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ATTRACTIONS

Henry Vilas Zoo One of the few free accredited zoos remaining in the nation, this popular county attraction was built on land deeded to the city in 1904 by prominent Madison attorney and businessman William S. Vilas and his wife, Anna, in memory of their son, Henry. A multifaceted renovation project started several years ago and continuing today has made the facility much more comfortable for animals and visitors alike.

Madison Children's Museum

100 N. Hamilton Street., Madison
(608) 256-6445
Wisconsin's first hands-on Museum for children!
Dane County Farmer's Market on the Square
Capitol Square, Madison
(920) 563-5037
Take a tour, look up recipes, and find out how you can help support local agriculture. \bakery goods, fresh vegetables, herbs, honey, homemade jams and fruit, offset by a wonderful array of flowers, both freshly cut and ready to plant. From late April to November, it happens each Saturday morning from 6 AM to 2 PM.
Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
1 John Nolen Dr.
Madison
(608) 261-4000
The facility hosts a tremendous variety of events, including international conventions, academic conferences, consumer shows, banquets, weddings, and concerts.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens Government, employement, Recreation, Transportation, Neighborhoods

State Capitol
Capitol Square
Madison
(608) 266-0382

Capital Tour

Free tours depart from the information desk on the ground floor three times each in the morning (9, 10 and 11 AM) and afternoon (1, 2 and 3 PM) Monday through Saturday and at 1, 2 and 3 PM Sundays. Groups of 10 or more are advised to make a reservation through the listed number.

Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison
(608) 258-4177
box office:
(608) 258-4141

The First Incarnation

In 1928, the Capitol Theatre opened its doors on State Street. Designed by the renowned Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp, the Capitol was a marvelous example of the type of opulent movie houses that were built back in the silent film age. Seating 2,500, the theater's decor had a Moorish/Spanish theme. Uniformed ushers escorted moviegoers to their seats to watch features starring luminaries such as Harold Lloyd and Maurice Chevalier, as well as vaudeville acts like Mae West and Al Jolson. The state of the art building boasted the latest in modern conveniences and, perhaps most wonderful, a Grand Barton theater organ constructed by the Barton Musical Instrument Company of Oshkosh.

Over the years, as vaudeville disappeared and television and multiplexes proliferated, the theater entered a long decline. In 1974, Mayor Paul Soglin set the wheels in motion to open a new performing arts center in Madison.

Act Two
The Capitol Theater was part of extensive construction and renovation on the 200 block of State Street. Equipped with the latest in theater technology and renamed the Oscar Mayer Theatre, it was the main venue in a complex that also included the smaller Isthmus Playhouse, meeting rooms, and a Crossroads lobby connecting the performing arts venues with the Madison Art Center under the same roof. Opening in 1980, the Madison Civic Center was Madison's home for great arts and entertainment for 23 seasons. Dane County residents were treated to a range of experiences from luminaries like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Itzhak Perlman, to performances by local arts groups including the Madison Repertory Theatre and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, to free festivals and kids shows in the Crossroads, to the silent film series in which the Grand Barton organ continued to play.

Now Playing
In 1998, local businessman W. Jerome Frautschi made the breathtaking gift of $50 million for the development of a cultural arts district in downtown Madison. He established the Overture Foundation to solve the space needs of the city's major arts organizations. Eleven months later, he made the decision that he would donate another $50 million more. At the completion of Phase 1 of construction, the announcement was made that Mr. Frautschi had spent an astonishing $205 million to build this state of the art facility.

Internationally famous architect Cesar Pelli was engaged to design the project. It was a challenge to design and construct the facilities within the constraints of a city block in the center of town.

The complete facility contains the fabulous Overture Hall, the intimate Playhouse, three black box spaces, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wisconsin Academy's James Watrous Gallery, three community galleries, a soaring glass lobby, and the Capitol Theater, returned to its original name.

UW Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy., Madison
(608) 263-7888
1,280-acre tract on the near West Side of Madison has prairies, conifer forests and wetlands exist side-by-side. The grounds are open year round from 7 AM to 10 PM daily. There is no admission fee. The McKay Visitor Center includes a visitor information desk, small bookstore, library and space for exhibits. It's open weekdays from 9:30 AM to 4 PM and weekends from 12:30 to 4 PM (11 AM to 3 PM from June to August), excluding holidays. Public tours and other programs take place on most weekends. Call ahead for a list of activities.

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, led by Maestro Andrew Sewell, is a vibrant and thriving professional orchestra dedicated to connecting its audiences to the power of music.  The WCO performs approximately 25 concerts per year, including Concerts on the Square®, Masterworks, Halloween, Holiday Pops, youth concerts, and other performances across the state.  With a core orchestra of 34 musicians, an established $10 million endowment, and a permanent home in Overture Center for the Arts’ magnificent Capitol Theater, WCO is one of the finest chamber orchestras in the country.

 

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