Pack Some Purpose: Traveling Green with Kids

By Danielle Papineau

Before you hit the road for that long awaited family vacation, consider how you can turn your next Wisconsin destination into an opportunity to help teach your future generations about the environment while reducing the impact you have on it. As a leader in the green travel movement, Wisconsin offers a plethora of vacation destinations with environmentally friendly facilities and programs’, ensuring your family vacation is both educational and exciting.

Destination #1: Madison Children’s Museum (Madison, WI) - This award winning museum is a must-visit for families looking for hands-on learning. First, swing by the city of Possible-opolis, a whimsical, open-ended environment that uses more than 90% recycled, repurposed, and salvaged materials. Then, hang out in the four-season Rooftop Ramble and explore the children’s garden, chicken coop, and alternative energy demonstrations. Finally, survive in the Wildernest, a global village made with natural, local materials.

After a day of fun, head over to Ella’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlor for sandwiches, burgers, and treats, not to mention, a ride or two on their famous carousel. If the carousel doesn’t keep the kids entertained, the unique and vibrant environment of the deli will.

For those looking to extend their stay in Madison, the Holiday Inn & Suites of Madison offers adults a chance to relax and children a place to play in their family friendly water park equipped with a children's pool, water slides, water basketball and a huge whirlpool, and pool bar.

Destination #2: Devils Lake State Park (Baraboo, WI) - Wisconsin’s largest state park offers lakeshore picnic areas, sandy swimming beaches, bird watching, scuba diving, and seasonal nature programs. The park also offers adventure seekers a place to camp, so turning this trip into a weekend event is easy. The campground offers dump and fill stations, water, restrooms, showers, and concessions. Reservations are suggested for all campers. For the less adventurous, both a Best Western and a Clarion Hotel can be found nearby.

After a day of fresh air, nature lovers can cozy up in the Log Cabin Family Restaurant which offers diners gourmet burgers, creative sandwiches, steaks, and many more delicious dining options. After dinner, head back to Devils Lake for some star watching or family friendly night games.

Destination #3: Scoops Ice Cream Parlor (Chilton, WI) - For those hot summer days look no further than the famous Scoops Ice Cream Parlor. Scoops provides customers 24 constantly changing ice cream flavors along with delicious homemade cones, hot chocolate, and ice cream cakes. Stopping for a scoop can also prove educational as Scoops offers customers’ information on how to off-set their carbon emissions.

When the ice cream settles, Pennelopy’s Pizzeria will offer a well rounded meal. Guests can choose to order up a pizza at this family friendly restaurant or try the buffet, subs, or countless other menu options.

At the end of the night, head to the Best Western Stanton Inn for a quality nights sleep. Before heading out in the morning, make sure to advantage of the free continental breakfast offered to all guests.

Destination #4: Glacier Canyon Lodge Water Park (Wisconsin Dells, WI) - Vacationers looking for a little water in their environmentally friendly getaway can look no further than the Glacier Canyon Lodge and Water Park at the Wilderness Resort. Each fully furnished condo in Glacier Canyon has 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms and fully-equipped kitchens. But what makes Glacier Canyon Lodge truly unique is its many energy saving efforts including their low flow showerheads, low faucet aerators, and compact florescent lighting in every guest room. Additionally, the hotel has energy efficient equipment in its water park system.

Glacier Canyon Lodge and the surrounding Wilderness Resort also offer many amazing adventures including:


After working up an appetite at the water park or other adventure areas, check out one of the many restaurants located right within the Wilderness territories. The Wild Canyon Café serves an extravagant buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while The Thirsty Buffalo Saloon offers up a sports bar atmosphere with burgers, wings, and sandwiches. If neither of these restaurants appeals to you, try one of the other four restaurants located on the premise including an Italian restaurant and American classic. As you can see, Glacier Canyon Lodge offers something for everyone.

Don’t let the environmental learning stop when you reach your front door. Many of the places you visit everyday support environmentally friendly programs and facilities. Visit our Travel Green page and check out the complete list of businesses who are Travel Green Wisconsin certified.


Look for the Leaf. It indicates a certified Travel Green Wisconsin business.

This entry was posted in Things to Do, Entertainment and Attractions, Outdoor Fun