There was good and bad with our Madison trip.
The choices for camping near Madison are not abundant and mainly in county parks. We chose one close to the capitol building knowing this was to be one of our destinations. Unfortunately, it was on a very busy, noisy road with only a chain-link fence between us and the road. Other than the noise (which basically lasted all night) it was fine, although the showers were not clean and to be avoided. Fortunately, it was close to town and a laundry mat, which we were desperately in need of. The roads in Wisconsin are pretty rough, I guess due to the cold weather, so it was a pretty bumpy ride especially with the trailer hitched up.
I would also warn people to beware of the parking situation in this city, because (at least so far) it was probably the worst city parking ever. There was no free public parking near the capital building. Also the parking garages require you to pay up front, meaning you have to guess how long you will be there and hope whatever you are doing doesn’t take longer than you expected. It was just so unlike any other parking garage I have ever parked in. I am sure this will not be the strangest thing that occurs in our travels.
Madison was our second state capitol and after visiting it, we knew we were hooked and wanted to see them all.
The trip was not all bad of course. Once we got parked, and made an inaccurate guess of how long we might need to park our car, we made our way to the state capital building. It was a Saturday and they were holding the farmers market, it was huge. We had no idea it would be taking place and did not bring money to buy anything, but we were definitely impressed as it went around the entire building. This also meant there were a lot of people and our tour group was large. The tour guide was good and we learned so much about the state though.
The building was very Greek and Roman in it’s style. We got to go out on the observation deck which went around the building where we got an awesome view of the city. There were many statues throughout the capitol building, including a badger that we all rubbed his nose for good luck. They had columns that were made from marble that can’t even be mined any more because there isn’t any left. Some of the marble also contained fossils that you could see on it’s surface. The paintings throughout the building were amazing. It was very interesting to hear the history as well, like why they chose that location and about the original building that was the capital. So much to learn and so little time!
A great restaurant, a free zoo and a children’s museum made for a busy day.
The worst was the zoo for a variety of reasons. Everyone in town was trying to go to the free Henry Vilas Zoo and the twelve parking spots were definitely inadequate. We had to park a mile away from the zoo and by the time we hiked into the zoo it was past four. The zoo was supposedly open till five, but most the displays were empty or closing down much to our disappointment. Like normal though we made the best of it and the kids still had fun. In Madison we ate at a restaurant called The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company and it was amazingly good.
The best part was the Madison Children Museum though. It had several unique hand’s on exhibits for the kids to enjoy. There was a climbing structure that went up several floors with a slide, a hamster wheel for kids, a painting wall, a strange phone booth with odd sayings, a rooftop garden, and several construction areas for the kids to build things. Everyone had a blast and it was the highlight of Madison for sure!
Want to see a cool free museum while you travel in Wisconsin? Check out our article about Peshtigo
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