| nature | parks |
swim | farms
Don't forget to visit the Day
Trips page for more outdoor fun!
Gardens- The outdoor gardens at Olbrich is one of my toddlers
favorite places to go. Open to the public and free, the gardens
have paths and walkways, wild areas, manicured rose gardens,
bridges and wildlife, waterfalls and fountains and butterflies
to follow. There is also a park at the end of the parking lot
with swings and slides.
Arboretum - Family Programs ... On the second Saturday
of every month, we offer a two-hour, kid-friendly program that
uses nature hikes, stories, crafts and activities to explore
animals, plants and natural phenomena. On the second Sunday
of every month, we offer a one-hour family walk with topics
that are especially appealing to youngsters.
Vilas Zoo -Henry Vilas Zoo is surrounded by a park. The
city park includes lush open green spaces for active play,
as well as two playgrounds for children to explore. We are
free, so come visit us as often as you'd like, whenever you'd
like! The Zoo concession stands sell great food at very reasonable
prices, including: hot dogs, bratwursts, barbecues, ice cream,
beverages and many other treats. Strollers, wagons and wheelchairs
are for rent at the upper concession stand. There are no stairs
on the Zoo grounds, just rolling pathway. Your free Zoo is
wheelchair accessible and trouble-free! Limited lot parking,
some parking available on side streets (watch the signs for
no-parking areas on certain days).
to the Aldo Leopold Nature Center! - The Aldo Leopold
Nature Center specializes in connecting children, their families
and teachers to the outdoors. ALNC offers classes, camps, public
events, field trips and even birthday parties! 300 Femrite
Drive, Monona, Wisconsin 53716
Net is a consortium of not-for-profit nature centers, parks and
museums dedicated to encouraging and fostering in Wisconsin school
children a love and understanding of the natural world. Sustaining
environmental education through family programs, class field
trips and hands-on learning experiences, Nature Net offers free
and low-cost outdoor resources — online at www.naturenet.com
or on-site at locations throughout the Dane County area. Order
a free “Environmental Adventures Family Guide” for
limitless ideas for nature exploration.
Dane County Parks here.
City Parks here.
Dream Park @ McKee Farms Park - Great dream park with a
big kids area and the tot lot with special toddler
& preschool sized equipment. No shade, so wear the sunscreen
and go early!
The Dream Park in Monona -
A more shady dream p ark - nice play area. Older park, so mulch
is not too fresh and some equipment is worn out, and sand hasn't
been replaced for the digging areas in a long time - but this
is the only dream park with shade and it is nice on those hot
Deerfield Dreampark -
This is the nicest dream park in the area and it is well worth
the drive to visit. Enclosed all the way around (but for the
entrance) so it is easier to keep the kids from 'escaping', gorgeous
large tot play area which includes slides, playhouses, digging
area (with digger), bells, swings, tunnels, and bridges. Bigger
kids area includes climbing wall, jungle gym areas, several big
slides, balance beams, tire swings and more. VERY new and VERY
nice (just no shade). Restroom facilities with water fountain
and clean changing table. How to get there: From Hwy 12/18 east,
go north on Hwy 73. Turn left on Washburn Rd. and go left on
Autumn Wood Pkwy.
Prairie Dream Park - The newest dreampark is
big, has a new parking area, and has some shade. Click the link
for info and a map!
Goodman Aquatic Center is a 5,500
square foot 5-year old pool located at the beautiful Irwin
A. and Robert D. Goodman Jewish Community Campus. The Goodman Aquatic Center is a "family-friendly" PUBLIC
outdoor pool located on Highway PD, just 5 minutes from Mineral
Point Rd. There is a zero-depth entry which is perfect for
young children, a "mushroom" waterfall along with
bubbling fountains in the shallow section. The shaded deck and
lounge chairs along with the great concessions stand make it
a perfect place to spend the day. Daily and season passes are
available. JewishMadison.org has
photos and more information, including a complete 2008 schedule.
City Pool - The Monona Community Pool was totally redesigned
and constructed in 1993, making it one of the most spectacular
water parks in the area. It is the pearl of the city, with
a diving area, lap swimming lanes, a special "Kiddie Pool" fun
area, and an exciting water slide.
The pool is open from Memorial Day weekend through the Labor
Day weekend. Open swimming is offered every afternoon, and the
pool has evening hours until 8:30pm daily. Morning swimming lessons
are offered, and there is a noon-hour "adults only" lap
swim and water aerobic class offered.
Prairie Family Aquatic Center - The Family Aquatic Center
is every kid's dream, with an outdoor water slide, numerous
fountains, sand volleyball courts and 210 foot beach entrance
for hours of fun. Browse our website to get great deals on
pool passes, discover exciting programs (pan for gold at the
pool!) and learn how to sign your kids up for lessons. When
it's a hot summer day and your kids are watching too much TV,
take them to the pool. You'll all be glad you did.
City of Madison Pool - Whether you want to swim
laps, join an aqua aerobics class, teach the kids to swim or
simply cool off,the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Swimming
Pool is for you!
East Water Area - JACKSPLASH, shallow water play
area at the YMCA on the east side.
of Middleton Splash Pad - The new free splash water play
area in Middleton.
City of Madison Public Beaches - Be sure to check
if the beaches are open and water quality statements online
here before you go!
1820 Schuster Rd., Oregon
At A-Z Farm we provide an interesting and educational experience
relating to animal agriculture and life on the farm. We offer
direct contact and explain how animals are a part of agriculture
and contribute to a wholesale safe environment. There will be
lambs, chicks, bunnies and other animals to see and touch. Visitors
can ask questions and see farm related displays. Early spring
visits will be in an indoor facility. This is the time lambs
are being born and will include information appropriate for the
group. From late April, tours are primarily out of doors, sheep
are on pasture and includes a hayride. All tours must be scheduled
in advance. For more information visit our Web site at www.a-zfarm.com
or call (608) 835-5553.
Guide to all the local farmer's markets
County Farmer's Market - the big one, downtown
Fresh Atlas - Listing of local markets
The Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition promotes
and supports local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms
that provide organically grown produce to people throughout southern
Wisconsin. MACSAC coordinates community and grower education
programs about the benefits of locally, sustainably grown foods
and operates the Partner Shares Program which raises funds to
subsidize CSA memberships for households on a limited income.
With a CSA share, families can visit their farms
for festivals, upicks and special events and see where their
food comes from!