Kenosha Things to Do

  • Civil War Museum
    Civil War Museum
    by deecat
  • View from 2nd Level of Civil War Museum
    View from 2nd Level of Civil War Museum
    by deecat
  • View from Terrace of Civil War Museum
    View from Terrace of Civil War Museum
    by deecat

Best Rated Things to Do in Kenosha

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    Historic Kenosha: Third Avenue

    by deecat Updated Jul 28, 2008

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    Part of Kemper Center Complex
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    Known as the 20th Century "Mansion" District, The Third Avenue Historic District in Kenosha is made up mostly of large period revival homes that are located along Lake Michigan.

    Lake Michigan is the natural boundary to the east. These homes have huge setbacks from the street, and until recently were all maintained by single families. Because of high upkeep cost, some of the largest mansions are slowly resulting in alternatives uses.

    The most outstanding piece of property, in my opinion, is known today as the Kemper Center Complex I will do an individual tip about it. But, I will include one photograph here. That photograph is a distant shot of part of the Kemper Center Complex which began as an Episcopal girls' school called Kemper Hall It provided young women with a private, exclusive education. It was first known as St. Clare's Hall or Academy.T he first class graduated in 1874. The last graduation class was in 1975. Today, Kenosha County owns the property, and it is used for both public and private functions.

    Besides the Kemper Complex, I took photographs of three other houses:

    The Charles Jeffery House is located at 6221 Third Avenue. It was built in 1904 and is an Eclectic Revival. It's 2 1/2 stories of red brick and expresses no particular architectural style. There are symmetrically placed dormers that project the a steeply-pitched gable roof. Charles T. Jeffery was Thomas B. Jeffery's son [founder of the Jeffery Company, an automobile and truck manufacturer, which later became the Nash Automobile Company.

    When I took the photo, I noticed a sign in front of the house that said, "Monster House". I do not know the significance.

    The second home is the Charles Chester Allen House at 6305 Third Avenue. This is a Georgian Revival (1903) home that features a gable-roofed main section and two slightly recessed gable-roofed wings. I really like the look of the paired Ionic Columns at the entry pavilion. Above this entrance is a small balcony. Charles Chester Allen of Allen & Sons Tannery...he was involved with the tannery and then became the head of the Chicago-Kenosha Hosiery Company.

    I also took a photograph of the Sign that designates the Third Avenue Historic District
    This is quite an impressive District, and one that I'm glad that I saw and learned more about.

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    Southport Marina

    by deecat Updated Jul 31, 2008

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    Southport Marina
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    The reason that Allan and I went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in late July of 2008, was to see the Southport Marina. It was a wise decision. Of course, we saw more than we went to see, and that was good.

    Southport Marina speaks volumes for the upsurge in the popularity of Kenosha. Those who love boating and fishing are, of course, elated with this large and beautiful marina. People who enjoy walking in a safe, lovely area such as Southport Marina and the park are pleased, and the city, no doubt, is happy about the increased visits to the area.

    The name SOUTHPORT was what Kenosha was called at one time, and the southeastern lakefront neighborhoods is affectionately called that; thus, in 1991 when the marina was built adjacent to the then-vacant industrial land, it was called "Southport Marina".

    In 2004, Moreland and partners [who also operate Harborside Yacht Center in Milwaukee and Green Bay] took over Southport Marina. They upgraded facilities and expanded dockage. Now there are 350-slips with 50 transient slips. There is also a 50-ton boat lift, a heated In-Ground Pool, Inside heated storage, Boater Community Building, Outside Storage, Laundry Facilities, Brokerage Sales, Hot Tub, and Mechanical Service.

    Its convenient location in the center of Kenosha's new Harbor Park Development is just perfect. It's within walking distance to resturants, museums, and downtown.

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    New Civil War Museum

    by deecat Updated Sep 27, 2008

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    Civil War Museum
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    On July 20, 2008, [ my birthday ], I went to see the new Civil War Museum in Kenosha. It just opened its doors on June 14, 2008.

    Since the main exhibits were not open, I just looked around and gathered information because I sure do want to see it. This is a 57,000 square-foot facility which tells the personal stories and contributions of the men and women of the Upper Middle West (Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan).

