I love travel. Specifically, travel with a purpose. Whether it be a pilgrimage or adventure the journey fuels my creative soul. One of my life dreams is to explore the Seven Wonders of the World – not just the Ancient list, but the Medieval and New lists as well.
Imagine my surprise this morning when I learned I’d already completed a Seven Wonders list!?!
I give you my experiences with the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Wisconsin, as compiled by Travel Wisconsin:
✓ Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum (Hayward, WI)
I was maybe all of six or seven years old when we visited this WI Wonder. I know I didn’t really appreciate the dedication to preserving our state’s fishing culture, but man did I have a great afternoon climbing around on the giant 4-story Muskie statue!
✓ Lambeau Field (Green Bay)
I’ve never actually attended a football game at Lambeau, but I’ve been to an evening event. I mean black tie and cocktails at Lambeau? You better believe I was all over seeing the place in a different light!
✓ Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee)
Quite possibly one of my favorite architectural wonders in the Midwest, I make sure to drive past it every time I’m in Cream City. If it’s summer, and I’ve got time to spare, I love wandering this lakeside shrine to art.
✓ Noah’s Ark Waterpark (Wisconsin Dells)
Another much-loved fun spot of my youth and young adulthood. It holds the honor of being the place where my parents first saw a tattoo on my body. Boy THAT was an afternoon! Apparently I presented my position well. Each of my parents now wears a (small) piece of ink.
✓ Taliesin (Spring Green)
The Frank Lloyd Wright chapter of my life was woefully short. I tried so hard to see what all the hoopla was about. I love some of the concepts (in prose) behind his art. He called it Organic Architecture, and each structure was to be designed for its environment. At their core, those words appeal to me. But then I toured several of his works, and they never sang to me. The lines are too heavy for my liking, the corners seem somehow too sharp. I don’t see them as organic, I see them as a weird fusion of field stone and art deco.
✓ The House on the Rock (Spring Green)
Merely a continuation of the FLW chapter, I’ve been to the House on the Rock so many times I should be granted permanent access. That said, I DID waltz in the Infinity Room before they roped it off, and I HAVE ridden the same merry-go-round where Neil Gaiman sat the gods.
✓ Wisconsin Concrete Park (Phillips)
Best for last, right? While driving into Phillips one hot summer day I was treated to one of the greatest WTF moments of my life. A snowmobile shot down the hill and skimmed across the blue waters of the lake. Once the driver was most of the way across, the crowd cheered. I watched dumbfounded for several more racers before I noticed a water crane on-hand to retrieve the rigs of riders who didn’t maintain their balance. It was a thing… an honest event. Open Water Snowmobile races.
Because of that hilarious festival on the lake, I didn’t make it to the Concrete Park until sunset. Wisconsin Travels says: “Although the park never closes, it is best seen during daylight hours.” Heed well this warning! Concrete horses with bits of sparkly glass embedded in their flanks may look dreamy at high noon, but in the shadows of the deepening dark they become glass-spined demons of terror. I mentally return to the phantasms I experienced that evening every time I need to write a horror scene.
Quite by accident, I completed a Wonders list! I’m still laughing. I honestly thought I’d have the Medieval Wonders checked off first. But that’s Wisconsin for you. This state worms its way into your heart and before you know it, it’s home.
I have been asked twice what the Wonders lists are and which I’ve visited. I’ll write MUCH more on them later, so for now here’s a preview:
Ancient Wonders of the World
✓ Great Pyramid of Giza
❏ Hanging Gardens of Babylon
❏ Statue of Zeus at Olympia
❏ Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
❏ Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
❏ Colossus of Rhodes
❏ Lighthouse of Alexandria
(The only ancient world wonder that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza, but I at least want to get to the other sites.)
Medieval Wonders of the World
(Sometimes called Middle Age Wonders of the World)
✓ Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
❏ Great Wall of China
❏ Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
❏ Hagia Sophia
❏ Leaning Tower of Pisa
✓ Cluny Abbey
✓ Cairo Citadel (also known as the Saladin Citadel)
❏ Taj Mahal
❏ Ely Cathedral
New Seven Wonders of the World
✓ Chichen Itza
❏ Great Wall of China
❏ Christ the Redeemer
❏ Machu Picchu
❏ Taj Mahal
✓ Great Pyramid of Giza (Honorary Candidate)