It’s impossible not to stop and stare as you drive through the Baraboo area. Winding roads take you through gorgeous bluffs that seem to rise out of nowhere. Nods to the beloved circus that once called this place home are scattered throughout downtown, from the murals on the historic buildings to the colorful bike racks shaped like circus wagon wheels. There’s a feeling that you are in a place that is unlike anywhere else in the world. From the majesty of Devil’s Lake to the magic of Circus World, the Baraboo area is a one-stop-shop for breathtaking scenery, endless entertainment, and exhilarating adventures!
Baraboo Social Club – Owner Jimmy Kimball’s vision for his 1950’s-inspired barbershop was a place where people could come for a really great haircut, but also to just stop in and chat with neighbors. Today, the Baraboo Social Club lives up to this idea and is worth a visit even if just to check out the authentic, 1950’s barbershop décor.
Driftless Glen Distillery – Located along the banks of the Baraboo River, Driftless Glen Distillery gives visitors an inside look at making grain-to-glass craft spirits. Take a tour of the distillery, sip a craft cocktail at the bar, or enjoy a meal on the riverside deck! (DW Crew Tip: Try the Blackberry Old Fashioned – a unique twist on the classic favorite.)
Baraboo Tours – You’ve heard of a historical walking tour, surely, but how about a historical rickshaw tour? Take in the sights and history of downtown Baraboo from a rickshaw, or get spooked on one of their haunted tours!
Haskins Park – Located in the neighboring village of West Baraboo, Haskins Park is a beautiful, riverside park perfect for any occasion! Grab the kids and enjoy a picnic on the playground, or enjoy a peaceful walk along the Baraboo River. A handicap-accessible kayak/canoe launch and fishing pier provide easy access to the river for everyone! (DW Crew Tip: Kids, check out the zip line!)
Devil’s Lake Lavender – Stroll through colorful lavender fields, take a relaxing yoga class among the blooms, or visit during one of the numerous events held at Devil’s Lake Lavender! Peak lavender bloom is usually mid- to late summer.
Ski-Hi Fruit Farm – A fall tradition in the Baraboo area for over 100 years, Ski-Hi Fruit Farm offers delicious treats and sweets made from apples grown in the orchard right across the street. (DW Crew Tip: Bring home one of Ski-Hi’s homemade apple pies. You won’t be disappointed!)
Ochsner Park Zoo – What started in 1926 with just two bear cubs has grown into a full zoo with over 30 animal species! Ochsner Park Zoo is open every day of the year and offers a number of educational programs, like Keeper Chats, where zookeepers bring certain animals out of their exhibits to visit with guests.
Devil’s Lake State Park – With stunning vistas and a crystal-clear glacial lake, it’s no surprise that Devil’s Lake is Wisconsin’s most visited state park. Enjoy nearly 30 miles of hiking trails, take in the views from the 500-foot bluffs, or go for a swim. Plus, the unique, geological makeup and natural history of Devil’s Lake and the greater Baraboo area draws geology students and interested visitors from all across the country!
International Crane Foundation – Founded in 1973, the International Crane Foundation works to conserve cranes and their habitats around the globe. The foundation’s Baraboo headquarters is the only place in the world where you can see all 15 species of cranes in one location! Take a guided tour, explore conservation-related exhibits and hike the nature trails on site.
Circus World – Although the traveling Ringling Bros. circus is no longer active, you can still experience “the greatest show on Earth” at Circus World! Spend a day marveling at the magic and whimsy of a Big Top Show, exploring exhibits dedicated to the history of the circus, strolling through the original buildings from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and much more!
Ringling Theatre – From the moment you step into the main auditorium, it’s no longer a question why the Al. Ringling Theatre in downtown Baraboo is often called ‘America’s Prettiest Playhouse.’ A multi-million dollar restoration in 2016 brought the theatre back to its original glory, and the gilded details and masterful design will make your jaw drop. Schedule a guided tour or enjoy a show at this magnificent theatre. (DW Crew Tip: See if you can spot the faces among the intricate carvings on the ceiling!)
Jennifer Ingish is a producer of Discover Wisconsin. Watch the show on Fox Sports Wisconsin every Saturday at 10am or on Roku, Chromecast, Smart TV, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV.