If may sound crazy, but one of our favorite mini-road trips was to luxurious, exotic, exciting... Kenosha! It's a 50 minute drive, and home to some interesting places like the Dinosaur Discovery Museum and Mars Cheese Castle.
The Dinosaur Discovery Museum is most definitely a small museum, but it's a worth a visit as long as you know that ahead of time.
The museum is comprised of the main gallery, a foyer, a gift shop, a play area in the basement with kids crafts and activities, and an on-site laboratory in association with the Carthage Institute of Paleontology.
The main gallery is one large room filled with impressive dinosaur skeletons that are casts of actual fossil bones. Each dinosaur is accompanied by information about what they were like, and panels on the gallery wall tell how they behaved and what happened to them.
After exploring the main gallery, we headed downstairs, where the kids dug up some fossils in the kids area and did some coloring. There are also floor puzzles and other art projects to create.
Down in the basement, you can also peek into the on-site laboratory where there is currently a triceratops skull - a real one! - being studied and restored.
After our visit, we had plans to grab a bite to eat at the Mars Cheese Castle. I've driven past it so many times without ever going in, and so I decided it was time that we were tourists in our own town.
After a few minutes of browsing the marketplace filled with local, unique food products and delicious free cheese samples, our visit was cut short when my two year old broke a glass jar of gourmet vinegar. Next time, we hope to try out the restaurant.
Here's a picture post vinegar-bottle breaking. No remorse from that little two-year-old.
For more day trip ideas, visit our Day Trips Page.