Located in Calumet County, Chilton has plenty of things to do for families that love exploring and playing outdoors. This hidden gem is just about 45 minutes southeast of Appleton. If you have littles that need to run off some energy, Sherwood is the halfway point, we recommend stopping at Wanick Choute Park — you can also pack swimsuits for a cool-off in the splash pad.
We packed picnic lunches and started our adventure with a hike at Ledge View Nature Center!
Ledge View Nature Center
Best known for its caves, Ledge View Nature Center, is a 105-acre Calumet County park and environmental education center. You’ll find 3 miles of trails that wind through woodland, dolomite ledges, open prairie, wildflowers, gardens, and an inactive quarry. You’ll see lots of informational signs along the trails. A 60-foot observation tower has fantastic views if you can handle heights and the stairs!
There are lots of opportunities to extend learning and have more fun in the nature center. You’ll find displays and interactive exhibits about the unique area, wildlife, and more. Don’t miss visiting the rescue eagle! During the spring, you can watch the maple syrup process.
An added perk for dog owners is that Ledge View has dog-friendly trails. Just remember your leash and clean up as you go. Ran out of waste bags? No problem, you can grab a couple from the kiosk next to the building!
Public cave tours are available most weekends from May through October (closed at the time of publishing). Access to the caves is by guided tour only. The caves remain locked between tours. There are 2 different types of cave tours:
- Caroyln’s Cavern Walking Tour – naturalist-guided with optional crawling and exploring
- Adventure Caving Tour – naturalist-guided walking and crawling, sometimes in small tunnels.
Our favorite trail was the fun trail. It is located near the parking lot behind the nature center; we recommend checking out the map at the trailhead to start. The train included fun interactive displays, balancing challenges, a ropes course, obstacles, and a natural playground!
- Ledge View Nature Center, W2348 Short Road, Chilton
This fun space is located on the grounds of the former high school and sits on 12.3 acres. It includes the Chilton High School football field and track, tennis courts, trails along the Manitowoc River and a shelter with bathrooms. The wooden playground has plenty of space to run around and provides a fun backdrop for imaginative play. The playground includes a rock wall, slides, swings, monkey bars and more!
- Morrissey Park, 509 School Ct, Chilton
Scoops Ice Cream House
Scoops is open year-round and is known for their ice cream made in small batches in-house. They have 16 regular flavors and 8 seasonal flavors. Scoops also serves Terra Verde Coffee, housemade soup, and sandwiches. Featured in The Ultimate Ice Cream Lovers Bucket List: 60+ Favorites!
- Scoops Ice Cream House, 131 E Chestnut St, Chilton
Stop to grab a quick savory snack at Vern’s for the road or to take home. You’ll find cheese of course, but also meat sticks, specialty snacks, and Wisconsin wines and beer.
- Vern’s Cheese, 312 W Main St, Chilton
Just a short drive south of Chilton, you’ll find Honeymoon Acres and worth the extra couple miles if you know a plant lover! This is a spot known by locals gardeners as a paradise for great plants at great prices. You’ll find different products all year long including vegetables, herbs, perennials, annuals, roses, trees, shrubs, fruits in the spring, followed by pumpkins and mums in the fall, and finally wreaths, Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations in the winter.
- Honeymoon Acres Greenhouse, 2600 Calumet Dr, New Holstein
PS, if you spend the whole day in Chilton, take in a movie at Chilton Twilight Drive-In Theater!
Other fun Fall spots include Heritage Orchard and Polly’s Pumpkin Patch and part of our Ultimate Fall Guide to the East Side of Lake Winnebago.