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Things to do in Oshkosh

  • EAA Airventure Museum Airventure Museum Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    The experimental aircraft association's fly-in convention was the original name for the museum, but now it is called EAA airventure Oshkosh, and was started in 1953; when it was part of the gathering for the Milwaukee Air Pageant. That first get together had just a few planes that were either homemade or modified. Less than 150 people came to see the show, and while the air pageant no longer is held, the airventure meeting is a world class premier aviation happening. During the early years of the fly-in, it grew fast, eventually becoming too large for the Milwaukee airport and in 1959, it was moved to Rockford, Ill. municipal airport and it was held there for the next ten years. While there, the convention established its preeminence as a homebuilder's event and the friendly camaraderie feeling that still is felt today. It was in those years that the aviation interests such as antiques, warbirds and aerobatic flyers were integrated into the EAA gathering. In 1969, it was obvious that the fly-in had outgrown Rockford and the event had left the home basement operation into an office and museum outside of Milwaukee into Franklin. The gathering itself involved hundreds of planes and tens of thousands of visitors. Sites began to be considered for the annual event, and aviation legend Steve Whitman, one of the original EAA members, thought the airport at Oshkosh would be perfect since there were so many acres of land surrounding it. The large acreage around this airport could support the planes, tents and vehicles that came to the event and it had two runways that didn't intersect and would be better for more traffic. In the latter part of 1969, the EAA board decided it would be the best place to move to. The only problem that arose was the lack of convention facilities or infrastructure in Oshkosh; however, the volunteers of the EAA came together and within 6 months, the fly-in had a new home. Those volunteers continue to help with the EAA's needs and over 4000 people are involved now. During the 1970s and 1980s the event erupted onto the national scene and the attendance grew into six figures attending and it soon was one of the top shows of sport aviation. In 1998, the name was changed to EAA Airventure Oshkosh, and it has become one of the world's top aviation events with top government officials, corporate heads and hundreds of thousands of flight enthusiasts. It goes across the entire spectrum of aviation and brings over 10,000 planes to the gathering each year. The week long happening brings in over half a million people that spend over $110 million. In 2008, the airventure event began a massive 10 year upgrade that would improve and enhance the field for all visitors, both pilots and visitors. Presently, the gathering has become an international affair where people can study the latest aircraft and improvements and find new ideas and techniques from among the 1000 workshops and forums that are held.

  • The Grand Opera House
    The grand opera house in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is located in a beautiful structure that was built in 1883 and then renovated to its past grandeur. Originally opened as an opera house, the first production was called the Bohemian Girl, which was a very popular opera during that era. While in operation, the opera house was the place for grand operas, then traveling road shows, vaudeville and finally motion pictures; then back to off Broadway shows. The last one was run for a total of 42 years, it was an original and the 17,162 performances made it the longest running musical in the world. The opera house was where many great and renown performers came; Houdini, Susan B. Anthony, Enrico Caruso, Charlie Chapin, the Marx Brothers and Mark Twain. Unfortunately, over the years, the grand theater fell on hard times and by the end of the 1970s, it was showing X-rated movies. Finally in 1979, renovation efforts and fund raising renewed the old theater and it re-opened in 1986. After the re-opening, stories began to come to light about the apparitions and odd things that happening during its renovation. It is no surprise then that the stories and tales have continued even today. During the 1980s, a local theater group, called the Drama Lab had some dramatic events that occurred with mysterious footsteps, slamming doors and many other oddities. There is one story about an actor that ran into a dressing room only to face a figure dressed in old fashioned clothes with a playbill from a show that was done in 1895. A worker was doing a job in the balcony one night when he heard footsteps coming up the stairs and when no one came into view, he looked around the corner and didn't see anyone. A recent story has the ghost being the spirit of Percy Keene, the former stage manager of the theater. A film crew was there in 1977, when they say a man standing on the balcony looking down at them with a friendly smile and it looked like the man, Percy Keene, with a haircut and small round glasses that were his. He was the stage manager from 1895 until 1967 and people believe that he is still looking out for his beloved theater. The stories are endless and for more information, visit this magnificent old opera house whenever you visit Oshkosh.

  • Military Veteran's Museum, Inc.
    This museum dedicated to the armed forces of the United States contains many items of memorabilia that are of great interest to the community and visitors alike. An original New York Herald newspaper that announces the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is housed here, with the original ships log of the USS California from December 7, 1941, jeeps from the second World War, Korea and Vietnam, women's service uniforms, enemy and allied weapons and so much more are kept in preservation at the museum. It is dedicated to peace, national pride and patriotism; promising to educate adults and young people alike about the role of the citizen soldier. A great number of medals and badges are displayed, with photographs, uniforms, exhibits and vehicles. It is the repository for the USS Wisconsin's recommissioning plaque that weighs over 400 pounds and made of the salvaged teak deck from the ship during the second World War. The 32nd Red Arrow infantry division's history has a special exhibit that is devoted to the women and men from the state of Wisconsin that served in this glorious unit. They earned this red arrow nickname and crest serving under General John J. Pershing in World War I in France so gallantly. Some of the uniforms that are here came from the war of 1812 right up to Operation Desert Storm, with uniforms of the German Wehrmacht, American Red Cross and Canadian Army.

