26 Best Things to Do in Appleton, WI

26 Best Things to Do in Appleton, WI
Carie Krause / shutterstock.com

Buckle up, and let's embark on this journey through the best things to do in Appleton, Wisconsin.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Doug Frazier, Linda Gill, Cecilia Bishop, Helen Guajardo, Stephen Kim, Robert Alley and Larry Haskins.

Catch a Performance at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

Exterior of Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Keith Homan / Shutterstock.com

Just last week, I found myself immersed in the unforgettable Killer Queen Experience at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

This was my first time at this grand venue and I must say, it was nothing short of amazing!

The only downside was the extremely long rows of seats.

We were smack dab in the middle of the front row of the 1st balcony section.

Getting to our seats felt like navigating through a dense forest of people.

Once we were seated, we felt pretty much stuck for the entire duration of the show.

The thought of crawling back through the crowd for a drink or a restroom break was daunting.

So, if you're attending a show here, be prepared or try to get an aisle seat.

That being said, our theatre experience took a complete turn when we attended 'Cats.'

The production was top-notch.

The actors were spectacular.

But the unseen heroes were definitely the stage management team, their talent shone through the seamless execution of the show.

This time, we were comfortably perched on the second-level balcony.

The view was splendid.

The venue even has an app where you can pre-order drinks to be ready at intermission.

I must say, that was a major plus!

The most recent show I attended was 'Ain't Too Proud to Beg'.

It was an emotional rollercoaster.

I laughed, cried, and even danced.

The song, the story, the dance, the orchestra; it was all so mesmerizing.

One thing is for sure; a show at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is not just a show, it's an experience!

Peruse the Items at the Appleton Farmer’s Market

There's something undeniably refreshing about the start of the day with a trip to the Appleton Farmer’s Market.

It's a splendid spectacle of vendors stretched across four blocks, offering everything from fresh produce to handmade jewelry, and an array of trinkets.

Food trucks are dotted everywhere with the enticing aroma of their delicacies wafting through the air.

Every visit is a delightful surprise as I often end up buying more than I initially planned.

I recall one summer day when I went specifically to buy Kirby cucumbers for pickling and ended up with bags filled with more than planned.

By the end of the day, I had successfully pickled 16 jars worth of cucumbers that were as delicious as they looked.

Visiting the market in late July or early August is a treat to the senses.

The variety of produce is at its peak then, and one can find some of the best sweet corn in the area.

Besides the produce, the market is a hub for creative crafts and baked goods which are hard to resist.

An added charm of the market is the live music performances scattered throughout the venue, adding a rhythm to the shopping hustle.

Parking is also easy to find within a block and is quite inexpensive, making the visit quite hassle-free.

Journey back in Time at Appleton Historical Society Museum and Resource Center

Walking into the Appleton Historical Society Museum and Resource Center was like stepping into a time machine.

The walls, adorned with photographs and memorabilia, tell tales of a bygone era, each artifact carefully preserved as a testament to Appleton's rich history.

I was particularly fascinated by some pictures of a train wreck from the 40s, donated by a fellow local, that had occurred out near French Road.

These images, frozen in time, painted a vivid picture of our past.

The museum itself is a beautiful ensemble, adding to the overall experience.

As I wandered through the rooms, I found myself losing track of time, engrossed in the stories unfolding before my eyes.

The real cherry on top for me, though, was the map room.

As an admitted map nerd, I was captivated by the intricate details each map held, revealing the transformation of Appleton over the decades.

It's a sight to behold and truly something you don't want to miss.

The Appleton Historical Society Museum and Resource Center is not just a museum; it's a treasure trove of our shared history.

Whether you're interested in history, or maps, or just looking to spend a pleasant day, this place has something for everyone.

Catch a Game at Appleton Memorial Park

Oh, the joys of living so close to Appleton Memorial Park!

It's a haven of outdoor activities and fun for the entire family.

The park is quite sizable, filled with fields for baseball and soccer, a pavilion, and even a picnic area.

There's never a dull moment at our local park.

The playground is huge and has everything kids could dream of!

It's perfect for children between the ages of 5 and 12.

My own kids have the time of their lives there.

They love the thrill of climbing, sliding, and swinging.

The joy on their faces is priceless.

The park is divided into two halves.

