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Wisconsin Parent

Summertime in the Chippewa Valley

May 27, 2013 11:26PM ● By Guest Contributor
The Chippewa Valley is one of Wisconsin’s hidden gems. The city of Eau Claire is the largest in the region but is surrounded by smaller communities such as Chippewa Falls and Menomonie. If you’re planning a summer road trip to this area you will find plenty to keep your entire family busy!

Biking and Hiking

If your family loves to hike or cycle, there are hundreds of miles of trails in the Chippewa Valley.  The Ice Age trail includes a section, the Chippewa Moraine area, which runs through the region. Take advantage of the Ice Age Interpretive Center in New Auburn to learn about local culture, ecology, and history. The Chippewa River State Trail between Eau Claire and Durand is one of the three trails that make up the Chippewa Valley trail system.  It is relatively flat making it perfect for kids.

Music in the Park

Every Thursday night, downtown Eau Claire plays host to the Sounds like Summer Concert Series at Phoenix Park. Local bands play each Thursday in June, July, and August beginning at 6pm.  Attendees are welcome to bring a picnic, lawn chairs, and blankets to enjoy great music along the Chippewa River.

Pedestrian Bridge

Eat My Fish: Bullfrog Fish Farm

The Chippewa Valley has plenty of lakes, streams, and rivers to fish however there’s also another option available.  Eat My Fish offers pond side fishing, no license required. Poles are available and your catch can be cleaned and even cooked on site for an onsite picnic.

Irvine Park Zoo

Did you know you know buffalo, elk, monkeys, bears, and tigers can all be seen in Chippewa Falls, WI?  The Irvine Park Zoo is over 300 acres in size and has several animals on display, as well as a petting zoo providing interaction with its more friendly residents. This FREE zoo also has an old fashioned schoolhouse, and Norwegian pioneer log home available to tour. Kids both young and old will also love running through the public fountain that also serves as a play area.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

Traveling west of Chippewa Falls is Pepin, WI – the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The home she chronicles in Little House in the Big Woods once stood in this city.  The original building and farm are gone, but a new log home has been re-built and is open for tours.


Baseball with the Eau Claire Express

Many small towns in the Midwest have their own semi-professional baseball league and Eau Claire is no different.  Games are played all summer long and tickets are very affordable.  Whether you’ve got a baseball fan on your hands or not, this is a great affordable activity for the whole family.   


Almost every weekend in the Chippewa Valley includes a festival.  Three major concert festivals; Country Fest, Country Jam, and Rock Fest are more expensive options but pull in very large national acts such as Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, KISS, and Motley Crue to name a few will be playing this summer.  These may not be suitable events for young children but are worth noting.  More family friendly festivals include Chalkfest in August, and even smaller events such as the Eleva Broiler Festival or Lake Martha Days in Osseo. One of the most unique events held in the area is the National Kubb Tournament.  Kubb is a Norwegian lawn game gaining popularity in recent years.

No matter what interests your family has, there’s something for everyone in the Chippewa Valley. Come visit!

For more ideas on what to do in Eau Claire, read Amanda's latest story: What to do in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with Kids

avatar2This post was submitted to Wisconsin Parent by Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki: Amanda is a curious world traveling mom of two busy boys, a foodie, and social media addict. She currently publishes the website MarocMama where you can find information about living and eating in a globally conscious, bi-cultural family.  Amanda has lived in the Chippewa Valley for seven years.