Things to Do in Baraboo, Wisconsin

Places to visit in Baraboo, WI.

If you are looking for things to do in Baraboo, Wisconsin, there are a few options you can choose from. From visiting the Ochsner Park Zoo to spending time at Devil’s Lake State Park, there are several different ways to enjoy your visit.

Baraboo, Wisconsin, is an excellent place for people who want to see a little bit of everything. It’s got the big cities like Milwaukee and Madison, but it’s also got small-town charm and rural beauty. It’s home to some of the most famous attractions in the state and has plenty of unique offerings. Here are just some of the things you can do in Baraboo.

Best tourist attractions in Baraboo, Wisconsin

Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park is the third oldest state park in Wisconsin. It is located in the Baraboo Range in eastern Sauk County. The park features quartzite bluffs, sandy swimming beaches, and 29 hiking and biking trails.

Devil’s Lake is a great place to visit for a day trip. It’s also a popular destination for camping, fishing, boating, and swimming. The park offers camping opportunities, picnic areas, and showers. There is also a Nature Center that has wildlife displays and live reptiles. You can also take a Farm to Table wagon tour.

Devil's Lake State Park, WI
Devil’s Lake State Park, WI

The area of Devil’s Lake is believed to have been inhabited for tens of thousands of years. As a result, there are numerous effigy mounds in the area. These ancient burial sites are believed to have served spiritual purposes.

Circus World Museum

Circus World is a museum located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It’s home to the most extensive collection of circus artifacts worldwide. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus got their start here. They began touring the United States in 1884. In 1918, the two troupes merged and became known as the Ringling Brothers.

This museum features the world’s most extensive collection of authentic circus wagons, a library, and an outdoor area. It also includes an elephant show, a one-ring big top, and many other exciting exhibits.

Happy the Clown - Circus World, Baraboo, WI
Happy the Clown – Circus World, Baraboo, WI

The State Historical Society of Wisconsin operates the museum. There are seven full-time employees. Tickets cost about $10 in the spring & fall seasons and $20 in the summer season. Children under five years old are free.

For an exciting view, check out the panoramic images of performers from the 1920s.

Ochsner Park Zoo

The Ochsner Park Zoo in Baraboo, Wisconsin, has a lot to offer visitors. In addition to providing access to the Baraboo Riverwalk, the zoo features over fifteen species of animals.

Prairie dog in Ochsner Park Zoo
Prairie dog in Ochsner Park Zoo

The best part is that Ochsner Park Zoo is accessible to the public. So aside from the apparent critters, the zoo offers the chance to see a tiger show its stuff, or as the locals call it, the “big cat.” Luckily, if you’re in the mood for a little closer up, the zoo is only a few minutes from downtown Baraboo, Wisconsin.

The oh-so-popular Ochsner Park Zoo has been around since 1926 and features several exciting animal exhibits. For instance, the zoo features an elephant exhibit, a crocodile show, and a snake exhibit. In addition to the standard fare, the zoo also houses an impressive Big Cat Rescue and Sanctuary.

Pewit’s Nest

Pewit’s Nest is a small canyon and a famous swimming hole near Baraboo, Wisconsin. This isn’t a commercial swimming pool, but the general public can enjoy it. It is a state natural area owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Pewit's Nest
Pewit’s Nest

The most exciting part of this small but intriguing canyon is the waterfall. Located in an area where a glacier-carved away much of the sandstone, the Pewit’s Nest is a shallow, 200-yard gorge with a large rock formation and several waterfalls.

In addition to the waterfall, Pewit’s Nest is home to a small creek with its own trail leading to a lookout spot. It also has a sandstone mill that was once in operation.

pewit's nest
Pewit’s Nest

You’ll find Pewit’s Nest, a short walk from Lehman Road. Parking is available along the road during the busiest times of the day.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum

Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin, has been operating since 1963. The museum offers visitors a chance to ride aboard authentic railway trains. Visitors can also participate in themed adventures. Several special trains are available throughout the year, including wine, beer, and fall colors.

The museum features an extensive collection of restored rail cars and locomotives. Some restored trains include the 1940 Montana Western Doodlebug, a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, WI
Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, WI

The museum also displays original railroad equipment, such as snowplows and diesel locomotives. A large depot built in 1894 is still in use. You can also take a ride on a vintage railcar.

Train rides are the primary attraction at the museum. You can ride a restored steam or diesel locomotive. In addition, the museum operates trains on the Rattlesnake Spur, a branch line originally opened in 1903. This spur was abandoned in 1913 but was purchased by the museum in 1963.

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