Picture yourself surrounded by the Kettle Moraine Forest, lush farmland and unique old style villages. Try out an old fashioned bicycle, watch the blacksmith make steel hooks or taste an old fashioned soda from the General Store. This is Old World Wisconsin, a 600 acre historic site featuring 8 ethnic farms and an 1880s village filled with hands-on activities for all ages.
My family had the opportunity to visit Old World Wisconsin last weekend. We went on a gorgeous fall day, with bright blue skies – perfect for strolling around the site. We brought our 4 year old and 6 year old, and while I was a bit worried they might be too “young” to appreciate Old World Wisconsin, they absolutely LOVED it! The people working there were dressed in old-fashioned clothing and they were both incredibly informative and wonderful at interacting with young children. I was surprised at how many hands-on activities they had – it reminded me of an outdoor children’s museum–and how much fun it was for adults, too! There were plenty of opportunities for learning about history while also allowing visitors to truly experience what life was like in the 1800s.
Every weekend from now until October 14th, Old World Wisconsin will be hosting Fall Fun on the Farm, with extra special old-world style activities. Each weekend offers different special events, such as brewing beer, making sauerkraut, gathering veggies for the root cellar or making traditional sausages.
Some of the highlights for my kids were:
**Riding a replica 1890s tricycle (they also had old fashioned dress up clothes the kids (and adults!) could wear)
**Watching the Blacksmith craft a metal hook out of steel, especially the burst of steam at the end when the hook is cooled down in a big tub of water!
**Exchanging “tokens” in the Village for treats and toys – my son was so excited to trade his token for one of the steel hooks from the Blacksmith (see above) and my daughter exchanged hers for a wooden top in the General Store. We also traded for an old-fashioned soda (Pineapple flavored, yum!) and a bag of butterscotch candies.
**Riding the tram. Since Old World Wisconsin is BIG, it’s nice to have the option to hop on the tram to get from one village/farm to another. The tram driver also narrates as you drive along, so we got to hear about different buildings we passed on the way.
**Playing old-fashioned yard games, like this one with a big hoop and stick
**Helping with farm chores. Both kids were able to help pick “hops” (this is a special thing they offer during the Fall season), drill holes with a hand drill, gather eggs from the chicken coop and chop wood for kindling. After gathering eggs, they got to wash their hands in an old-fashioned wash basin with lye soap!
Pro tips: Make sure to pick a nice day, because you are outside and walking A LOT. Wear comfy shoes and pack a bag with snacks and water bottles. They do have a small café with things like chicken fingers but you could easily bring a picnic lunch!
For more information about Old World Wisconsin, visit their website and make sure to check our Facebook page for a chance to win a 4-pack of tickets for your family!