Sites around Madison, Wisconsin

Madison Travel Blog

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Madison, Wisconsin

My trip to Madison was a short yet memorable visit.  I arrived on a Saturday for the weekend I indulged in the six Farmers Markets throughout Madison.  The variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, dairy and flowers was a delight for the eyes and taste buds.

From there I was off to Olbrich Gardens where I delighted in landscape, floral designs, architecture, and summer concert in the gardens.  I was able to catch the tail end of the Blooming Butterfly exhibit which over-flowed with exotic butterflies and the traveling display of exotic insects in North America.  Experience the joy and delight of strolling through a tropical rain forest while searching for the fleeting butterflies.  The live butterflies are emerging from chrysalises daily in the Bolz Conservatory, which houses live butterflies.  It is a two-story glass pyramid filled with exotic plants from around the world, a rushing waterfall, fragrant orchids, and free-flying birds and for one month out of each year thousands of colorful butterflies.

The dainty painted lady, the exquisite swallowtail, the tropical zebra butterflies and up to two dozen other species of butterflies native to Wisconsin and tropical areas of the US can be seen feeding on the nectar of bright and fragrant flowers.

Then off to a must see when in Madison Monona Terrace which was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center opened its doors after nearly 60 years of debate in July 18, 1997.  It was first designed by Wisconsin native and internationally renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938 as a cultural, governmental and recreational building.  Wright reworked the design several times between 1938 and 1958 before signing off on the final plans seven weeks before his death in 1959.  Madison Monona Terrace is state of the art ad an architectural master-piece.  The building ends on the water with an amazing view.  I stayed long enough to see a remarkable sunset.  Then off to the night life, as a college town things liven up at night and there is plenty to do and see. 

After a late night and a bottle of Advil I was off and running and headed to the University of Wisconsin of Madison for a full campus visit.  The campus offers many attractions starting with a 100-minute guided walking tour.  It is best if you schedule the tour in advance because at times there is a wait.  If you enjoy the path to nature there are many choices for you on and around the campus the top five places include The Arboretum, Allen Centennial Gardens, Botanical Garden, Lakeshore Path (which is a walking, bike, or rollerblade path) and the Greenhouse.

The campus is full of sites for Art and the inspiring artists.  One of the highlighted spots is Chazen Museum of Art which houses a permanent collection of 16,000 works of art dating from 2300B.C to present day.  Then there is the Memorial Carillon a 85-foot tower which houses 56 bronze bells and on Sunday at 3:00pm enjoy free concerts.  There are three other places of interest that I heard amazing things about but did not see which includes Wisconsin Union Theater, University Theater and the Design Gallery.

There are six museums on the campus ranging from Art, Geology, Physics and more.  After a long day of walking, listening and photographing campus life, it is time for a trip to Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and Store.  This building was recently renovated and transformed the 50-year-old Babcock Dairy Store in to a fully designed snack factory with many treats to eat.  This is a perfect place to purchase cheese and their famous ice cream of many enjoyable flavors.  A note for the traveler on Sunday the store is closed, I visited on a Saturday on a home game weekend.

This trip was not planned although it was one amazing outing and the pictures are to come.

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photo by: DaveSwede