Saturday, September 17, 2016

History and Fun in Madison, Wisconsin

My friend Roberta and I woke up early in our room at The Graduate Madison hotel. We both had full days in this Wisconsin capitol, even though it wasn’t all together.

I loved our room at The Graduate. It’s got a dorm room look, but certainly upgraded from what I shared with two other women (only for a semester, then I decided to get my own apartment).

The beds had cute pillows labeled, “Brat” and “Curd,” old-fashioned phones and notebooks, and even a unique clock.

We had a light breakfast downstairs at the Portage Pi coffee shop before heading to the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Not only is this zoo impressive, but there is no charge for admission or parking. I love the idea of exposing children to animals.

As a small child, my grandmother used to take me all the time to the (then free) Bronx Zoo. I think that has a lot to do with my love of all types of creatures even today.

This zoo is set up for the same experience with a Children’s Zoo that includes goats and red pandas. There is also a carousel and a train ride (for $2).

We were in awe as we watched the polar bears put on a show for us (video below). Then we visited the African lion, brown bears, and tigers before we left.

I headed to the tennis tournament for a few hours while Roberta explored more of Madison, Wisconsin, which included more free attractions.

The Overture Center for the Arts is a beautiful venue for all formats of the arts, from touring artists to shows.

Overture also has galleries and Roberta walked through and saw some paintings housed there.

She then strolled through downtown to photograph the Capitol Building in daytime. It looked very different from the night before, but the architecture is still striking.

Next was the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, which has interesting exhibits dating back hundreds of years.

Among them are displays honoring Wisconsin and the Civil War, the Philippine War, the Spanish-American War, World War I & II, and the Vietnam War, The Veterans Museum also examines the War on Terror and looks at years of Look at weapons, uniforms, medical equipment, and the evolution of medicines.

The State Historical Museum is another stop worth making in Madison. It looks at Native Americans in Wisconsin, the dairy and auto industries here, and the effects of historical events, such as the Suffrage Movement and the Great Depression.

After Roberta left downtown, she drove by Lake Mendota and watched the ice fisherman and hockey players on the frozen lake. It’s a site fairly limited to Wisconsin Winter.

She then picked me up at the University of Wisconsin, where I was covering a tennis tournament, and we headed back to The Graduate Hotel .

We had dinner at the Graduate’s rooftop restaurant, The Madison Blind.

We started with a cocktail while we looked over the menu.

The Madison Blind uses local ingredients so the menu changes often. We enjoyed the meatballs, cheese dip, a beet goat cheese salad with orange slices, and a black angus burger.

The desserts were too good to pass up. The Chocolate Banana Hand Pie, with vanilla ice cream, and the Profiteroles were scrumptious.

I always like dinner in hotel restaurants because I don’t have to get in a car and go anywhere after.

This was especially true as we were both exhausted for the day, and had much more to come in Madison.

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