Discover the magic of Outagamie County -- it's
where Harry Houdini spent his boyhood! It's also the site of the
world's first central hydroelectric station and the first home
to be lighted by the magic of Thomas Edison's invention.
Bike, hike, or ski the trails of Outagamie
County's environmental parks, wetlands and wildlife preserves
where native plants and animals abound. Shop the area malls or
search for memories and treasures in the county's antique malls,
specialty shops, and museum stores. Swim, boat, fish or float
the Fox River as it flows diagonally to the Northeast across the
county. Tour the historic towns, locks and docks along the banks
of the Fox waterway, once the main highway of commercial and passenger
transport from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay, Lake Michigan, and
the world beyond.
In Appleton, on the banks of the Fox River,
Lawrence University provides a variety of cultural activities
including concerts and outstanding theatrical performances. In
nearby New London, colorful butterflies are the feature attraction
of the Mosquito Hill Nature Center. Kaukauna's rolling hills,
ponds and streams, paths and trails provide visitors with outstanding
scenery, fishing opportunities and one of the area's most beautiful
golf courses. The town of Grand Chute, with numerous parks and
nature preserves, and the largest mall north of Milwaukee, serves
as the commercial hub of the Fox Cities. In contrast, the town
of Vandenbroek, named after a Dutch Priest who came to America
in 1832, encompasses more than eight square miles of richly productive,
Outagamie County offers a variety of dining
experiences, excellent lodging, from campgrounds to luxury hotels,
fascinating museums, unique arts and crafts, great cheese, farmers'
markets, historic mansions and pioneer homes, wildlife preserves,
shopping, entertainment and family recreational activities.
Criss-crossed by major highways, Outagamie
County is easy to find and hard to forget.
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Museums and Historical Sites
Fox Cities Children's Museum
100 W. College Ave., Appleton
Imagine children and parents playing, laughing, learning and exploring
together in a brightly colored museum with hands-on exhibits that
arouse children's natural curiosity and invite them to learn by
doing. It's the Fox Cities Children's Museum in the Avenue Mall
in downtown Appleton. With 20,000 square feet of hands-on exploration
and discovery, 16 hands-on exhibits that intrigue and challenge,
exciting weekday and weekend programs, field trips and parties,
it's hard to imagine more fun for the family anywhere else. Open
Mon. - Thurs. 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.,
Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sun. Noon - 5:00 p.m.
The History Museum at the Castle
330 E. College Ave., Appleton
Explore history through hands-on activities at The History Museum, located in a
former Masonic Temple. Exhibits weave national and local events together to provide perspective and inspire an
appreciation for history.
How’d He Do That?
The AKA Houdini exhibit
gives visitors an inside look at world-renowned magician and performer Harry Houdini. Houdini's genius lay in his
ability to assume identities that captivated his audiences. Children will enjoy uncovering the secrets behind
Houdini’s famous illusions through hands-on activities. Will you past the test?
straight jacket escape
break out of jail
shack off shackles and pick a padlock
escape from the padlocked milk can
perform metamorphosis on stage
Open Mondays 10:00 a.m. -
4:00 p.m. (summer only), Tues. - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Sunday noon - 4:00 p.m.
Hearthstone Mansion and Hydro Adventure Center
625 W. Prospect Ave., Appleton
Experience Hearthstone and enjoy a glimpse of the warmth and splendor
of the dawn of the electrical age. Designed as an architectural
showplace, the mansion was built between 1881 and 1882. On September
30, 1882, it became the first residence in the world to be lighted
by a centrally located hydroelectric station using the Edison
system. The original Edison light fixtures and period "electroliers"
are still used today. Intricate interior woodwork carved from
native Wisconsin woods, nine charming fireplaces surrounded by
imported Minton tiles, exquisite stained glass windows and period
furnishings add to the elegance of this Eastlake mansion. The
Hydro Adventure Center housed in the mansion offers hands-on experience
in operating a model of the earliest central hydroelectric station.
