Kenosha is a charming small town on the shores of Lake Michigan and just north of the Wisconsin-Illinois state line. The town is home to a Civil War Museum, which opened in June 2008, and hosted its first Wisconsin Marathon along Lake Michigan in May 2009.
Three of Kenosha’s downtown museums, two of which are listed below, are Smithsonian Institute-affiliated. And the city is dedicated to the fine arts, particularly music. Kenosha boasts impressive symphony and opera programs, both of which are geared toward the fine arts education of its youth.
The following six free and family friendly attractions can help make a family vacation in Kenosha more affordable.
1. Jelly Belly Center – Learn the secrets of making Jelly Belly jelly beans in video presentations while riding an indoor train that travels through the company’s distribution center. There is also a large candy store with free samples. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
2. Dinosaur Discovery Museum – The museum is home to an array of meat-eating dinosaurs including a 40-foot T-rex. Discover the link between meat-eating dinosaurs and birds. Featuring dramatic life-size dinosaur replica casts, bones and fossils, interactive exhibits, family programs, a real working on-site paleontology lab, and a gift shop. General admission is free. Open Tuesday-Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.
3. Kenosha Public Museum – This natural history, fine and decorative arts museum is home to the largest mammoth ever found in North America, as well as a Field Station with hands-on activities. General admission is free.
4. Lake Michigan Beaches – There are no lifeguards on duty at Kenosha’s Lake Michigan beaches. There are lifeguards at some of the inland lakes in the summer. Listed on this website are locations for the Lake Michigan beaches and several Kenosha city parks.
5. The Pike Bike Trail – Hike or bike along the 10.2-mile trail through Kenosha County. The scenic trail runs along points of interest including three National Register Historic Districts, Lake Michigan, two historic lighthouses, recreational opportunities, and Poerio Nature Center.
6. Washington Park Velodrome – Located at 17th Ave. and Washington Road. Mid-May-August, enjoy the thrill of high speed bicycle racing at the oldest operating velodrome in the United States. Monday evenings at 6 p.m. and Tuesday/Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.