    They will use technology, life-size dioramas, and interactive exhibits to let us travel back in history. We will be able to discover the economic, political, and social influences that contribute to the Civil War. What is unique is that we will be able to see the Civil War through the eyes of soldiers, spouses, clergymen, nurses/doctors, children, slaves, tradesmen, and other who lived it!

    [I think it's the emotional part that will make this museum very special.]

    There are permanent exhibits, traveling exhibits, programs, events, a resource center, a library, the Vteran's Memorial Gallery, and a gift shop. In the Veteran's Memorial Gallery, they will honor all American veterans.

    Impressively, there is a Terrace view of Lake Michigan! You can walk through a typical town square, board a train bound for the front, hear personal stories, and travel back home on a riverboat where the news of President Lincoln's assassination changes life forever.

    On Mondays from 2:00 pm-4:00pm there will be free family craft activities this summer.

    At 12:00 noon on Thursdays this summer, you are able to bring your lunch and enjoy a 30-minute presentation by a Civil War Museum Curator who will discuss and show an object from the Museum's collections.

    This fall on Saturday, September 21, 1:30 pm-3:30pm they will have an adult class by Genealogiest & Civil War Museum Staff for $15.00 talking about "Finding Your Civil War Ancestor".

    The list of activities just goes on and on! As soon as the main exhibition is complete, I am returning.

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    Visit the Gilbert M. Simmons Library

    by deecat Updated Jul 28, 2008

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    Gilbert M. Simmons Library, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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    My first impression of downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin, was formed when I viewed the Neoclassical Revival Style The Gilbert M. Simmons Library. I was more than impressed. What a beautiful and imposing structure it is. It is named "The Gilbert M. Simmons Library" because in 1900, Zalmon G. Simmons, who owned the Simmons Mattress Factory and the telegraph company, gave to the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, [in honor of his son Gilbert who died in 1890] this marvelous building. Daniel H. Burnham, an important and famous architect from Chicago. designed the building.

    This library building was dedicated as an historical landmark in May of 1974. It's so wonderful that they have kept this lovely old building and still use it as a library. In 2005, the Children's Room opened on the ground floor.

    Photo One shows the outside of the Library as it stands, the focal point of an open park right in the middle of the downtown area. The outside walls are 18 inches thick, and they are made of limestone. The marble that is used in the library was imported from Italy but cut and polished in Indiana. [They had to build a special railroad spur to bring the marble and limestone to this site.]
    It was interesting to find out that the marble columns in the front of the library are 20 feet high and still as imposing as ever!

    The second photograph shows the dome from the inside of the library. This dome is 47 feet high. Note that the mosaics that surround the dome are made with real gold. "A thin layer of golf was pressed between two layers of glass to create the gold tiles."

    The third photograph shows the area within the library with the original windows. The ceiling is just marvelous, and this mezzanine floor was originally made of glass. The glass floor was removed in 1981.

    The fourth photograph shows my husband Allan reading a newspaper in the mezzanine area. It's so beautiful and looks out over the main floor.

    The fifth and final photograph shows Allan reading names of World War I soldiers from Kenosha County. This memorial is located in the vestibule, and it lists 2,451 names that are engraved in gold leaf. It's on both sides of this front vestibule.

    I was thrilled to visit this library and to find out all the particulars about its history.

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    The Civil War Memorial

    by deecat Updated Jul 28, 2008

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    Close up of Nike, The Greek Goddess of Victory
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    After leaving The Gilbert M. Simmons Library, I noticed a large monument of some kind in front of and to the left of the main entrance to the library. I wandered over to take a closer look. What I discovered was The Civil War Memorial

    This tall monument is a granite statue of the Greek goddess of victory who was known as Nike. The tall column and statue is 63 feet high. I took several photographs of this statue:

    This statue was also a gift from Zalmon Simmons, and it was also designed by Daniel H. Burnham, just as was the library. During the "opening" of this memorial, they had wrapped a huge flag around the statue, and "unveiled" it in May of 1900. A huge crowd [25,000 people] came to the Library Square to see this beautiful new monument.

