By Brenton Martell
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
The appeal of Wisconsin’s local parks is already strong: the scenery, the picnicking, the fishing, and just going for a casual stroll; each provide reason enough to pay a park a visit.
But the state’s local parks also embody much of the 30th U.S. state’s history, giving you even more to look forward to the next time you pass through one of these areas.
Located at the southern tip of largest lake contained entirely within the state’s borders – Lake Winnebago – Lakeside Park makes a perfect outdoor destination both for summer and winter visits.
The park’s signature mark is its lighthouse, which was built in the early 1930s. In the throes of the Great Depression, the project provided jobs for down-on-their-luck Fond du Lac citizens who were otherwise out of work.
Today, visitors can reap the benefits of that hard work by enjoying the lighthouse’s stunning views of Lake Winnebago’s seemingly boundless waters, as well as enjoy the recreational aspects founds in its many sporting, picnic, aquatic and wildlife areas.
Madison City Parks - Madison
Offering volleyball and basketball courts, large fields, and, of course, expansive views of Lake Mendota and its sunsets, James Madison Park is the perfect relaxation spot for those in the middle of a busy day of city exploration in downtown Madison. One of dozens of city parks in Madison, adding to James Madison Park’s charm is that its existence is actually the product of a sort of happy accident; in the 19th century it was originally planned to be the site of the beginning of a canal connecting Lakes Mendota and Monona. Those plans fell through, though, and as a result, one of Madison’s finest parks remains.
Looking even further back in time, the city’s plentiful parks also contain among the highest concentration of Native American effigy mounds found anywhere. These ancient earthworks are often found in the shapes of animals, such as birds and snakes, and hold religious significance for the cultures who created them more than a thousand years ago.
Take your local park thinking to the next level by heading over to this municipal amusement park. The first thing that screams history here is the prices: from 25 cents to a dollar per go for each of the park’s eighteen roller coasters and other rides, this nostalgic destination offers affordability reminiscent of a different time.
Bolstering the park’s historic luster, Bay Beach stands as the ninth oldest continuously running amusement park in the country. It was once visited by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and now features a roller coaster that was once favored by The King himself, Elvis Presley.