Sunday, September 21, 2008

On the Road in Wisconsin (part 2)

Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

I went to check out Lambeau Field before I left Wisconsin because I felt that it was something I needed to do in order to get the real Green Bay experience. I wanted to take the stadium tour because I heard that they actually let you go on the field. I arrived at 9:15 but unfortunately the first tour started at 11 am and I had to leave for the airport at 11:30 so I opted for the ticket to the Packers Hall of Fame which is located on the lower level of the stadium.

The museum was surprisingly nice. It had beautiful displays, sculptures, and really nice graphics. The labels were clear and well placed and there was also video footage to supplement the text. It had a good balance of technology and hands-on interactives plus lots of cool photo-ops with lifelike sculptures. They had tons of interesting artifacts and an exact replica of Vince Lombardi's office that you could walk through. There was also a separate area for kids to play in where they could put on football jerseys and throw footballs or slide down a giant hunk of cheese.

The exhibit was clean and well maintained, the content was well organized and I didn't find anything out of order or broken. The staff was also very friendly and helpful and even gave me the senior citizen discount when I told them I work in museums.

Even though I'm not a Packers fan I thought this was a great museum. I was really very impressed. I would recommend buying the Stadium Tour and Hall of Fame package. If you do take the stadium tour please let me know how it was since I never got to see it myself!

On the Road in Wisconsin (part 1)

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

I just spent the last week in Wisconsin. During the first half of the trip, I was in a city called Rothschild. With a population of 5,201, there wasn't much to do there. I tried reading the phone book but it was only 10 pages long. No kidding. This place had more cows than people. Thankfully, my hotel room came with a hot tub. This really helped with the boredom and the fact that it was a shocking 48 degrees outside after I just came from 80-degree weather in NY. I discovered there's a lot of things you can do while in the hot tub such as reading, watching TV, calling friends, text messaging, eating, sending emails, working on your laptop...blogging, etc...

So my travel tip for this week is: if you must travel, be sure to book a hotel room with a hot tub 3 feet from your bed. A flat-screen TV in the bathroom doesn't hurt either.

After my exciting trip to Rothschild, I drove back across the state (another 88 miles of corn) to Green Bay which is a relative metropolis compared to Rothschild. During this trip, my GPS and I got into our first fight. After an hour of driving, she led me back to where I started. Some harsh words were spoken but I realize it wasn't her fault and we've since made up. She didn't know there was highway construction and I know she would never intentionally lead me astray.

My first day there I went to the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. It's a beautiful 700-acre urban wildlife refuge that receives over 3,000 injured, orphaned and sick animals each year. They rehabilitate as many animals as possible and release them back into the wild. Animals that can't survive in the wild remain at the Wildlife Sanctuary. The park, which is Green Bay's largest city park, also has 6.6 miles of hiking trails and is open year-round with no admission fee.

I went on a day where the weather was perfect for outdoor activities. The animals were extremely friendly and were not shy about coming up close to the visitors (probably because you're allowed to buy food to feed them). One of the things I really liked about the park was that it offered unique views of wildlife such as this viewing tower in the picture to the left. The park was really pretty and had many benches and picnic areas with beautiful views of ponds. It wasn't crowded at all and was actually very peaceful. I just picked up a map at the Nature Center and walked at my leisure through the trails. This was definitely a great daytime outdoor activity that I would recommend for all ages.

Also, right across the street is the Bay Beach Amusement park (open seasonally) which had rides, go carts and mini-golf with a view of the waterfront.
For more info about the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
call (920) 391-3671 or go to

Friday, September 12, 2008

On the Road in Michigan & Canada (part 2)

Greenfield Village and Windsor Museum

I was in Michigan for 8 days and had some free time over the weekend so I went to the old car show at Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village houses more than 83 authentic historic sites throughout its 90 acres including the Wright Brothers' workshop, Thomas Edison's laboratory, the Firestone Farm and George Washington Carver's cabin. It has costumed presenters who give demonstrations in weaving, pottery, glass blowing, etc... and will answer all of your questions. You can also take a ride in a vintage Model T, hop on a steam-powered train, a horse-drawn omnibus or ride on a carousel from 1913.

That weekend, there were hundreds of old cars parked or driving throughout Greenfield Village so if you're someone who loves cars then this was the place to be. There was a lot to see and do and I would recommend Greenfield Village as a fun family activity.

The next day I took a drive over to Windsor, Canada. Its biggest attraction is Caesar's Casino so if you're like me and you're not into gambling then I would recommend taking a stroll along the river. There's separate walking and bike trails (you can rent a bike for only $5 an hour) and a pretty sculpture garden that runs along the entire path. There's also plenty of bathrooms, snack stands, and restaurants along the way if you want to take a break and enjoy the view of the Detroit skyline.

