|Family-Friendly Attractions | Dane County, WI|
|Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona
Nature | Special Events | Kids' Camps | Parties
Aldo Leopold Nature Center specializes in connecting children, their families and teachers to the outdoors. Through hands-on, guided
experiences, children and adults come to discover and explore the wonders of the natural world! Visit website for activities & events.
|Babcock Hall Dairy Store, UW-Madison Campus
Food & Beverage | Tours | Madison Icon
UW Madison ice cream plant & store that opened in 1951 is located right on campus. Available for tours, and ice cream store open daily.
The plant also produces award winning cheeses and bottles locally produced milk. Yum!
|Cave of the Mounds, Blue Mounds
National Natural Landmark | Tours
Cave of the Mounds, open to the public since 1940, is considered a national natural landmark, offering daily educational tours of beautiful
natural cave formations. A guided tour of the Cave, which is a constant 50 degree temperature, takes you past a varied collection of colorful
stalactites, stalagmites, columns and other formations. Tours last about an hour and are offered daily either hourly or 30 minute intervals,
with extended tours offered to scheduled groups. Participants can participate in mining for gemstones, and learn about each one. Visitors
can also enjoy the park-like grounds with picnic areas, walking trails and rock gardens as well as the rock and souvenir shop & snack bar,
open Memorial Day to Labor Day.
|Chuck E Cheese's, Madison - West
Arcade Games | Food & Beverage | Parties
This was one of the original birthday party venues in Madison a few decades ago. Today, it's remodeled and offers a larger menu than just
pizza. In addition to an area of tables that accommodate large groups for parties, there is several other booths for family dining right near all
of the arcade games, including a toddler play area. Other than some toddler games and rides, all games reward players with tickets that
can be redeemed for various prizes. The daytime/weekday hours are a quiet time to enjoy some fun with the kiddo's and easier to keep
track of them. Tokens are used for games, and you can find an assortment of food/token package coupons. It's worth signing up for e-mail
for a "welcome" coupon, and great "free token" coupons for birthdays, half-birthdays and more!
|City of Madison Parks
Outdoors | Activity | Nature | Playgrounds | Shelter Reservations
The city of Madison operates more than 260 parks, beaches & facilities, including the Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Pool (nestled in a
charming neighborhood between Park St & John Nolen Dr.) Their website makes it easy to locate parks, find specific amenities and
status/safety updates of beaches & ice skating ponds. Shelters can also be reserved for private gatherings.
|Crawdaddy Cove (Holiday Inn)
Indoor Water Park | Parties
The "just right sized" water park for younger children, located inside the Holiday Inn West, sells day passes Sunday through Thursday. There
is two separate pool areas; one is 3 ft deep & up, with a small, but long water slide. The other area is zero-depth entrance reaching only
ankle deep (adult) with a ship, water features and small slide.
Outdoors | Barrier-Free Playgrounds | Accessible
There are so many wonderful parks in Dane County, it would be impossible to try & highlight the best - which, of course, is also a personal
opinion. There are a special category of parks, however, that deserve some recognition & explanation. As of 2012 there are five dream
parks within Dane County, which - in short - are a very large area of sturdy, safe playground equipment designed from the input of children
in the community, are "barrier-free" (accessible to all), and are built by community volunteers and funded by the community via personal &
corporate donations & fundraising events. The playground is built in a city park & given it's own name (therefore many people may refer to
the playground by the park name. It's basically a park within a park.)
|East Towne Mall
Indoor | Toddler Playground
Play and Learn Area provides a large soft foam play area, interactive wall panels, jump and move areas, and other fun engaging activities
designed to improve childhood development skills. The United Way facilitates a play and learn group the 1st Friday each month at 9am for
children birth to age 5.
