"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 :)
Janesville is a city of 63,575 with a rich history as well as being beautiful with having more than 2,500 acres of parks. Abraham Lincoln had even been here. He stayed at the Lincoln Tallman House on October 3, 1859. It is now a museum along with several other buildings on the campus.
Another great place to eat is the Milwaukee Grill, we enjoyed Friday Fish Fry there.
Janesville is in the process of establishing historic districts though building rehabilitation and restoration. This beautiful building is part of the Kent Block on 52 S. Main, it now has apartments. Read more about it here and other buildings.
Janesville also has a train depot and four-faced clock nearby. No longer being used for passenger trains, it is now a bus station.
We head back toward the car, we had a bit more to see outside of downtown. We saw a photo shoot taking place across the river, they saw us too!
We went to the “Janesville Oasis” area near the 90/94 exit to see Bessie the Cow. It is in the area near Arby’s, you can park in the lot nearby. Here is an archive photo from 2005. The oasis sign is no longer there, but the Arby’s is. This area was changed by the new owner Tom Lasse shortly after this picture was taken. You can even pretend to milk Bessie.
After paying homage to Bessie, we had another historical marker to see on Janesville’s south side. This marker is dedicated to the Blackhawk War and Black Hawk Grove. It has two sides. Blackhawk Credit Union sponsored this important marker.
Since there is so much to do in Janesville, staying overnight is a good idea. One hotel that helped some friends of ours after a fire was the Baymont. They gave them shelter while they looked for another place to stay.
Janesville was a lot of fun and has many activities for young and old alike. We plan on returning to the garden in May 2016 to see it in bloom.
For many years we have been wanting to see the Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens for their BIG Holiday Light Show. We arrived by 3:18 to get a parking spot, we know the lot would fill up fast. Thankfully, the weather was warm. The price for adults is $5, children age 3 and up.
The gardens have a sculpture dedicated to World Peace near the entry.
It was now 4:00, time to go in. The crowd was quite thick by this point and we were near the front of the line. Beautiful tree inside, one of their “selfie stops”. There were many scattered throughout the walk, in the video is a picture frame stop.
The first attraction was inside the building, a model train display.
Also music by local musicians. We listened for a bit before dark before going out to see the lights.
It’s time! This is the biggest light show that I know of in Wisconsin with 370,000 lights. Our jaws dropped. We began the walk at 4:26 PM and didn’t get back to the beginning until 6:07 PM. The luminaries lighting the edge of the path are 1/2 gallon milk jugs, very creative! It’s a 20-acre garden, and lights of all colors were everywhere! We got back to our starting point just 15 minutes before the rain began!
The beginning of our walk with the last remaining light fading from the sky.
Some photo highlights of the garden.
Look back towards bridge.
The photo does not do this justice, this view was especially breathtaking.
Also a Santa House, Santa was an animated figure (see video).
For your viewing pleasure, join us on our walk through this amazing garden of light.
Be sure to check out the gift shop to get the perfect gift.
We had an amazing evening here and hope you get the chance to see this great event for yourself.