National Parks / Natural World in MADISON with kids

The world has some incredible natural wonders, and luckily for you, Madison has some incredible places to visit with kids right on your doorstep….and you won’t want to forget your camera!

The national and state parks in and around Madison, Wisconsin offer an incredible variety of experiences for children.  Some parks protect a unique and diverse wilderness, teeming with wildlife which is always a thrill for kids!

Some parks protect incredible fascinating and significant historical sites, where the family can go back in time through American history…who says the learning as to stop on a family day out!

Even the city of Madison itself has smaller parks perfect for a quick trip into nature.  You don’t even need to leave the city to have that park experience - and kids LOVE them!

Shut those televisions off and put those computer games away….the great outdoors is calling and it’s calling YOU!

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  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens

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    (4 miles) Madison

    16 acres of outdoor natural beauty and gardens for the family to explore, with exotic plants, birds, and even a waterfall - all for FREE!

  • Ice Age National Scenic Trail

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    (13 miles) Cross Plains

    An incredible 1,200 miles of trail that traces the glaciers edge which existed 15,000 years ago! A great historical family adventure in Wisconsin!

  • Cypress Grove Nature Park

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    (50 miles) Jackson

    Come and enjoy over 150 acres of beautiful river bottom land, view the nature center and enjoy picnic areas and an observation tower.

  • Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

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    (59 miles) Rockford

    Come and get back to nature by exploring a beautiful botanical garden at Klehm Arboretum in Illinois!

  • Lakeside Park

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    (69 miles) Fond du Lac

    Picnic areas and playgrounds aplenty, mini train and carousel, plus explore the Lakeside Park Lighthouse and observation tower or go boating on Lake Winnebago (seasonal).

  • Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary

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    (70 miles) West Bend

    Take a 'buck buggie' ride and see elk, deer,buffalo and other wildlife. Lots of fun for the whole family!

  • Check out other fun things to do below...

  • UW Geology Museum

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    Madison

    Take a journey into the deep history of Wisconsin at this fascinating Geology Museum, with hands-on learning for kids!

  • Madison Childrens Museum

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    (1 miles) Madison

    Features include art studio, interactive gear and water exhibits, restored log cabin with period activities, and two unique and highly imaginative eco play areas with one for under 5s and one for ...

  • MacKenzie Environmental Education Center

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    (22 miles) Poynette

    Feaures include hands on in and outdoor live wildlife exhibits, self guided nature trails, museums, a fire tower and large picnic area.

  • Circus World Museum

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    (32 miles) Baraboo

    A fun and interesting collection of fascinating circus artifacts - it might even be the largest in the world! Historic circus fun for the whole family in Wisconsin!

  • Mid Continent Railway Museum

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    (36 miles) North Freedom

    Experience this outdoor, living museum recreating the "Golden Age of Railroading" back in the 19th century! Locomotive fun for kids in Wisconsin!

  • Burpee Museum of Natural History

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    (57 miles) Rockford

    Welcome! Burpee Museum is a natural history museum specializing in paleontology, geology, biology, and Native American life. We have three floors of exhibits.

  • Discovery Center Museum

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    (57 miles) Rockford

    The amazing Discovery Center Museum is full of over 250 exciting hands-on exhibits spread over a two-floor area. Out in the museum's backyard, visitors can explore Rock River Discovery Park, a giant, ...

  • Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum

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    (58 miles) Rockford

    A step back in time at one of only a handful of Swiss-style homes remaining in the USA from the 1800s. Filled with Victorian Era furnishings and artifacts, it also has a fascinating Indian Burial ...

  • Midway Village Museum

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    (59 miles) Rockford

    Interpreters in authentic period clothing bring Northern Illinois history to life in authentic Midway Village and engage students through a variety of hands-on activities--from rope making to ...

  • Illinois Railway Museum

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    (73 miles) Union

    The Illinois Railway Museum, as you see it today, is the result of decades of effort by a dynamic group of dedicated volunteers. All of the buildings, track, locomotives and cars were assembled here ...

