Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Photo of ice skaters © Jeff Sokolov

Swan City Ice Skaters SynchroSkate
© Jeff Sokolov

February 2012

Wisconsin Traveler

Day tripping

Kathryn A. Kahler

Traveler realizes each of our readers has unique interests. What some find stuffy, others find stimulating. So rather than picking a theme, we've chosen a mix of events and exhibits we hope will satisfy your diverse interests – a veritable smorgasbord of day trips and junkets to brighten the midwinter doldrums.

You who like exhilarating outdoor fun will find Hudson's Hot Air Affair (February 4-6) to your liking. The Midwest's premier winter ballooning event features a torchlight parade with kazoo marching band, volleyball in the snow, geocaching, kite-flying and – smoosh-boarding? That's right – foursomes anchor their left feet to one snowboard and their right feet to another and "race" around the course. After dark, there's a fireworks display over the St. Croix River and the breathtaking "Field of Fire" where balloons light up the night sky. Visit Hudson Hot Air Affair for a complete listing of events, or call (800) 657-6775.

Do you love to watch figure skating and can't wait another two years for the Olympics? Just head to Beaver Dam for the Swan City Ice Skaters SynchroSkate (February 11-12). Teams of up to 20 elegantly costumed skaters from Wisconsin and other states take to the ice in competition that features complicated footwork and steps, lifts, jumps, and spins set to a musical program. Visit Swan City Ice Skaters or call (920) 885-9816 for more information.

The Bubolz Preserve (4815 N. Lyndale Dr., Appleton) invites families to Adopt A Bucket (March 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and help make ready for the 2012 sap season. Participants will decorate pails with their favorite designs, have their pictures taken with the buckets and watch demonstrations on how to tap a maple tree. Then the buckets will be hung in the Preserve's sugar bush. You'll take home an 8-ounce jar of maple syrup and the picture of you and your bucket. Visit Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve or call (920) 731-6041 for more information.

Decoy collectors will convene in Oshkosh, March 9-10 (8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) for the Wisconsin Decoy & Sporting Collectibles Show at the Hilton Garden Inn (off Interstate 43). This mid-winter gathering has outgrown its humble beginning in a small tavern in Fond du Lac but has kept its friendly atmosphere and hospitality. Visitors will see exhibits of old and new decoys, duck calls, hunting knives, animal traps, wildlife art, cartridges and fishing tackle. Collectors can buy, sell, trade and get free appraisals. For more information, call Roger Ludwig at (920) 233-0349, or email Roger Ludwig.

Participate in culinary history at a Hearthside Dinner at Wade House, W7824 Center Rd., Greenbush, on March 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests prepare 19th-century dishes on a woodburning stove and open hearth fire just as Mrs. Wade did more than 150 years ago, then enjoy the fruits of their labor in the lovely Wade House dining room. At the day's conclusion, everyone pitches in to clear the table, wash the dishes (19th-century style), and sweep the hearth to end a satisfying encounter with central Wisconsin's past. Cost is $45 per person and registration is required. Visit Wade House or call (920) 526-3271 to register.

Get new insights into Wolves and Wild Lands at the Kenosha Public Museum (5500 First Avenue) through March 25, in the West Gallery. Learn the cultural and economic pressures that continue to shape the wolf's existence on the North American continent. Visit Kenosha Public Museum or call (262) 653-4140 for more information. Winter hours are Sunday noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Monday and holidays.

Just in time for spring turkey season, you'll find the latest equipment, accessories, clothing and anything else to fit your outdoor lifestyle, at the 2012 Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo, March 30-April 1, at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison. More than 500 product exhibits, 50 seminars on a dozen topics, demonstrations and activities traditionally attract thousands of outdoor enthusiasts to this annual three-day event. New this year is a trail camera demonstration, information on aquatic food plots and ponds, a special emphasis on women's hunting apparel and gear, and seminars on "Blood-tracking Dogs for Deer Recovery." Visit Deer & Turkey Expos or call (608) 267-3976.

Kathryn A. Kahler is a staff writer for Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.