This Midwestern, Family-Friendly State Park Is A Uniquely Gorgeous Educational Experience

Aztalan State Park is a lesser-known destination located in the heart of the Midwest that offers a unique combination of history, nature, and adventure. The park has a rich cultural significance dating back more than a thousand years. It is home to well-preserved earthen mounds and fortified structures from an ancient Native American settlement. Visitors can explore these amazing sites and learn about the cultural heritage of the indigenous people through informative tours and educational opportunities. 

Apart from its historical significance, Aztalan State Park offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors of all ages. From hiking and fishing to picnicking in the park's beautiful natural surroundings, Aztalan State Park is a perfect destination for families to spend quality time together and learn about the past. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat in a beautiful setting, Aztalan State Park is worth visiting.

Enjoying Aztalan State Park

Spanning over 172 acres along the Crawfish River, the park is located in the town of Aztalan in Jefferson County. The area was once home to an ancient Middle Mississippian village that thrived between A.D. 1000 and 1200. The park features preserved and reconstructed portions of the stockade that once surrounded the village and large ceremonial mounds, offering an insightful glimpse into the Mississippian culture. Visitors to Aztalan State Park can enjoy a wide range of activities, including boating, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and fishing in the Crawfish River. During winter, you can even cross-country ski or snowshoe, although the trails are not maintained. 

The park offers self-guided tours, so you can explore the stockade and the mounds to gain a deeper understanding of the ancient village's lifestyle and culture. The natural landscape comprises mostly open prairie, with 38 acres covered in oak woods and two miles of trails, making it an ideal destination for picnicking and wildlife viewing. The park is open year-round from morning to night and features picnic shelters and bathrooms for a comfortable experience.

Nearby adventures and attractions

Although camping is not permitted in Aztalan State Park, there are several family-friendly places to stay and things to do nearby, making it an ideal weekend destination. Adjacent to the park is the Aztalan Museum, operated by the Lake Mills Aztalan Historical Society. The museum showcases 19th-century pioneer life through displays of pioneer structures and artifacts. The Aztalan Historical Society sponsors an annual festival on the museum grounds on the third Sunday in July, celebrating Aztalan's pioneer past. This event offers a lively and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

There are several other fun and interesting places to visit near Aztalan State Park. Busy Barns Farm Adventures, located in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, is approximately 10 miles from the park and offers a variety of activities, including animal feeding, pony rides, and a corn maze. Another nearby attraction is Lake Mills, where you can explore the beautiful Tyranena Park by Rock Lake, enjoy boating, fishing, or swimming in the picturesque lake, or browse fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade products at the weekly farmer's and artisan market. The Glacial Drumlin State Trail is another popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The 52-mile long trail stretches from Cottage Grove to the town of Waukesha, providing a scenic and unique experience for hikers and bikers.

Aztalan State Park offers a blend of history and nature. It's a place where the past meets the present, making it a memorable destination for all.