I also wandered around the city for a little while and stumbled upon the Windsor Museum which is free to the public and has an exhibit that in my opinion rivals the Museum of Jurassic technology in its weirdness.

(I had a similar exhibit in my childhood bedroom when I was about 10. This was back before I knew I wanted to be an exhibit designer or that such a thing even existed but I used to have artwork, sculptures, dioramas and artifacts displayed all over every inch of my room complete with interpretive signage. There was even a sign telling a story I made up about a hole in the wall that was created by a poor blind fly named Milly who met a tragic end when she crashed into the wall).

Well, my bedroom exhibit made more sense than the Windsor Museum which was set up in an old house that looked as if they dragged a bunch of stuff out of the attic and put it up all over the walls. But it had an un-museum like quality that I liked. It was unpretentious and absolutely devoid of any technology or special effects and I found it kind of nice that I wasn't sprayed with anything and wasn't forced to watch a movie. I get the feeling that most people who live in Windsor probably don't even know that this little gem exists but if you are planning a trip to the area I recommend popping in just to see for yourself because I think it's just impossible for me to describe in words and pictures just don't do it justice.

Now I'm back in NY for a couple of days and getting ready to leave for my trip to Wisconsin. It was great to be somewhere new but when my taxi dropped me off at my building and I was wheeling my suitcase up to my front door, my path was blocked by a woman who was letting her dog relieve himself on my stoop. I laughed and thought to myself, "Aah New's good to be home!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

On the Road in Michigan & Canada (part 1)

Here I am in Detroit, Michigan on week 2 of traveling. Last week was Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and home of our founding fathers. I had a lot of work to do so I had to do the speed tour on 5 hours' sleep and in the 2 hours of free time I had before I had to get back to the airport (see the delirious picture of me at the Liberty Bell). The good thing about being completely exhausted and delirious in another city is that you sometimes stumble into places that you're not supposed to be without even knowing it. Such as the Constitution Center. I somehow wandered in the wrong way and wound up seeing the whole exhibit (although backward) without having to pay admission.

Tips for visiting Philadelphia:
If you want to tour the Franklin Mint, don't bring a camera...because they won't let you in : (

Other traveling tips: 

1. GPS is a must-have. I don't know how I've lived my life without this. The person who invented the GPS should be awarded the Nobel Prize. I am currently looking into getting one surgically implanted in my brain. If anyone has any info about how I can achieve this please forward it to me! 

2. If the lock on your suitcase breaks and won't open and your house-keys are locked inside, there are plenty of airport employees who are more than happy and willing to break it off for you. As one security employee said, "We love to cut locks!" Thank you JFK airport for your determination and enthusiasm.

3. Don't fly Delta. Always a nightmare. Every time.

4. If you must travel, the best way to do it is on someone else's dime!

So now here I am in my Detroit hotel suite which is bigger than my NY apartment. So far I've been to Detroit, Lansing, Troy, and Dearborn. Detroit happens to be the hometown of my mentor and exhibit mastermind extraordinaire, Paul Orselli. Yesterday, on Paul's recommendation, I went to the Henry Ford Museum which was really impressive. I saw the "Chocolate" traveling exhibit. Which was great for many reasons but mostly because they have a delicious chocolate bar at the end. Yum! I love exhibits with food. I also saw the chair that Lincoln was assassinated in, Rosa Parks bus, the DC-3, the Kennedy presidential limousine, Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House (I'm a Bucky fan so this was my favorite. Bucky Fuller was a mastermind designer who was way ahead of his time), the Allegheny Locomotive and oh could I forget the biggest weiner I've ever seen.
I also took a tour of the Ford Rouge factory which I have to say was pretty boring since there was no production going on. If there was, I would have seen them making the Ford F-150. Instead, I saw an empty factory and wasted $7.50. Although, they do have a pretty interesting multi-sensory theater where they spray you and heat you as if you're the Ford being made on the assembly line. This was the second of 2 movies that you watch on the tour and I'm personally not very fond of exhibits with lots of videos. If I wanted to watch a movie I would have gone to a movie theater and not a museum. Since I was the only person on the tour (usually a good indicator that it's not a great exhibit) I had my very own tour guide and I learned that it's called "the Rouge" because the factory runs over the Rouge River. Which got its name because of the color it turns due to the red clay and minerals it picks up turning it red in color. Ok so maybe that was worth a buck seventy-five. If you're really into cars then you might enjoy this tour. But for someone like me who doesn't even own a car, then the chocolate exhibit is much more appealing.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the old car show at Greenfield Village, which has people dressed in period costumes from the 1800s (kind of like the Old-Bethpage village restoration) and also houses the Wright Brothers workshop, Thomas Edison's laboratory and George Washington Carver's cabin.

Then I'm off to Canada!