The southern half is home to a playground, a pond, a hill, and a flower garden.

My kids' favorite activity is flying kites on top of the hill during the summer.

Once winter rolls around, they switch to sledding down the same hill.

The joy and laughter are infectious.

The pond is a hit amongst the little anglers.

It's stocked annually with rainbow trout.

Despite their small size, they're fun to catch.

A handy little fishing dock provides the perfect spot to cast a line.

There are plenty of other small panfish to be caught, too!

The northern half of Appleton Memorial Park boasts baseball diamonds.

This area is buzzing with life during the baseball season.

The cheering crowds and the excitement of a home run, are all nothing less than exhilarating.

The park is also home to a few amazing annual events.

The fireworks and boogie, along with yo-yos, are a sight to behold.

We never miss it!

Visit 19th Century at Hearthstone Historic House Museum

Exterior of Hearthstone Historic House
self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Talk about stepping back into the 19th century!

My visit to the Hearthstone Historic House Museum was truly an experience.

Nestled in the heart of Appleton, this historic residence is a marvel of the past.

Powered by hydroelectricity, the museum provides guided tours and exhibits that are incredibly engaging.

I'll never forget the first time I walked through those doors.

The air smelled of history, and the rooms echoed with the stories of the past.

It felt like I had traveled back in time.

The volunteers and guides were exceptional, sharing fascinating stories and facts about the building and its history.

I was particularly captivated by the Victorian-style Christmas decorations during one of my December visits.

It beautifully added to the enchanting atmosphere of the house.

The doll placed in front of the Christmas tree downstairs was the perfect finishing touch.

What's more, the staff at Hearthstone Historic House Museum are always trying to enhance the visitor experience.

I remember them mentioning that they were working on refurbishing one of the servant rooms for us to explore.

I can't wait to see that!

Cool Down at Erb Park

If there's one place where childhood memories and family fun collide, it's at Erb Park in Appleton.

This city park is a gem in the heart of the city, featuring two seasonal outdoor swimming pools, sports courts, and an ice-skating rink that provides endless entertainment no matter what time of the year it is.

One of my favorite features of Erb Park has to be the amazing pool.

It's always clean and well-maintained, which is a testament to the dedication of the staff.

I appreciate that they keep the water warm for the kids, which is a big plus in my book.

The pool also offers many options for the children to play and have fun, making it an ideal spot for those summer days.

There's also a cabana area that you can use for parties - it supplements the adjacent pavilion that's perfect for larger events.

Of course, it's not just about swimming.

There's also a whole range of sports courts where I've seen kids and adults alike shoot hoops, play tennis, and partake in other recreational activities.

My own daughter plays soccer here, and it's clear that she absolutely loves the place and the people.

That being said, there's room for improvement.

A few instances come to mind where the staff seemed more interested in their phones than in providing attention to their customers.

It's a minor point of concern, but it's worth mentioning.

That aside, I've noticed the lifeguards always seem attentive and focused, which is reassuring.

Go Cross-Country Skiing at Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve

When it comes to embracing the wild, nothing quite compares to my frequent visits to Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve.

This unspoiled sanctuary of nature is my go-to spot for invigorating hikes and serene cross-country skiing trips amidst a vibrant landscape teeming with wildlife.

Upon arrival, I'm always greeted with ample parking and restrooms at the entrance, a convenience that further enhances the experience.

A short stroll away, a unique playground catches the eye with its Hobbit holes, a delight for both young adventurers and seasoned Tolkien fans.

The network of trails is something to marvel at.

From twisting paths to intersecting routes, every journey becomes an elective adventure.

The wildlife here is diverse - it is not uncommon to spot deer grazing, butterflies fluttering, and bunnies hopping along the trails.

Birdwatchers would find themselves in paradise with the variety of avian species that call this preserve home.

The occasional sighting of turtles and frogs always adds an exciting twist to my hikes.

One of my favorite spots, the turtle pond, exudes tranquility, with friendly turtles often rising to the surface to greet visitors.

Surrounded by birdsong, it’s a perfect spot to unwind.

The preserve's viewing towers and bridges offer breathtaking panoramic views and make for great picture spots, although a few could do with some repair.

During winter, Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve transforms into a haven for cross-country skiing.

