Family Weekend Getaway in the Midwest? Where?

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Kenster1
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Family Weekend Getaway in the Midwest? Where?

Post by Kenster1 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Anyone have a nice suggestion for a nice 4-day weekend family getaway in the Midwest (driving distance from Chicago)?

There's always Wisconsin Dells but looking for other suggestions as well to consider.

For example -- this place:
http://www.tamaracklodgetc.com/ownershi ... allery.php

....in Traverse City, MI area looks interesting -- relaxing getaway for some fun in the sun in a resort-like beachfront lodge. Anyone recommend the Traverse City area? How does it compare to Wisconsin Dells?

I've been to South Haven, MI and that was a very nice day visit by the nice beach but haven't done a multi-day trip there.

Any suggestions?
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Levett
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Post by Levett » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:12 pm

Hi Ken,

We've rented a home next month just outside of Traverse City (Maple City) for a large family gathering. Traverse City has lots to do--for adults and children. If you go, be sure to visit both Leelanau Peninsula as well as Old Mission Peninsula. If you like wine, there are several nice tasting rooms in Old Mission.

Another nice place--even closer to Chicago--is Saugatuck/Douglas. http://www.saugatuck.com/are.asp.

If you're willing to drive somewhat further north the trio of Charlevoix, Petoskey, and Harbor Springs is hard to beat--great for adults and children and many many outdoor activities. Bob U.

P.S. We LUV Chicago money in MI! :lol:
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Post by sport » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:12 pm

Of course, it depends on how you want to spend your time during the vacation. Sightseeing, playing golf, sunning on the beach, and going to museums all happen in different locations. That said, Mackinac Island is an interesting place to spend a few days.

Jeff

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Post by Stonebr » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:24 pm

Traverse City is nice, but Charlevoix is nice too and just up the coast. Make sure you load up on Cherry Jam. That whole area would make a great weekend. Nicer still is Mackinac Island and the Upper Peninsula. Driving is easy in that area -- wide straight roads, not too much traffic.

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Post by FinanceGeek » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:32 pm

+1 on both Traverse City (check out the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes!) and the Upper Penn. is cool too.

Also Door County, Wisconsin.

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Post by Lake Living » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:46 pm

Check out HarborCountry.org for more info on SW Michigan. Dells are best if your kids are less than HS age IMO.

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Post by DaleMaley » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:53 pm

The new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in springfield is outstanding. Even my 18 year old son enjoyed it!!

You can also visit his house in Springfield. Or visit the log cabins in New Salem.

I think Springfield still has a good sized water park...my kids enjoyed the museum.....and they really liked the water park afterwards.
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Post by Kenster1 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:53 pm

Ok thanks - will check out the suggestions so far.

How's the water at these places?

For day trips - I've always liked going to the Indiana Dune Beaches because it's located at the southern tip of Lake Michigan and the water is shallow -- so the water is relatively warm for lake Michigan.

But I freeze my butt off in the lake Michigan water in the Chicago area (e.g. North-side Chicago beach areas).

p.s. Yeah I have a young-one (less than 2 yrs old) and so she won't be interested in some of those historic museums - maybe in a few years :wink:
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Kenster1

Post by haban01 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:01 pm

I would suggest Door County! I live about one hour south of Sturgeon Bay. It is an excellent time with many quaint shops, trains, restaurants, sandy beaches, sunsets and much more :).

http://www.doorcounty.com/

http://www.door-county.com/

I would suggest staying on the "Bay" side (Fish Creek, Ephraim, Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, etc.)

Warm Regards, Eric Haban

Door County, Wisconsin
From Wikipedia,

Wisconsin's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded 1851
Seat Sturgeon Bay
Area
- Total
- Land
- Water
2,370 sq mi (6,138 km²)
482.72 sq mi (1,250 km²)
1,887 sq mi (4,888 km²),
Population
- (2000)
- Density
27,961
57.92/sq mi (22/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website: www.co.door.wi.gov/

Door County courthouseDoor County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of 2000, the population was 27,961. Its county seat is Sturgeon Bay. Door County is a popular vacation and tourist destination, especially for residents of south-eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

The county is named after the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. The dangerous passage, now littered with shipwrecks, was known to early French explorers and local Native Americans. Because of the natural hazards of the strait, they gave it the French appellation Porte des Morts Passage, which in English means the "Door to the Way to Death," or simply, "Death's Door."

