Top 8 Spots to Hit in Green Bay | Midwest Living
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Top 8 Spots to Hit in Green Bay

For many people, Green Bay = the Packers. Yes, the fabled citizen-owned football team is a huge part of the community’s identity. But the city of 100,000 that hugs the bottom of―you guessed it―Green Bay offers fun, interesting spots to visit that have nothing to do with football.

1) Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary This wooded 700-acre animal sanctuary was opened in 1936 as a waterfowl rehab site. Today more than 4,500 injured, orphaned and sick animals are brought here to be rehabbed and, hopefully, released back into the wild. Check out the sanctuary's critters—wolves, bobcats, otters, flying squirrels, owls and more—and educational displays. Then explore the scenic grounds, ringed with 6 miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Free. baybeachwildlife.com

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

Wolf and raccoon photos courtesy of Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

2) Bay Beach Amusement Park A stone's throw from the wildlife sanctuary, this long-time amusement park aimed at younger kids is a perennial favorite for residents and visitors. The 19 rides include tot favorites like the Helicopters and Lady Bugs as well as some for the more mature set, like Tilt-a-Whirl and Scrambler. Best of all, though, is the price. Most rides cost a mere 25 to 50 cents apiece; the Zippin Pippin Roller Coaster is the priciest at a buck. greenbaywi.gov/baybeach

Bay Beach Amusement Park

3) Green Bay Botanical Garden Hidden in the midst of a busy commercial zone, the botanical garden’s 47 acres of beautifully landscaped and natural areas provide a comely distraction. Like in most botanical gardens, you'll find lots of winding paths curving past themed gardens: rose, color, perennial, English cottage and a Wisconsin woodland garden, to name a few. The brightly colored Children’s Garden is especially well done, with a tower overlooking a kids’ maze (you can climb up and slide down via a tube slide), a sensory garden, and even a small shed and garden tagged as Mr. McGregor’s. Oh, and don't overlook a winter visit. The garden provides free snowshoes for easy touring. gbbg.org

Green Bay Botanical Garden

4) NEW Zoo and Adventure Park One of my favorite things about the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo, or NEW Zoo, is that it's in the woods. So when you’re walking around the paths looking at the animals, you feel like you’re seeing them in their natural habitat. Well, maybe not the lions and giraffes, but certainly when you’re looking at the moose, wolves, foxes, etc. Also fun: peacocks roam free. When you're finished looking at the animals, head to the adventure park for ziplining, a climbing wall and a ropes challenge course. newzoo.org

5) Heritage Hill State Historical Park French explorers and Jesuit priests came to Green Bay in the 1600s, making this area of Wisconsin one of the first to be settled. At this well-done interpretive park, you get a glimpse of what life was like back then, as well as in later eras—like the 1830s, when the government constructed Fort Howard to help protect America's interior river routes in the aftermath of the War of 1812, or the early 20th century, when Belgians began farming the area. Costumed interpreters are often stationed at the main sites, and special events are held throughout the year. heritagehillgb.org

Heritage Hill

6) National Railroad Museum Opened in 1956 with one steam locomotive, the National Railroad Museum is now one of the largest rail museums in America. You'll find everything from decorative train drumheads to a massive Big Boy steam locomotive, plus the train Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower used in Europe during WWII. A fire tower sits out back; clamber up its 98 steps for great views of the Fox River and museum grounds. Then hop on the museum's vintage full-size train ($2) for a chug around the grounds. nationairrmuseum.org

National Railroad Museum

7) Fox River Recreational Trail Stretching from downtown Green Bay to 25 miles south, a hike or run along this trail is a great way to get in a little exercise and fresh air while seeing the area from another point of view. The trail switches from asphalt in the northern urban area to crushed limestone in its rural southern half and runs along the Fox River. The trail is open to walkers, cyclists, in-line skaters and horseback riders; everyone except the walkers need a daily or annual pass, which are available at various pay stations along the trail. foxrivertrail.com

8) Lambeau Field OK, I lied. This spot clearly has something to do with football. No visit to Green Bay is complete without a stop at this NFL stadium, which many consider the most revered football stadium in America. Take the stadium tour, then browse through the Packers Hall of Fame. packers.com

 

 

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