Curious about what breed of goat produces the best milk for making cheese or why Milwaukee’s famed light- colored brick is called Cream City?

Hand over an afternoon to a knowledgeable guide who can answer those questions — and more — when you book a tour. Taking advantage of a summer or fall tour during Wisconsin’s lovely weather means you’ll probably get more “steps” in and also experience a sliver of Wisconsin during its prime seasons. Think of these as not only a deep dive into history and education but also a sampling of what to do next time you’re in the region.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, some of these tours have been temporarily suspended — but will resume later this summer or in 2021, when tour operators have deemed they can safely lead their tours again. So even if some of these aren’t happening right now, you’ll want to add them to your list!

Epicurean Delights

Rachael and Jesse Johnson are a young couple who opened Door County Creamery in Sister Bay after Jesse, a chef by trade, was inspired by a day-in-the- life goat farming experience he had in France — although, it wasn’t until some time later when the couple met and fell in love that they decided to cultivate their own farm. Farm tours ($45) cover both the farmstead and their creamery in downtown Sister Bay. Each tour includes lunch crafted at the creamery’s café, which also serves goat’s milk gelato. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Check out a goat-yoga session at the farm.

Wisconsin’s capital city is home to Madison Eats Food Tours, where visitors can get a taste of the city — literally. Because of COVID-19, owner Otehlia Cassidy will likely just offer her Capitol Square Downtown, Atwood Brew & Chew and Willy Street Global Eats tours starting in the late summer, and add on more tours as it’s deemed safe again. Wear your stretchy pants and comfy shoes, as there are a lot of stops.

History + Architecture

If you’re not in the mood for walking but still want to cover a lot of ground, La Crosse’s trolley tours ($15) are ideal. There are two separate itineraries: the hour-long Dark La Crosse Tour (explores the city’s macabre past in its former red-light district, stories of vigilante justice and more, offered Fridays and Saturdays during summer) and the 90-minute Historic La Crosse Tour (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between June and October). During the latter tour, the La Crosse County Historical Society narrates as you wind through beautiful neighborhoods marked by historic homes. (Editor’s note: Unfortunately, La Crosse’s trolley tours have been cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19, but be sure to check into their 2021 season.)

Typically, tour-goers on Historic Milwaukee, Inc.’s tours might learn about Milwaukee’s signature Cream City brick and how the city’s beer barons used it to build their mansions — one of the focal points on their North Point Mansions walking tour. However, due to limited schedules, the organization is reducing their number of tours temporarily and will offer just their Downtown, Third Ward and Riverwalk jaunts. They are, however, rolling out two new self- guided tours this season. And, as of press time, the company plans on resuming guide-led walking tours in August.

Join a group of other history and military buffs on a tour of Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay ($25) during select months in spring and fall. It’s easy to imagine what life was like here during the 1830s when an animated guide fills in the gaps and explains the rich history of the country’s oldest standing military hospital. Included in the tour is a short cooking demo — with to-go portions. (Editor’s note: Heritage Hill State Park has free admission for self-guided walks through the park, but for the time being, has suspended tours.)

Sports Fanatics

Even if you’re not a Packers or football fan (wait, what?) you’ll enjoy an in-depth tour of the home turf for the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay. Lambeau Field Stadium Tours offers four different tours of varying price levels and lengths. For the hour-long Classic Tour ($15) you get to walk (or run?) through the players tunnel and walk alongside the field like you’re a key member of the coaching staff. The total length is about a half-mile. The Hall of Fame charges a separate admission, but the Packers Pro Shop (retailing licensed Packers apparel for two-leggeds and four-leggeds, as well as kitchen and home décor) is free. (Editor’s note: Lambeau Field is not yet open to the public, so tours are temporarily on hold. Please check and for updates later this summer and fall.)

Miller Park (debuting its new name — American Family Field — in 2021) is where the Milwaukee Brewers play all home baseball games, four miles west of downtown Milwaukee. Although future reservations for tours are suspended (as of press time), when they resume tours again, there are a couple of cool options for fans. Ninety-minute tours ($15) of the ballpark — which boasts one of the six parks in the league with a retractable roof — normally run from March through September and show guests the visitor’s clubhouse, bullpen, legendary sportscaster Bob Uecker’s broadcast booth and the exclusive Club level. Serious fan? Look into two pre-game experiences: the Bernie’s Slide Experience (includes five trips down the slide, $150- $175) and the Pre-Game Experience Tour (private ballpark tour, only for evening home games, $75-$100).

Photo: Travel Wisconsin

This article originally appeared in the 2020 issue of Experience Wisconsin magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.

No portion of this article or magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by the publisher.


Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer who calls Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood home.

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