20 Interesting And Fun Facts About Wisconsin [Explained]

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Wisconsin is known for its stunning natural beauty, with forests, lakes, and rivers that make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It is also home to a thriving economy and a population of friendly, hard-working people. But Wisconsin is more than just its geography and its economy. There are many interesting and fun facts about Wisconsin that set it apart from other states in the nation.

Quick Facts And Statistics About Wisconsin

  • Capital: Madison
  • Population: 5.9 Million (20th Populous State In The U.S)
  • Land Area: 65,498 sq mi / 169,640 km² (23rd Largest In The U.S)
  • Nickname: The Badger State
  • Abbreviation: WI
  • Statehood: May 29, 1848 (30th U.S State)
  • State Bird: American Robbin
  • State Flower: Wood Violet

Historical Facts About Wisconsin

Wisconsin Is Known As The Badger State

Wisconsin is often referred to as ‘The Badger State’ due to the large population of badgers that lived in the area during the 19th century. The nickname was officially adopted as the state’s official nickname in 1851 when it was added to the state seal.


First Capital

One of the most popular Wisconsin trivia is that Madison was only sometimes the capital of Wisconsin; it wasn’t even one of the first three cities chosen as capitals – Belmont (1836-1838), Burlington (1838-1839), and finally, Madison (1839-present).

Before becoming a state, Wisconsin was part of Michigan Territory, so many early settlers called it “Michigan.”


Wisconsin Is The Birthplace of Cheese

Did you know that Wisconsin is one of the largest dairy producers in the United States? It produces 25 percent of the nation’s cheese due to its lush pastures, mild climate, and innovative attitude toward food production.

You will find that these quality cheese and diary products play a big part in many of the famous foods in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Was A Major Battleground During The American Civil War

This is arguably one of the most important historical facts about Wisconsin. The state was a major battleground during the American Civil War, with some of the most decisive battles of the conflict taking place within its borders. There are some famous historic sites and landmarks in Wisconsin that relates to these crucial events.


Home To America’s Oldest Brewery

Beer drinkers are sure to enjoy a trip to the state simply because of this one interesting Wisconsin fact – It is home to the oldest brewery in America. Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee has been around since 1855. It has become one of the most popular breweries in America with its famous beers like Miller Lite and Miller High Life.

Wisconsin Was The First State To Ratify The 19th Amendment

The very first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was Wisconsin. This happened in 1919, with the states of Illinois and Michigan also taking the lead. You will learn many fascinating stories and facts about Wisconsin state from its past when you visit.

Cultural Facts About Wisconsin


Largest Producer Of Ginseng

Ginseng is a popular herbal remedy used for many different ailments and conditions; however, did you know that Wisconsin is home to some of the world’s finest Ginseng? One of the most impressive facts about Wisconsin’s ginseng industry is that it produces 90% of all U.S.-grown Ginseng. 


Wisconsin Is Famous For Its Beer

The badger state is not just known for badgers but also for its beer production. It was home to America’s first microbrewery, Sprecher Brewing Company, which opened its doors in 1985. Wisconsin also has an impressive craft beer scene, with over 200 breweries. 

Boasting great breweries and craft beer festivals, it seems an obvious Wisconsin fact that the locals love beer too.

The City Of Madison Celebrates Brat Fest Every Memorial Day Weekend

The city of Madison is home to one of the unique festivals in America – The World’s Largest Brat Fest.

One of the fun facts about Wisconsin is that every Memorial Day weekend, thousands of people from all over the country flock to Madison for what has become one of their most significant annual events – The World’s Largest Brat Fest.

During this four-day event, over 200,000 brats (made with Johnsonville brats) will be served with all your favorite toppings and sides for everyone to enjoy.


Wisconsin Is Also Home To The World’s Largest Music Festival

Summerfest in Milwaukee is often touted to be the world’s largest music festival. Held annually since 1968, this 11-day event that Milwaukee is known for features over 800 bands performing on 11 stages and draws an audience of around 900,000 people each year. Partygoers are sure to be excited about this fact about Wisconsin.

Interesting Facts About Wisconsin For Kids


Wisconsin Is Home To The Original Ice Cream Sundae

Wisconsin is known for many things, but one of the most interesting is that it was the birthplace of the beloved ice cream sundae. Many years ago, in 1881, Edward C. Berner’s soda fountain in Two Rivers had a customer who asked to have their ice cream topped with chocolate sauce – something not typically done then.

This unique twist on an already popular treat became so popular that it earned its name, ‘Sundae,’ and could now be enjoyed on any day of the week instead of just Sundays like before. Locals and visitors have celebrated this fun fact about Wisconsin as they share the joy of this iconic dessert.

