Completed in 1892 as the private home of the Pabst family, Pabst Mansion stands as the last bastion of more than 80 mansions built for Milwaukee’s elite during a booming, bygone era. Since its construction, the estate has housed archbishops, priests, and sisters and was saved from near-demolition during the 1970s. The Flemish-Renaissance-Revival home has since been awarded a place on the National Register of Historic Places for its bounty of architectural intricacies.
Today, on-staff docents conduct a range of tours for public groups, private parties, school groups, and well-behaved rugby teams through the fortress of halls, opulent rooms, and verdant grounds, each restored to their original condition.
The Pabst Mansion’s impressive art collection includes works from the 1640s through the 1900s by artists such as William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gaetano Trentanove, and Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven. The emporium of excess also features Pabst Beer Pavilion, the pavilion built for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the glass-covered conservatory where tropical plants and beer trees continue to flourish.
The mansion gift shop holds classic Pabst drinkware and memorabilia as well as antique photos, books, and former employees' original finger paintings.
On June 30, 1904 Col. William and Anna Vilas donated a tract of land to become a public park and free recreational space in memory of their son, Henry, who died due to complications from diabetes at a young age. They added numerous improvements over the decade and in 1911, the Henry Vilas Zoo gained its first animal exhibits. Today, the zoo covers 30 acres and features a number of creatures from around the world, ranging from the vanishing chimpanzee and endangered red panda to locals such as the great horned owl and american alligator. The zoo also remains one of the few free AZA-accredited zoos across the country.
Leading up to and following the zoo's centennial, the ReZOOvenation project has expanded the visitor areas, replacing the entrance and gift shop and adding a tropical-rainforest aviary and big-cat complex. A variety of annual events are scheduled, including Halloween at the Zoo, with costumes and stops for sustainable palm-oil candy, and earth day, when children can plant trees to help lower the global temperature just enough for icicles to form. The zoo’s many conservation projects also engage the public in protecting the environment and its inhabitants by installing solar-energy panels, sponsoring trips to save endangered orangutans, and collecting old cell phones.
Several years ago, Ken Smith and Chase Williams were typical door-to-door salesmen. In need of a gimmick to boost sales and a quicker mode of transport, the duo tried riding Segways and immediately fell in love. Eventually, they turned their love for the two-wheeled transporter into their current venture, All American Segway. Their company provides all manner of Segway engagement, including guided Segway tours that offer rolling educations in local history and wildlife. Customers can also discover the revolutionary devices on their own by renting out Segways for recreational use, private parties, or as a friend for a lonely office chair or shopping cart.
Those who shudder to remember the Shadow Manor Haunted House may want to hide under their beds. For although the legendary haunt may have faded into oblivion, a vastly expanded 7,000-square-foot portal to the profane has risen to take its place. The heinous Dr. Goffman rules more than half the bedeviled romping grounds, a blood-spattered surgeon waiting to terrify his patients, first by performing tortuous procedures, and then later by mailing them their bill. Those who manage to check out must then don 3-D glasses before venturing through a whirling tunnel. The swirling vortex leads to the harlequin-haunted Psycho Circus, where weird clowns caper with tortuous intent, ushering their audience through disorienting neon rooms. To keep the screams coming, Shadow Manor has also added two new attractions, including the evocatively named Slaughter House and a meandering path through a mysterious cornfield and haunted wood.
The guides of Segway the Fox chart smooth routes all over Green Bay, designing tours that accommodate a wide array of interests. Perched at the controls of reliable segways, tour-goers coast along paths and sidewalks as they take in the sights of the city as well as hear fun anecdotes about the area's history from guides or statues that come to life after midnight. People who just want some unstructured segway riding can sign up for the Just Glide tour, and football fans can soak in revealing tales about their favorite team during the Lambeau Stadium/Walk of Legends tour or the Packer Heritage Trail tour.
Hosted by Shaker's Ghost Tours, Dahmer Tours grants a spine-chilling glimpse into the life of Jeffrey Dahmer from within his hunting grounds. The guides, who are neither insensitive to the victims’ families nor approbating of Dahmer’s monstrous acts, narrate thoroughly researched information about the crimes and their historical impact over the course of a one-mile walk. The company crosschecks all their material with former members of Milwaukee's legal community and several unturned stones to ensure that every fact and trail is credible. As guests’ feet cover the very tracks that Dahmer stalked upon, guides dissect his mad world to grant access into the mind of a serial killer.