You don’t need the excuse of a Packers game to come to Green Bay. The city has a diverse array of attractions and activities to suit all tastes. Like the National Railroad Museum, one of the largest rail museums in the nation. The museum is home to such treasures as a Big Boy steam locomotive (named the Dwight D. Eisenhower), which is the train Gen. Eisenhower used in Europe during WWII; and an Aerotrain, designed in the 1950s to resemble a car. Outside, you can ride the train chugging around the grounds.
The Automobile Gallery explores more than 100 years of automobile history by displaying cars such as the ultra-rare Cadillac Model T touring car on up to the futuristic 2020 Ford GT Supercar. Its focus is also on the automobile as art. At the Green Bay Botanical Garden, you can wander through various gardens including shade, perennial, English cottage, Wisconsin woodland, rose and xeriscape, which is a garden that requires almost no watering. Make sure to check out the unusual hobbit house on the grounds, too. North of town, the NEW
(Northeastern Wisconsin) Zoo & Adventure Park combines animals and adventure. Start your visit by viewing animals native to Wisconsin, North America, Australia and Africa, then head to the petting zoo. Then tackle the adventure park’s zipline, the ropes course with 17 challenging elements and climbing wall.
SOUTH BAY MARINA
Locals know one of the best places to catch a stunning sunrise or sunset is South Bay Marina. Head there at dawn or dusk, or during the day, when you can rent a pontoon boat to explore the bay or the Fox River. Captain Jack’s at Louie’s Lagoon is also on the water, and is a bar and grill that offers live music and, of course, great water views.
UNIQUE STATE PARKS
The Green Bay area is home to two of the most unique state parks in the system. Heritage Hill State Historical Park is a living history site that interprets local life during three eras: the La Baye fur-trading days (1700-1850), the Fort Howard era (1830s) and the heavy immigration period (1850-1912). There’s also a section focused on agricultural history from 1845-1900.
Lost Dauphin in De Pere is a state park that’s operated locally. The 19- acre parcel boasts beautiful views of the Fox River, rolling hiking trails — and a fascinating history. The park was once part of missionary Eleazer Williams’ homestead. In 1841, Williams claimed to be the Lost Dauphin, or the son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the royal couple executed in 1793 during the French Revolution. Official accounts said their son (and heir to the throne) died in captivity in 1795. But rumors persisted he escaped. Was Williams really a French king?
GREEN BAY SHINES IN THE FALL
If you love catching fall color, Green Bay and its environs are home to some pretty special spots, like Wequiock Falls and Fonferek’s Glen. Wequiock Falls is a roadside park featuring a waterfall that tumbles over a piece of the Niagara Escarpment, an ancient rocky ledge stretching from Wisconsin to Niagara Falls. Take the staircase down to the waterfall, framed in blazing colors every autumn, for the best views. Fonferek’s Glen, 20 minutes south, also contains a portion of the Niagara Escarpment, plus dolomite cliffs, a stone archway and a 30-foot waterfall.
At Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, six miles of trail wind through wetlands and woods. Go for a stroll, then visit the nature center and wildlife. A few miles south, more than 10 miles of varied trails unspool through the scenic Baird Creek Greenway, open for hiking, mountain biking and exploring. On the west shore of the bay of Green Bay, more hiking can be found at the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve and the Reforestation Camp. Trails at the Barkhausen Preserve — which also features an interpretive center — meander through forest, meadows and wetlands, while the 1,500-acre Reforestation Camp paths take you past oak, pine and more.
If you prefer recreational trails, Green Bay is home to both the Fox River State Trail and the Mountain Bay Trail. The 25-mile Fox River path unwinds along the beautiful Fox River, connecting Green Bay and Greenleaf, while the crushed-limestone Mountain Bay Trail stretches northwest from the bay of Green Bay.
WHEN HUNGER STRIKES
You won’t go hungry in Green Bay. Kroll’s is a local institution, famed for its charcoal-grilled burgers, which are topped with butter, ketchup, pickles and raw onion. Chives Restaurant is perhaps its opposite, with dishes such as butternut squash ravioli, fried calamari, and chicken and goat cheese wontons on the menu.
Cheese Cake Heaven serves soups, salads and inventive grilled, toasted or cold sandwiches, plus a dazzling assortment of cheesecakes and cannoli. At Republic Chophouse, its sophisticated décor is as appealing as its steaks, chops and well-curated wine list.
The Green Bay area is home to more than a dozen breweries, wineries and distilleries, such as Stillmank Brewing Co., whose flagship beer is Wisco Disco, an ESB (extra special bitter). It also brews Killer Bees, a jalapeño-infused blonde ale, and offers hard seltzers and apple ciders. At Zambaldi Beer, you can indulge in IPAs, a variety of ales and two fruit beers, while you may find a double-oaked imperial stout, fruited sour ale or kölsch on tap at Copper State Brewing Co. In nearby Greenleaf, enjoy a glass of wine at Trout Springs Winery, then stay overnight in its glamping cabin. The new Paradise North Distillery Co. creates premium rum, whiskey and vodka. Tours include a minimum of four half-ounce tastings.
Plan your visit at greenbay.com