinkler. Read over the rules and FAQs for more information.

1419 Monroe Street
Madison,
WI
US

The Wisconsin Historical Society preserves the knowledge, artifacts, and historic sites that have popped up over the course of Wisconsin's tenure as a territory and state. Peruse the hallowed halls of history in the historical museum, the First Capitol, or the Wade House, an 1844 settlement home. Click here to see a full listing of the sites maintained by the society.

816 State St
Madison,
WI
US

In 1853, with pieces of buff sandstone hauled from a nearby quarry, Able Dunning and his wife erected a Greek Revival farmhouse on University Avenue in Madison. They called the house Mapleside, and it sat for 117 years like a stoic grandmother, surveying the surrounding landscape as spring’s innumerable rows of crops gave way to winter’s barren fields.

After efforts to save the historic building failed, community members joined forces to create the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. Today, the independent, nonprofit organization continues to preserve the city's historic character through efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and rehabilitate buildings. Its annual activities focus on educating residents about Madison’s past through the buildings that endure as monuments to bygone eras. The hope is that a new generation of activists might be inspired to take up the mantle of preservation after a historic architecture tour of State Street, Bascom Hill, or Bucky Badger’s slowly eroding burrow.

29 East Wilson Street
Madison,
WI
US