For a nearby family getaway for a long weekend, we decided to go check out Madison, Wisconsin, which is only a 3 hour drive away from Chicago. For our stay, we opted to stick to the Cambria Suites chain and thoroughly enjoyed our experience. The suites were spacious and comfortable. We were a little surprised not to see a safe in the suite but just a small detail. The setup was comfortable with a separate one bedroom with a door that closed with the living area that had a queen size sleeper sofa and a separate bar section with a microwave and mini fridge. Customer service was extra friendly and helpful. The pool was a bit small and shallow but the perfect size for our young children.
We love the Cambria Suites brand and look forward to our next visit already! They have a decent breakfast buffet that we had some complimentary vouchers for (part of a package deal but otherwise would cost $9.99). Other nearby breakfast options did include a Cracker Barrel, as well.
Our first day we opted to check out the Henry Villas Zoo which is free admission, but parking is limited so you may find yourself looping around the residential area to look for parking. The kids loved the play area which had these incredibly tall treehouses and there was even a dino skeleton, too! After spending the morning there, we opted for a simpler afternoon with a nap back at the hotel and then, dip in the hotel indoor pool. We grabbed dinner at Ella's Deli which has eclectic decor which the kids seemed to enjoy. There is also a carousel attached to the front of the restaurant which the kids loved.
The next day, we opted to spend our morning at the Madison Children's Museum which was great! As members of our local children's museum, they participate in the museum reciprocal program which meant that we got 50% off of admission. Once you walk in, it's hard to peel the kids away from the fantastic water activity along with this giant hamster wheel that is made for kids. This museum is 3 floors and filled with interactive exhibits and activities. They also have a flash room where every ten seconds, a flash goes off and captures your shadow on the wall. They also have a great garden on the roof.
We wrapped up our day with a trip to the UW campus to check out the Geology Museum and the Babcock Hall Dairy store which had tours and an ice cream store, as well. For dinner, we opted for the Sprecher's Restaurant for their freshly brewed beer, root beer and pop!
The last day in Madison included checking out the Chazen Museum of Art which is free admission and had beautiful collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings. Afterwards, we stopped by the famous Farmer's Market to grab some snacks for the drive back to Chicago. Overall, Madison was full of family friendly activities, foods, and fun!