The Top 10 Things to Do With Kids In Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Eau Claire is a city of approximately 65,000 located in northwestern Wisconsin. Built on the confluence of two rivers, Eau Claire originally began as a logging camp and used it's prime location to grow rapidly in the 19th and early 20th century. Many of the attractions around the area are still focused on it's history of logging and agriculture.
Eau Claire has tons of fun activities for all ages but has a particular abundance of family friendly attractions. Whether you're spending a day or a week in Eau Claire, this list will give you plenty of ideas to keep busy.
#10 Children's Museum of Eau Claire
Centrally located in downtown, the Children's Museum of Eau Claire is a great place to spend an afternoon with kids. The museum contains six main exhibits that are designed for children up to age 10. There are also events held on a regular basis and you can even rent out rooms for themed birthday parties. Admission to the museum is $5 per person with children under 1 admitted for free. Family memberships are also available.
#9 Metropolis Resort
Metropolis Resort is located just off of I-94 on the south side of Eau Claire. While the Metropolis has a variety of themed guest rooms, the main attraction is the attached Chaos Waterpark and Action City Family Fun Center. Chaos Waterpark has a variety of waterslides, a lazy river, and a kiddie area. It also has a luxurious hot tub area for the adults. Action City is an arcade with over 100 games but also claims to have the Midwest's largest indoor go-kart track. In addition to this, there is laser tag, batting cages, bumper cars, mini-bowling, and much more.
#8 Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum
The Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum is a replica of an old time logging camp that let's you travel back in time and see what life was like in the 1890's. Located in Carson Park, the museum is an authentic replica of a logging camp that could have existed over 100 years ago. Start with a short film and view artifacts that depict life in the camp. Then set out to visit the camp buildings that include a blacksmith shop, cook shanty, and barn.
#7 Irvine Park
Ok, so technically Irvine Park is in Chippewa Falls and not Eau Claire but it's a must see when visiting the area. It's a quick 25 minute drive to this 318 acre park and it's totally worth it. The main attraction is the free Irvine Park Zoo which houses animals such as tigers, bears, bobcats, deer, bison, and more. A petting zoo is open in the summer time while the famous Christmas Village with over 100,000 lights is a popular attraction in the winter. There are also numerous trails for hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
#6 Chippewa Valley Railroad
While you're visiting Carson Park swing by the Chippewa Valley Railroad. The 1/4 size replica train is open for riders every Sunday and holidays during the summer months. The kids will love the authentic experience of the steam and diesel locomotives and the sharply dressed conductors.
#5 A Summer Festival
Notice how I didn't say which one? That's because it is literally impossible to pick the best with sheer variety of festivals in and around Eau Claire. Like music? Head to Country Jam, the Blue Ox Music Festival, or the brand new Eaux Claires festival. Want something a little more kid-friendly? How about Summerfest, Festival in the Pines, Taste of the Valley, or the Northern Wisconsin State Fair.
#4 Sounds Like Summer Concert Series
The Sounds Like Summer Concert Series is a free concert series that happens every Thursday from 6:30pm-8:30pm at Phoenix Park in downtown Eau Claire from June-August. There is a variety of music to suit almost any taste but much of the fun is in socializing with other concert-goers. There are also many vendors providing food and other local goods.
#3 Downtown Farmer's Market
The Eau Claire Downtown Farmer's Market takes place every Saturday from May to October and Wednesday mornings & Thursday afternoons from June to October. The market has a variety of vendors selling fresh, seasonal produce and other local products such as baked goods and salsas.
#2 Eau Claire Express Game
Carson Park is a gem in the center of Eau Claire and the Carson Park Baseball Stadium is the centerpiece. The stadium opened in 1937 and was home to numerous minor league and amateur baseball teams. Hank Aaron actually played for the Eau Claire Bears/Braves and there is a statue outside of the stadium honoring him. The primary tenants now are the Eau Claire Express, a collegiate summer baseball team that plays in the Northwoods League. Enjoy the children's area along the third base line while you take in a game on a lazy summer evening.
#1 The Trails
One of the things Eau Claire is most known for is it's immense natural beauty. The city have taken advantage of that beauty by constructing a prolific trail system. The primary trail running through Eau Claire is the Chippewa River State Trail. This trail begins with it's trailhead at Phoenix Park and runs south all the way to Durand. Just before Durand, the trail connects with the Red Cedar Trail that goes to Menomonie. The trail also connects with the Old Abe State Trail at the Phoenix Park trailhead and heads northward through Chippewa Falls and all the way to Cornell. Bike rentals are available at Riverside Bike & Skate located just off of the trail in Eau Claire.