Contents [hide]
1 Geography
1.1 Major highways
1.2 National protected areas
2 History
3 Demographics
4 Tourism
5 Airports
6 City, villages, and towns
7 Unincorporated communities
8 References
9 External links



[edit] Geography
The county has a total area of 6,138 square kilometres (2,370 sq mi). 1,250 square kilometres (480 sq mi) of it is land and 4,888 square kilometres (1,887 sq mi) of it (79.63%) is water. The county also has more than 300 miles (480 km) of shoreline, more than almost any other in the country. This is one of the reasons that locals and tourists alike refer to the area as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. The county covers the majority of the Door Peninsula. With the completion of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal in 1881, the northern half of the peninsula, in actuality, became an island. Limestone outcroppings, part of the Niagara Escarpment, are visible on both shores of the peninsula, but are larger and more prominent on the Green Bay side. Progressions of dunes have created much of the rest of the shoreline, especially on the easterly side. Flora along the shore provides clear evidence of plant succession. The middle of the peninsula is mostly flat or rolling cultivated land. Soils overlaying the dolomite bedrock are very thin in the northern half of the county; 39% of the County is mapped as having less than three feet to bedrock. Beyond the northern tip of the peninsula, the partially submerged ridge forms a number of islands that stretch to the Garden Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The largest of these islands is Washington Island. Most of these islands form the Town of Washington.
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Post by MDOmnis » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:25 pm

If you've never been there and you like rides, I'd say Cedar Point.

http://www.cedarpoint.com

You could spend a day or two doing the Lake Erie Islands as well.
-Matt

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Post by Sheepdog » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:44 pm

Personally,
I would stay in Chicago and see all of the things you have seen before .... or maybe you never did..... I love Chicago...the multi museums, the aquarium, the zoo, the lake shore, theatre, opera, symphony, botanical gardens, the Cubs, the White Sox. Stay home and enjoy all of the things you have missed at home. You are in a great city, see it like a tourist. Don't want to stay in your house? Rent a hotel suite with a pool and live it up. Don't want to drive? Take a taxi. You have some great taxi drivers. Swim in the lake. Go out on the lake on a chartered fishing boat and catch some Coho salmon or lake trout. I bet your kids will have the greatest time with you. and think you are great.
Chicago, Chicago......
Jim
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

Levett
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Post by Levett » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:51 pm

Ken,

Sorry to say the water temp is quite cold and generally doesn't warm up until late July and on into August.

Here's a temp map. http://www.coastwatch.msu.edu/

On the other hand, an inland lake like Torch Lake (really quite beautiful) might work, but I'm not sure about late June. Bob U.
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Post by overpar » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:51 pm

I'm a left-coaster and when driving thru central WI stumbled upon "House on the Rock". Amazing collections

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Bruce
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Post by Bruce » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:04 pm

http://www.ssbadger.com/home.aspx

The SS Badger Car ferry across Lake Michigan, great way to see a Great Lake!

best regards,
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Post by haban01 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:37 pm

Hey Bruce.. I live about 10 blocks from where the carferry docks! We have an awesome "Mariner's Trail" along Lake Michigan that is an 8 Mile Paved Trail for walking/hiking/biking. It runs into the State Forest north of Two Rivers as well!

;)
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Kenster1
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Post by Kenster1 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:02 pm

Sheepdog wrote:Personally,
I would stay in Chicago and see all of the things you have seen before .... or maybe you never did..... I love Chicago...the multi museums, the aquarium, the zoo, the lake shore, theatre, opera, symphony, botanical gardens, the Cubs, the White Sox. Stay home and enjoy all of the things you have missed at home. You are in a great city, see it like a tourist. Don't want to stay in your house? Rent a hotel suite with a pool and live it up. Don't want to drive? Take a taxi. You have some great taxi drivers. Swim in the lake. Go out on the lake on a chartered fishing boat and catch some Coho salmon or lake trout. I bet your kids will have the greatest time with you. and think you are great.
Chicago, Chicago......
Jim
No, no - we want to get-away from the city. We've already done all of that stuff before --

Cubs & Sox games
Wrigleyville
Downtown hotel stays
Theatre shows
Dance clubs
Navy Pier (including nitetime firework show)
Seaquirium
Arts Museum
Science & Tech Museum
Millenium Park/Buckingham Fountain
Ravinia (great concerts)
Botanic Garden
Lincoln Park Zoo
Strolls along the beach walkway
John Hancock Tower (Signature Room -- great place to share a nice city view over drinks with friends)
Magnificent Mile shopping
House of Blues
Latin Dance bars
Northwestern University
Bucktown & Lakeview restaurant & bar scene
Chinatown dinners and dim sum
Jazzfest & Taste of Chicago
Greektown Festival
Peruvian Cultural festivals on University campuses
Six Flags
Chicago Venetian Boat Night (nice display of beautiful boats)
.....etc, etc, etc......

