"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
This is the 18th year of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, an exciting fundraiser for area food banks along the route the train takes in the US and Canada. It was only in Wisconsin for a couple of days and the timing of it’s stops are different each year. We were lucky this year, we could go!
We chose the village of Sturtevant to see it. This community is located just west of Racine and about 1 1/2 hours from Madison. After dinner we were directed into a parking lot in a shopping mall close to the depot. The lot was filling up fast with an excited crowd waiting to see the train. Many people probably saw the train yearly. This is the view from the lot.
KTI Country radio station in Milwaukee was there to cover the event with a live broadcast.
We were well prepared for recording this event, Al recorded from the ground with our mini-video camera and I roamed the grounds with my new camera. I went up the stairs in the structure above the track to see it coming from above.
I could soon see the headlight and hear the train horn. It was right on time, 5:25 PM! The crowd cheered and whistled!
Join in the fun! Enjoy our video! The train was at the station for 45 minutes and we enjoyed a 1/2 hour Christmas music show. Performers were Colin James and Kelly Prescott.
This event was incredibly fun and worth the journey to get there. Thanks Canadian Pacific for bringing such joy and goodwill on the rails!
What a great opportunity! We found out that the Milwaukee Public Museum has a free day every month for ALL visitors. Kohls is the sponsor. We jumped at this chance to go. We found a historic clock just outside of the building.
After checking in at the front desk, we were on our way! You can check your coat in for $1 or use a locker for 50 cents. We also got a free ticket to the Planetarium show at 11:30, there usually an extra charge for that. I have not seen one of those shows since I was a kid. It was great getting a refresher on the night sky and constellations. Also some Hubble pictures were shown. A great 25 minute show!
We enjoyed a good lunch at the café before heading back up to the first floor. The have a coffee stand too.
The museum has four floors, we just had time to see the ground, floors 1 and 2. It is a large museum so we hope to return to see the rest. On the first floor were many great exhibits, a favorite being the “Streets of Old Milwaukee” and “European Village”. It looks like Milwaukee around 1880-1910. To enhance your experience here, you can download an app to hear residents of old Milwaukee tell us about their occupations, etc. at the turn of the last century. You can only listen to the oratories through your headphones in your phone.
You enter the Milwaukee exhibit through the streetcar and exit in the back.
Let’s take a stroll through the street, you can occasionally hear horses hooves clopping.
Inside are prominent Wisconsin businesses, many still here. Usinger’s, Schlitz and Roundy’s among them. The most charming part of this exhibit was the candy store. It was real and you could buy some “penny” candy here. The store is small so only a few people could be inside at a time.
You could also go up a staircase in one of the buildings and look down below at the street. You could see the candy store to the right. The front view showed an eye doctor business, complete with a sign with eyes that appear to be looking right at you!
See the silhouette of the lady in the window? She moved in and out of view and appeared to be getting ready for a night out.
Saw a photographer taking a portrait of a lady.
Inside a general store.
High fashion for ladies around 1900.
When you reach the end of the street it transitions into the European Village, opening up to Pabst Square.
Each house surrounding the square represents a different country in Europe. Here is the Czech house from Al’s heritage.
The Russian house, my sister-in-law’s heritage. She is a first-generation American.
We spent an extended amount of time in these exhibits, they were fascinating! Now we move on to the Jack Puelicher Butterfly Garden. This sunny room had many beautiful butterflies and warm temperatures that felt good on this winter day.
Let’s watch them them in action!
A butterfly display in a case.
And this Muskrat exhibit is from 1890, like the clock outside. Very intricate detail!
It was time to go, we plan on returning as soon as we can to see what we missed. Meanwhile, enjoy this great view across the street from the museum.
Our last adventure of the year, today was a special day. the Greater Milwaukee Foundation gave Wisconsin a free gift for the last week of the year, free admission and parking to the Milwaukee Zoo for all visitors.
We went in and saw many Christmas trees decorated by various groups.The room was filled with them!