    At the bottom of the Memorial, is an engraving [see photo #3] which reads:

    In honor of the
    brave men of
    Kenosha County
    who victoriously
    defended the Union
    on land and sea
    during the war of
    the Great Rebellion
    1861-1865

    I enjoyed seeing and learning about the beautiful Civil War Memorial located on Library Square in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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    The Abraham Lincoln Statue

    by deecat Updated Jul 28, 2008

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    The Abraham Lincoln Statue
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    Because I am quite fond of Abraham Lincoln, anytime I have the opportunity to read about, see movies/TV shows of, view monuments or memorials for, I go out of my way to do so.

    After visiting the Gilbert M. Simmons Library and The Civil War Memorial, I certainly would not have missed experiencing The Abraham Lincoln Statue that was located to the right of the library entrance in the Library Square.

    This is a bronze state of the seated Lincoln facing forward. It was a gift from Orla Calkins who was a Kenosha businessman. It was designed by Charles Henry Niehaus.

    The statue commemorated the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, and it was dedicated in 1909.

    Fortunately, just recently, the statue was restored and cleaned. So, if you saw Abraham Lincoln when he was a green color, you will be pleased to see him again...this time, he is his original bronze color.

    I have three photographs of this statue:

    Photo one is of the entire statue.

    Photo two is the engraving which reads:

    "A Gift To Kenosha
    By
    Orla Miner Calkins
    1909."

    Photo three is a close-up of Abraham Lincoln.

    I'm always thrilled when a city displays a patriotic spirit, a love of the arts, and a willingness to take care of its historically significant buildings, monument, and statues.

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    Visit Historic Kenosha

    by deecat Updated Jul 28, 2008

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    Hale-Farr House [Woman's Club today]
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    Kenosha, Wisconsin, is really an historic town. It has four Historic Districts:
    1. Library Park Historic District
    2. Third Avenue Historic District
    3. Civic Center Historic District
    4. Pearl Street Historic District

    On our first visit to Kenosha, we saw about two and one half of the four districts.

    The First District that we visited was the Library Park Historic District. It is filled with nineteenth century and early twentieth century architecture.

    I discovered that when the first settler came to Kenosha in 1835, the land that now surrounds Library Park was acquired by Charles Durkee who was from New England. A Canadian named George Kimball also acquired land. Both of these men donated parts of their property for a commons that was first called "City Park" and affectionately termed "The Commons".

    In previous tips, I have already discussed The Gilbert M. Simmons Memorial Library which is a 1900 Neo-Classical Revival building; the Kenosha County Soldiers' Monument called "Winged Victory located in Library Park [by an Italian Sculptor]; and the Lincoln Statue also in Library Park. In my first "Off the Beaten Path" tip, I discussed Site of an "Underground Railroad Station on Seventh Avenue. There is a bronze plaque there now. Reverend Deming's original house was moved from this location to 61st Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues.

    I took a photograph of the Hale-Farr House at 6028 Eighth Avenue. It was completed in 1848 and is an Italianate. But, it was remodeled and enlarge about 1890. A businessman, Samuel Hale, lived here, and William Farr [a surgeon for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and a local politician also lived here.

    The Kenosha Woman's Club has occupied it since 1923 when they expanded and remodeled it. If you look carefully at the first photo, you will see a sign for the Woman's Club.

    The Masonic Temple is my second photograph, and it is located at 807-61st Street and was completed in 1924. This Neo-Classical Revival building was designed by Chicago architect Richard Gustave Schmid [he designed many Masonic Temples]. Parts of it are made of smooth limestone, but the rear and west facades are in tan brick. There is a parapet with balustrade surrounding a third-story. The two Ionic columns support a partially enclosed entrance.

    Frederick J. Gottfredsen House at 711-61st Street is an 1888 Queen Anne, but it also has features of both the Richardsonian Romanesque and the Shingle styles. I found the semi-circular arched openings [porch] and the almost completed arch of first floor window to be unique.

    I discovered that "The 'nogging' of the half-timbering in the gable includes pieces of beer bottles, reportedly from the Gottfredsen Brewery" which are embedded in the stucco. Gottfredsen is Kenosha born, and he joined his father at the brewery, but when it closed, he worked at Pabst Brewing Company in Kenosha.

    The Urban J. Lewis [4th photograph] is located at 6019-Seventh Avenue is an 1892 Queen Anne. This is a frame home with a stone first floor. I like the conical tower with conical roof. Most people feel that this home is the best Kenosha Queen Anne Style Architecture. This has been the Hansen-Lendman Funeral Home since 1920.

