Rock River Lanes gathers groups for the time-honored pastime of repeatedly knocking over 10 pesky pins before celebrations bathed in frothy brews and pizza pies. At the lanes, groups will first equip their toes with specialized shoes, much like donning flippers to visit the aquarium's whale tank. With feet draped in smooth, alley-approved soles, groups can begin their pin pummeling. In two hours, bands of bowlers can sneak in several 10-frame games, sending balls twisting and tumbling down the lanes, pins clanging and clamoring around the pin deck. While championing the spherical side in the battle between pins and bowling balls, athletes can satisfy tummies by tackling slices of a one-topping pizza or indulging in a few glasses of performance-enhancing domestic suds from a pitcher.
Situated inside the historic Power & Light building, the Geneva Lake Museum replicates Lake Geneva's Main Street from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inside the museum, visitors stroll around admiring the turn-of-the-century Georgian and Italianate architecture that forms historic stores, a school room, and a 1920s dental workstation, among other spaces. Guests may walk into the rooms themselves and closely examine old-fashioned farm implements, a telephone switchboard, or Potawatami tools and arrowheads. Beyond Main Street, museum visitors can study up on Frank Lloyd Wright's Hotel Geneva or the Chicago & North Western Railway. Sightseers can also explore Lake Geneva, the city's namesake and a 7.6-mile body of water that empties into the White River. The lake is surrounded by a 23-mile public path, which makes the area attractive to Midwesterners who want to take a scenic day trip or ducks that want to train for a marathon.
The Rotary Botanical Gardens overflows with 20 acres of natural beauty and artistic landscaping. As visitors follow the path around the formal French rose garden, pergolas surround a circular field of grass and stand sentry over delicate rosebushes. A bubbling fountain surrounded by bright flower courtiers and stylish topiary holds court in the sunken garden and may be approached only after guests curtsy to it. The Nancy Yahr Memorial Children’s Garden displays 180 varieties of scented plants across 3,000 square feet of space, encouraging visitors to learn about the role of scent in the garden. The English cottage garden proffers shelter for teatime crumpet-eating contests, and the Japanese gardens accord visitors a place for quiet reflection. A visitor center and a gift shop also bedeck the Rotary Botanical Gardens' grounds.
According to historic record, no parts of the Underground Railroad are documented to have been located underground, except one. And that is where Milton House comes into play. Built in 1844 by Joseph Goodrich, an inn owner known for his stance against slavery, the structure’s underground tunnel led to a basement that became a safe place where runaway slaves could rest and hide away from prying eyes before finishing their journeys. Today, the hexagon-shaped building stands as one the oldest poured-concrete structure in the United States. Tours and exhibits send guests back in time to learn about Wisconsin’s role as a Northern state before the Civil War and how the Goodrich family secretly operated its safe haven.
No ski lessons. No beginners allowed. All ungroomed terrain. Averaging 273 inches per year, Mount Bohemia is a snow-covered haven for seasoned skiers, eschewing bunny slopes for 500-plus acres with two chair lifts filled with 90 runs—most of which are rated for experts. The mountain's 900-foot vertical drop, noted for being the tallest in the midwest, has won it many fans, including MSN Travel, which named it on its list of 10 Undiscovered Ski Spots in 2006. They were also rated number one for best powder skiing east of the rockies by Powder Magazine.
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.