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Local Restaurants in Oshkosh
  • Fratellos
    This waterfront restaurant is the winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 2009, has beautiful waterfront dining on the Fox River, and cooks up some great steaks, pasta, seafood, burgers and handcrafted beers. The owners are second generation restaurateurs, and believe that by using the freshest ingredients available locally both harvested and produced, and offer vegetarian and healthy cuisine. First offering include; fratellos crunch chicken tenderloins are hand breaded chicken tenderloins served with seasoned waffle fries and their own sweet mustard dip; crab Rangoon is hand filled crab wontons, lightly fried and served with a tomato vinaigrette; homemade cheese sticks are jack cheese hand-rolled in a wonton skin and fried to a golden brown served with a side of marinara; homemade potato chips with a side of sour cream; or Ahi tuna pizza is a wafer thin house made crust layered with hoisin BBQ sauce and fresh tuna topped with wasabi aioli, black olives, shaved red onions and cilantro. Appetizers single or couple; pan-fried crab cakes are two signature crab cakes, pan-fried and served with cucumber shrimp salad; chicken quesadilla is seasoned chicken, pico de gallo, jack and cheddar cheeses fill a tomato basil tortilla served with a side of sour cream salsa; the big dip is a selection of hummus, spinach and artichoke dip and their famous bruschetta served with crostini and flatbread; Fratellos sampler is a sampling of favorites including crispy cheese sticks onion rings, crunch chicken tenderloins and seasoned waffle fries; crispy calamari is fresh calamari flash-fried and topped with parmesan served with honey-chipotle vinaigrette; ahi tuna lollipops is five sesame seared ahi tuna lollipops served with dynamite sauce; spinach and artichoke dip with a piping hot blend of artichokes, spinach and cheeses combined with their Fox light beer served with crostinis; prosciutto chicken skewers are prosciutto wrapped chicken tenderloins served on skewers with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Steaks and chops offered include; French cut bone-in pork chop is butterflied and grilled pork chop served over potato puree with a caramelized onion and mushroom Marsala; signature filet mignon is a center cut filet on a bed of wild mushroom sauce, served with fresh asparagus and mashed potatoes; grilled ribeye is a 12 ounce rib eye grilled and topped with wild mushroom sauce, served with fingerling potatoes, haricot verts and carrots; flamed grilled KC strip is 12 ounce grilled bone-in ribeye topped with wild mushroom sauce served with baked potato and fresh asparagus; Fratellos sirloin steak is their signature certified Angus cut steak topped with a mushroom jus and served over roasted fingerling potatoes, sautéed onions and peppers. Fratellos signatures are; chicken stir fry is grilled chicken tossed with an array of fresh vegetables and mushrooms in a sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce served over rice; Thai shrimp noodle bowl is shrimp sautéed in Thai peanut sauce blended with vegetables and mushrooms tossed with udon noodles; grilled bruschetta chicken is a chicken breast topped with their house bruschetta and fresh mozzarella, served over pesto infused risotto; butternut raviolis and cinnamon pork tenderloin is a tender glazed pork served with butternut squash raviolis in an apricot brandy cream sauce.

  • Kodiak Jack's Steakhouse
    This is the place for great steaks and delicious seafood with more awards in the Oshkosh restaurant scene than any other. It has always been voted the best seafood place around with a warm rustic ambiance and that wonderful stick to your ribs food. The menu is extensive and varied. Appetizers include; onion ring tree is colossal sweet Spanish beer battered onion rings served with their famous special dipping sauce; cheesy bacon potatoes is a mound of crispy fried potatoes smothered with Wisconsin cheese and Iowa bacon bits; wild Kodiak buffalo wings are jumbo chicken wings served hot and spicy with ranch or bleu cheese dressing; jalapeno poppers are whole jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese; buffalo chips are homemade potato chips served warm with parmesan cheese; mozzarella sticks are beer battered mozzarella sticks fried to golden brown; deep fried cheese basket is combo of nuggets, mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers; Wisconsin cheese nuggets are 100% Wisconsin white and cheddar cheese nuggets; deep fried mushrooms are served with ranch or cheese sauce; oysters on the half shell are jumbo oysters from the Hillman oyster company; oyster Rockefeller is with spinach, parmesan and bread crumbs; deep fried broccoli is served with ranch or cheese sauce; Louisiana Cajun crawfish is served hot or cold with house special cocktail sauce; calamari rings is freshly breaded rings served with special sauce; garlic butter black mussels are steamed black mussels with special cocktail sauce. On their steak and ribs menu, only USDA choice black Angus beef is used, and the baby back ribs are slow cooked and glazed with house special BBQ sauce. They have slow roasted prime rib in different sizes, North Woods center cut sirloin in various cuts; high country rib eye is boneless and 12 or 16 ounces; Jeremiah Johnson's bone-in New York strip; black angus tenderloin grilled in 6, 8 or 12 ounce cuts; Rocky Mountain New York strip is 12 or 16 ounces; Trapper Pete's T-bone; Kodiak Jack's porterhouse; steak & shrimp is 10 ounce prime rib or 6 ounce tenderloin and deep fried jumbo shrimp; Crabby Steer is a pound of King crab legs and 10 ounce prime rib or 6 ounce tenderloin; BBQ baby back ribs; half rack ribs and chicken breast or mound of shrimp; half rack of ribs and shrimp, fried, coconut or scampi.