It is also home to several Pokestops and gyms, bringing together nature lovers and gaming enthusiasts alike.

In addition, the nearby nature center and outdoor workout equipment ensure there's something for everyone.

The preserve doesn’t charge an entry fee, but I always make it a point to leave a donation in one of the boxes scattered along the trails.

It's a small token of appreciation for maintaining this beautiful sanctuary.

Play Disc Golf at Plamann Park

Ever since I moved into town, Plamann Park has been my go-to place for relaxation and fun.

It's not just a park - it's an adventure park waiting to be explored!

One of the best parts of Plamann Park, in my opinion, is the 27-hole disc-golf course.

I've had countless weekends of leisure, throwing discs and challenging my friends to matches.

It's always a friendly competition, but the course definitely adds a sprinkle of thrill to it.

You see, it's designed in such a way that both beginners and pros can enjoy it.

But, don't think the park is only for golf enthusiasts.

If you are in the mood for a swim, the lake beach is your spot.

The inflatable Wibits, especially the pillow launcher, have always been the highlight of my summer visits.

Besides, there's a huge water slide that's perfect for some adrenaline rush.

When the sun gets too hot, nothing beats a refreshing dip in the cool water.

Families with children will find Plamann Park particularly appealing.

There's a kids' farm, safe and engaging, where children can get close to nature and learn about different animals.

It's like a little educational trip in the middle of the town!

If you're planning a picnic or a gathering with your loved ones, the park has some great spaces for that, too.

The sports fields and picnic areas are perfect for a casual soccer game followed by a cozy meal under the trees.

And now I heard they are building an amphitheater, and I can't wait to see what kind of events it will host in the future.

Have a Taste of Student Life at Lawrence University

Aerial view of the beautiful Lawrence University
SkyBlodgett / Shutterstock.com

Living next to Lawrence University, I've had the unique privilege to experience the school not as an enrolled student but as a community member.

I've seen the beautiful blend of personalities that make up the student body.

There are those who walk around with an air of superiority, ready to engage in intellectual debates at a moment's notice.

Yet, there are also the humble ones, those who genuinely care about others and are quick to extend a helping hand.

The campus atmosphere can sometimes feel competitive, with everyone vying to outshine the other.

However, it's the faculty that really makes a difference here. They hold the power to either uplift or break a student's spirit, and thankfully, most of them choose the former.

The professors at Lawrence University take their roles seriously, they are supportive, and their doors are always open for students who seek guidance or clarifications.

Fall trees in front of Lawrence University's building
KevinKlimaPhoto / Shutterstock.com

In my interactions with them, I have always found them to be incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects.

They are the type of professors who would happily engage in conversations outside the classroom, fostering a sense of camaraderie and a learning culture that extends beyond the academic hours.

Speaking of the campus, the dining options are truly commendable. The cafeteria serves a wide variety of dishes, including many ethnic foods.

This multicultural culinary representation reflects the diverse student body, catering to different dietary preferences and needs.

Living in such close proximity to the Lawrence University campus, I've had firsthand experience of the energy, the learning, and the community spirit that permeates the place.

Exterior of Lawrence University's main hall
Wyatt21matrix, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll through Pierce Park

One thing about living in a small town is that you become familiar with every nook and cranny.

But boy, was I in for a surprise when I stumbled upon a hidden corner of Pierce Park.

Apart from the usual recreational facilities it's known for, like the disc golf field and tennis courts, I found a trail leading into the woods across the street from the Yacht Club.

Quite unassuming and unmarked, yet incredibly captivating!

The trail, quite the road less traveled, opened up to a rustic set of stairs at the end, leading up to street level near the corner of S. Mason St. and Pine St.

I had no idea such beauty existed right in my neighborhood, and I felt like I had discovered a secret garden.

Moreover, every summer, Pierce Park becomes a haven for vintage car enthusiasts.

There's nothing like a relaxing Sunday, taking in the sight of well-designed vintage cars, reflecting the pride of their owners.

It’s a sight to behold, and it speaks volumes about the community spirit in Appleton.

The park even boasts a wonderful playground that caters to children of all ages.

A short but beautiful paved trail, enveloped by plenty of shade, rounds off the park’s amenities.

However, it's not always perfect.

