As part of a summer series, T+L is highlighting amazing lesser-known attractions found in the United States. Next up: where to spend a perfect summer day in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin families know there’s a well-kept secret just two hours north of Milwaukee, a place that's kid-friendly and relatively low-cost. Welcome to Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, a small park on the water packed with nostalgic carnival rides.
Let the kids loose on any of the park’s 21 rides, while the adults relax and grill out at the Bay Beach Pavilion or any of the seven large shelter and picnic areas. If you didn’t bring your picnic basket, there are plenty of concession stands with classic fair food, like burgers and cotton candy.
But while the little ones are hopping onto gentler rides, like the popular Bay Beach Train and Merry-Go-Round, thrill-seekers and history buffs can climb aboard the Zippin Pippin, an old-school wooden rollercoaster with a rock ‘n’ roll past. The coaster was designed and built in the early 1900s, and stood in Libertyland in Memphis. Elvis Presley himself was a huge fan, and would rent the park out just to ride the Zippin Pippin over and over again. The original ride was eventually dismantled, but its replica lives on at Bay Beach, where visitors can honor The King with a spin on his favorite coaster.
During its summer season (June through mid-August), Bay Beach Amusement Park is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The park remains open through September on the weekends with shortened hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
General admission and parking is free, and ride tickets are 25 cents each. Most rides are a couple tickets per rider, but the larger attractions, like the bumper cars and rollercoaster, cost up to four tickets. Ride tickets can be purchased in advance online, but it’s just as easy to buy them at the ticket office at the front gate.