Open Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 -
4:00 p.m. Closed the last two weeks in January.
1313 Augustine St., Kaukauna
This historic house-museum showcases life in Wisconsin’s early settlement days. In 1837, Charles A. Grignon built
the elegant Mansion as a wedding gift for his Pennsylvania bride, Mary Elizabeth Meade. An oasis of luxury and
civilization on the Wisconsin frontier, this stately home was known as "The Mansion in the Woods" to countless
Knowledgeable staff will
guide you through the home, which models the “high style” Greek Revival architecture. Visitors may also browse
through the Mansion's grounds which includes a blacksmith’s shop and apple orchard.
Open year-round for
groups by appointment.
Appleton Art Center
130 N. Morrison St., Appleton
Feast your eyes and spirit on the varied works of outstanding
Wisconsin artists exhibited in the Art Center's three galleries.
Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday, noon - 5:00 p.m., Thursday, noon
- 8:00 p.m., Saturday, noon - 4:00 p.m.
Houdini Walking Tour
Tour the historic places in downtown Appleton where the city's
most famous son, Harry Houdini, born Ehrich Weiss in 1874, wandered
as a boy. See the site of Houdini's childhood home, places where
he worked, lived and played, and other locations related to his
lifelong interest in his hometown. Tour maps are available at
the Outagamie Museum, Houdini Historical Center and the Fox Cities
Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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Parks and Nature Centers
Memorial Park Arboretum & Gardens
Scheig Learning Center
1313 E. Witzke Blvd., Appleton
Expert and budding hoticulturists are invited to discover a microcosm
of native Wisconsin trees, plants and blooming floral displays
in the arboretum, gardens and learning center. Open year around,
Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; May - October, Saturday, 7:00 a.m. - noon.
Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve
4815 N. Lynndale Dr., Appleton
Wander miles of trails through a rare white cedar forest. Open
Tuesday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11:00 a.m.
- 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
1000 Islands Environmental Center
700 Dodge St., Kaukauna
For variety and the thrill of discovery, wander the trails of
this 300-acre wildlife refuge and nature center where more than
three hundred birds and animal specimens share the shores, woods
and wetlands. Open Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Saturday,
Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Mosquito Hill Nature Center
N3880 Rogers Rd. Now London
Don't let the name fool you, the center is more about butterflies
than mosquitoes. In July and August the center's unique Butterfly
House features hundreds of live butterflies in a large screened
enclosure filled with native plants. Encounter more butterflies
and other native creatures along the center's hiking trails. Open
Tuesday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sunday, 10:00
a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
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Special Things To Do
International Softball Congress Hall of
515 W. Kimberly Ave., Kimberly
Capture the colorful history of ISC teams throughout the 20th
century in memorabilia, plaques and photographs. Open Monday -
Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Lamers Dairy Farm
N410 Speel School Rd., Appleton
Visit a working dairy farm and watch the milk being processed
and bottled through a 40-ft. observation window. Open Monday -
Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Hamburger Hall of Fame
126 N. Main St., Seymour
For amusing and fun culinary history head to Seymour, the self-proclaimed
"Home of the Hamburger", where hamburger history is
told through tantalizing exhibits of hamburger artifacts and memorabilia
as varied as they are unusual. It's not your everyday experience.
Enjoy farm fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, jams, jellies,
preserves, syrups, and more. In season, gardeners will find a
variety of bedding plants, annuals and perennials. Non-gardeners
will find fresh cut flowers and vegetables. Amidst the food, fun
and flowers market-goers may also find unusual art and craft items,
music and entertaining street performers.
Appleton's Farmers Markets are:
At the corner of W. Washington & N. Superior, on Saturdays
mid-June through October, 7:30 a.m. - noon. Call 920-954-9112.
At Memorial Park Arboretum & Gardens, 1313 E. Northfield Blvd.,
on Saturdays mid-May through late October, 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
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