|GROUP TOUR PLANNER|
Prairie du Chien Welcomes Your Group!
Tracing its roots to the French-Canadian Fur Trade of the 1600s, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin is the oldest community on the Upper Mississippi River. Epic history that shaped the westward course of our nation happened here. Fascinating history, towering rugged bluffs, and savvy shops and restaurants, make this city a memorable visit for your group. Prairie du Chien, located four hours south of Minneapolis and two hours west of Madison, is nestled in a pristine landscape of rural hills and valleys. Unscathed by the glacial drift of receding glaciers, this driftless area boasts scores of rocky bluffs and winding trails. Prairie du Chien lies at the center of the National Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge and is internationally known as one of the world’s premier sites for viewing migratory waterfowl.
|POPULAR GROUP TOUR SITES|
Villa Louis Historic Site
|Wyalusing State Park
Lynxville Lock & Dam #9
Eagles Landing Winery
Valley Fish & Cheese Shop
LODGING & DINING
A variety of lodging and dining choices are available in Prairie du Chien complete with all the amenities your group may need.
Villa Louis Historic Site
521 North Villa Louis Rd, Prairie du Chien, WI 608-326-2721
Villa Louis is Wisconsin’s premier Victorian country estate. Owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society and designated a National Historic Landmark, the 25 acre site has recently completed a ten-year, multi-million dollar restoration. With 90% of the original contents in place, the site is a virtual textbook of daily life in Victorian America. At the core of the estate are four historic buildings with 30 furnished rooms. Surrounding the mansion are restored gardens and lawns. Also located on the site is a museum documenting the fur trade, Wisconsin’s only War of 1812 Battlefield, and a museum store with a wide range of books and accessories. Voted the best guided tour in Wisconsin, tours are led by trained interpreters wearing Victorian-era clothing. Step-on guides, custom tours, including off-hours and off-season, food, beverages and other amenities can be arranged with prior planning. Please call for details and updated group tour rates. Complimentary passes are provided for bus tour escort and driver.
Fort Crawford Museum
717 S Beaumont Rd, Prairie du Chien, WI, 608-326-6960
Home of the Prairie du Chien Historical Society, Fort Crawford Museum is located on the grounds of an 1830’s U.S. army post. One of a chain of forts built to defend the new nation’s northwest frontier, Fort Crawford played a key role as host and backdrop for many events that helped shape our national story. Because of this the site is a designated National Historic Landmark. Situated on a large property with landscaped grounds and gardens, the museum includes three buildings, one of which is a restoration/reconstruction of the historic military hospital. Exhibits change annually focusing on various aspects of Prairie du Chien history, as well as medicine and military history associated with Fort Crawford and the region. A museum shop with books and historically-themed gifts is also located on the grounds. The Prairie du Chien Historical Society sponsors an annual series of special tours, concerts, lectures and other events. Fort Crawford Museum is open daily May 1 through October 31 and other times by special arrangement. For a guided group tour, please plan on 1.5 hours. Please call for group rates and reservation information; group escorts and drivers receive complimentary admission.
Effigy Mounds National Monument
3 miles N of Marquette, IA off Highway 76, Harpers Ferry, IA, 563-873-3491
Open year-round the monument was established to preserve a prehistoric American Indian culture that constructed mounds in the shape of mammals, birds, or reptiles. The monument encompasses 2,526 acres with 206 mounds of which 31 are effigies. The visitor center contains museum exhibits, a video presentation, and book sales outlet. Visitors may tour the mounds and experience more than 100 acres of prairie by walking along 14 miles of hiking trails. They will also enjoy spectacular views from bluffs along the Mississippi River. Three conical mounds are accessible to disabled visitors via a boardwalk trail. Ranger-led programs and evening hikes are available in the summer; call the park to make arrangements. Admission is free. A winter film festival is held January through March with films shown each Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
24397 Froelich Road, McGregor, IA, 563-536-2841 (9.6 miles W of Prairie du Chien)
1890's historical village, open for tours the second weekend in May to the last weekend in September and also the first two weekends in October. Admission is charged. Open 6 days a week, closed Wednesdays. Call ahead to arrange your tour.Tour highlights include: 1891 general store and post office, 1866 one room store and one room school house, 1800's blacksmith shop, 1920 wharehouse, 1900's train depot and cars, and 1903 vintage barn.
Majestic Views of the Mississippi River
Wyalusing State Park
10 miles S of Prairie du Chien, WI, 608-996-2261
Tour bus visitors can take a short walk to Point Lookout for a spectacular view of the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. For those not wishing to walk to Point Lookout, a scenic drive through the Wisconsin Ridge Campground will provide an excellent view of the Wisconsin River Valley from a 500 foot bluff. Campsites, picnic areas and hiking trails are available. Call for tour group fees.
