Galena Jo Daviess County Illinois: Interview With a CVB

Annually over one million tourists visit this small town of 3,500 to enjoy it’s famed skiing, golfing, shopping, dining, and a very picturesque main street.  Galena Jo Daviess County Illinois is one of TripAdvisor’s “top 10 charming small towns” and is also home to many festivals and parades, perhaps the biggest of which is the annual Halloween Parade (coming October 25, 2014) which attracts nearly 15,000 spectators.

galena 1024x509 Galena Jo Daviess County Illinois: Interview With a CVB

Galena Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB)

I recently spent some time interviewing Betsy Kaage of the Galena Jo Daviess County CVB about all this Galena and what families can see, do, eat and where to stay in this gorgeous Midwestern small town: Continue reading

Madison, WI: Henry Vilas Zoo

The Henry Vilas Zoo is an unexpectedly large zoo with some of the latest zoo amenities, habitats, and activities, which really surprised me as it felt like a zoo that would be found in a much larger city than Madison, Wisconsin.  Although Madison is a gorgeous capitol city and home to the vibrant University of Wisconsin, it was it’s zoo, which is completely free, that resonated with me the most on our recent family visit.

 Madison, WI: Henry Vilas Zoo

Henry Villas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin

The Henry Vilas Zoo is one of the rare zoos in North America that are completely free (admission and parking are at no cost).  As mentioned, this is not your typical small or mid-sized city zoo, rather a zoo one would expect to find in a major city.  The Henry Vilas Zoo just recently completed a huge fundraising campaign that has resulted in many new animal habitats, with more to come.  In fact on our visit there was a massive construction project underway for what appeared to be a very, very big expansion of the zoo, including an impressive new bear habitat. Continue reading

Madison, WI: Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Home to the only Thai sala in the continental United States and my personal pick for best rose garden, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens are a surprisingly world-class botanical destination located in Madison, Wisconsin.  The over 70 year-old garden is actually made of several distinct gardens along with a large indoor conservatory and offers many special events throughout the year, such as the Blooming Butterflies on our recent visit.

 Madison, WI: Olbrich Botanical Gardens

The Thai Garden at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison

Admission to Olbrich is completely free, though they do charge a small fee to enter the Bolz Conservatory.  The gardens are located just minutes outside of downtown Madison, and also feature plenty of free parking.  The location is ideal for families, as the best family beach on Madison is just across the street (yes, swimming beaches in Wisconsin)!  On our visit, a special event was underway called Blooming Butterflies; the event feature hundreds of free roaming butterflies as well as a plethora of educational activities inside the large Bolz Conservatory, an all-glass greenhouse the shape of a pyramid. Continue reading