Lake Geneva Cruise Line received the 2012 Service Excellence Award at the Conference on Tourism, recognized by Governor Scott Walker for its continued commitment to unique, memorable experiences afforded by their daily tours and private charters. Tourists can traverse the picturesque waters of Lake Geneva in their stylish ships equipped with bars, snack bars, and restrooms. During tours, knowledgeable guides dispense narration about local history and guests provide their own soundtrack during afternoon ice-cream socials and sundown cruises. Evening cocktail cruises keep libations flowing for two hours as musical notes played by local musicians float out across the dark, sparkling water before they're gobbled up by jumping fish.
Brittingham Boats conquers the water in many ways. Their rental fleet boasts all manner of paddlecraft, from tandem kayaks and canoes to standup paddleboards and paddle boats. The boating gurus can also supply all the gear for fishing trips out on Monona Bay and Monona Lake. They even host yoga classes on SUP boards, leading students through a tapestry of poses while perched atop standup paddleboards. Following paddle excursions, guest may drop by the Brittingham coffee shop to nosh on gourmet grilled cheese or indulge in creamy scoops of Babcock Ice Cream.
The certified instructors at Scooter Tow Hang Gliding School have designed their curriculum to encourage potential students that hang-gliding can be for anyone. In doing so, they introduce beginners to the sport gradually by scheduling flights in the early morning and late afternoon—when the atmosphere is at its calmest—and having them start by only going 2–3 feet off the ground. Once they're more experienced, flyers can join the crew for organized brewery tours and the school's hang-gliding club.
The sudden roar of gunfire rolls over Richmond Hunting Club's facilities, which sprawl across 850 untamed acres. The club's location nearly adjacent to Chain O' Lakes State Park draws sportspeople of all levels who can spend time shooting skeet, boarding a loyal hunting dog at the onsite kennel, paintballing, or stocking up on ammo at the pro shop. Outdoorsy folks who frequent the club often tie up their mountain goat outside and congregate inside the Bar & Grill, refueling weary trigger fingers with buffalo burgers and pheasant pot pies in a classic hunting-lodge setting.
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.