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Wisconsin is a state that is rich in agricultural heritage. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center of Manitowoc County, right off of Interstate 43 and south of Manitowoc, celebrates this history and teaches kids about the importance of family farms. This museum offers interactive exhibits, educational programming, and so much more! If you are looking for a fun and educational activity to do with your kids, Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is definitely worth checking out!
We got a sneak peek from the center’s Executive Director Patty Lehn at a meeting of the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association in their conference center before the Saturday family fun began. It was amazing to see what happens from the small dairy farms to the larger farm operations of Wisconsin.
History of the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center
What happens when a Wisconsin farmer drives past Fair Oaks Farm of Indiana and sees what they have built? Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is the answer to that question!
Norval Dvorak was the driving force behind the vision of the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center and the doors were able to open on July 28 of 2018.
Unlike the Indiana model which is a for-profit business, the State of Wisconsin model is a non-profit gem that was mostly funded by farm families and agritourism at Norval Dvorak’s urging. Private donations and grant money made this happen. It is all about the wonder of Wisconsin farming and with a slogan like “Where Curiosity Grows”, you know they are all about the curiosity about the miracle of farming.
It really is a museum that celebrates the agricultural heritage of Wisconsin and provides an interactive learning experience for kids about where their food comes from.
What kinds of exhibits do they have?
You may wonder why you should visit farm Wisconsin Discovery Center. After all, there are plenty of museums in Wisconsin. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is different because it celebrates the agricultural heritage of our state. It beautifully showcases the state’s diverse agricultural products. They are designed to provide an interactive agricultural education center so everyone has a better understanding of their food sources.
We love that the exhibits at Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center are interactive, which means that kids can get up close and personal with the exhibits! There are also educational programs available, which teach kids about the importance of family farms. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is a great place to learn about where our food comes from, and have fun doing it!
They offer exhibits for every age and interest – from being able to go to the Land ‘O Lakes Birthing Barn and see the miracle of life from local farm pregnant cows that are shipped in almost daily to give birth as the audience watches (no worries, they are behind a glass wall) to harvesting crops with a simulator. You can enjoy tons of things that showcase the diversity of Wisconsin Agriculture.
The exhibits and full of interactive displays and are called:
Field to Fork – Feeding Your Family, Wisconsin’s Diverse Agriculture – From Alfalfa to Zucchini, Wisconsin – America’s Dairyland, Agri-CULTURE – How are YOU Connected?, Common Ground – Balancing Farming and the Environment, and Advances in Food Production – The Cutting Edge.
You can learn how the small family farm has evolved over the years, how they use current tech, why it is important to them to take care of the environment, how what they raise affects the entire community, and so. much. more.
There is a lot packed into this center – which also has a cafe that serves up local favorites! You can learn about beekeeping in the observation hive or how corn is turned into ethanol fuel.
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center Activities
I was privy to a meeting where they chatted with Wisconsin farmers and talked about how they would and could work together on any topic. The focus was on education, family-friendly activities (ages 2 on up), and usually a timely hands-on treat for the time of year offered.
You need to check their events calendar to learn if it is Maple Syrup Days, Spring Baby Fever, Goats at Farm Wisconsin, Alpaca and Llama Extravaganza, Cheese Lover’s Celebration, and the list of amazing offerings goes on and on.
Most are on Saturdays! That means it is a great family activity from Milwaukee, Green Bay, and even Madison.
From what I was able to listen to – there are a lot of fun things planned for the future!
We were there for Spring Baby Fever and enjoyed petting the young llamas, baby goats, and even little lambs. We talked to our favorite goat farmer and even got a stuffed cow in the gift shop. The second floor was a ton of fun, the husband and teen challenged each other to see who could harvest the most grain on the simulator and my husband was fascinated by the life of a cow section.
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center Cafe
If you are a fan of Farm-to-Table dining as we are, The Wisconsin Cafe has your back! They locally source as much as possible and make sure each breakfast or lunch that leaves their kitchen is worth wrapping your lips around. I had a peach smoothie that morning and had to fight the teen off it.
Yes, they have cheese curds!
You don’t need to buy an admission ticket to eat here and can access it through the Farm House Store gift shop – again, no ticket is needed. Bonus? They carry Cedar Crest ice cream!
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center Tickets
While the tickets are reasonable for everything that is included, membership is where it is at. With all the different weekend events and educational experiences available, an $80 family membership pays for itself in an average of two visits over the course of a year. (It also gets you 10% off in the gift shop)
How much does Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center cost?
- Adults: $16
- Seniors: $12 (62+)
- Youth: $8 (4-18)
- Ages 3 and under: Free
You can get the tickets right in the museum’s lobby on the first floor.
Personally, I think that family membership is a fantastic gift! It is one of the coolest places and a perfect year-round destination.
Is Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center wheelchair accessible?
Yes! Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is wheelchair accessible. There are also elevators to get to the second floor that has hands-on fun educational exhibits.
What should I wear to Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center?
Casual clothing is recommended by Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center. You will be doing a lot of walking and sometimes getting down on the floor to explore so dress appropriately.
Can I bring my pet to Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center?
Service animals are welcome at Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center. Pets are not allowed. We know this for a fact as we brought Tazuna with us. Just make sure to keep them out of the Birthing Barn – or away from any live animals that are visiting. It is a distraction for both sides.
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center Hours
Like everyone else, there is a labor shortage issue in the area and they are open to the general public with limited hours. Special appointments are for groups, the occasional bus tour, school groups, and even weddings. They really want to accommodate everyone and share all the gems they have to offer.
- Thursday: 9 am-4 pm
- Friday: 9 am-4 pm
- Saturday: 9 am-4 pm
- + by Appointment.
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center Address
You can find it in Northern Wisconsin at 7001 Gass Lake Road Manitowoc, WI 54220
Just call first if you have any questions: Phone: 920.726.6000