There have been instances of homeless folks behaving inappropriately in the pavilion and teenagers stirring up trouble near the sidewalks.

But like in any community, it's about cohabiting, isn't it?

Play Tennis at Highview Park

Ever have one of those days where you just needed to get outside and breathe in some fresh air?

For me, Highview Park is always the answer.

Nestled in a charming neighborhood, it's a local gem that offers so much for everyone.

Just this morning, I grabbed my tennis racket and hit the courts for a bit of morning exercise.

Not a tennis fan? Don't worry, there's also a basketball court that invites you for a quick game.

Highview Park comes alive with laughter and chatter as children flock to the playground.

The picnic facilities are perfect for a family day out or a friendly gathering and are often a hotspot during the summer.

You can even choose to relax under the covered pavilion, where bathrooms are conveniently located.

However, nothing beats the piece de resistance - the trails.

Some are paved, some are gravel, and others are mulch.

They wind through the woods, and every step takes you further into nature's embrace.

I've made it a routine to take my dogs for a walk through the forest.

The sight of deer and other wildlife is not uncommon and adds to the thrill of being in the great outdoors.

The trails even connect to the train along the River, making it a fantastic spot for cycling or a long-distance run.

And believe me when I say the pups absolutely love it!

They enjoy the freedom and the opportunity to explore,

Surround Yourself with Lovely Creatures at Butterfly Garden of Wisconsin

Visiting the Butterfly Garden of Wisconsin has always been a delightful experience.

One day, I decided to introduce my daughters to this enchanting world of butterflies.

The girls, still in their preteens, were quite excited about the visit.

We were welcomed by a group of friendly volunteers who guided us throughout the garden.

They showed us live caterpillars, chrysalises, and their emerging butterfly counterparts.

The girls were awestruck by the transformation process and the amazing variety of butterflies fluttering around.

It was indeed a sight to behold!

The butterfly enclosure, although a bit smaller than expected, was brimming with live plants and butterflies.

However, the outdoor walking paths seemed slightly lackluster.

We were hoping to spot a lot of blooming wildflowers and butterflies, but unfortunately, that was not the case.

On a happier note, the girls found the beehives quite interesting.

The hives were buzzing with activity, and they even had a view of the inside of a live hive!

One thing that came to our notice was the lack of maintenance around the garden.

It did look a bit run down, and we found only a small area to sit and visit.

The facility also lacked a play area for children, and there was no place to purchase water, which could be a bit inconvenient for visitors.

Nevertheless, our two-hour visit to the Butterfly Garden of Wisconsin turned out to be quite enjoyable, especially because it was such a perfect sunny summer day.

It was definitely informative, and feeding the butterflies was a unique experience that the girls absolutely loved.

It wasn't an extensive space, but the amount of knowledge it offered about butterflies and their life cycle was impressive.

So, if you're looking for an educational yet fun place to spend a sunny day, I would highly recommend the Butterfly Garden of Wisconsin.

My Daily Stroll at Lutz Park

View of a river from Lutz Park
Crystalp0522 / Shutterstock.com

As the sun peeks over the horizon every morning, I set out for a brisk walk in my favorite neighborhood park, Lutz Park.

Its serene riverside location, accompanied by the gentle rustling of the leaves, has a kind of magic that never fails to start my day on a positive note.

There's nothing quite like the soft orchestra of birds chirping from the trees, as I walk my dog along the well-maintained pathways.

The playgrounds are often filled with laughter and the joyous sounds of children, giving the park a lively vibe, even in the early hours.

One of the highlights of Lutz Park is its plethora of shaded spots.

I often rest under the cool canopy of trees, watching the ducks glide effortlessly on the tranquil waters.

The park also features a gazebo, often adorned with flowers and butterflies, making it a picturesque spot for picnics.

I recall my daughter's prom pictures, taken at this very gazebo, that turned out to be absolutely stunning.

The park isn't just for quiet contemplation, though.

With designated areas for kayak and canoe launches, it attracts a fair share of water sports enthusiasts.

The fishing bridge is another popular spot where I've spent countless afternoons, rod in hand, hoping for a catch.

Whether it's watching the kayakers skim across the water or observing the water birds in their natural habitat, there's never a dull moment at Lutz Park.

