Bird Watching, Wildlife and Nature Viewing.
Horicon Marsh, the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the US, is one of the top birding destinations in the Midwest. The marsh provides habitat for endangered species and is a critical rest stop for thousands of migrating ducks and Canada geese. It is recognized as a Wetland of International Importance, as both Globally and State Important Bird Areas and is also a unit of the Ice Age Scientific Reserve. Spring and fall bring massive migrations of waterfowl, with nearly 500,000 birds stopping at the marsh to feed and rest on their way to warmer climates. During the summer, many species of birds remain in the marsh to breed and raise their young. Throughout the summer, heron, egrets and other shorebirds can be seen stalking the margins of the cattails. A birder’s paradise and one of the best birding areas in the entire Midwest region of the country. Horicon National Wildlife Refuge 920‑387‑2658 http://www.fws.gov/midwest/horicon/,www.horiconchamber.com or www.dodgecounty.com.
The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor’s Center is a learning hub for information exchange, interpretive exhibits, and visitor participation in classroom activities and outdoor educational experiences. As a tourist destination, it offers recreational opportunities along with environmental education for its one million annual visitors. Its international designation includes: “Wetland of International Importance” 1991 designation by the UN Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty for international cooperation in the conservation of wetland habitats. Horicon Marsh is one of a small number of US wetlands to achieve such a distinction. “Important Bird Area” 2004 recognition by the Wisconsin Important Bird Area Program identified the Marsh as the first Wisconsin site to receive this global recognition. The center was completed in the spring of 2009.
Brand new to the Education and Visitor’s Center is the Explorium. Did you ever want to know what it is like to step inside a glacier? Or experience what it might have felt like during the last Ice Age? A new exhibit at the Horicon Marsh is designed to do just that. A few steps inside the Explorium can take you back 10,000 years. “You get the feeling of it actually being cold, like you’re walking into a glacier,” said Liz Herzmann, Horicon Marsh Wildlife Educator. Herzmann says the chill in the air is for effect. “We even have smells of what a mammoth might smell like,” said Herzmann. The new Explorium exhibit takes a look at the history of the marsh, from the Ice Age, to the wetlands of today. “We lift these boards and it releases water, and that’s how we can drain some of the impoundments at the marsh,” said Herzmann as she demonstrated a water control structure. Tools of the trade are on display. People are asked to look, and touch. “One of our goals through the Explorium is to educate people about Horicon Marsh, but doing it in a way where they don’t know they’re learning,” said Herzmann. Park leaders say the experience is designed to go beyond the Explorium and the nature center. Visitors are encouraged to take what they learned inside, outside. “We have about five miles of hiking trails that go through different portions of the marsh. Those trails go through a variety of different habitats, wetlands of course, but also your prairies, and your forested areas that are around the marsh as well.” The $3.7 million project opened August 2015. http://fox11online.com/news/local/fox-cities/explorium-at-horicon-marsh-set-to-open
Canoeing, Kayaking, Pontoon Boat Tours
Excellent paddling opportunities are available in the Horicon Marsh. Winding channels, open water and expansive wetlands are yours to explore. Canoe and Kayak rentals are available from Blue Heron Landing, about four blocks from the inn. The gentle current you’ll find on the Rock river and in the Horicon Marsh makes it ideal for paddling. We are happy to make arrangements for you. Please inquire. There are also numerous pontoon and bird watching tours available from Blue Heron Landing, as well as their famous sunset cruises on Saturdays in the summer 920-485-4663. www.horiconmarsh.com
Wild Goose State Trail, Biking, Hiking, Snowmobiling, Cross-Country Skiing
The Wild Goose State Trail runs for 34 miles along the western edge of the Horicon Marsh. The crushed limestone path runs along a former railroad grade, making the trail suitable for all types of bicycles. The trail runs from Fond du Lac to Clyman Junction. The trail is less than 2 miles outside of Horicon. Bicycling – Walking – Hiking – Jogging and Cross-Country Skiing are permitted year round on the main trail. Additional bicycling is available on county roads around the perimeter of the Horicon Marsh. Also many bike trails and cross country skiing trails are located throughout the Horicon Marsh. Dodge County Tourism 800-414-0101 www.dodgecounty.com
Snowmobile Use – Permitted on the main trail between December 1 and March 31 when conditions allow county officials to officially open the trail. No trail fee. For trail status call 920-386-3705.
