In And Around Milwaukee

Situated in the center of the nation's breadbasket, Milwaukee and its surrounding area have plenty of attractions to whet the appetite as well as to satisfy the mind.

For a look at yet more butterflies, and many other creatures large and small, head for the Milwaukee County Zoo. It presents its own butterfly exhibit from June 17 through Sept. 30. "Butterflies! Living Jewels of the Mundo Maya" features more than 35 species of live tropical butterflies from Belize, Guatemala, southern Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. You'll also find Western lowland gorillas and bonobos in the "Apes of Africa" section, anacondas in the Aquatic Reptile Center, and vampire bats and two-toed sloths in the Small Mammal Building.

No trip to Wisconsin would be complete without a visit to one of the state's cheese factories. The dairy industry here attracted skilled cheese makers from Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, Italy and Scandinavia. Wisconsin still produces more than 35 percent of all cheese made in the U.S. - two billion pounds of it a year in 250 varieties. Much of it is still made in family-owned and operated cheese factories. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture site has a comprehensive list of tour locations. Many factories also have retail outlets so you can sample cheeses, send some as gifts, or take some home.

Wisconsin is also a legend in the brewing industry. The Beer Museum honors the brewing traditions brought to the area by the same Northern European settlers who created Wisconsin's cheese industry. In 1880, Milwaukee had more than 100 working breweries. Milwaukee is still a thriving center of beer culture. Tours are available at micro-breweries like the Lakefront Brewery
and industry giants like the colossal Miller Brewing Company, which is capable of processing 500,000 cases a day. Outside Milwaukee, try the Sprecher Brewery in Glendale, which boasts of its strict adherence to the Bavarian Purity Law, a code requiring only the freshest ingredients be used. Another fine choice is the Leinenkugel Brewery in scenic Chippewa Falls. In case you were wondering, they all offer samples.

If you like baseball with your beer, grab a cold one at County Stadium, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers' all-star slugger Jeremy Bernitz and an up-and-coming pitching staff make every game worth waching. The stadium should be packed when Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs come to town June 30 through July 2.

In and around Milwaukee are some of the best examples of the work of America's greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. During his 70-year career Wright designed everything from museums to banks to beer gardens here, near his birthplace. An example of his later work can be found in downtown Milwaukee. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church was designed in 1956 and completed after Wright's death in 1959.

Taliesin is the 600-acre estate where Wright lived and worked for most of his career. Located in the picturesque farm town of Spring Green, it is a definitive example of Wright's experiments in "prairie architecture." Completed in 1916, this grand stone house is nestled on the edge of the rolling hills of a quiet green meadow with a breath-taking view of the meandering Wisconsin River. Guided tours are available through the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, a former restaurant also designed by Wright, located across the street.

More examples of Wright's architecture and furniture design can be found at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

Contact the Frank Lloyd Wright In Wisconsin Organization for complete guides to public exhibits of Wright's work in the state.

For more on sight-seeing in Wisconsin:

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism site has extensive information about activities and attractions, events and accommodations across the state.

Information about Milwaukee attractions and events can be found at the site of the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau.