Madison has Great Options for an Affordable Vacation

By: Jennifer Kliese Email
By: Jennifer Kliese Email

The city of Madison is not only our state's capitol, but also a great place to spend a long weekend. There are tons of places to visit throughout town that a family can spend the day for a reasonable price.

A Few Museums

Kids can spend the day exploring the Madison Children's Museum's many floors of play space and activities. It's a place that's totally different than most other museums--a place where children can learn while playing.

"We believe that play is the natural way to learn kids are natural scientists, they're natural experimenters and they learn by trying things out," says Madison Children's Museum executive director Ruth Shelley.

And if you're looking for something even more unique you could visit the National Mustard Museum in Middleton. Its' a place where you can celebrate everything mustard and you can even try a few that you might not have known existed.

The museum has more than 5 thousand different types of new and historical mustard on display, and you can buy more than 350 varieties.

The curator, Barry Levenson, says people should visit the mustard museum because there's nothing like this on the planet.

"This is a place where people are going to come in and just have a good time," says Levenson.

Capitol Square Spots

Madison's Capitol Square is not just a place where legislation is made, but where local agriculture is supported. A family can learn a lot for free, by taking a capitol tour.

Tours of the capitol building are scheduled hourly nearly every day of the week. Many school groups come through on field trips, but anyone can stop by year-round to learn more about our state's history.

"Just has a great deal of history with the building. They're all very impressed just with the beauty of the building the scope, the magnificence," says lead tour guide Ken Rosenberg.

And if you want to take part in a Madison weekend tradition while enjoying a great breakfast, you can stop by the Dane County Farmers' Market on a Saturday morning.

You can buy a wide variety of products, from the season's vegetables and flowers, to specialty items. But it seems like everyone's talking about one particular stand that they can't pass up. It's a bakery called Stella's, that sells what some say is the best spicy-cheesy bread in town.

"I actually heard somebody chanting 'Stella' when we were walking down the sidewalk here," says visitor Marilyn Vander Meulen.

Visitors say they're happy to support our state's producers, who travel from all over Wisconsin to sell their wares at what is said to be the biggest producer's market in the country.

Outdoor Destinations

Madison has a wide range of places a family can visit on a nice day. But some say none are as worthwhile as the Henry Vilas Zoo.

"Its a place where people can come have a great time, learn about and enjoy animals and spend time with their friends and family and not have to invest a lot of money," says director James Hubing.

The zoo is free to visit year-round, and it's home to more than 165 different species of animals. And the zoo has something new this year that's becoming the main attraction: a lion cub.

This time of year, many people visit the UW Arboretum for recreation: hiking and biking is popular.

"It's a wonderful rich green space in the middle of Madison that offers many opportunities for engagement with nature," says director Kevin McSweeney.

They also have specialty tours of the 12 hundred acres of green space, on things like birding or Wisconsin's native plants. McSweeney says the arboretum is a scenic way for Wisconsin residents to learn more about nature and our environment.

Links to Places We Visited
Madison Children's Museum
National Mustard Museum
Capitol Tour Info
Dane County Farmers' Market
Henry Vilas Zoo
UW Arboretum

And for more Madison destinations click here to visit the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau website.

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