Two simple facts about Wisconsin: There’s no shortage of things to see and do, and many people who visit enjoy it so much that they want to stay connected to the experiences they’ve had. Here’s a list of virtual tours and experiences from around the state that can help you plan for an in-person visit — or simply immerse yourself in all Wisconsin has to offer from the comfort of your home.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin — the architect’s 800-acre estate that includes his home, studio, and school — is a sight to behold. This “virtual visit” is a wonderful stand-in for what you’d experience if you traveled to Spring Green, with a little something extra: a few viewpoints like Blue Loggia that aren’t available to the public. Another online bonus: you can also take tours of two Wright-designed buildings — the American System-Built Home and the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, both in Milwaukee.
This virtual tour offers 360-degree views inside the Capitol and includes facts about the building’s rooms, amazing artwork, and more. Similar to an in-person tour, you can gaze at the beautiful dome mural as long as you want — without worrying that you’ll get a crick in your neck.
Motorcycle buffs will love the Museum’s virtual videos on Facebook. A short video series called “Off the Shelf” explores the stored bikes in the Harley-Davidson archives. Lead of Collections Bill Rodencal shares interesting tidbits from a wide range of bikes throughout the company’s history – some of the recent videos have featured a 1908 Single, a 1956 FL, and a 2006 Screamin’ Eagle Fat Boy. Other videos in the playlist include H-D factory tours, vintage riding footage and motorcycle events.
The Museum’s mission is focused on “generating a creative exchange between artists and the public,” and that’s true virtually as well. Art lovers will appreciate this deep dive into the Museum’s current exhibitions, and they also offer an additional dose of art on their Facebook page, where they highlight individual works.
One of the largest art museums in the United States, the Milwaukee Art Museum is home to over 25,000 works of art. In addition to a virtual tour of 19th-century European academic paintings — complete with MAM’s Curator of European Art — the Museum has also created an opportunity to “visit” Windhover Hall, the famous grand reception hall that serves as architect Santiago Calatrava’s interpretation of a Gothic Cathedral.
Anyone interested in Great Lakes maritime history will appreciate the interactive nature of the Museum’s Facebook page, which includes online scavenger hunts, live tours of the Cana Island Lighthouse, and family-friendly YouTube videos highlighting the vessels in their “Shipwrecks of Door County” permanent exhibit.
The Hayward Lakes area of Wisconsin is known for a variety of sports and outdoor activities — the American Birkebeiner and the Lumberjack World Championships, to name a few. You can daydream about your next Northwoods getaway by checking out Hayward;s interactive 360-degree virtual tour, which features aerial views of the many lakes and lodging properties in the area.
Take a “spin” through nearly 20 parks, preserves, trails, and other natural areas in Brown County — including favorites like the hidden Wequiock Falls, Fonferek’s Glen — complete with a waterfall overlook, and the peaceful waterfront of Bay Shore Park.
Thanks to a dedicated Wisconsin photographer who hit the trails with a Google Street View Trekker on his back, you can tramp through Devil’s Lake State Park with your laptop or phone. The view immerses you in a hike on a foggy fall day, but still boasts the rocky bluffs this popular park is known for.
Bonus: Breweries and Distilleries
Think a virtual brewery or distillery tour couldn’t be anywhere close to the real thing? These experiences might change your mind. Superior’s Earth Rider Brewing walks through every aspect of their brewery as well as their lounge, Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery’s online experience grants access to the Beer Hall as well as the fermentation and bottling stations, and Minhas Micro Distillery in Monroe gives spirits enthusiasts and up-close and personal look at “Godstilla,” their famous 45-foot high still.
Keep reading for more virtual experiences in Wisconsin!