 

Grilled Rib eye Fratellos Oshkosh, Wisconsin

 

Filet Fratellos Oshkosh, Wisconsin

 

Calamari Fratellos Oshkosh, Wisconsin

 

Split Pork Fratellos Oshkosh, Wisconsin

 

Bruschetta Chicken Fratellos Oshkosh, Wisconsin

 

 

 

Mussels Kodiak Jack's Oshkosh, Wisconsin

 

New York strip Kodiak Jack's Oshkosh, Wisconsin

 

Prime rib & shrimp Kodiak Jack's Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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  • Menominee Park ZooMenominee Park Zoo Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    This zoo is located on 8 acres of the 109 acres of Menominee Park in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and was first opened in 1945 by the city's parks department. It is open from May until September, and has goats, wolves, prairie dogs and monkeys. It is bounded on the east by Lake Winnebago and various streets on the other sides. The zoo's animals are leased, so that different varieties can be enjoyed each year. Eventually, when exhibits are created, permanent animals will make their home here and the zoo will be opened year round. There are usually 30 to 50 animals during the open season, with over 43,500 visitors coming each year and 3500 children coming for educational field trips. Perhaps the most exciting exhibit at the present is the Great Plains gray wolves that were received from the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minnesota in 2002. There two male brothers and a non-related female; that were chosen specifically for the new environment in Oshkosh. These beautiful creatures have adapted well to the new home and have been a keen interest of visitors and locals that come to watch the three at play. The female, Saleen, was hand raised and is the most friendly. The other two are slowly getting used to visitors and for some people and children, this is the only chance for them to view these incredible creatures in a natural habitat. In 2007, the zoo opened the American elk exhibit, which copies the habitats of the elk with pond, woods and pasture for grazing. They have a bull, two cows and a calf presently, and are just marvelous to watch. The zoo is host to many special events during the year, with educational programs, field trips, and much more. The zoo is part of the park which also has many events during the year, as well as paddleboat rentals for the lake, amusement rides, merry-go-round and train. There is a baseball field, boat launch, swimming beach, picnic shelters, tennis courts, soccer field, and a two mile trail that is great for hiking, biking or rollerblading. You can fish for crappies, perch, bluegill or trout; but it is only catch and release. They have camping sites throughout the park, bridle trails, archery, cross-country skiing and sledding in the winter.

  • The Morgan House
    The Morgan House is a Queen Anne style Victorian house that was constructed in 1884, and is the home of the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society of Wisconsin. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is an exquisitely detailed home that showcases the type of homes built for the wealthy during that era. The home contains 6 fireplaces, ornate and beautiful woodwork, gas light fixtures and original Lincrusta and Anaglypta wall coverings. The woodwork is hand carved, with various woods, some is gilded or polychromed with faux finish paint and bordered hard wood floors. The Lincrusta wall coverings are made with a pulp of chalk, linseed oil, sawdust, zinc oxide, plant resin and a colored dye all mixed together and then applied to a paper base and then passed between rollers with one side engraved by the pattern which creates a design in relief. It was invented by Frederick Walton is 1877 as a cheaper way to copy expensive decorative plaster effects of carved wood paneling, tooled leather and tiles that had become very popular during the Victorian age. It was created to last a long time, and does get harder the older it gets. The anglypta is lightweight embossed wall coverings that were made from the cotton pulp and then is hand painted. Thomas Palmer invented this about 10 years after lincrusta. The ceilings are hand painted and stenciled, but are being repaired and saved. It was bought by the society in 1987 from the heirs of Constance Misky and there is a long term renovation process going on. The house was originally built for John Rodgers Morgan, founder of the Morgan Lumber Company in Oshkosh, and was designed by local architects Edwin Cole and Adam Bell. It is a magnificent home with hip roofs, gable roof, polygonal tower, patterned masonry chimney and front porch with stickwork frieze and balustrade.

May 11, 2011