  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

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    (75 miles) Dubuque

    Fun and learning flow together along the Mississippi River! Hands-on features and interactive exhibits ready for kids to explore in both indoor and outdoor spaces!

  • Volo Auto Museum

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    (81 miles) Volo

    30 acres of automobile fun in Illinois, with Hollywood cars, classic cars and a Kids Zone!

  • Lake County Discovery Museum

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    (86 miles) Wauconda

    Showcases aspects of local history using intriguing exhibits and hands on features to keep learning fun. Permanent and travelling exhibitions.

  • Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bike Museum

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    (93 miles) Sparta

    The Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bike Museum, Inc. is dedicated to enhancing an understanding and encouraging an interest and appreciation in the career of Donald Kent "Deke" Slayton, History of ...

  • Henry Vilas Zoo

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    (1 miles) Madison

    Free entry family zoo including multiple children's zoo features, discovery centre, herpetarium, plus train and carousel rides.

  • Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue

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    (38 miles) Rock Springs

    Offering self guided tours of the rescue facility, plus 3 varying led-tour types for a more intensive experience, including Morning Feeding and the thrilling Night Tour.

  • Timbavati Wildlife

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    (42 miles) Wisconsin Dells

    Experience an up close and personal encounter with a variety of animals guaranteed to give you memories for a lifetime. Enjoy the new Camel Ride or a take stroll around the Storybook Gardens, this ...

  • Green Meadows Petting Farm

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    (61 miles) East Troy

    A fun and educational animal petting zoo with interactive animal experiences, pony rides, hay rides and even kittens!

  • Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo

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    (62 miles) Byron

    Over 30 species of animal for observation, plus environmental education classes and workshops held largely aimed at children and a live snake exhibit in the Nature Centre. Green ski run and ...

  • Summerfield Zoo

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    (66 miles) Belvidere

    From the Alligators to the Zebra, this sweet Illinois zoo and farm has family fun, education, and entertainment! Great for those personal animal experiences!

  • Milwaukee County Zoo

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    (69 miles) Milwaukee

    More than 2,275 creatures are waiting in this family friendly zoo, with workshops, concerts and food festivals too! A fun animal filled day out for all ages in Milwaukee!

  • Monster Truck World

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    (41 miles) Wisconsin Dells

    Monster Truck World is designed to offer calm seats toward the front and mid to extreme THRILL seats behind axel in rear and outer thrill seats for the visually brave and persons with no vertigo ...

  • Wisconsin Dells Army Ducks

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    (42 miles) Wisconsin Dells

    Dells Army Duck Tours pilot and guide you on an expedition through our wilderness in WWII amphibious vehicles, called ducks. It's fun, entertaining and a must tour when visiting Wisconsin Dells!

  • East Troy Electric Railroad

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    (54 miles) East Troy

    The East Troy Electric Railroad runs from East Troy to Mukwonago in southeast Wisconsin. Regular weekend service begins May 10th and continues every weekend and holiday through October 26th. Weekday ...

  • Mt. Olympus and The Bay

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    (42 miles) Wisconsin Dells

    With an indoor AND outdoor theme park, outdoor water park, AND indoor water park all waiting to be enjoyed - Mt Olympus is certainly an exciting place to visit for all ages!

  • Timber Falls Adventure Park

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    (43 miles) Wisconsin Dells

    How can you go wrong at an amusement park that measures fun in screams per second! Rides for all ages in this exciting Wisconsin attraction.

  • Santas Village Azoosment Park

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    (89 miles) East Dundee

    Great family fun spending the day in three amusement parks in one...as well as a zoo!

  • Kalaharis Indoor Outdoor Waterpark

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    (39 miles) Wisconsin Dells

    Indoor AND outdoor fun with these water parks at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin, with and indoor theme park too!

  • Noah's Ark Waterpark

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    (41 miles) Wisconsin Dells

    Make a splash at America's LARGEST water park, with waterslides, wave pools, tube rides, mini golfs, arcades, and much more!