7 Man-Made Wonders of Northeast Wisconsin

By Amy Bayer
Staff Writer

The northeast region of Wisconsin covers 12 counties with landscapes and characteristics that vary from the city life and sports hub of Green Bay, the shoreline communities along the Door County peninsula and the towns in the Northwoods that have deep roots in the lumber and fishing industries.

This region offers a wide variety of man-made wonders including historic lighthouses, Native American culture and everything in between. With so many to choose from, we’re focusing on seven unique destinations open year-round in Northeast Wisconsin.

1. Lambeau Field – Green Bay

The Green Bay Packers' historic home is the largest venue in the state and second-largest in the NFL when it comes to regular seating capacity.

Lambeau Field is the oldest continually operated NFL stadium, and despite its impressive size has been selling out every game since 1960. In fact. the waiting list to receive season tickets has an average wait time of 30 years.

But you don’t have to attend a game to see the glory of Lambeau Field. Head to Green Bay to revel in Titletown USA, tour the stadium, explore the Packers Hall of Fame, and get your photo taken at one of Wisconsin’s most iconic destinations.

2. World’s Largest Penny – Woodruff

The story behind this man-made wonder is one of inspiration. While the world’s largest penny isn’t an actual coin, it commemorates an extraordinary woman with an incredible mission.

In the 1950s, Dr. Kate Newcomb knew the community of Woodruff needed a hospital, but they simply didn’t have the funds. She started the Million Penny Parade and encouraged children to collect their pennies.

The story quickly spread, and pennies were sent in from all around the world. The campaign collected 1.7 million pennies, and the overall campaign raised more than $100,000, which was used to build the much-needed hospital.

When you stand before this 17,452-pound concrete statue, you can’t help but be inspired by the accomplishments of the community.

3. Stavkirke – Washington Island

Washington Island has deep roots in European culture dating back to 1865 when the island off the Door Peninsula became home to Icelandic and Scandinavian immigrants.

In the 1990s, islanders wanted to honor their heritage and raised money to construct a stave church, which were buildings once popular in Scandinavia. Using a church in Borgun, Norway as a model, Stavkirke was constructed from wood and stone.

This awe-inspiring structure is open 365 days a year for visitation and meditation. No matter what season finds you on the island, be sure to check out this beautiful church.

4. Mountain Fire Lookout Tower – Mountain

Until the 1960s fire towers were the primary method for detecting forest fires in the national forests.

At one time there were 19 towers in the Nicolet National Forest, and today only two remain. The Mountain Fire Lookout Tower was constructed in 1932, but moved three years later by the Civilian Conservation Corps to its current location just north of the town of Mountain.

Designated as a National Historic Lookout, the tower is 100 feet tall with a seven-by-seven-foot observation post and is open for the public to climb. Combine the great outdoors with this man-made wonder as you enjoy panoramic views of the scenic northern woods of Wisconsin.

5. Three Lakes Center for the Arts – Three Lakes

After World War II, communities around the country constructed hundreds of movie theaters out of Quonset huts, which were repurposed from military surplus supplies. The Three Lakes Center for the Arts is one of six of these theaters still in existence and continues to show movies.

In addition to its unique structural appeal and historic background, this theater originally was designed by baseball legend Cy Williams. Over time, the building has become more than just a theater and also houses an art gallery as well as live performances.

There was a period of time the building was closed but in 2009, the theater re-opened its doors after the community started a renovation project with the goal to provide an arts and entertainment hub for the city of Three Lakes. Whether you want to take in a movie, a performance or just tour the gallery, Three Lakes has the perfect place for you!

6. Kovac Planetarium – Rhinelander

Only in Oneida County will you find this truly unique man-made wonder. One Wisconsinite used his love of the night sky to make his dream a reality and single-handedly created a planetarium in his backyard.

It took ten years to construct the two-ton, 22-foot-diameter mechanical globe and hand-paint 5,000 astronomically correct stars. This incredible attraction is open seven days a week, and reservations are required for a presentation that’s considered both entertaining and educational at the world’s largest rolling, mechanical globe planetarium.

7. National Railroad Museum – Green Bay

Located in Green Bay, this museum pays tribute to the significant heritage of the railroad industry.

With exhibits, educational opportunities and innovative programs, visitors can explore more than 70 pieces of vintage trains at one of the country’s largest railroad museums. From video presentations to toy train displays, you will be able to either participate in a guided tour or explore the museum at your own pace.

May through September, visitors can even experience the museum while being pulled along the tracks by a diesel locomotive engine.


Check out Wisconsin's top man-made wonders statewide, and keep an eye on TravelWisconsin.com as we highlight more regions in this occasional series.

This entry was posted in History & Heritage