Today it can be found in many forms throughout the state – from classic vanilla and chocolate to more creative concoctions – providing a sweet reminder of its Wisconsin roots.


Wisconsin Hosts Many Different Species Of Animals

It is perhaps not surprising that a state known for its outdoors is also home to plenty of wildlife. One of the most curious facts about Wisconsin for kids is that the state’s forests are home to white-tailed deer, black bears, badgers, bald eagles, beavers, wolves, and more!

Some rare species can only be found in Wisconsin, such as the Karner Blue butterfly and the Kirtland’s Warbler.

Largest WaterPark In America

This fact about Wisconsin is sure to get the kids excited. Noah’s Ark Family Park in Wisconsin Dells is actually the largest waterpark in the US. Spanning 70 acres, the fun-filled park has over 50 water slides and attractions, including a wave pool, lazy river, and more.  

Fun Wisconsin Facts For Travelers

First Public Museum In America

The Milwaukee Public Museum opened its doors in 1882, making it the first public museum in America. It houses over 4 million artifacts from around the world and holds special events throughout the year for visitors to enjoy. 

Milwaukee is home to some of the most famous landmarks in Wisconsin, such as the Milwaukee Art Museum.


Wisconsin Is Home To Two World-famous Circuses

Wisconsin has a rich circus history that is well-known beyond its state borders. In particular, the city of Baraboo has become synonymous with the “Greatest Show on Earth” due to its prominent association with the circus. Two iconic circuses, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey, started in Wisconsin.

The town is home to several historical attractions related to the circus, including the Circus World Museum, which offers visitors an insight into the world of circuses from past and present times. Other noteworthy locations include Al G. Barnes’ Wild Animal Arena – now known as Big Top Park – where visitors can see circus wagons replicas and participate in activities such as trapeze acts or a mini train ride.

A visit to Baraboo is undoubtedly a must for those interested in learning more about this fascinating fact about Wisconsin’s circus history.

During the 1800s and the first part of the 20th century, more than one hundred circuses were created in Wisconsin. The most famous was Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, which began in Delavan in 1881. This world-renowned event was formed by merging two other circuses operating before that date.

By its heyday, Barnum and Bailey’s Circus was renowned for its jaw-dropping performances featuring incredible acts such as animal trainers, clowns, acrobats, aerialists, and many other exhilarating shows.

Over time, it has become a symbol of Wisconsin’s history and culture, with residents fondly reflecting on its past glory and carnivals across the state today to celebrate this tradition.


Wisconsin Has Over 15,000 Lakes

The state has more than 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin and over 85,000 miles of rivers that go through it. Lake Michigan is the largest lake entirely within the boundaries of Wisconsin, and it covers an area of 22,300 square miles (57,800 km2).

The longest river in Wisconsin is the Wolf River, at 252 miles (406 km) long. It’s no wonder many people flock to the state every year for rest and relaxation on the water.

Wisconsin Boasts Of 1,200 Miles of Trails

This is another one of the top facts about Wisconsin that draws plenty of adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. The state boasts 1,200 miles of trails for hiking or biking, along with plenty of ski resorts during the winter. It is a great place if you are looking to immerse yourself in nature. 

Other Interesting Facts About Wisconsin

The State Dance Is The Polka

An interesting Wisconsin fact has it that Wisconsin has designated polka as its official state dance. This style of music originated from Bohemia and Silesia (modern-day Czech Republic) around 1830 and eventually made its way to America via immigrants from these countries who settled in Wisconsin. Today, it remains one of the most famous music and dances people enjoy worldwide.

Cheese Production Is Big Business

Did you know that more than 600 varieties of cheese are produced in Wisconsin? This proud fact about Wisconsin makes it a significant player in the dairy industry worldwide, with over 3 million pounds of cheese produced yearly. From classic cheddar to gouda and brie, there’s something for everyone regarding cheese from Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Is Home To Many Great Sports Teams

The Milwaukee Brewers baseball and Green Bay Packers football teams are some of Wisconsin’s most popular sports teams. The Green Bay Packers have won four Super Bowls in their history and are one of the most successful NFL franchises of all time.

The Milwaukee Brewers won their first World Series title in 1982. They also have one of the most iconic logos in professional sports, with a giant “M” outlined by a yellow circle on their uniforms. 

Discovering More Fun Facts About Wisconsin

These are just some of the interesting facts about Wisconsin to know about. There is much more to the state from its deep history to its extensive network of rivers and lakes.

Be sure to take a trip yourself. You will learn about the unique traditions and customs that have developed over time, such as cheese-making and brewing beer. There’s no shortage of fascinating facts about Wisconsin for you to uncover.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


other stories