Your guide to fun in Baraboo

A weekly column written by the staff of Discover Wisconsin highlights things to do and see throughout the State of Wisconsin, and is made available for publication to members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. The column is accompanied by photos for use in print and online. The Discover Wisconsin logo can be downloaded here.

Your guide to fun in Baraboo

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Devil’s Lake Lavender

The Baraboo area happens to be home to some of the most gorgeous spots in Wisconsin. Whether you’re looking for your new go-to hiking location, a night out, or some good old-fashioned entertainment, Baraboo is the place for you. Here is our guide to fun in Baraboo:

1. Devil’s Lake State Park
Wisconsin’s State Parks system maintains dozens of properties, state parks, trails and recreational areas, and Devil’s Lake is probably one of the most well-known — and for good reason. This place is stunning. If you’re feeling ambitious, hike steep and rocky terrain, or leisurely walk a lakeside path, kayak the lake, or do some fishing.

2. Circus World
For many, one of the first things that comes to mind about Baraboo is the circus. Circus World puts on 1950s-inspired circus performances featuring a 25-foot unicycle, a trapeze artist, three well-cared-for elephants, clowns, and impressive acts. Make a day of it and take in a variety of sights and shows, including the Nothing But Nonsense singing and dancing show, or the Tiger Adventures educational demonstrations.

3. Baraboo Bluff Winery
Baraboo Bluff Winery prides itself on great views, great wines, and great times. The gorgeous hillside winery offers a variety of delicious homemade wines, including Baraboo Blush, Rose of the Bluff, Tropical State of Wine, Color Me Cab, Cloud 9 and Sweet Serendipity. Stop in for a tasting and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and beautiful views.

4. Driftless Glen Distillery
If you’re more whiskey than wine, then Driftless Glen is the place for you. This stunning riverside distillery sits atop a hill, making for some unparalleled vistas, and offers unique, handcrafted spirits, including bourbon, rye whiskey, vodka, brandy, gin and moonshine. Set up a tour and learn about the crafting, storage and production process, and then sample five Driftless Glen spirits.

5. Aldo Leopold Foundation
The Aldo Leopold Foundation was established as a conservation organization, which works to inspire an ethical relationship between people and nature. Stop by the Leopold Center and explore the “green” building features and learn about Leopold’s legacy. The lands are part of the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area, which serves as a preserve for rare grassland birds. Step outside for a hike through the woods, and make your way to the Leopold Shack, a National Historic Landmark.

6. Devil’s Lake Lavender
There are so many uses for lavender, whether it’s soaps and lotions, oils, or even desserts, and they can all be found at Devil’s Lake Lavender. Visit just to take in the gorgeous purple fields and charming Farmstore, stop by the spa for a relaxing experience, or make yourself comfortable at the farmstay. Head into town to visit the Bistro and Speakeasy for some food and drink.

Devil’s Lake Bistro

7. Baraboo Social Club
Half the fun of getting your hair cut is for the socializing, right? This 1950s-style barbershop exists 50 percent for the chit-chat, atmosphere and entertainment and 50 percent for the barbershop, hence the name. Come for the old-school checkered floor and retro barber chairs, and leave with a top-notch haircut or beard trim.

8. Baraboo Tours
What better way to get to know a city than a formal tour? From historical to creepy, Baraboo Tours offers a tour of every kind. Take your pick from the Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Baraboo, the Churches of Baraboo, a Haunted Downtown Walk, Rickshaw Rides, Spirit Walk, and a River Spirits tour.

9. Ochsner Park Zoo
The Ochsner Park Zoo has been around since 1926 and still offers free admission. There are more than 30 different animal species, which were all born in captivity from licensed zoos or are not releasable in the wild due to injury. Watch and learn about the Canada lynx, capuchin monkeys, wolves, black bears, owls, river otters, and potbellied pigs. There are plenty of educational opportunities for visitors young and old.

10. International Crane Foundation
The International Crane Foundation works to conserve cranes and their ecosystems, watersheds and flyways worldwide. Its staff of 80 people works with specialists in more than 50 countries across five continents. And the coolest part? Its 300-acre headquarters is located right here amid Baraboo’s farmlands. While the headquarters will be closed for the 2019 visitor season due to an expansion and renovation, the site will be re-opened in 2020, and visitors can see all 15 of the world’s crane species, take a hike on nature trails and take guided tours daily through October 31.

Baraboo is full of fascinating history, stunning scenery, and plenty of entertainment. What’s on your Baraboo bucket list?


Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Growing up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. She enjoys nothing more than catching a Packers, Brewers or Badgers game, indulging in a cheese curd or 12, and traveling from corner to corner of this great state.