Edwin Brix Vineyard (Winery in Juneau)
N4595 Welsh Rd. Juneau
Sell Family Wines. Dodge County’s first registered Winery, owned and operated by the Sell Family on their family farm. The tasting room is in the process of being completed and hopes to open by late 2018. Until that time, tours of the vineyard and winery are available by appointment. Contact them by phone 920-219-4249 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wine is available for purchase at the vineyard as well as at the distribution office in Beaver Dam. The office is open 9:00-4:00, Monday – Friday. 124 Monroe St. Beaver Dam, WI edwinbrix.com
River Bend Park 18 hole Disc Golf course in Horicon. Established in 2011, the River Bend Disc Golf Course is located in a beautiful park along the Rock River in Horicon. For more information go to http://www.horiconphoenix.com/river-bend-disc-golf-course
Crystal Lake Disc Golf Course is an 18 hole course located in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, about 13 minutes from us. Most holes are around 200 feet, with the shortest being 148 and the longest at 350. Hills, trees, streams and a lake, make it an interesting and fun course. Each hole has both a “professional” and “amateur” tee-off. For pictures and more information go to http://www.beaverdamdiscgolf.com/
The glaciers that once covered Dodge County have sculpted a landscape ideal for auto touring. Several scenic overlooks around the Horicon Marsh allow you to view the wetland’s wildlife. Follow the brown signs that mark the route of the Horicon Marsh Parkway, a 50-mile auto tour that encircles the Horicon Marsh and follows state and county highways through Burnett, Kekoskee, Horicon, Mayville and Waupun. Another great trip is the Horicon Marsh Tern Pike. Located off Hwy 49 in the northwest portion of the marsh, this scenic drive winds throughout the wetlands and along dikes, allowing for great wildlife viewing.
Beautiful Ledge Park, less then five minutes away, covers 83 acres along the Niagara Escarpment, a natural rock ledge which divides the park into upper and lower areas and provides a breathtaking high overlook of the famous HORICON MARSH and the surrounding countryside. The upper portion is heavily wooded and offers expansive picnicking areas, group shelter, hiking trails, shower building and playground. The lower portion also offers group shelters, picnic areas, hiking trails and a playground. The hiking trails wind along the ledge, between and over interesting and unique rock formations, small caves and through heavily wooded areas.
Nitschke Mounds Park, is located about five minutes from Honeybee Inn, near the center of Dodge County adjacent to the Wild Goose State Trail and just west of the Horicon Marsh. The property is nearly 54 acres in size and contains about 39 effigy, conical and linear mounds believed to have been constructed between 800 AD – 1100 AD by the Late Woodland Effigy Mound Culture. The mounds represent one of the best surviving examples of the Mound Builders culture that once occupied the Dodge County area.
Five courses available for your pleasure with mature trees, manicured fairways, sloping greens, well placed water hazards, and challenging layouts. We are happy to arrange tee-times at any of these courses for you. Call Dodge County Tourism for more info and descriptions. 800-414-0101. www.dodgecounty.com
Just 25 miles southeast of Horicon and located on the highest elevation in this part of the state; visible for miles in all directions, the spires of Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, soar into the sky. The Neo-Romanesque Church, completed in 1931, with priceless stained glass windows and magnificent mosaics, boasts a breath-taking view of the southern Kettle Moraine Countryside. During summer and fall, thousands climb the 178 steps to the top of the observation tower inside one of the church spires for an unparalleled glimpse of the dramatic surroundings and the skyline of Milwaukee on the horizon. Special seasonal events include a live nativity, uplifting concerts and a popular arts and crafts fair.
