6 free or low-cost fun places to take your family this summer in Wisconsin - TAI News
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A harbor seal pup at the Milwaukee County Zoo. (Jim Bauer / Flickr)

Looking for fun things to do with your family this summer and fall that won’t break the bank? Here are some ideas for entertaining activities across the state of Wisconsin that are either free or under $25 a person.

Take a guided tour of the State Capitol

The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison offers tours daily, as well as a museum and observation deck. No reservation is necessary for groups under 10 people. Admission is free. https://tours.wisconsin.gov/

Learn about history

Though the Wisconsin Historical Society is currently in the process of building its new history center in Madison, its 11 historic sites around the state are open for visitors.

In Baraboo, Circus World presents the history of the American circus on the original site of Ringling Bros. Circus’ winter quarters. Summer admission is $23 for teens and adults, $15 for children ages 5-12, and free for anyone under 5. https://circusworld.wisconsinhistory.org

The H.H. Bennett Studio in the city of Wisconsin Dells presents the historic 1875 photo studio of Henry Hamilton Bennett, a pioneering photographer whose landscape images helped turn the Dells into a tourist destination. Admission is $12 for teens and adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, and free for anyone under 5. https://hhbennettstudio.wisconsinhistory.org/

Old World Wisconsin in Eagle transports visitors to the past in an outdoor living history museum of farm life. Admission is $20 for adults and teens, $13 for children ages 5-12, and free for anyone under 5. https://oldworldwisconsin.wisconsinhistory.org/

Enjoy an amusement park and a mini golf course

The Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay offers more than 20 kiddie, family, and thrill rides. Admission is free, and tickets for the rides cost between 25 cents and $1.50 per person. https://greenbaywi.gov/445/Bay-Beach

Big Bear Mini Golf in Tomahawk, open Tuesday through Sunday, is an 18-hole course. Rounds cost $7 for anyone over age 5, $3 for kids 3-5, and are free for anyone under 3. https://bigbearminigolf.com/

Evergreen Miniature Golf in Fish Creek is another 18-hole course. Admission is $9.95 for the first round, free for children 3 and under, and $5 for second round. https://www.evergreenminiaturegolf.com/

Discover science and technology

The Wisconsin Science Museum in Madison offers hands-on exhibits about scientific research happening across the state. The museum is only open on Saturdays, but admission is free. https://wiscimuseum.org/

In Milwaukee, Discovery World is home to an aquarium and hands-on explorations of technology. Tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for kids ages 3-17, and free for anyone 2 and under. Families with a Wisconsin EBT card can pay just $7 per person admission for up to five guests. https://discoveryworld.org

Meet the animals

Check out the 650 animals of 115 different species at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison. The zoo offers a rare opportunity to see endangered species such as Bornean orangutans and Amur tigers, as well as grizzly bears, giant tortoises, and white rhinoceros. Entry to the zoo is free. ​​https://www.henryvilaszoo.gov/

The Milwaukee County Zoo is another spot to check out animals of all types, including lemurs, brown bears, penguins and giraffes. This summer, the zoo has a dinosaur discovery exhibit complete with animatronic dinosaurs. Tickets are $16 for Milwaukee County residents ages 13 and up and $13 for Milwaukee County residents ages 3-12. The zoo also has a carousel ($3 per ride) and a safari train ($4 per ticket). https://milwaukeezoo.org/

Feed deer and wildlife at the Wisconsin Deer Park in the Wisconsin Dells. Aside from deer, the park also has elk, bison, goats, llamas, horses, and lemurs. Tickets are $12 for kids ages 3-11 and $16 for ages 12 and over. https://www.wisdeerpark.com/

Hike, swim, boat, or climb.

Outdoor enthusiasts can head to Wisconsin’s state parks for hiking, boating, swimming, rock climbing, and more. Annual passes cost $28 per vehicle with Wisconsin license plates. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Parks

Devil’s Lake State Park, located about 25 minutes south of the Wisconsin Dells, has two sandy beaches where visitors can swim or rent kayaks. The park also has 29 miles of hiking trails and a number of events throughout the summer, including weekly guided hikes, crafting activities, and an animal feeding day on Aug. 31. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/events/location/devilslake

Explore underwater caves and limestone cliffs at Cave Point County Park, located on Lake Michigan about an hour north of Green Bay. Visitors can cliff jump into the lake, hike the half-mile forest trail, or even scuba dive in the park’s limestone caves. Admission is free. https://www.co.door.wi.gov/554/Cave-Point-County-Park

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