Spending a day traipsing through quiet halls filled with historical artifacts can be a hard sell to family or friends looking for an entertaining way to spend a free afternoon. Luckily, Wisconsin has several museums that have engaging exhibitions, plus interactive activities for a variety ages. And these five in particular are worth visiting any time of year.
The National Mustard Museum is hosting the 2022 World-Wide Mustard Competition, judging more than 200 mustards from around the world in 17 flavor categories. This will be the 27th year that the museum has coordinated this prestigious competition. This summer, it will also be the main site for International Mustard Day (first Saturday in August)—a giant street festival celebrated all over the United States and everywhere that mustard is enjoyed. Admission to the nonprofit museum is free and visitors can learn all about the golden condiment as they gaze in wonder at the more than 6,000 mustards, mustard artifacts, mustard art and mustard exhibits.
Circus World sets sail on a new adventure with “Yo-Ho! Under the Big Top!” – a pirate-themed circus event with twice daily performances in a genuine 1,800-seat tent, showcasing classic and progressive circus arts by world-class entertainers. Also, new encounters swing into view with a bodacious beauty on the bungee trapeze, and electrifying energetic unicycle exploits from Wesley, the one-wheeled wonder. Expect enormous elephants, delightful dogs, prancing ponies and silly, side-splitting shenanigans from resident clown Mr. Bill. In addition to the world’s largest collection of authentic circus wagons and the Kids World Interactive Circus, other highlights to the upcoming 2022 season include: the Motorcycle Thrill Act over the raging torrents of the Baraboo River by circus superstar Alex Petrov and family; and You Can Fly, an outdoor presentation showcases the flying trapeze artistry of the world-renowned Espana Family. Following the latter, visitors have an opportunity to experience the flying trapeze assisted by members of the troupe.
Located in the atrium entrance of Lambeau Field, the two-story Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame showcases 100 years of riveting history and pure Packers adrenaline-filled space via rare memorabilia such as four Super Bowl trophies; a replica of Vince Lombardi’s office; and the “Town & Team: An Inseparable Bond” exhibit. No visit would be complete without popping into the Packers Pro Shop for some green and gold swag to take home. The onsite store has 21,500 square feet of Packers apparel and swag to peruse.
Beginning on April 30, Old World Wisconsin opens to the general public on weekends. The starting June 15, this season’s hours of operation will expand to include Wednesday to Friday. Also that month, the new Brewing Experience will be ready for guests to explore Wisconsin’s brewing history and view a demonstration of 19th-century brewing techniques. A Civil War living history program is scheduled for June 4 and June 5, followed by Independence Day-themed activities on July 2 and July 3. These two special events are anticipated to be just as popular as Halloween Legends & Lore and Home for the Holidays that happen each year in October and December.
While most people connect Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) with the huge annual fly-in EAA AirVenture, its Aviation Museum features events throughout the year for all ages of aviation enthusiasts. Among them is perhaps the ultimate interactive museum experience, the museum’s Pioneer Airport, which is open from May through September. It’s there where you can harken your inner barnstormer with a flight in a 1920s open cockpit biplane, or young people ages 8 to 17 can receive a free Young Eagles flight. The museum features monthly speakers from the aviation world, too, ranging from fighter jet aces to blimp pilots. Even the youngest airplane fans have their time with the biweekly Story Time that features an aviation story and a hands-on project.