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With so many unexpected adventures right here in Wisconsin, this series helps you discover great places to visit throughout the state.

Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center: Virtual farm tours, calf birthing barn, agricultural education

America’s Dairyland Exhibit at Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc.
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center
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Travel Wisconsin
America’s Dairyland Exhibit at Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc.

Cheese is obviously a big deal here in Wisconsin. Custard too. It might be easy to take these dairy staples for granted and June is the perfect time to learn more about where our favorite dairy products come from. It’s National Dairy Month and so for this month’s Wandering Wisconsin, we're helping you plan a trip to the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc.

"I think it's really important for people to know about where their food comes from," Patty Lehn, the executive director of the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center explains. "I'm of an age where when I was in school, a lot of us either had a family member or a good friend who we had the ability to go to a farm because we knew somebody with a farm. That is less and less the case now and only 2% of our population is involved in food production, so it's really important to decrease our learning gap and come and just learn more about our food. But also because it's fun!"

A calf in the Land O' Lakes Birthing Barn.
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center
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Travel Wisconsin
A calf in the Land O' Lakes Birthing Barn.

The center has 10,000 square feet of exhibits that cover everything from the diversity of agriculture in Wisconsin to careers that are associated with it. There's also a chance to take a virtual farm tour of a local modern dairy farm. And then there's what Lehn calls the "exclamation point to a visit," The Lank O' Lakes Birthing Barn.

"Most days we have at least one birth in Lake O'Lakes Birthing Barn, so visitors are able to see that miracle happen right here," Patty says.

There's also a Farm House Store and Wisconsin Cafe where you can purchase some Wisconsin-made food and goods.

The center hosts a monthly special event. On June 22 they'll host Dairy Day.

"We have special activities that go above and beyond what our core activities are here in the Discovery Center on a daily basis. We'll be following from cow to carton, the path that milk takes so that people understand that milk doesn't just come out of the grocery store, it actually has a supply chain that it goes through. We'll have, of course, additional animals here on site," Patty explains.

The center is open for visits Thursday through Saturday and while you're in the area, there's lots more to check out.

Things to do in Manitowoc & Two Rivers

Amanda Weibel from Travel Wisconsin says there are lots of good indoor and outdoor activities to check out on a visit to the area. For art enthusiasts, check out the free Rahr-West Art Museum.

"The museum's collection is so impressive. They have artwork from well-known names like Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe and even Andy Warhol," Weibel says.

Mariners Trail trail head.
Travel Wisconsin
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WUWM
Mariners Trail trail head.

If you're looking to enjoy the outdoors Weibel recommends Mariners Trail. It's about six miles of trail along Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Two Rivers. In Two Rivers there's also Point Beach State Forest where you can visit the historic Rawley Point Lighthouse, which has been operated and maintained by the Coast Guard since 1853.

Places to Stay

Also in Two Rivers is a place Weibel recommends to stay. It's the Still Bend Schwartz House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It's been featured in the Netflix series, The Worlds Most Amazing Vacation Rentals. Weibel says it can be hard to book a room but they also offer public tours. Alternatively, Weibel recommends the Village Inn on the Lake. She says they offer hotel rooms, whirlpools suites and an RV park if you want to bring the camper along. There's also a golf course and indoor swimming pool.

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Becky is WUWM's executive producer of Lake Effect.
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