Just under two hours from Madison, the Fox Cities is an ideal destination for your next family vacation or weekend getaway. Situated between the shores of Lake Winnebago and the banks of the Fox River, the Fox Cities is a vibrant collection of original experiences and communities offering fun for the entire family.
Family-Friendly Activities in the Fox Cities
Building for Kids Children’s Museum is home to two floors of interactive exhibits that inspire discovery and build resilience through intergenerational play-based learning. The museum has 15 permanent exhibits in addition to periodically hosting traveling exhibits—all encouraging kids to indulge their imaginations and explore their natural curiosities.
Badger Sports Park is a family fun center with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Indoor activities include a state-of-the-art game room, two-story world-class laser tag arena, escape rooms, virtual reality experiences, and mini bowling alleys. Outdoor activities include a NASCAR™ go-kart track, 18-hole Wisconsin themed mini-golf course, and batting cages.
High Cliff State Park is the only state-owned recreational area on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland lake. Bring the family to enjoy the great outdoors year-round with endless amounts of recreation opportunities. Whether you’re looking to camp, bike, kayak, or hike, you can do it all plus more at High Cliff State Park!
1000 Islands Environmental Center has more than 350 acres of woodland and river area and features more than seven miles of elevated hiking trails, including a one-mile trail along the shores of the majestic Fox River. And if you’re lucky, you might spy one of the many bald eagles that reside there. The adjacent nature center features live animals and interactive educational displays.
At the Paper Discovery Center, learning and creativity collide. Learn about the history—and future—of the paper industry through numerous hands-on exhibits at this museum and science center. And don’t miss the paper lab to make your own sheet of paper!
Milk a cow, kiss a pig, or take an old-fashioned hayride at Mulberry Lane Farm. The farm’s 125 acres is packed with educational family fun and hands-on experiences including a petting zoo for a firsthand glimpse into farm life.
Friends of Butterfly Garden is a conservation nature center and home to Wisconsin’s largest butterfly house with 40 different species of butterflies native to the area. Relax on the patio, stroll one of the trails, or wind your way through the monarch butterfly-shaped maze.
Step back in time at Field of Scenes Drive-In . This twin screen drive-in theater is one of Wisconsin’s largest outdoor movie venues. An indoor concession area, mini-golf course, playgrounds, and basketball and volleyball courts are also available to enjoy between flicks.
Featuring habitats including forested wetland, cattail marsh, and created prairie, Heckrodt Wetland Reserve offers three miles of trails with elevated boardwalks to explore, bird-watch, hike, and photograph the numerous species that reside there. Learn about the importance of wetlands through interactive environmental exhibits inside the nature center.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ High-A affiliate, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, offer baseball action punctuated with between innings family fun and Friday night fireworks. Cue the infamous brat blaster, the Bratzooka, or join one of the team’s many theme nights.
Downtown Appleton comes alive on Saturday mornings with its downtown farm market featuring fresh fruits and veggies, artisan jewelry, baked goods, street musicians, and fan favorites from local food vendors. Also explore the colorful murals, sidewalk poetry, and sculptures on foot or jump on the free trolley that travels between the riverfront and downtown!
For more information about attractions, accommodations, and to plan your trip, visit foxcities.org.
About the Author
Maddie Uhlenbrauck is the marketing communications manager for the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. A lifelong Fox Cities resident, Maddie loves exploring new boutiques and restaurants throughout the local downtowns. She has also made it her mission in life to find the best fried cheese curds the Fox Cites have to offer.