By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 29, 2017 at 9:16 AM

Milwaukee Public Schools’ spring break is coming soon (April 10-14) and if you’re looking for a quick and easy getaway, you don’t have to look far.

At just an hour’s drive southwest of Milwaukee, Lake Geneva has plenty of fun for the whole family.

Here are some highlights from a recent scouting trip to help you get started on a plan. Further details on these and other fun things to do in and around Lake Geneva can be found on the Visit Lake Geneva web site.

1. Find a home base


(PHOTO: Visit Lake Geneva)

From B&Bs to vintage motels to luxury inns, Lake Geneva has something for every taste when it comes to lodgings. But you’ve got the kids, so go where the action is, namely an amenity-laden resort. We chose Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, in large part for the Moose Mountain Falls water park located in the resort’s Timber Ridge Lodge. Here, the kids can slide away the winter blues and while mom and dad relax on a tube along the lazy river, maybe with a pina colada in hand.


(PHOTO: Visit Lake Geneva)

In addition to a variety of dining options, Grand Geneva offers a beautiful golf course – our room overlooked its green, wooded expanse – and a full-service spa for mom and dad, too. A rock climbing wall, bike trails, an arcade and much more mean there’s always something on tap at Grand Geneva.

Free on-demand trolley service makes navigating the vast resort a snap.

2. Ride a horse

(PHOTO: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa)

One of the best amenities at Grand Geneva – weather permitting – is Dan Patch Stables, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, right near the main gate, which offers year-round trail rides and pony rides for kids ages 6 and under, too. The stables offers carriage rides, winter sleigh rides, hayrides in autumn and more.

3. Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

We walked in uncertain about what awaited us at the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, 609 W. Main St., but we soon realized why illusionist Tristan Crist’s show is now the top-rated attraction in Lake Geneva on Trip Advisor (unseating the lake itself for the top spot!).

The intimate theater, Crist’s personality and the astonishing illusions combine to create an unforgettable show suitable for all ages. We're still talking about how we think he might've done some of the tricks.

4. Feed the kids

Nothing torpedoes a trip as quickly as a hangry little kid, so eat before tempers flare. As is the case with lodging, dining options in and around Lake Geneva run the gamut, from chain restaurants to high-end, fine dining and everything in between. We opted for Sprecher’s Restaurant and Pub, 111 Center St., to satisfy adult and kid palates and, in large part, for the fabulous view of Lake Geneva itself right outside the windows.

From an expansive menu, we chose to salute Milwaukee with a platter of Usinger’s sausages and a Sprecher IPA (for me, not for the kids).

5. Yerkes Observatory

Though we’ve seen Yerkes’ amazing building, 373 W. Geneva St., in Williams Bay, from the outside a number of times, we only recently took the tour for the first time. The roughly 90-minute tour (free, with suggested donation of $8) encompasses the history of the building, the details of the astronomical equipment (which was used over the years by the likes of Edwin Hubble and Carl Sagan), the architectural features of the stunning Henry Ives Cobb-designed building, astronomy, astrophysics and more.

The tour might get a little long for young’uns, but it is broken up into two halves, so you can bow out early if necessary without causing a fuss.

Read a bit about the history of Yerkes Observatory here.

6. Lake Geneva


(PHOTO: Visit Lake Geneva)

If you’ve grown tired of wandering the shops and lazing at the resort pool, don’t miss the lake at the heart of it all. Take a cruise on the water, walk the paths around the lake, go fishing ... the possibilities are seemingly endless.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.