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Sat, Jul 22, 2006

There's More To Do In Wisconsin Than 'Just' Oshkosh

Life's So Good

by ANN Correspondent John Dorcey

Maybe the only reason you have never attended AirVenture is the family's demand for vacation time. You have the same problem every year-too many things to do and too little vacation. How about a compromise, the family gets their vacation and you get to attend AirVenture.

Let's assume that you're a family of four -- Dad, Mom, a 13-year old daughter, and a 10-year old son. Your spouse likes outdoor adventures as do the kids and fun is a must. Educational stuff is OK, but again, it must be fun. Our last detail is that you have nine days, two weekends, and five workdays, within which to create the year's great adventure.

If water figures in your vacation dreams, consider canoeing, tubing, kayaking, or whitewater rafting. You can do all of those things with a little more than an hour's drive from Oshkosh. Speaking of water, don't forget the Wisconsin Dells. Located less than 100 miles southwest of Oshkosh, the "Dells" has more water parks than anywhere in the country. Scenic boat rides up and down the Wisconsin River still attract visitors after more than 100 years. Don't forget the roller coasters, go-karts, zoo, museums, and you must ride the famous World War II 'Ducks' while you are there.

Another way to enjoy the water is by ferry. The state operates a ferry across the Wisconsin River as part of the highway system. The Merrimac ferry is located on Highway 113, between Merrimac and Lodi, just south of Wisconsin Dells. Other ferries cross the Mississippi River at Cassville, the strait at Washington Island, and Lake Superior to Madeline Island. There are two car ferries that cross Lake Michigan, one departs from Manitowoc and the other from Milwaukee. The ride lasts between 3 and 4 hours depending on the ship.

If trains interest someone in the family, you must visit the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay. Vintage trains operate in several other locations across the state. While in Green Bay, you can easily spend a few hours in the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. You don't have to be a 'Packer Backer' to enjoy the memorabilia and displays.

Biking and hiking trails are abundant across the state. Bike rentals are available at most trailheads. You can watch cheese making, beer brewing and car assembly. You can fish, ski, and visit botanical gardens. You can look for antiques and visit old time settlements. The list is endless.

Before you sit the family down for your proposal, visit the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's web site. The ideas there are almost endless. You know what your family likes and you will find something there for everyone. Last minute planning is easy right from the AirVenture grounds. The state's tourism folks have a booth, #1127, located Exhibit Building A. In addition, the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau is located south of the FAA Control Tower.

With planning this may be the adventure of a lifetime. There are two ways for this to work; you go to AirVenture and the family does their thing or everyone goes to AirVenture for a few days and everyone enjoys other great stuff. However you do your vacation, everyone will enjoy their vacation in Wisconsin.

FMI: www.travelwisconsin.com

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