    This Greek Revival Home [1855] at 522-61st Street is my fifth Photograph. Samuel B. Scott was the first owner, and he was a banker. In the twentieth century, for 2 decades it was a boarding house known as the "Southern."

    These are just a few of the many splendid examples of historic architecture in the Library Park Historic District.

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    Kemper Center Complex

    by deecat Updated Jul 29, 2008

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    Charles Durkee Mansion
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    The Kemper Center Complex is about 18 acres of land that is designated a Park on Lake Michigan. It includes many historic buildings that we saw.

    Kemper Hall was a boarding school for girls, dating from 1855 when St. Matthew's Episcopal Church launched the Kenosha Female Seminary. In 1865, it move to this location, the home of U.S. Senator Charles Durkee. In 19870, the name was changed to Kemper Hall, honoring Wisconsin's first Episcopal bishop, Jackson Kemper. For 105 years it was under the direction of the Sisters of St. Mary.

    Gothic Chapel called St. Mary's Chapel. It is built of cream-colored brick and decorated with light-colored stone window trim. Also, it has red brick string courses and window moldings. Wow, does it have a steep roof with gables, Gothic arched openings, and a polygonal vestibule. There's a rose window above the vestibule that decorates the front gable. This chapel was built in 1875 and when they remodeled it in 1906-1908, they removed the original bell tower and added stone coping on the gront gable and a bapistry to the vestibule. Many people are married in this little church now since it is park district property.

    A restored Italianate Mansion called the Charles Durkee House. Durkee was a Wisconsin Senator, and he owned much of the property in the Third Avenue Historic District. This home is the earliest structure of the Kemper Hall. It's constructed of cream brick. The roof is a low- pitched hipped construction. There are large window openings that are decorated with round brick arches. Later, in 1865, East Hall was built, and then in 1871, a connecting addition was added the the rear of the building. When Charles Durkee left Kenosha to become Governor of the Territory of Utah, his home was acquired for the girls' school. When the place was part of Kemper Hall Girl's College [1874-1975], each graduating class would place datestones into the wall of the house. It was quite interesting to see and read these. OPEN FOR SELF TOURS MARCH-OCTOBER, SATURDAY-SUNDAY 1 P.M.-4 P.M.

    Simmons Gymnasium was part of Private Women's College. It is named after Z. G. Simmons, a local industrialist, who also financed the public library. This structure was one of my favorites on campus.

    Next to the Lake, they have an area with benches [see photo #4] where you are able to to fish or just view Lake Michigan. It's really called a Fishing Pier [the only place where you are allowed to fish] between sunrise and sunset, and only rod, reel, or hand line-fishing is permitted. There are many rocks along the shoreline, but you are NOT ALLOWED to be on the rocks or fish from the rocks.

    The last photo is of the landscaped grounds, which are quite beautiful.
    The Office is open:
    Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Tours by appointment

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    Wolfenbuttel Park

    by deecat Updated Jul 29, 2008

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    Wooden Sign for Wolfenbuttel Park
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    I just loved the small park called Wolfenbuttel Park located by Southport Marina.. Because I love nature, especially flowers, I was enamored with the lovely walkways, flower gardens, and the Gazebo/Arbor. The park is just 15 acres with a Lake Michigan backdrop. With the Gazebo, the flowers, the Lake Michigan backdrop, it's the perfect spot for a wedding ceremony. This area can be rented for just such ceremonies for a fee. [permits are available from June1-September 30. Call at (262)653-4080 Monday-Friday between the hours of 7:30 am-4:30 pm.]

    This Wolfenbuttel Park is named in honor of Kenosha's sister city, Wolfenbuttel, Germany.
    Kenosha has made lasting relationships with other cities around the world, and these are called sister cities.

    I also loved seeing the tree [Photo#5] that was planted in honor of the children of Kenosha. It was a small tree that has grown over the few years since it was planted.


