Right along Highway 33 in beautiful Baraboo, the Ochsner Park & Zoo offers 26 acres of parkland and a free zoo covering two of them. Ochsner originally opened in 1926 and features an interesting variety of animals for a relatively small zoo: a snow leopard, a Capuchin (just acquired in 2015), bobcats, prairie dogs, a black bear, llamas, wolves, and a series of birds. The zoo is open year ’round seven days a week. It opens at 8:30am; closing times vary throughout the year: 7:30pm during summer, 5:30pm in fall and spring, and 3:00pm in winter.
Burr Oak Winery dates back to 1997, when the first grapes were planted. A few years later they were drawing visitors to their tasting room, a European-style building featuring beautiful stained glass windows salvaged from a church built in 1882. Today they host a number of events and offer over 15 varieties of red, white, and dessert wines. They managed several medal wins at the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, too.
Burr Oak Winery is open 11am-5pm, seven days a week. You’ll find them just south of downtown New Lisbon, along U.S. 12/Highway 16/Highway 80, just a few minutes off I-90/94.
N5873 Hwys 12 & 16 (and 80)
New Lisbon, WI 53950
(608) 562-5271 Website
The Hoard Historical Museum covers Fort Atkinson’s colorful history, starting with its namesake William Dempster Hoard, the “father of American dairying.” The museum also offers a good look at the likes of noted Sauk warrior Black Hawk and the “Black Hawk War” of 1832, the experiences of a young Abraham Lincoln as he rode into and through the area, and poet and Fort native Lorine Niedecker. Other historic artifacts, current and historic artwork, and an exhibit on area Native American mounds round out the museum’s top offerings.
The Hoard Historical Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30am-4:30pm. Admission is free, although donations are welcome ($5/person or $10/family is suggested – and a good idea.) The National Dairy Shrine Museum is adjacent; the two share a Visitor Center.
You’ll find both along U.S. 12/Highway 89 just south of downtown Fort Atkinson. It’s just east of Business Highway 26 and about half a mile south of Highway 106.
401 Whitewater Avenue
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
(920) 563-7769 Website
Also known as the Whitewater Effigy Mounds Preserve, Indian Mounds Park covers 22-acres and preserves a prehistoric, Native American ceremonial and burial site dating back to between 200 and 1000 A.D. You’ll find a collection of animal and geometric mounds, and along the east bank of an old river bed, a former community area that once held 30 circular huts where early mound builders lived. The dozen or so effigy mounds at the site are what survive, and they continue to serve as a setting for Native American ceremonial pow-wows.
Indian Mounds Park is open daily and admission is free. You’ll find it on the west side of Whitewater, between Historic/”Business” U.S. 12 through town and the U.S. 12 Bypass. Highways 59 and 89 are also close.
The Circus World Museum is a place where boys, girls and children of all ages can see how circuses have worked and entertained people for generations. As they say, “experience the thrill that never gets old.” Featuring a Circus Museum, an area called Ringlingville, a wide variety of circus animals and the World’s Largest Circus Wagon Collection, Baraboo’s Circus World Museum is open 10am-4pm daily. History abounds; a series of buildings in the Circus World Museum date back to the 19th century and plenty of plaques will tell you more.
Circus World Museum is right along Highway 113 on the south side of Baraboo; U.S. 12 is to the west and Highway 33 is just to the north.
550 Water Street
Baraboo, WI 53913
(608) 356-8341 Website