Growing up in Green Bay, I’ve heard it a million times, “What’s in Green Bay besides the Packers?” And while we are proud of (ok, that’s an understatement – more like obsessed with) our team, I know there is so much more to see and do in Green Bay. So, in honor of Aaron Rodgers, here’s a list of 12 things to do on your next trip to Titletown.
Tell me another place in Wisconsin, or the Midwest for that matter, where you can ride everything from bumper cars and a Ferris wheel to a 2,500-foot roller coaster for under a dollar. Some rides even cost as little as a quarter to ride, and parking and admission to the park is absolutely free. And speaking of free ... located across the road, the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary attracts families from across the U.S. to discover nature up close and personal. Take it from me — bring your camera as the park’s new, man-made waterfall is the perfect place for a family photo.
Seven days a week. 365 days a year. That’s when you can encounter nearly 90 different species of live animals native to all parts of the world. Make it a full day and test yourself on 1,000-foot racing zip lines, an aerial adventure course and a 40-foot climbing tower. It’s adrenaline-pumping and safe, all at the same time.
With a 100-year-old Cream City brick building, it’s easy to get into the creative spirit. The Art Garage not only is a place to see the arts, but with classes and special events, you can seriously experience the arts in Green Bay.
Many field trips were taken to Heritage Hill growing up. Back then I didn’t know what a “living history museum” was, but today, I marvel at the efforts this nonprofit organization puts in to preserving the history of Northeastern Wisconsin, dating all the way back to 1672. And the interpreters roaming the grounds teach you everything from how to churn butter to what it was like to attend classes in a one-room schoolhouse.
Now here’s a new, fun way to see Green Bay. After receiving a quick tutorial on how to operate a Segway, you’re off exploring the area. Now, you can take a Packers-themed tour, but I’d encourage you to look further and check out the historic sites, like the Fox River Trail, CityDeck and Broadway District.
OK, I promised a list that didn’t include the Packers, and I’m sticking to that. But if you can’t get enough pigskin action, check out the Blizzard (appropriately named for Green Bay) indoor football team. You just may see former Packers’ running back Ahman Green in the stands, as he’s one of the team’s owners. In 1935, the St. Louis Browns and Pittsburgh Pirates played a game inside Green Bay’s Joannes Stadium. Today, the park hosts the Green Bay Booyah (formerly known as the Green Bay Bullfrogs) who have been competing for a Northwoods League title since 2007. Finally if you’re looking for another team with a winning tradition, look no further than the Green Bay Gamblers as they hit the ice with their four Clark Cups and five Anderson Cups.
Conveniently located downtown, Captain’s Walk crafts true Wisconsin wines in their restored pre-Civil War building. With daily wine tastings and a selection of gourmet tapas, sandwiches and pizza, it can be a perfect lunch or pre-dinner stop. And if you’re looking for a quaint place to host an event, the winery can accommodate groups from 12 to 75 guests.
My last trip to the Green Bay Botanical Garden was for my best friend’s wedding, and I’m certain my next trip will be this winter to see their Garden of Lights — that’s an annual request from my kids during the holiday season when we’re back home visiting family. In any season, the garden is full of color with so much to explore and learn.
There are many places to hear live music, laugh with a national comedian or see a world-class play in Green Bay. The Meyer Theatre opened in 1930 as one of many Fox Theatres popping up across the country. After a comprehensive (and expensive) restoration project, the theater reopened in 2002 to once again house a variety of live shows. Located on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus, the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts receives rave reviews from audience members and performers alike with its superb acoustics and overall architectural design. Finally, the Resch Center not only hosts many sporting events, but draws some of the largest touring bands and shows in the country.
If you’re fascinated with the “clickity-clack” sound of a locomotive traveling the countryside, a visit to the National Railroad Museum is in order. In 2014, the Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Green Bay after being on loan at the National Railway Museum of York, England. It’s just one of the many exhibits, collections and tours you can experience at the museum.
With three permanent exhibits, like “Hometown Advantage: The Community and the Packers” (OK, so I snuck a Packers reference into one) and a number of rotating exhibits, the Neville is dedicated to collecting and preserving items related to Wisconsin.
Who doesn’t love free, family fun during summer? You may have to wait a few months, but set a reminder for this one. While they normally perform near Wrightstown, these Warriors move their show to downtown Green Bay for a few dates each summer, where you can watch their aqua-athletics from the comfort of CityDeck.
Now being a long-time Green Bay resident myself, I know I missed a ton of other places to visit when you’re in the area. Add to my list below…and ah heck, feel free to drop a few Packers’ suggestions as well!
Chad Diedrick is the managing producer for the nation’s longest-running tourism TV show,Discover Wisconsin. In his 12+ years of discovering Wisconsin, Chad has seen virtually every corner of the state. Between filming breaks, you’re likely to catch Chad trying his hand at a round of disc golf at a local course. (His goal is to hit every disc golf course in Wisconsin!) Watch Discover Wisconsin Saturdays at 10 a.m. on FSN Wisconsin’s outdoor block.