Greater Madison is a great place to discover destinations that appeal to the young—and the young at heart!
PLACES TO SEE, FOR FREE
- Head to the Henry Vilas Zoo—one of the only admission-free zoos in the nation—featuring the new Arctic Passage exhibit that's home to seals, grizzly bears and polar bears.
- Many of Madison's museums are free and incorporate plenty of interactivity, from the periscope at the Veteran's Museum to Possible-opolis at the Madison Children's Museum.
- Visit the Central Library downtown for great galleries, events for kids and The Bubbler, hands-on, pop-up workshops on topics ranging from clothing design to dance.
- Kids are also welcome at the American Family DreamBank, located on the Capitol Square and loaded with interactive tools, activities and weekly events.
- Don't miss Kids in the Rotunda, a series of Saturday morning artistic programs that take place at Overture Center for the Arts. While downtown, grab a slice of mac 'n' cheese pizza at Ian's Pizza, voted Wisconsin's best pizza by the Food Network.
SEASONAL FUN FOR FAMILIES
- When the snow starts to fly, check out the skating rinks, sledding hills and trails at Madison Parks. Ice skating is free at Madison Parks and Tenney, Vilas and Elver parks all offer rentals and warming houses.
- Dane County Parks also offer tons of free, fresh-air fun including hiking and snowshoeing, which do not require a special permit.
- More outdoor adventures can be found at the UW-Madison Arboretum, a nature lover's playground with 1,200 acres of prairies, woodlands, wetlands and gardens.
- Explore a third-generation family dairy farm and meet some of Wisconsin’s sassiest cows. Learn about cows and the diary process as you tour a high-tech milking carousel and a dairy barn. This is your exclusive view of a genuine Wisconsin dairy farm.
DAY TRIP DESTINATIONS
- Take a tour of the spectacular Cave of the Mounds,a 400-million-year-old cavern that is considered to be one of the most exceptional natural sites in the country. And at 50 degrees year-round, it is the perfect temperature all day, every day!
- Also worth a day trip is The House on the Rock Attraction in Spring Green, featuring the world's largest carousel, a 200-foot sea creature, automated music machines and many more collections.
Our events calendar also features special events designed with kids in mind. Be sure to use the Advanced Search filters to quickly find events that are family-friendly and free!