In the evening, I often take a leisurely stroll up to Pierce Park, and then loop back to Lutz for a final round of swinging on the bench swings, which provide a delightful view of the park and the river.

The tranquility and picturesque views of Lutz Park always leave me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, day after day.

Have Fun Learning at Building For Kids Children's Museum

It felt like any other Saturday morning when we decided to head over to the Building For Kids Children's Museum.

The excitement was palpable as my 5-year-olds scrambled into the car, eager for a day of hands-on learning and fun.

Our first stop was the newly renovated water room.

My kids were immediately drawn to the new water stations.

I could see their eyes light up as they explored the different features.

It was a delight watching them thoroughly enjoy every splash, getting their hands wet, and learning a thing or two about water dynamics.

Next, we stumbled upon the Schneider Truck exhibit, a new addition since our last visit.

It had a fuel station, a mechanic, and a dock sorting area.

I noticed the pure joy on my kids' faces as they played pretend, their imaginations firing on all cylinders.

The hands-on experience was not only fun but also educational, providing them with insights into different roles and jobs.

Building For Kids Children's Museum made sure our day was filled with laughter and learning.

Hop on Pedaling Fun at Social Station

I've always been one to enjoy the unique experiences my town, Wisconsin, has to offer.

One of these is the Pedal Tavern at Social Station.

Last weekend, I decided to give it a go with a group of friends.

The ride, as expected, was a blast and something I'll remember for a long time.

The driver was friendly and added to the atmosphere with his jovial attitude.

The route took us around some of the most exciting parts of the city, and the crowd on the bike was a lively one.

But it wasn't all smooth pedaling.

Near the end of our trip, the bike broke down, and the driver struggled to get a hold of someone to fix it.

Despite the inconvenience, we all stuck around, sharing laughs and anecdotes.

It added a layer of adventure to an already fun-filled night.

One thing I would like to stress regarding Social Station is that they need to up their communication game.

Booking was a bit of a challenge since the guy in charge rarely answered calls.

We had to get through via Facebook message.

Still, despite the hiccup, the overall experience was enjoyable, and I wouldn't mind pedaling my way around town again.

One of the highlights of the trip was the bar tour.

Each pit stop had its unique charm and vibe, making the pedaling worth every drop of sweat.

I can only imagine the fun my senior parents would have, pedaling their way to different bars and spending a quality evening together.

Discover Local Flora at Scheig Center & Gardens

I'd been living in Appleton for years before I stumbled upon the Scheig Center & Gardens.

Tucked away in the beautiful Appleton Memorial Park, it's a place that effortlessly marries modern amenities with rustic charm.

On my first visit, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of native plants.

The variety was staggering!

However, the absence of pollinators was surprising.

I recalled seeing pesticide signs the previous year, and even though I hoped that wouldn't be the case this time, the rarity of insects seemed to indicate otherwise.

But the building!

Oh, the main building was a sight to behold.

Its contemporary design housed a spacious interior, perfect for hosting events.

In fact, I attended a graduation party there recently.

The facility was clean and well-equipped, and the ample parking made it a hassle-free experience.

Scheig Center & Gardens, each section dedicated to different plant ecology, is a masterclass in gardening.

I spent hours admiring the artistry and skill of the master gardeners.

The plants were well-labeled, offering a quick education for anyone interested.

A beautiful sculpture added an artistic touch to the natural beauty.

The center was not just about learning and admiration, it was also designed for relaxation.

Scattered throughout the gardens were benches and chairs, perfect for taking a breather and soaking in the serenity.

I often find myself there, enjoying a calm afternoon or taking a leisurely stroll along the trails.

It's a haven of tranquility amidst the bustling city.

Get Inspired at the Trout Museum

Exterior of Trout Museum of Art
WikiSammy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was an ordinary afternoon in downtown Appleton when I decided to spend some time at the Trout Museum of Art.

Don't let the name fool you, though - there are no fish exhibits here!

The museum is named after Dr. Monroe & Sandra Trout, not our aquatic friends.

I've always been fascinated by unique exhibitions, and this place never disappoints.

One of the highlights was an absolutely amazing origami display that truly reflected the skill and creativity of the artist.

I must admit, though, that not every display has been to my liking, but that's the beauty of art - it’s subjective.