We've done all this in Chicagoland and many times over because whenver we get visiting guests we take them to a number of these sites. Definitely want a more family-oriented, relaxing resort-like area like some of the suggestions made.

Yeah I heard Door-County is really nice -- will think about it and if I don't make it this time around, I will be sure to make another trip during the fall season as the colorful scenery I've heard is gorgeous.
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Post by nisiprius » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:07 pm

Another vote for Door County, Wisconsin. With a recommendation for Pelletier's Fish Boil in Fish Creek, and Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Fish Creek. You will recognize Al Johnson's by the goats grazing on the grass on the roof.

Also, if you are going through Wisconsin and have ever wondered about The House on the Rock--see it. The only way to describe it is "indescribable."
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Post by Sheepdog » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:07 pm

No, no - we want to get-away from the city. We've already done all of that stuff before --
Okay, you must get away. Take the ferry across to Michigan. Go up to Thunderbay Resort at Hillman, Michigan http://www.thunderbayresort.com/ in upper Michigan. Golf, swim, see wildlife up close, especially elks. Go on elk view carriange rides to a gourmet dinners and wine tasting. Be sure to look at the videos on the website. They have various lodging, all very nice. They have special weekend packages as you will see on the website. We like it up there in the winter also.
Drive over a little farther and you are on Lake Huron. Fishing, boating, hiking scenery around the east side.
Jim
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

Ziggy75
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Post by Ziggy75 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:01 pm

For a little longer trip, how about Niagra Falls...

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Post by gkaplan » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:32 pm

I'm not sure Niagara Falls qualifies as the middle west.
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Traverse City...or Duluth?!

Post by AerialP » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:44 pm

I agree that the Traverse City area is a wonderful place to visit for several days and has options to appeal to just about everyone.
BUT, have you considered Duluth, MN? I don't think it's much further of a drive than Traverse City, depending on where in Chicagoland you live, and it really is a hidden gem of sorts. The Canal Park area is wonderful, with a great lakewalk and a fantastic museum of shipping history courtesy of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Folks of all ages like to watch the lake freighters come & go. Great Lakes Aquarium & a unique zoo. Not too cheekily referred to as "The San Francisco of the Midwest". Affordable. Good restaurants. The downtown is nice, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. I advise giving it a serious ponder...

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Post by newbie001 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:49 pm

Another vote for Door County. It is beautiful, especially in winter. Hope to retire there one day.

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Post by Ziggy75 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:15 am

How about the Mall of America.

Yes, Niagara Falls is not in the MidWest. It is a few hours east of Ohio though. It would be about a 9 hour drive from Chicago.

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Kenster1
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Post by Kenster1 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:49 am

Well I ended up going to Traverse City, Michigan and it was a very nice and relaxing visit.

This was a last minute decision as you can tell I was asking for opinions on Tuesday last week. Boy it was hot on Thursday -- I think around 90's.

Stayed at a Beachfront hotel with water view and because of a thunderstorm on Thursday nite, it made the water remarkably warm on Friday and so swimming was pleasant. And Friday of course was another beautiful and hot day -- I think it was upper 80's....very pleasant day to spend on the beach because the water was warm and the sand wasn't scorching hot and so made it fun for my infant daughter enjoy the sand and water.

It was also nice because our beach in front of the hotel was private and so you didn't get scores of people packing into our beach area. Because of the hot weather on Thursday and Friday, there was a fair amount of people hitting the public beaches. And Saturday was very nice too -- partly cloudly, partly sunny but still fairly hot around I think mid-upper 80's. Perfect to enjoy without getting scortched by the sun.

Traverse City has a nice little downtown right by the waterfront where you can stroll for several blocks and shop, dine, drink a beer, sip a glass of wine and sit outside and enjoy an iced latte, ice-cream or dessert. The downtown area was well-kept.

Because of the distance to Traverse City, my next shorter trips this summer might be to South Haven (where I've been to before and is also nice and has quite a busy beach) and Saugatuk (new for me) -- both are in Michigan.

On short day trips where I go from morning to night - I like to go to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin simply because of the short drive from suburban Chicago --- and they also have a nice little downtown over by the lake. Wow, the homes around that lake look nice but way out of my price range.

Then I will probably save the fall season for Door County -- which should offer a beautiful scenic view and I also heard that this also a great place to go kayaking and canoeing.