Now we went outside to see the exhibits, first were the penguins. They were sure having fun with all the people around watching them.
Our next stop was the Primate house after walking an elevated walkway.
One of my favorite parts was the Mold-O-Rama machine to make you a gorilla souvenir for $20. They are all original machines from the 1960’s. It is an injection mold machine. Let’s see it in action!
And here is my gorilla!
It was a quiet day and it sometimes was hard to see the occupants in this building since many were napping. Tom the Gorilla was enjoying a snack by the window, probably looking at us too.
Their habitat looks very natural and the animals appeared relaxed.
Time go go back outside to see other exhibits, it was raining but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the many visitors or the animals. There was an ice carver who had already carved a bear and had just started another one.
This sea-lion was getting lunch.
A Grizzly Bear was making the rounds too. He appeared to like the rain.
A Polar Bear too, probably wishing it were snowing instead of rain.
These Caribou were enjoying their natural woodland setting. They are not often seen outside of Alaska. Stately creatures!
Next we explored the Small Mammal building which also had some primates, also bats.
We went next door to see the aquatic building with lots of fish from around the world. Enjoy this video made by another visitor to the zoo.
This seemed to be a favorite stop for the many visitors that came. There is of course a large focus on Wisconsin fishing and we learned about how the famous “Friday Fish Fries” began in the dairy state. Fish may not be the first thing to come to mind in the middle of the country, but we do have our freshwater seas, the Great Lakes providing plenty of good eating.
The zoo also emphasizes how important “catch and release” is to sustaining and growing the fish population. My brother Lee Tauchen is a fishing guide and he practices this technique, he rarely eats his catches. He also creates beautiful lures he uses and sells. He would love to take you out on a fishing trip, call him at (608) 444-2180 to set one up with him.
This display of small fish was mesmerizing to watch.
We wanted to see the Aviary but it was closed for renovations.
We had a great visit to the Milwaukee Zoo and hope to return in summer when more is happening. Thanks Greater Milwaukee Foundation for the free week!
We realized how much of Milwaukee we still have not seen, and decided that taking the free tour of the MillerCoors Brewery was just the thing on a snowy winter day. In this picture you can see the large silver tankards where the beer is aged for three weeks.
The tour is for one hour, be prepared to take stairs and walk to several buildings. Register at the front desk when you arrive. Good info to know before beginning the tour.
A photographer was there to take our picture and had some props to make the picture even more memorable. We would be offered a 5×7 and 2-4×6 print, a bottle opener and a can cozy at the end of the tour for $20. We got it, such a fun memento of our visit.
We were on the first tour at 10:30, and it turned out to only be the two of us. Leah was our guide, she gave us the VIP treatment!
The tour began with a 10-minute film in the theater describing the history of the brewery. After that we went to the first building where the beer is made.
Here we could also see the conveyor belt rolling with filled cases of beer.
We went down to the lower floor of this building and saw it is also a vast warehouse for all the beer. Would you believe all of this will be gone by the next day? Most goes to Chicago with the rest points elsewhere. It is the size of 5 football fields placed side-by-side. Here are some stats.
We went back out and crossed the street, going under the bridge where you could see beer going across on the conveyor.
It was time to see where the Fermenting Room. Copper tankards were on the upper level and the silver-colored ones were below.
After this we walked further up the street to our last stop, the Historic Caves building where the beer was chilled before refrigeration.
There was also a historic marker on the building.
We went into the hushed darkness of the cave, gently lit on either side but still allowing for night vision. It was beautiful, and there was a mural painted in the back.
In here were were also paid a visit by Frederick Miller himself, via a projection on the back of the cave.
Very cool! The tour was now finished, we then went to the tasting room. Al did the tasting since I don’t drink beer. Thanks Leah, we really had fun!
While we were there we got our photo that we had taken at the start of the tour. Our first silly selfie of the year.
We really had a good time here today. Since there is not a restaurant on site, we went .7 miles away to Saz’s State House for a great lunch.