They rotate their main exhibits frequently, so if you don't find something you like on one visit, there's always something new to look forward to the next time.

This is why I decided it's worth getting an annual membership.

It’s a much better deal than paying for admission each time.

The staff at Trout Museum of Art are always helpful and informative, making every visit even more enjoyable.

And if you have time, don't miss the opportunity to explore the works of high school artists on the top floor.

You'll be surprised by the level of talent these young artists possess.

Though the museum isn't massive, it holds its own charm.

I do remember a slightly musty smell on one visit, but it was promptly taken care of.

Also, before you leave, don't forget to check out the quaint gift shop.

They have a wide variety of items, all reasonably priced.

Have a Picnic at Hoover Park

There's something nostalgic about a day spent at Hoover Park.

You can find it nestled right here in our neck of the woods in Appleton.

It's a smaller park, compared to the others in town, but it definitely doesn't fall short on charm.

My kids love it there.

They dart around the playground, their laughter echoing amidst the sturdy, well-maintained equipment.

The playground may be compact, but it's ingeniously designed to maximize fun in a small space.

On a sunny day, we'd pack up a picnic and spread our blanket on the abundant green space.

It's a perfect spot for spontaneous games of tag or just running free.

And for the sports enthusiasts, there's a ball diamond and a soccer field.

They're a little worse for wear, admittedly, but still functional.

It's a great place to host a friendly neighborhood match, assuming you don't mind a little rough and tumble.

It's a fun trivia fact, too, that part of the funding for this park's equipment came from the Packers – adds a dash of local pride when we're out playing.

Hoover Park may be a tiny spot in Appleton, but it's a big part of our community spirit.

There's a simplicity to it, a throwback to a more laid-back time.

And in our fast-paced world, that's something we all could use a little more of.

Hop on a Paper-Making Class at the Atlas Science Center

It was another lazy weekend, and the thought of going to the same park or restaurant didn't sound appealing.

Looking for something a bit different to break the monotony, the light bulb moment finally struck!

Despite being a hands-on museum set inside a beautifully restored old building, it's surprising how many residents of Appleton overlook this treasure.

Atlas Science Center primarily focuses on the paper-making industry, which may not sound particularly exciting at first.

But once you step inside and interact with the exhibits, it's a whole new world!

One of the highlights of our visit was an unplanned Paper Making class.

It was due to start in just 30 minutes of our arrival, and we thought, "Why not give it a shot?"

Turns out, it was one of the best decisions we made that day.

The class instructor, Claudia, was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable.

She guided us through the process of paper-making with such enthusiasm that it was impossible not to get caught up in her passion.

And the result?

Our homemade paper turned out great!

But that's not all.

The Atlas Science Center also houses a Glow in the Dark room, complete with 3D glasses.

It was an experience like no other, exploring a radiant pseudo-galaxy right here in our town.

The staff was extraordinarily welcoming and ensured that we had a memorable time.

In fact, it’s such a wonderful place that we’ve decided to make it a regular escapade - there's so much to learn and experience!

Feel the Thrill at Urban Air Adventure Park

Let me tell you about one of my favorite indoor spots for family fun, Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park.

A trip to this spacious facility guarantees a day packed with excitement and energy.

Walking in, you'll feel the contagious buzz of children and adults alike bouncing, flipping, and laughing on an expansive network of trampolines.

I remember the first time I took my kids; they ranged from a high-energy toddler to a moody teenager.

I was pleased to find activities suitable for all of them.

Even I couldn't resist joining in!

The only setback was that not all the attractions were open at the same time, and the staff had to close one to open another.

A bit of a bummer, considering the slightly steep prices.

The food selection is pretty good as well, which was a pleasant surprise.

Nothing beats resting your tired limbs while munching on some yummy snacks.

However, like every rose with its thorns, Urban Air has had its ups and downs.

I recall when we first visited last winter, finding the staff friendly and the rules flexible.

The kids were thrilled with the attractions, and we decided to buy memberships.

If you visit Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park frequently, I recommend getting a membership.

For just $19, you get unlimited visits and access to all the attractions.

It's much more cost effective than spending $35 per person per visit.

Take a Peek into History at the History Museum at the Castle

Exterior of Museum at the Castle
Aaron of L.A. Photography / Shutterstock.com

I can't tell you how many times I've walked past the majestic structure of the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton.