Thanks for all the suggestions and will consider them all in future trips.
Last edited by Kenster1 on Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by nisiprius » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:13 pm

Kenster1 wrote:On short day trips where I go from morning to night - I like to go to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin simply because of the short drive to suburban Chicago --- and they also have a nice little downtown over by the lake.
Have you visited Yerkes Observatory? Not for everyone, but both my wife and I found it to be a surprisingly moving experience. They don't build that kind of monumental architecture anymore. Wonderful old turn-of-the-1900s machinery. A new-agey lady who went on the tour with us informed me that anything shaped like a dome resonates with cosmic vibrations, and if I believed that anywhere I have believed it there.

Interesting history regarding Yerkes' ego, how people in Chicago sort of hated him and he was trying to garner some personal PR, and the rivalry between Lick and Yerkes, Yerkes having a slightly larger instrument but, alas, far poorer observing conditions at lakeside and low elevation. Some famous astronomer made a snarky remark about it being "a pleasant and easygoing place where we sometimes see the stars."

If you have ever visited or plan to visit Yerkes, for a real stitch, rent a DVD of the movie Chain Reaction, in which Keanu Reeves and his yummy love interest have gunfights on the observatory roof and airboat chases across frozen Geneva Lake. About ten minutes of the film takes place in or near Yerkes.

I didn't know that when I first saw the film. There's a sort of sneaky setup when they escape from bad guys by boarding a train in Chicago to go to "Williams Bay," where a trusted friend lives. I'm probably one of the 0.01% percent of the population to whom the name "Williams Bay" means something, so I started to wonder at that point. They arrive and go up to the door of a building, framed so you can't see much of the building, open the door, and revealing their friend who just happens to be standing with her eye up to the eyepiece of the big historic refractor. That their friend just happens to be an astronomer and that she lives at Yerkes isn't revealed until the door is open.

It might be a "last time to see" because some developer wants to buy the property and build houses on the extensive Yerkes campus. I'm not sure what the status of that project is. Citizens may have succeeded in putting on hold.
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Post by Levett » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:11 pm

Glad to hear you had a pleasant visit to TC, Ken. Bob U.
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Post by IL Int Med » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:22 pm

Do you have children? How old?

Indianapolis is only 3 hours from Chicago. It has the biggest children's museum in the country (they claim the world). The zoo is supposed to be pretty good too. Their art museum is free (always good for Bogleheads) There's of course the Speedway.

Things are definitely more affordable than Chicago (with it's >10% sales tax too). Parking for 8 hours in Millenium Park cost me $29 last week. Add $18 per adult for the Art Institute. Add $50 for lunch for 4 at a *modest* Chinatown eatery. Add $8 for parking 75 minutes to eat lunch. It adds up fast.

Don't get me wrong. I love Chicago and live in its suburbs, but it ain't a cheap place.

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Post by Unormal » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:42 pm

IL Int Med wrote:Do you have children? How old?

Indianapolis is only 3 hours from Chicago. It has the biggest children's museum in the country (they claim the world). The zoo is supposed to be pretty good too. Their art museum is free (always good for Bogleheads) There's of course the Speedway.

Things are definitely more affordable than Chicago (with it's >10% sales tax too). Parking for 8 hours in Millenium Park cost me $29 last week. Add $18 per adult for the Art Institute. Add $50 for lunch for 4 at a *modest* Chinatown eatery. Add $8 for parking 75 minutes to eat lunch. It adds up fast.

Don't get me wrong. I love Chicago and live in its suburbs, but it ain't a cheap place.
The Children's museum is indeed pretty awesome, it's big enough to make a whole day-trip out of, for sure. It has alot of great areas and exhibits for kids 1-4 to play, which I find to be particularly rare.

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Post by Sheepdog » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:09 pm

[
The Children's museum is indeed pretty awesome, it's big enough to make a whole day-trip out of, for sure. It has alot of great areas and exhibits for kids 1-4 to play, which I find to be particularly rare
.

And the Children's Museum in Indy has the King Tut exhibit there (more for older children and adults) which opened on 6/27 and will be there until October. Lot's of King Tut's treasures.
Jim
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Post by Kenster1 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:16 pm

Children's Museum in Indy? Hmmm...guess I'll have to look it up. My daughter is only 18 months and so maybe half a day there and half a day somewhere else would be ok.

Yeah what's bad is the I-94 construction and boy that bumper to bumper line up of cars on the I-94 waiting to go to Indy via I-65 South can be quite long as I saw last week when I passed by. Going to Indy say on Saturday morning is fine but if doing it say on Thursday or Friday mid-morning -- traffic will be bad.

When I was coming back home from MI on Sunday late afternoon and passing thru Indiana on the I-94, traffic was bad -- there was bumper to bumper construction traffic from a portion of Indiana and into the Illinois border. Lots of IL weekend travelers who were out in Indiana and Michigan returning home.

