Fabulous Family Fun: Things to Do with Kids in Wausau

Riverlife Park, Wausau
Riverlife Park | Photo Credit: AnnMarie Vang

Check another adventure off your summer bucket list and take on waterslides, history, and chilly treats! If you are looking for fun not far from the Fox Cities, Wausau is the place for you!

Located in Marathon County, Wausau and Rothschild are spacious neighboring cities located along the Wisconsin River. Wausau boasts a charming downtown area booming with boutiques and cafes! 

Those looking to get out into fresh air will also enjoy trekking along Rib Mountain and taking a walk along its’ many trails. History and art lovers can also find their niche thanks to a prominent family in Wausau’s past.

From spending time in the sun to exploring the scenic areas, Wausau welcomes all families and promises a memorable trip filled with adventure!

Riverlife Park, Wausau
Riverlife Park | Photo Credit: AnnMarie Vang

Unique Playgrounds & Parks

Riverlife Park

Hit up a park that will truly transform family togetherness with a mix of fun and fresh air! Opened in July of 2019, Riverlife Parks’ unique setup reveals an amazing offering of free entertainment along the serene riverfront. The park, which features an interactive playground, also includes a timed challenge course for thrill-seeking visitors as well as a workout area with cardio and static weight stations for adults.

Hungry bellies can conveniently visit the concessions area for ice cream and snacks – all without having to leave the park! This park really does offer a little bit of everything, but within a whole lot of space! Bike the trails, watch boats in the wharf or sprawl out and relax in the green space. Families will also love seeing the lighted waterfalls and can enjoy an afternoon out while visiting this spacious park!

Park Features:

  • timed obstacle course 
  • exercise stations 
  • seating along Wisconsin River 
  • water features operating 10 am – 11 pm daily 
  • paved paths 
  • Briq’s ice cream 
  • gas fireplace with adirondack chairs 
  • kayak slips and launch (and pier)
  • Riverlife Park, 1400 N River Dr, Wausau

READ MORE: NEW Wausau playground like no other and designed for ALL kids!

rib mountain wausau
Observation Tower at Rib Mountain | Photo Caption: Sam Packard

Rib Mountain State Park

Rib Mountain is a gorgeous, billion-year-old hill that is one of the area’s oldest geological formations! It lies within the 1,528-acre Rib Mountain State Park.

Other features include: 

  • 15 miles of trails 
  • a ski area 
  • an amphitheater 
  • the 60-foot tall observation tower gives visitors a breathtaking, birds-eye view of Wausau

Families can walk the many trails, go nature spotting, and picnic in the park. The park, which is open year-round, does require a Wisconsin State Park Vehicle Admission sticker. Be sure to plan and order one in advance as they are currently not available on site.

READ MORE: Family Road Trip to Rib Mountain State Park & Granite Peak Scenic Chair Lifts

Sawmill Adventure Park

Endure entertaining challenges that will keep you on your toes at the Sawmill Adventure Park: 

  • 18 holes of mini-golf 
  • massive indoor trampoline park
  • three-lane Ninja Warrior course with obstacles
  • race up the Traverse Climbing wall 
  • trampoline dodgeball

The park gives families and kids the opportunity to: 

  • learn stunt jumps
  • practice aerial climbing 
  • dive from dunk pads 
  • fine-tune their balancing abilities on battle beams 

There is an activity for those of all ages to enjoy and the park is open rain or shine!

Yawkey House Museum, Wauasau

Explore Remarkable Spaces 

Yawkey House Museum

Built-in 1901, the Yawkey House is a classical revival-style house with iconic columns and a portico. It was said to be the most expensive home in Wausau at the time, costing $35,000 to build! 

Designed by Milwaukee architects Henry Van Ryn and Gerrit de Gelleke, the gorgeous house-turned-museum was home to several generations of the Cyrus Yawkey family. The family, which was undoubtedly wealthy, moved to Wisconsin from Michigan and founded several successful businesses, utility companies, and the first paper mill in the area.

The home features many of the original Yawkey furnishings as well as beautiful, stained glass windows, art glass light fixtures, and lush gardens. Visitors of all ages will enjoy peeking into history as they walk through the many rooms of this home and admiring the beautiful craftsmanship.

  • Yawkee House Museum, 403 Mcindoe Street, Wausau
    • Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for children age 6+ and those under 6 are FREE.
    • Hours:
      • Tuesday – Friday: 9am – 4:30 pm
      • Saturday – Sunday: 1 – 4:30 pm

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

The Yawkey family’s tree still extends far throughout Wausau with the renowned Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum! The museum is well-known for its “Birds in Art” exhibition, a contemporary artistic representation of various breeds of birds. Visitors can enjoy other exhibitions as well as audio tours and activity guides. The museum also offers artist residencies to extend the passion for art to local artists. 

From art to walking through the beautiful gardens, plan to spend the afternoon at the museum. Visitors of all ages are welcome, and strollers and wheelchairs are available for rent. 

Admission is free and there are always new exhibits and upcoming events, so be sure to check out their website for a complete list.

Monk Botanical Gardens, Wausau

Monk Botanical Gardens

The Monk Botanical Gardens are a stunning hidden gem of Wausau. 

The 30-acre park has:

  • meditation garden
  • storybook garden
  • a multitude of trails
  • a treehouse to explore

Families will enjoy spending time together walking among nature in these relaxing gardens.

BONUS! The gardens also double as a geocaching site! Geocaching, a form of treasure hunting, is a fun activity for those of all ages. It involves using GPS and navigation techniques to find containers, called “caches” located at specific coordinates. Parents can download a free geocache app on their phone before visiting and the whole family can gear up for an afternoon of exploring!

Sweets on 3rd, Wausau

Grab A Treat

Sweets On 3rd

Make a special trip to Wausau’s beautiful downtown district and grab a treat at Sweets on 3rd. Rows of glass jars line the shelves with a vivid assortment of traditional hard candies and specialty confections, and the cases are stocked full with even more delicious nibbles!

Other treats:

  • exceptional chocolates 
  • fresh-brewed coffees
  • a variety of super-premium Maggie Moo’s ice cream flavors 

Kids will like selecting their own chilly concoctions and cones and parents will also enjoy the variety. There is even a flavor that gives a humorous nod to parenting: The Exhausted Parent.

The shop, which is charmingly whimsical, offers seating inside or spots outdoors along the windows for families to unwind and enjoy their treats. There are also extra gifts and goodies that can be purchased including natural wood toys, bulk loose-leaf tea, and brewing supplies.

Between a blissful walk through nature and exploring, families will have so much fun in Wausau! Not only is summer the perfect time to visit, it is only a short drive from the Fox Cities, but far enough to really kick back and unwind. So, what are you waiting for? It’s family time!

Things to See and Do on the Way to Wausau!

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