Finally, one sunny afternoon, I decided to step inside and was pleasantly surprised.

From the outside, it's an imposing Masonic temple, but inside it's a treasure trove of local history and enchanting exhibits.

The first thing that caught my eye was the striking woodwork, ornate windows, and a grand fireplace, all beautifully preserved.

The architecture of this place is astounding, a clear testament to its rich and intriguing past.

History Museum at the Castle currently houses a captivating exhibit on Houdini, the master illusionist who's always fascinated me.

Full of hands-on activities, I found myself completely absorbed in the world of magic, trying my hand at picking locks and discovering some of his most famous tricks!

In addition to Houdini's world, the museum hosts another captivating exhibit – "Stone of Hope: Black Experience in the Fox Cities".

Closer exterior view of History Museum at the Castle
Aaron of L.A. Photography / Shutterstock.com

It's a heart-touching collection of the experiences and contributions of the African-American community in the Fox Valley region.

As someone who enjoys visual storytelling, the vast array of pictures and the flow of stories in this exhibit had me engrossed.

Despite its size, the History Museum at the Castle offers a wealth of information, making it a great stop for the whole family.

And you don't need to carve out a whole day for a visit; within an hour and a half, you can take an insightful journey into local history.

Bond with Your Family at Badger Sports Park

It was just another weekend in our lovely hometown, and my family and I were craving something fun and exciting.

That's when we decided to head over to the Badger Sports Park, a family entertainment center that has become our favorite spot for creating lasting memories.

The moment we stepped inside, the vibrancy and energetic atmosphere captivated us.

From children's laughter echoing around the arcade games to the thrilling hum of go-karts racing around the track, the air was filled with infectious joy.

We kicked off our day with a friendly round of laser tag, ducking, and diving in the darkened maze.

Next, it was time for some adrenaline-fuelled go-karting.

The wind in our hair, the rumble of the kart beneath us, and the sheer exhilaration of racing kept us on the edge of our seats.

We felt like professional racers, zipping around the winding track!

After the high-speed adventure, we moved on to the batting cages.

The rhythmic thwack of the bat hitting the ball and the satisfaction of a well-aimed swing was the perfect stress-buster.

Even my youngest, who'd never held a bat until that day, managed to hit a couple of good shots.

The mini-golf course was our next stop.

Each hole presented a unique challenge and some even had spinners to add an extra level of difficulty.

A few holes-in-one and many more near misses later, we were laughing and teasing each other about our golfing skills, or the lack thereof!

Our day at Badger Sports Park ended with us huddled around the arcade games, trying our hand at everything from racing games to claw machines.

With the bonus you get for buying tickets online, we had plenty of extra game credits to enjoy as many games as we wanted.

See Beer-Making Process at Appleton Beer Factory

You know you've found a hidden gem when you stumble upon a place like Appleton Beer Factory.

Beer enthusiasts and food lovers alike will find themselves right at home in this cozy, brick-lined oasis.

During my countless visits, I've developed a fondness for their savory burgers, handcrafted using locally sourced ingredients.

Each bite is a testament to the love and care that goes into their kitchen.

But what truly sets Appleton Beer Factory apart is their selection of craft beers.

Their brews are second to none and change regularly, keeping me on my toes and enticing me back time and time again.

While not every beer may suit your palate, the variety they offer ensures there's something for everyone.

The staff here is phenomenal, too.

They go above and beyond to make you feel welcome, and their knowledge is impressive.

Once, I ordered the salmon salad, asking for the fish to be cooked medium-rare.

Not only did they nail the cooking, but they also took the time to educate their trainee chef on the proper preparation.

A testament to their dedication to not only serving good food but also fostering a learning environment for their staff.

Their recent partnership with McFleishman's, another fantastic microbrewery located just around the corner, is an exciting addition.

I love seeing these local businesses supporting each other in this manner.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Hiking at High Cliff State Park

Snow-covered trail of High Cliff State Park
Theo Wecker / Shutterstock.com

On any given sunlit day, you can find me in the tranquility of High Cliff State Park.

The park's serenity is a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I often start my visit with a hike through the numerous trails that wind through lush forests and limestone cliffs.

The view is absolutely stunning, especially when it's punctuated by the occasional waterfall cascading over the stones.

