DeYoung Family Zoo

Difficulty: EASY    Cost: ($8-12/Person)

The DeYoung Family Zoo is located in the UP in Wallace, Michigan, but we were able to visit while we were staying at a cabin in Crivitz, WI and the drive was around a half an hour from there. The distance and drive is worth it, though. If you are ever near the area, you won't find another zoo like this one! The animals are in close enclosures where you can get up-close and personal with them, and the variety and involvement of animals is awesome! They had different kinds of cross-breed livestock, tons of monkeys, tigers, panthers, you name it. David even got to hold a little baby kangaroo while we looked at the handler with crazy-eyes like, "Do you know who you just handed that baby animal to?!

Overall, the zoo was toddler-friendly, small enough to not need a stroller, and such a unique experience that we plan to return next year!

From their website:
The DeYoung Family Zoo is nestled in the wilderness of the beautiful Upper Peninsula. This is NOT a big city zoo, step out of the box, away from the concrete jungle and come along on a new journey. You will love the natural setting filled with amazing animals from around the world. Large natural habitats, education through hands-on experiences, as well as up close and personal family fun! It’s all waiting for you at the DeYoung Family Zoo!

Breakfast on the Farm (Dane County)

Difficulty: EASY       Cost: Low ($0-8/person depending on age)

Breakfast on the Farm is a really neat county-wide festival type breakfast held by the Dane County Dairy Promotion Commitee, and varies each year as to which farm hosts the breakfast, taking place on a weekend summer day (varies per year/farm). The Breakfast on the Farm includes a delicious breakfast, live music, expo stands, tractors to check out, and lots of farm animals. There was even a few-hours-old calf at the breakfast for the kids to view, which was really cool for our guy who has a special place in his heart just for cows.

You pay an admission fee to cover the cost of breakfast and all of the fun stuff to check out, but the proceeds go on to sponsor scholarships, and other dairy promotion activities throughout Dane County, making it more than worth the cost!

It's worth noting that this ended up being way more popular and crowded than anticipated. We figured that we would just pull up to a local farm, park in their drive, eat breakfast with the farmers, and be on our way. This thing is huge. Police direct traffic, and there's a few acres of parking, plus buses and tractors offering a trolley for people from parking to the event. Most families prepared for this and had strollers and things, but we failed to plan ahead. Besides our own poor planning, account for at least a few hours minimum spent here, and arrive earlier to beat the largest crowd.

They have a Facebook page to "like" for updates here

National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI

Difficulty: EASY         Cost: Low $

The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay is a great place to check out if you are anywhere near the Green Bay area and have a little train-lover, too. This particular trip was made even more special for our little guy, because his Aunt was up visiting, who he doesn't get to see very often!

The National Railroad Museum was established in 1956, and still today is one the largest rail museums in the country! There is a ton to check out: An awesome variety of different Engines, cool interactive displays, and lots of opportunities for a toddler to get involved, including some cool die-cast train toys to take home from the gift shop.

Stewart Lake County Park

Difficulty: EASY     Cost: FREE

David and I planned on a quick trip to the Mount Horeb Family Aquatic Center (which is an awesome pool), but when we arrived today we were sad to see it closed for the season. It's really hard to believe summer is already nearing it's end.

I racked my brain for somewhere nearby, which David would enjoy. I remembered a small park just outside Mt. Horeb, which I've passed several times on my way to a client's home. I've never stopped before today, but I at least knew there was a playground.

We arrived at Stewart Lake County Park and headed to the playground. After a while playing on the jungle gym, we made our way down to the water. There's a beach! It's a beautiful spot, shallow water, lots of sand and pretty clean. It was such an incredible surprise and David was happy to get his time in the water! Outside of a couple other families, we had the place to ourselves.

This is worth a trip! Bring your SUP board, Kayak or Canoe and venture out a little deeper. When you get hungry, you can head back into beautiful Mt. Horeb, walk main street and find a great place to eat.

David had a blast!

Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area in Lodi, WI

Difficulty: EASY     Cost: FREE

A new hiking spot for us, with awesome views to boot, was found near Lodi, Wisconsin at the Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area

The toddler refused to do any hiking, but it was a mild enough hike to where a stroller would have possibly been manageable for a good portion of it! One of the unique features of this hike were the steep cliffs found right at the border of the trails with no hand rails, making a cool view, but a danger for kids or any sort of weather condition. Be sure to keep your kids close if you check out this spot, but it's certainly worth the visit!

Madison Airplane Tour

Difficulty : EASY (if you like flying) -- Cost : $100 for two people

Following the post about breakfast in the Jet Room, this airplane ride quickly rode up to the #1 spot for the next Dadventure. We scheduled the flight ahead of time by calling in to Wisconsin Aviation at (608) 268-5000. Once we had our flight time, we arrived at the Madison Airport and took an incredible 40 minute tour over Madison. The views were amazing! 

There were no tears by the usually-hates-flying-commerical-flights toddler, and a week later he is still grabbing his toy airplanes and constantly remembering this one! This adventure was great, and I highly recommend you give it a try, yourself! The pilot, Charlie, was great and friendly, it wasn't too noisy or rough for a young child, but I would say to dress for the warmth- we wore jeans and were hot. Additionally, the price was much more reasonable than I expected at $50/person. We were even able to check out Camp Randall! 

A special thanks to our pilot, Charlie.

Pewit's Nest

Difficulty : EASY/MEDIUM -- Cost: FREE

Pewit's Nest is located off of County Road W in Baraboo, near Devil's Lake State Park. It's a best-kept-secret that is one of the most special places we've visited. The trail isn't groomed or maintained, but it's clear enough and usually populated by a couple other locals, making the dissent into the gorge more obvious and inviting. Once you hike into the gorge, you travel through knee-high pools and shallow waterfall slides into a popular cliff-jumping spot. 

 Although toddlers and little kids won't be cliff-jumping, the shallow pools and easy, short hike make this a great spot for them. The hike doesn't require much work and the trip can be made in a short time crunch. Just make sure to park in the lot and not on the road, they ticket!