Monday, January 30, 2017

Wisconsin With Kids {Free Fun in Stevens Point}

One highlight of January is Cranberry School.  It's basically a trade show highlighting cranberry products and services plus a number of seminars aimed at educating cranberry growers of all kind in the latest cranberry related research and practices.

It's been years since we tagged along, watching cable from a hotel bed, swimming, snacking endlessly while Warren learns all he can for the upcoming growing season.  It was mostly bliss until we had to check out 3.5 hours before Cranberry school let out.  What was I going to do with 4 kids in Stevens Point?  More specifically free things in Stevens Point.

Having gone to UW-SP I was familiar with their Natural History Museum located in the University Library.  It's been updated and is a really nice place to hang out with kids.  It's just big enough that you feel like you're at a real museum, but it's not so big that everyone's sick and tired of walking by the end.  Another bonus here - the kids can basically walk around the entire museum without supervision because it's small, not much chance of getting lost or stolen.  Because really, would a college student want to steal a pre-schooler who snacks every 10 minutes?  I don't think so.  

The museum starts out with this beautiful butterfly and other insect display.  Joe started counting 1, 2, skip a few 99, 100.  

Dinosaur artifacts - bones, teeth and more.

Looking at the temperate climate display.  There were scavenger hunt sheets available, which was fun and helped keep us their longer hunting for specific animals.  Remember we had 3.5 hours to burn.

Neat display of large cat skulls.  And a wall of cat puzzles, too.

3-D Wisconsin was interesting.  We looked for high points and flat lands and river valleys.  Joe said the glasses made him dizzy.

After visiting the wall of birds of prey where Peter took a blurry picture of every eagle, hawk, falcon and owl we sat down for a bit with the provided coloring pages and mazes.  There were also field guides and other books to peruse and the couch made a nice reading spot.

The museum is free, but if you wish, cash is accepted in a donation box.  Gift shop is available.

Next up was the Sculpture Park.  It's a loop off the Green Circle trail and completely new to me.  We weren't particularly dressed for the occasion - a winter hike, but we went with it anyway.  Wisconsin kids are tough kids.

Again, free, but donations are welcome.  This time in the duck bill.

Outhouse in the Sky #2 
I'll spare you the picture, but after all the potty talk that went with viewing this sculpture, I turned around to see Joe's pants around his ankles, doing his #1 business in the snow.


And this was my favorite of what we saw that day.  An Aldo Leopold bench - oversize edition.  Makes me want to read A Sand County Almanac again.

We didn't see every sculpture.  Wet and cold feet, numb fingers, much needed potty breaks (not for Joe, though) and a desire for ice cream had us running back to the van for heat.

Last stop was Culver's.  And because I'd saved Scoopie coupons, everyone got a free ice cream cone before picking up Dad from Cranberry School.

I'd love to see more suggestions for Free Fun in Stevens Point.  Leave a comment here or at Facebook.

Thanks for reading and have a great evening.  It's gray, snowing, and 16 degrees F.  It's also time to feed the natives.