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Families Fall in Love with Green Bay

by Elyse Glickman

Jul 17, 2018

© Elyse Glickman

Age Specific / Kids

Ask residents of Green Bay, Wisconsin, what their peak season is, and chances are they will tell you autumn is prime time. They are fiercely proud of the multi- title-winning Green Bay Packers and fall foliage that can rival that of New England. They’ll also mention it just wouldn’t fall be without hearty comfort food — especially dishes involving Wisconsin cheeses — to temper the Upper Midwest’s brisk fall temperatures.

Green Bay Packers Museum

Green Bay Packers Museum © Elyse Glickman

They will also concede Green Bay has many crowd-pleasing destinations just as much fun for adults and kids during the warmer months. Case in point is Bay Beach, flanking the shores of Green Bay and standing as the ninth-oldest, continuously operating amusement park in the United States. It’s a welcome antidote to the high ticket prices and crowds at movie studio- and corporate-owned theme parks, thanks to free admission and parking, 25-cent ride tickets and 18 rides to choose from, like Zippin Pippin, a replica of Elvis Presley’s favorite roller coaster. It is one old school spot that feels genuinely fresh and welcome.

The National Railroad Museum, outfitted with its own Thomas the Tank Engine ride, covers the history of rail travel in the United States with its impressive collection of more than 70 engines and carriages, as well as photographs and railroad memorabilia and there are also educational films for visitors to enjoy. The Oneida Museum, meanwhile, captures the lives and traditions of the area’s original inhabitants, and where the Oneida Nation is heading in its future.

Green Bay Botanical Garden

Green Bay Botanical Garden © Elyse Glickman

The Green Bay Botanical Garden encompasses 47 lush gardens celebrating the Upper Midwest’s four distinctive seasons. The park, open year-round, recently launched a new “herb experience” with demonstrations on how to use flavorful and nutritious plants at home, other home gardening classes, educational kids’ programs and live music performances at their outdoor amphitheater. Through Aug. 18, visitors can wander through the delightful “Nature Connects®: Art with Lego® Bricks,” featuring 16 nature-inspired sculptures crafted entirely of LEGO bricks scattered through the gardens.

Locals and visitors can also get back to nature, the Upper Midwest way, on Thursday evenings at the Farmers’ Market on Broadway in downtown Green Bay. The admission-free weekly street fair is a beautiful buffet of fruits, vegetables, fresh and hot food, desserts and beverages for sale, as well as locally produced flower arrangements, arts, crafts and live entertainment. The nearby Cannery Public Market, meanwhile, is not just a fabulous spot with a market and farm-to-table menus, but also a piece of local history. The circa-1917 former vegetable cannery previously packaged Birds Eye products, among other things.

Uncle Mikes Bakery

Uncle Mike’s Bakery © Elyse Glickman

These spots are not the only games in town to sample, savor and purchase tasty treats to enjoy during the trip and beyond. Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe is plain on the outside but offers an endless array of bread and pastry samples, as well as numerous varieties of its award-winning “Kringle” (pretzel-shaped cakes that can be shipped nationwide). Seroogy’s Chocolates in adjoining De Pere specializes in handmade and hand-dipped chocolate candy including toffee, meltaways, caramels, snappers, fudge, nut clusters, sugar-free chocolates and more. And treats from both places are great companions for coffee and people watching at the whimsical Luna Café, also in De Pere.

Even with so much to do, however, the conversation in Green Bay rarely strays away from its plucky team and its achievements. This is why Lambeau Field and surrounding neighborhood “Titletown” are open during the off-season. No matter what NFL team one supports, one cannot help admire its guided tour of the field and stadium (packed with interesting artwork) and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame with its compelling displays of uniforms, equipment, photography, and other memorabilia documenting the team’s century-plus history going from a humble regional club to its championships and cast of fascinating characters through the years. Just west of Lambeau Field, Titletown boasts event spaces, a football-themed public playground and fitness activities.

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