Pikes Peak State Park
McGregor, IA, 563-873-2341
One of Iowa's most beautiful state parks, Pikes Peak is a favorite spot for photographing the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers in any season or weather. The park also contains campsites, picnic grounds, a waterfall, and hiking and nature trails. The park is named for Lt. Zebulon Pike, an 1805 army surveyor of the Mississippi, who suggested a fort be built on this site. A handicap sidewalk is accessible from the parking lot to the scenic overlook. Tours can be arranged May through October with the park’s naturalist. There is no admission fee.
2335 Andy Mt. Lane, Harpers Ferry, IA, 563-586-2123 or 563-880-8970
Experience the Mississippi River through an educational river tour on the history of commercial fishing and clamming. 49-passenger tour boat, unique hands-on experience. Available for sightseeing and group charter cruises. Call for group arrangements and rates.
Lynxville Lock & Dam #9
Hwy 35 N, Lynxville, WI, 608-874-4311
This is the largest federally managed pool on the Mississippi River. The Lynxville Lock & Dam restrains the reservoir known as Lake Winneshiek, and has 6,000 lockages annually. The observation deck is excellent for viewing eagles. Call ahead to make arrangements for tour.
Tours with a Local Flair
Eagles Landing Winery
82 and 127 North St, Marquette, IA , 563-873-2509
Bottled under "Marquette Maid," Eagles Landing Winery produces dry red, dry white, semi-dry red, semi-sweet such as blush, white, cranberry and dessert wines. Wine production, from the 975 vines planted on the family's farm, is located at 127 North Street. Your group will be treated to a free tour of the winery and an educational wine tasting session.
Six miles NE on Hwy 27, left on Limery Rd, Prairie du Chien, WI, 608-326-2785
This scenic apple orchard, with 20,000 apple trees producing 16 varieties of apples is open the first weekend of September through the last weekend of October. Visit the Apple House showcasing apple varieties, unique jams, jellies, and apple butter, local cheese and sausages and fresh cider.
Unique City Sites
Mississippi River Sculpture Park
St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien, WI
Take a self-guided tour of the City’s historic sculpture park, displaying life-size bronze sculptures including Chief Black Hawk. Future plans are for approximately 24 bronze historical figures. There is no admission to the park which is open year round.
City Tour/St. Feriole Island
Two approaches to the island, Blackhawk Ave and Washington St, Prairie du Chien, WI
St. Feriole Island was the area of earliest settlement and activity in Prairie du Chien. It is the site of the Battle of Prairie du Chien during the War of 1812, and of the first Fort Crawford where three important Indian treaties were signed. Home of the Villa Louis, Mississippi River Sculpture Park, and the St. Feriole Island Gardens. It is host to annual events including the Prairie Villa Rendezvous, Prairie Dog Blues Fest and the Villa Louis Carriage Classic. Enjoy walking and biking trails or watching ducks and eagles. City step-on guides can be provided by the Fort Crawford Museum staff (608-326-6960) and the Villa Louis staff (608-326-2721). Guide arrangements must be made in advance.
300 N. Marquette Rd, Prairie du Chien, WI, 608-326-6518
The 1912 building of 30,000+ sq. ft., hosts eight shops and a fudge & ice cream parlor. Open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Hwy 35 N, Prairie du Chien, WI, 608-326-5600
This 40,000 sq. ft. retail showroom offers the latest in hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. Adding to the natural motif of the store are hundreds of trophy game animals, many recreated in lifelike settings that provide an interactive, educational backdrop for your shopping experience. Plus, there's an 8,000-gallon aquarium stocked with fish native to the Wisconsin area. Open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. -9 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Group tours are available in the retail store area only.
Historic Downtown Prairie du Chien
Blackhawk Ave, Prairie du Chien, WI
Experience the quaint shops, intriguing restaurants and the historical architecture of downtown Prairie du Chien. The shopping opportunities are abundant, and our downtown revitalization efforts have created an atmosphere that welcomes you to our special community.
Valley Fish Market
304 S Prairie St, Prairie du Chien, WI, 608-326-4719
Group tours will be in for a treat as local commercial fisherman, Mike Valley spins the tales of his life on the Mississippi River. The Valley family has been commercial fishermen in Prairie du Chien since the 1800s. The shop is known for the "finest smoked fish in the world" and has the only smokehouse in the state of Wisconsin that burns 100% hickory wood. Valley Fish & Cheese is open March through December 31.
Casino Queen and Marina
Hwy 18 W, Marquette, IA, 800-4-YOU-BET
The riverboat casino is docked on the main channel of the Mississippi River, with slots, table games; regional and headline entertainment in the SEVENS Bar; The Buffet - all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; open 7 days a week. Open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 a.m., weekend hours begin at 9 a.m. Friday and run through the weekend until 2 a.m. Monday morning.
Prairie du Chien has a history of catering to special needs and interests. Please call our experienced tourism staff who will help connect you with the contacts to plan a unique and memorable visit to the oldest community on the Upper Mississippi.
Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of
Commerce/Tourism Council 1-800-732-1673