Holy Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a state landmark. Open year round, free admission and parking. Picnic grounds, gift shop, cafeteria and gourmet bake shop. www.holyhill.com 262-628-1838
Horicon Aquatic Center
Over 10,000 square feet of swimming fun. Some of its more prominent features are: Zero-depth to a depth of up to 12.5 feet, six lane-twenty-five meter competitive lap pool, two one-meter diving boards, an umbrella spray, and water curtains in the kids’ section, two 140 ft. Water Slides (one enclosed), concession stand with tables and chairs, chaise lounge chairs and grass area, bathhouse with private and handicap accessible changing & shower areas with coin lockers. 920.485.3522.
Four racetracks for the racing fan:
Columbus 151 Speedway ( 920.623.4393)
Raceway At Powercom Park (920.887.1600) 1/3 clay track with wide variety of races.
Dodge County Fairgrounds ( 920.885.3586) Weekly stockcar races.
Slinger Speedway ( 262.644.5921) Racing every Sunday night.
Beaver Dam Lake
The 6,542-acre lake is a popular spot for boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing, and pontoon boat rides.
Widmer’s Cheese Cellars
70 varieties of wonderful cheese made daily. Cheese factory tours every Friday morning. Located about 15 minutes from Horicon in Theresa. Retail store. ( 888.878.1107)
Columbus Antique Mall
Wisconsin’s Largest Antique Mall. “Where dealers shop for their merchandise.” Over 82,000 square feet of antiques displayed and sold by 222 of Wisconsin’s finest dealers in 444 booths in 18 rooms. Located in an old granary with trains still running inches from the building. Shop In Air Conditioned Comfort. Broad Range of Antiques, Collectibles, Glassware, Used Books, Wildlife Prints and Vintage Decorating. Peruse our 3rd floor of furniture. Located about 20 minutes from Horicon.
Located next door (in same building), Christopher Columbus Museum displaying quality souvenir memorabilia from Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair. Educational exhibits include: library, statues, lithographs, paper, glassware, china, porcelain, tapestries, metals, silk ribbons, cloth, bronze and many types of souvenirs. The Museum display covers 300 feet of wall space, 80 cases with about 2,000 items in 3,000 sq. ft. Many Items are a “one of a kind” rarity and present a broad collection of diverse and unique items that bring to life the period from which Columbus burst forth.
Museums, three large county parks, extensive nature and hiking trails, bowling, boating. Come and enjoy Horicon, Wisconsin, a naturally good experience. Everything you need for a great get-away is here from great dining to nature hikes to just relaxing in your beautiful guest room.
Benvenutos (Favorite) http://www.benvenutos.com/ 831 Park Ave. Beaver Dam 920-887-7994 13 min.
Audubon Inn – Nola’s http://www.auduboninn.com/dining/ 45 N. Main Mayville 920-387-5858 7 min.
Ginger’s Hide-Away 302 E. Lake St. Horicon 920-485-4856 5 min. walk
M J Stevens http://www.mj-stevens.com/ 5260 Aurora Rd. Hartford 262-644-6037 25 min.
Don Ramons Mexican http://www.donramon-mayvillewi.com/ 39 S. Main St. Mayville 920-387-9903 7 min.
Poplar Inn (Favorite) http://www.poplarinnwb.com/ 518 poplar St. West Bend 262-335-6302 28 min.
Char House (Favorite) http://www.donramon-mayvillewi.com/ 400 S. Center St. Beaver Dam 920-885-3520 15 min.
Ice Cream Station http://www.theicecreamstation.com/ 518 E. Lake St. Horicon 920-485-2311 1 min. walk
“The innkeeper, Barb, was all that one could hope for… chatty when chatted at (heehee) and quietly absent when we were doing our own thing. She was brimming with directions and dinner suggestions, and made our precious getaway time run as smooth as the flavored hot beverages from the nifty machine outside our door!” TripAdvisor Review