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Family Fun

Madison, Wisconsin is filled with family attractions designed with kids in mind, but most are engaging for teens and adults, too! Discover enriching themes--culture, heritage, environment, historical significance, leadership, and community--delivered in a meaningful and memorable way that is uniquely Madison.

Look at the list below to find an engaging experience that's right for your family. Or, check out our sample itineraries where you'll find options for kid friendly days at play!

Family Attractions

Henry Vilas Zoo

One of the nation's few admission-free zoos, Vilas Park Zoo is open year-round and is a great spot for kids and adults of all ages.702 S. Randall Ave., 608.266.4732, Admission: Free

Madison Parks and Beaches

The City of Madison has 13 beaches and a public pool for tons of water fun for the family.  There are also over 200 parks were you can take walks, play on the jungle gyms, play a number of sports or go sledding and ice skating in the winter. Madison also boasts their new dog parks which will get plenty of tails wagging.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens offer an indoor tropical conservatory, and outdoor gardens complete with exotic plants, flowers, birds, and a waterfall. 3330 Atwood Ave., 608.246.4550, Admission: $1 Adults; Children under 5 are free

UW Geology Museum

On your visit you can touch rocks from a time when there were volcanoes in Wisconsin; see corals, jellyfish and other sea creatures that used to live and swim where we now walk; and stand under the tusks of a mastodon while imagining yourself in the Ice Age. 1215 West Dayton Street, 608.262.2399, Admission: Free

Vitense Golfland

Have fun playing the most interactive, educational and fun miniature golf course around!  Vitense also offers batting cages, a climbing wall, junior golf, an arcade, water wars and The Green Tree Grill! 5501 W. Beltline Hwy, 608.271.1411

Wisconsin State Capitol

Completed in 1917, the Wisconsin State Capitol features the only granite dome in the nation. The interior contains 43 varieties of stone from around the world, decorative murals, glass mosaics and hand-carved furniture.
2 East Main Street, 608.266.0382, Admission: Free

Fireside Dinner Theater
Fireside Dinner Theatre

The Fireside Dinner Theatre is one of the Midwest's most popular professional theatres for couples, families and tour groups alike. Hwy 26 S, Fort Atkinson, 800.477.9505

The UW Arboretum

Feel free to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and walk or bike along miles of nature trails on your own or with the one of many knowledgeable guides. 1207 Seminole Hwy., 608.263.7888, Admission: Free

Madison Children's Museum
MCM Wheel

Play, learn, imagine and create at the award-winning Madison Children's Museum. 100 N. Hamilton St., 608.256.6445, Admission: $7.95 ages 2 & up; $6.95 seniors.

International Crane Foundation
Baby Crane

At the International Crane Foundation you can take a tour, walk the nature trails, or enjoy the art exhibit in the only place in the world where you can see all 15 crane species during their visitor season (April 15 - October 31). E11376 Shady Lane Rd., Baraboo, 608.356.9462

Cave of the Mounds
Cave of the Mounds

For more than 60 years, visitors have discovered why this is one of the best one day trips in the Midwest! Guided tours on paved, lighted walkways lead visitors past an unforgettable array of crystal formations.2975 Cave of the Mounds Road, Blue Mound, 608.437.3038

Overture Center for the Arts
Kids in the Rotunda

Every Saturday from fall through spring, Overture Center offers free arts programs called Kids in the Rotunda, designed for children and families at 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Performances feature storytellers, jugglers, magicians, puppeteers, theater troupes, and multicultural artists.  The 1:00 p.m. performances are sign language interpreted. 201 State Street, 608.258.4177, Admission: Free

Crawdaddy Cove Water Park
Crawdaddy Cove Water Park

Even if you are not staying at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Madison West, you can enjoy the Kiddie Waterslides and Adventure Pool! 1109 Fourier Drive, 608.826.0500 ext. 0. Day passes are available Sun-Thurs only; please call ahead for availability. Admission: $15 (Free for children 2 and under.)

Studio, You Paint It Pottery
Studio, You Paint It Potter

This walk-in studio for all ages specializes in pottery painting, parties and social gatherings. There are tons of pieces to choose from and our paints are lead-free, non-toxic and food safe. 6670 Odana Road, 608.833.1393


Kid Friendly Restaurants

Ella's Deli and Ice Cream

2902 East Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53704
(608) 241-5291
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
357 Price Place (Hilldale Location)
Madison, WI  53705
(608) 661-9400
Hubbard Avenue Diner
7445 Hubbard Avenue
Middleton, WI  53562
Tex Tubb's Taco Palace
2009 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI  53704
Market Street Diner
110 Market Street
Sun Prairie, WI 53590



Seasonal Activities for Children

International Festival (January)
This annual event at the Overture Center for the Arts celebrates the diverse cultures of Madison and the world with performances, food and crafts from more than 40 countries.

>>>201 State Street, 608.258.4157

Midwest Horse Fair
This event offers education, culture, history and all-around knowledge of horses.  With over 36 different breeds of horses on display, along with lectures and clinics that explain different aspects of horses, the Midwest Horse Fair is fun for the whole family. >>> 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, 608.267.3976

Madison Mallards Kids Days
Madison's favorite Baseball team hosts several Kids days through out the summer. Kids Day tickets include admission to Kids Day, lunch, one kids bleacher ticket, a free giveaway, and tons of family entertainment!
>>>2920 N. Sherman Avenue, 608.246.4277

Betty Lou Cruises Ice Cream Social Sightseeing Cruise
Enjoy all the Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream you can eat while cruising on the beautiful Lake Monona!
>>>Meet at Machinery Row, 608-246-3138

Dane County Fair (3rd week of July)
For over 150 years, the Dane County Fair has entertained families with a unique combination of youth exhibits, a Kiddie Barn, Marketplace, a food court, Carnival Midway and live entertainment at the Alliant Energy Center.
>>>1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, 608-224-0500

University of Wisconsin Madison Football Family Fun Day
The Badgers take a break from fall camp and take the opportunity to catch up with some family and friends at Camp Randall Stadium.  Here's your chance to meet the team so bring your UW gear and get autographs from your favorite players.
>>>1440 Monroe Street, 800.462.2343

Schuster's Playtime Farm
(September 17 - October 31)
Get a feel for the country 10 minutes from town! Schuster's promises fun for all ages with hayrides, corn mazes, haunted forest, barnyard, and a pumpkin patch.
>>>1326 Hwy. 12/18, Deerfield, WI  53531, 608.764.8488

Head to the Eplegaarden for horse-drawn hayrides through the orchard and selv plukk (U-Pick) apples, raspberries and pumpkins for lots of old fashion rural farm fun.
>>>2227 Fitchburg Road, Fitchburg, WI, 608.845.5966

Kid's Expo
The Kid's Expo is full of family entertainment, hands-on activities and educational presentations filled with exciting prizes and giveaways at the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center.
>>>1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, WI, 608.267.3976

UW Space Place
(special events throughout the year)
This is a vibrant public education center with professionally designed exhibits, classroom space, lecture room, and a roof top deck for sky viewing.  The Space Place provides hands-on activities, lively presentations, and informative lectures by UW researchers.  Space Place is only open during our scheduled events so visit their event calendar.
>>>2300 S. Park Street, 608-262-4779

Search for Family Fun events in our extensive events calendar.