This weekend we went to a town called Sheboygan, Wisconsin – a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee. Thanks to a good friend of mine, we had a gift certificate for a free night’s stay at a hotel in the area. I thought that was a great excuse to check out a place I’d heard about online recently, Bookworm Gardens, a children’s garden that is based completely on children’s literature—over 60 different books are represented, selected by reading specialists, librarians, teachers, and kids.
It was really amazing to see all of these stories come to life in beautiful gardens that our kids could not only see but also play in and explore. Best of all? Entrance to the gardens is completely free, though donations are happily accepted. We spent a few hours exploring the various gardens and I wish we lived closer so that I could visit them in all four seasons with the kids. It was a beautiful garden and a lot of fun for the whole family.
We had so much fun exploring a Magic Schoolbus, posing in picture frames, sitting in the Three Bears’ chairs, visiting the Hundred Acre Wood, reading stories together and much, much more. And mommy had a lot of fun sneaking in some nature photography while we were there.
That night we had dinner at The Duke of Devon, an English Pub on the riverfront with great food and a beautiful view of the river. Dan and I split their fish & chips and the kids enjoyed a really amazing grilled cheese sandwich (I totally had to steal a bite, it looked so good) and fruit. Afterwards we walked along the riverfront together, enjoying the view.
My husband really liked getting to read all the plaques about how the boat was made and how the wreckage was found buried in Sheboygan Harbor during the construction of the Harbor Marina. The kids liked getting to “walk inside a boat” and when we were done we walked to one of the playgrounds in the park where the kids had an absolute blast playing on a boat in slightly better condition!
Before we left, I dragged the family on another quick walk along the shore of Lake Michigan this time. We got to see the boat docks and a beach that looked like a fantastic place to take the kids next summer when the warm weather returns.
I didn’t take any pictures but we also visited the John Michael Kohler Art Center, a free museum with several different art exhibits on display, with a wide range of topic. I liked seeing The Kids Are Alright Exhibit with a lot of interesting (and okay, some very strange) pictures of the modern family dynamic. I will warn, that there were some partially nude photographs that might not be suitable for your kids – I walked most of this exhibit without them. The one exhibit the whole family enjoyed most was the Awkward Family Photos wall – it was like a segment out of Ellen Degeneres’s talk show in museum form! Certainly this was not an amazing art museum, but it was an interesting and free break from the cold air and some of the pieces were very beautiful.
After a yummy lunch & sundae at Cruisers Frozen Custard next to the Harley Davidson Store (loved their chili cheese dogs and of course the custard, we had a peanut butter cup sundae) it was time to head home.
The focus of our trip was to take in some of the free or nearly free things to see and do in Sheboygan for a fun, inexpensive weekend getaway. In future trips we’ll probably try some mini golf at Harbor Pointe, go to the Above and Beyond Children’s Museum or the Spaceport. We had a great weekend and we’ll definitely be back.