|Eugster's Farm Market
Petting Farm | Fall Festival | U-Pick Pumpkins & Apples
Eugster's is a good place to meet up with a small play group, play for awhile and end with a picnic lunch. It's not too big - you don't have to
walk far to see their animals. Kids can wander with goats, chickens and pet or hold kitties. There is a small play set with a slide & swings,
and trikes to ride around their patio. They have a bathroom, and a small shop where you can purchase ice cream, a drink, or farm fresh
|Henry Vilas Zoo
Free Zoo | Madison Icon | Kids' Camps | Special Events
Madison is fortunate to be home to one of only 10 free zoos in North America, and after sustaining many renovations over the past decade,
Vilas Zoo is now home to the largest expansion in its 104 year history - the Artic Passage exhibit. Some of the Zoo's highlights include
paved, shaded walking paths; a spacious playground; a huge indoor carousel within the Children's Zoo; a new indoor restaurant,The
Glacier Grille, which looks onto the polar bear exhibit, and plenty of picnic table seating to rest in the shade. The zoo is open 9:30am - 5pm
year-round, however the indoor exhibits and Children's Zoo close at 4pm.
Summer Attraction | Younger Kid - Friendly
An amusement park offering 26 rides & attractions, specifically for younger children (toddlers to pre-teen), is open seasonally Memorial Day
weekend through September, with special their Pumpkin Train running on weekends in October. The park is located just off Hwy 73 in
Marshall, WI - easy access from town. Parking is in close proximity to ticket office, concessions and the park full of rides. Admission to the
park is FREE, and food/beverage carry-ins are allowed, which is great for families with toddlers! Rides can be purchased ala carte or a
wrist-band purchase makes for a convenient and affordable way to make use of the park for a few hours.
|Madison Children's Museum
Family-Friendly Attraction | Interactive Displays & Activities | Near Capitol
MCM celebrated their re-opening & relocation to 100 N. Hamilton in August, 2010! There is much to explore, including fun things to watch
and interactive, hands-on activities, plus Roman Candle restaurant with seating within the museum, so plan to stay awhile to enjoy your
experience. Purchasing an annual membership makes it very economical for larger families or repeat visits. FREE admission the first
Wednesday each month after 5pm for Free Family Night, open until 8pm. MCM offers regular classes, work shops, summer
camps, birthday parties and other special events throughout the year.
|Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Family-Friendly Attraction | Nature
Stroll 16 acres of outdoor gardens featuring stunning landscapes and Midwest-hardy plants. Visit the tropics in the Bolz Conservatory, filled
with exotic plants, flowers, orchids, birds, and a waterfall. Outdoor Gardens are free and open daily. Conservatory admission is $2 and free
on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am to noon. A very kid-friendly event is the annual Butterflies in Bloom, which recurs daily for three weeks
Science | UW-Madison | Educational | Free
The L.R. Ingersoll Museum is a free, public, hands-on physics museum on the UW Madison campus at Chamberlin Hall. The museum
consists of curious, interactive exhibits to inspire future inventors! Open to public Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, or call for group tours. Recommended
ages 5 & up, but all ages welcome! (Stroller friendly)
Indoor & Outdoor Activity for All Ages | Golf Lessons | Parties
Vitense offers a 9-hole golf course, heated driving range, and outdoor and indoor miniature golf course. Other activities include a batting
cage, climbing walk, and a few arcade games. They also host birthday parties and junior golf lessons. The Vitense Grill offers a full menu,
including a snack/concession bar.
|West Towne Mall
Indoor Play | Toddler-Friendly
West Towne Mall has a partially-enclosed play area with soft climbing structures, which is located in front of JcPenney. Food & drinks are
not allowed. It's necessary to keep a close eye on your kids. Early morning is a quiet time to be there, whereas lunchtime and weekends
can be quite busy.
|Wisconsin State Capitol
Madison Icon | Tours | Must-See Attraction
Pay attention to which doors you walk in - it's very easy to get disoriented once inside! Bathrooms, stairs & exits are easy to find, but they all
look alike! (Good news: there is always a security guard or staff at the information desk if you need assistance!) Not only is the Capitol a
great bathroom stop when you're downtown with kids, they welcome visitors and offer tours daily. One of the greatest stops to make in
Madison is to venture up to the sixth floor, park the stroller, and climb the steps up to the observation deck, which offers a near-birds eye
view of the isthmus & beyond!