We have always been beach/ pool kind of people and technically, we still are. But this year we wanted to add a few more road trips to our adventure list.
Mainly because we want to get the kids used to longer car rides so we can eventually drive down to Florida! EVENTUALLY.
So in the meantime, we are doing these short, close by day trips and slowly we will work our way up to an overnight trip. Possibly even a weekend getaway and add hours to their car riding experience.
Oh the things we do to make these kids comfortable and have fun. Starting with Madison, Wisconsin.
We mapped out a few cities that are within 2-3 hour drive and Madison was one of them. My husband suggested it and neither of us have ever been, so why not! A new experience for all of us.
What did we do?
It really didn’t take me too long to make a list of places we wanted to see. I knew we only had a day so I wanted to make sure there was something for everyone to do.
Almost all bloggers or websites had similar recommendations so we started with something for me: the Dane County Farmer’s Market. I am a big fan of markets. Not only for the fresh produce but because I spent some of my childhood with my grandma going to markets, helping her grow vegetables and actually selling them at a local market. So this experience always wakes up some happy memories for me.
But this market is massive. April through November, every Saturday you can find fruits, vegetables, soaps, flowers, bread, pretzels and so much more. All conveniently surrounding the beautiful Wisconsin State Capitol.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning to grab a snack, sit on one of many beautiful grassy areas or benches around the block and enjoy the goods. You can relax, shop, hang out or just people watch. Which is actually my favorite. But if you plan on buying anything at the market, and you should, plan on bringing a cooler for your car. Why? So you can walk back and store your goodies in a safe, cool place while you explore the rest of this cute city!
Once we explored the market, we did something for my husband. He loves history and we of course could not pass up the opportunity to explore inside the State Capitol. Simply amazing. The architecture, the history, the details and size of this building is unbelievable. Definitely worth the trip alone. Kids were in awe and even though the history piece did not interest them as much, the crevices of the building sure did. The walk out balcony on, almost, the top of the building was breathtaking. To be able to see the inside of the building from that point of view was memorable. But the terrace and the outside view from the top, made our trip. It was a beautiful and clear day so you could see the entire city and beyond.
We knew we had to do something for the kids and Madison’s Children’s Museum was on our list. What a beautiful place. We have been to a lot of kids museums and this one was right up there with some of the best ones. They really did not want to leave and there was plenty of things they could do. From a rooftop garden, to science, art, games, animals, and so much more.
As far as food goes, we noticed that some of the places around the State Capitol were closed in the afternoon. But they did reopen after 4 or 5 pm. So be mindful if you are planning a late lunch or early dinner. We typically like to eat linner so finding the right spot was a bit of a challenge. However, we stumbled upon the Tipsy Cow and had a decent, quick linner and kept moving.
We continued our journey and walked down Langdon Street where a lot of the action happens. Tons of small shops, restaurants, live music, coffee and ice cream places. It was definitely an experience for the kids since this is mainly a college town. So other than the bikers, skate boarders, day drinkers and some families there were not that many kids around. But we stopped by Kilwins for ice cream, a candy shop for some fun and unique candies and chocolates, and we looked at some of the Universities parks and buildings. Which was a cool experience in itself.
We ended our day at the Alumni Park at UW-Madison. It is a beautifully designed, lake front park and marina. It is a very nice area, located on the shores of Lake Mendota. The park has more then 50 museum like exhibits throughout the gardens. The walking path along the lake is relaxing and inviting. If it wasn’t for some lake algae that weekend, people typically spend their day swimming and boating here. But we simply enjoyed the walk, people, scenery and a nice break from all of the walking. There were plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry at this park. We will definitely save this park for our next visit and explore it even more.
Even though it started raining and we had to make a run for it, we really had a fun filled family day. The drive was not bad at all and the kids did fantastic. We look forward to many more road trips like this.
What we did not get to see on this trip?
Have you been to Madison, WI yet? If so, what is your favorite place to visit?