Yeah I hear ya about the costs adding up in Chicago. And if you decide to leave your car in the parking lot because you don't want to pay $29 twice at 2 different locations then taking taxis to get around can also add up. And make sure you don't fill up gas in the City area as you'll be shocked by the gas prices. Bring your own water and soda cans to hang out at Millenium Park and Navy Pier as those things can really add up because they're pricey (and even pricier now with more embedded taxes).

I haven't seen the prices yet but the City parking has been privatized and heard that it's now expensive. I heard that what used to be maybe $1.50 worth of quarters to park 2 hrs at some of the parking meters now run something like $6.

The thing about Chicago too unlike most metro cities is that the traffic on the weekends is quite bad going to and from downtown. Going downtown from the Burbs on Saturday at noon? 5pm? 9pm? Get ready for some slow bumper to bumper traffic. Even Sundays can be bad. I have been in a few traffic jams even at 1 am on the highway leaving Chicago.
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Post by IL Int Med » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:18 pm

Kenster1 wrote:Children's Museum in Indy? Hmmm...guess I'll have to look it up. My daughter is only 18 months and so maybe half a day there and half a day somewhere else would be ok.

18 months? She'll enjoy the play area at Indy just fine. In fact, when my younger daughter was there at 9 months, she liked it quite a bit already.

We went to Indy about 3 weeks ago. Left Chicagoland at 9 pm so the kids could fall asleep instead of make noise. Forgot about 1 hour time change though and got there around 1:30 AM Indy time. Got a hotel with indoor pool and free hot breakfast for about $65 per night. Went to the Children's Museum the first day and on the second day dropped my parents off at the free art museum in the morning while the kids thrashed around in the pool and then took their naps in the early afternoon. Then we took the kids to the art museum too and they had a free art project for them to do while we toured the museum. Even with gas for the minivan it's still cheaper than going to the Art Institute of Chicago ($60 for 2 adults and 2 seniors + $29 parking). Not same caliber of museum though Indy's is certainly not bad.

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Post by gimd » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:03 pm

Just read an article in North Shore mag about Spring Green WI - just outside of Madison. The American Players Theatre http://www.playinthewoods.org/
is there, and one can see three different high quality plays in a weekend, and have time during the day for other activities.

A Frank Lloyd Wright house is there to tour http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/.

Sounds like a long weekend with the spouse.

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Post by nisiprius » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:29 pm

gimd wrote:Just read an article in North Shore mag about Spring Green WI - just outside of Madison. The American Players Theatre http://www.playinthewoods.org/
is there, and one can see three different high quality plays in a weekend, and have time during the day for other activities.

A Frank Lloyd Wright house is there to tour http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/.

Sounds like a long weekend with the spouse.
And The House on the Rock is in that area, too.
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Post by 500Kaiser » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:41 pm

I live in Indy and have 3 kids.

Things to do here.

Childrens museum is great.
Indy 500 Racetrack has a tour and a museum and its really cool.
We go for day trips down to Bloomington Indiana area: Hiking in Brown County State Park, Fishing/Boating at Lake Monroe, Bloomington is a nice college town and a beautiful university
Downtown Indy is very active with lots of stores, restaurants, a mall in the middle of downtown.
Kings Island down in Cincinnatti is a day trip
Conner Prairie is a living history museum with pioneer types of stuff, very popular.

On a side note, we just spent a week in Branson Missouri and had a great time with the kids, extremely family friendly, reminded me of the dells alot.

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Location: Wisconsin

Post by Lacrocious » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:00 pm

I would vote for St. Louis, MO. See the Arch and museum, City Museum (Great for kids - Hint - it's not really a museum, but rather a grand play land for kids to adults - http://www.citymuseum.org). There's a Planetarium, parks, all sorts of fun things to fill a few days.

We went down for a long weekend, spent a night in Springfield, IL for the Lincoln Museum, then on to St. Louis. The kids enjoyed it so much that they wanted to go back again the next year, so we did.

- L

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mudfud
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Post by mudfud » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:24 am

IL Int Med wrote:Even with gas for the minivan it's still cheaper than going to the Art Institute of Chicago ($60 for 2 adults and 2 seniors + $29 parking).
Yes, it can be expensive. However, the Art Institute offers free admission from 5 pm to 9 pm on Thursday and Friday, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Parking in the Monroe Street Garage is $14 for upto 12 hours.
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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:30 am

If you like Roller Coasters, Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. Then go boating or visit the Lake Erie Islands.

http://www.cedarpoint.com/
http://putinbayreservations.com/

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