Milwaukee’s only women’s tackle-football team, the Wisconsin Dragons supply hard-hitting action for sports fans of all ages. The team faces a quartet of worthy opponents in four home games this season, bringing precise passes, forceful tackles, and footwork fancier than that of Fred Astaire's pet peacock. The included Dragons bandana keeps ardent fans stylishly supportive and doubles as a convenient wipe for excitement-generated sweat droplets.
A tractor rumbles along the rolling hills of Green Meadows Petting Farm's back 40 as it pulls hayride passengers toward the farm’s animals' barns and pens. There, hands of all ages can snuggle on the fuzzy fleece of a baby goat or sheep, brush against the bristly hide of the 700-pound Patty the Pig, or comb fingers into the soft mane of Lad the Pony. Farmers on the staff also share insights and anecdotes on the farm and its four-legged friends as guests roam the farm at their leisure. For Charlie and Mavis Keyes, of all the sights and sounds on a farm that's been in the family since 1964, the ones they enjoy most watching and hearing are from the children and parents who come to visit. It's a thrill, Charlie says, to hear the kids say that they had "the best day ever," providing a happy counterpoint to childhood days that include trips to the doctor's and punishments to file and catalogue a sister's dolls' dresses.
Watertown Bowl's sprawling lanes play host to up to six players during each two-hour outing. After lacing up complimentary kicks, parties can pluck neon-hued balls from orderly racks and snag a lane with or without bumpers. After striking down all 10 pins or splitting sibling pins from their perennial feuds, each player can sip pop or beer and munch a pizza slice decked with such toppings as cheese, pepperoni, bacon, and ground beef. Themed bowling events add excitement to each outing, and groups can schedule their trips to coincide with alley happenings such as Family Thunder Alley, which charms clans with glow bowl, festive lighting, and tot-suitable music. During Weekend Thunder Alley on Saturday nights, orb-slingers can bowl in the dark as music blasts, lights flash, and balls moonwalk down the runway.
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.
Originally founded as the Seattle Pilots in 1969, the Milwaukee Brewers have brought Major League Baseball to Wisconsin since 1970. The team played its first 30 seasons at Milwaukee County Stadium; Miller Park opened its gates in 2001, featuring field dimensions mapped out by legendary Brewer Robin Yount. Today, up to 41,900 fans pack into Miller Park to cheer on their home team as well as The Famous Racing Sausages and Bernie the Brewer, who soars down his iconic slide to celebrate home runs or cheer himself up after burning popcorn inside his elevated left-field clubhouse.
Beach-goers stave off direct sun exposure by hunkering under Bradford Beach Cabana Company's signature cabanas, or basking in the shade of rented beach umbrellas. The purveyor's cushioned lounge chairs fit comfortably beneath their shady structures, and a team of food-service attendants is on hand to ferry snacks to beach-goers who would otherwise have to infiltrate seagull potlucks. On breaks from lounging, adventurers can take to the waves in rented water gear, paddling touring kayaks or balancing atop standup paddleboards on the clear lake waters.