A significant perk is the park's dog-friendly policy. I frequently bring my canine companions along, and they absolutely revel in the designated dog beach.

It's delightful to watch them splash around in the cool, clear waters of Lake Winnebago.

One of my favorite things about High Cliff State Park is the boat launch. The lake is a haven for boating enthusiasts and a great way to enjoy a warm, sunny day.

Frozen Lake Winnebago at High Cliff State Park
Theo Wecker / Shutterstock.com

The docking area is reliable and conveniently included in the day or annual state park pass.

Beyond the trails and water activities, there are secluded picnic spots, perfect for a quiet lunch or family gathering.

The park even offers a playground for children and a bird habitat teeming with feathered residents.

If your idea of a perfect weekend involves camping, you'll be delighted to discover the park's campgrounds.

Nestled amidst the park's natural beauty, they offer a fantastic opportunity for an overnight stay under the starlit sky.

Whether you're an avid hiker, a boating enthusiast, a bird watcher, a dog owner, or simply someone who cherishes nature's serenity, High Cliff State Park offers a unique experience for everyone.

It's a gem in our local community, and I wouldn't trade my time there for anything.

View of Lake Winnebago from High Cliff State Park
Clockman26, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I've always had an eye for unique pieces of vintage furniture.

However, finding the right one could be challenging until I discovered Harp Gallery Antiques and Vintage Furniture.

Purchasing antiques online can be a nerve-wracking experience.

But, at Harp Gallery, they put my fears to ease.

Their thorough and accurate descriptions, accompanied by detailed photographs of the items, made it an easy decision.

But what really won me over was the extra effort they put into refurbishing and polishing the items.

I mean, delivering ready-to-use furniture to my doorstep, how can one not appreciate that?

My new dining room table was not the only gem I found there.

A massive oak pedestal, another brilliant find, adds a certain grandeur to my home.

Although it took a while to get everything shipped over here, the quality of their items was worth the wait.

Visiting their showroom is a must!

It's like stepping into a treasure trove filled with beautiful antiques and vintage furniture.

Not to forget the cheerful and helpful sales staff who are always ready to assist you.

A trip to Harp Gallery Antiques and Vintage Furniture is not just about buying furniture, it's an experience that allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of antiques.

Their beautifully repaired and refinished items are perfect for anyone looking to add a touch of vintage charm to their home.

Go Fishing at Little Lake Butte Des Morts

Scenic view of Little Lake Butte des Morts
Aaron of L.A. Photography / Shutterstock.com

I have spent most of my life exploring the waters of Little Lake Butte Des Morts.

As a kid, my dad used to take me fishing here, and over the years, I've developed a deep respect and love for this lake.

From musky to northern, panfish to walleye, you can find a diverse range of fish species here.

A fair number of people, including myself, enjoy ice fishing on the northwest side by Side Island during early ice.

Be aware, though, the ice can be treacherous if you're not familiar with the area.

Always remember that the river current runs from the east side of Strobe Island, which can affect the ice conditions.

But if you're accustomed to these waters and put in the time, you could land yourself some impressive Muskies.

Another one of my favorite pastimes is kayaking.

There's something peaceful about gently paddling across the calm waters.

If you're looking for a great spot to launch, try the 9th Street boat Launch in Menasha.

From there, you can paddle towards the trestle trail friendship bridge and start going upstream.

It's a surreal experience to be able to get close to the pelicans resting on rocks near a small island past the old train trestle bridge to the east.

If you're feeling a bit adventurous, you can paddle downstream, but remember to turn around near the Yacht club unless you're up for a little challenge or have a second vehicle parked downstream in Appleton!

After a day out on Little Lake Butte Des Morts, a leisurely stroll along the trestle trail is the perfect way to end the day.

Final Thoughts

Appleton, Wisconsin, has a wealth of experiences to offer to both residents and visitors alike.

From the vibrant Farmer's Market that never fails to impress me with its array of fresh produce and homemade goods to the beautifully preserved Hearthstone Historic House Museum that takes me back in time with every visit.

No matter your interests, there's always something to do, see, and explore in the wonderful city of Appleton.

It’s a place that continues to provide me with enriching experiences and fond memories, and I am certain it will do the same for you.

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