    The photographs that I took in Wolfenbuttel Park:

    1. Wooden name sign of Wolfenbuttel Park.

    2. The lovely arbor/gazebo at Wolfenbuttel Park.

    3. The dedication sign on the Arbor that speaks of:

    "In honor of our Sister City friendships
    1970-1996
    City of Wolfenbuttel"

    4. View of flowers and arbor in Wolfenbuttel Park.

    5. Children's Tree in Wolfenbuttel Park.

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    Eicherman Park

    by deecat Updated Sep 10, 2009

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    Eichelman Park in Kenosha
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    Eichelman Park is really a "beach park". It is located at 6125-Third Avenue. A small park, only about 9 acres, it is also a city park in that it's walking distance from downtown and next to the to the National Register of Historic Districts [Third Avenue District].

    It is named Eichelman Park because The land was given to the city by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Eichelman in August of 1887. Mr. Eichelman was the owner of a clothing and men's furnishing store on what is now 6th Avenue. In the earliest days, this area was called "Fiddler's Green".

    This is a lovely park with a nice beach; however, there are no lifeguards for this beach. The water for Eichelman Park Beach is tesedt once or twice a month. No glass containers or flotation devices are allowed on the beach.

    There is also Fishing allowed. A bike path is part of this particular park.

    The photographs that I took are as follows:

    1. The attractive wooden marker announcing the name of the park, Eichelman Park.

    2. My husband Allan standing beside a cannon located in Eichelman Park.

    3. The Eichelman Park Beach.

    4. The tree-shaded park with tables.

    5. The small playground area in Eichelman Park.

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    Southport Park

    by deecat Written Jul 29, 2008

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    Sign for Southport Park
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    Southport Park is just one of 74 municipal parks located in Kenosha , Wisconsin!
    This one is along the shoreline frontage of Lake Michigan. It is a 29-acre park with hiking and bike trail, community center for rent, picnic shelter, sandlot, ball diamond and soccer field.

    The day that we visited Southport Park, it was beautiful...sunny with a slight breeze. I was attracted to the old [now closed] brick beach house.

    There was a darling mother with her three small children sitting on the beach. The children were wading in the water. I had a conversation with the mother and delighted in watching her children.

    There was a sign indicating that the water conditions were excellent.

    The photographs that I took:

    1. Wooden sign naming Southport Park.

    2. The old Brick Beach House.

    3. Little girl playing in the water at the beach.

    4. Scene of the deserted Lake Michigan Beach at Southport Park.

    5. Bike/hike trail at Southport Park.

    The name "Southport" derives from one of the previous names that Kenosha had.

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    Two-Mile Loop

    by hunterV Written Mar 8, 2008

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    Live and learn! (our group from Luhansk region)

    You can have a walking tour of the city or have a trolley ride and experience the history of this old community.
    Take the streetcar/trolley that makes a two-mile loop around downtown
    (sightseeing aboard trolley-like buses).

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    Jelly Belly Center

    by meteorologist1 Updated Sep 4, 2010
    Jelly Belly Center
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    The Jelly Belly Center located in Pleasant Prairie just southwest of downtown Kenosha offers a free tour of its warehouse. It's essentially a little train ride around the warehouse with narration and videos about the company and candy-making process. You get a free hat and a small bag of jelly beans during this tour. The candy store also offers free sampling of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Worth a quick one-hour stop, especially if you have kids.

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    Kenosha Civil War Museum- not completed

    by rdney99 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    On June 30, 2008, I took a day off with antipation and excitement to see this museum as I'm a huge Civil War buff, and I've been waiting four years for the official opening of it. I drove 90 min. down to Kenosha and found the museum by the lakeshore, it looked completed on the outside. However, to my extreme disappointment, it was less than half finished, there was only one exhibit and a few pictures and artifacts in the hallways, enough to see for about 25 min. The museum's website listed June 14th as it's official opening, but it is for the most part, a big construction zone, not worth the trip, thank God they didn't charge people to go inside. No one working there has a clue as to when it'll all be completed- hopefully by September. What a scam, this isn't right.

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    Kenosha Public Museum

    by ChartIt Updated Jan 19, 2008

    The museum contains hands on exhibits and a kid zone. The museum chronicals the history of the area from before the dinosaurs up to the French and Indian relationships as WI was settled. They also have a nice collection of original paintings and prints some Dahli,Piasso, Renoir and Chagall . There have a wonderful collection of carved ivory. As well as a "dead zoo" it is a collection of animals that a hunter made during his life time and left the collection to museum after his death. The Museum is FREE! They have lots of activities, lectures, on going at the museum.

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Kenosha Things to Do

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