I don’t know about you, but when I spend time with kids I like to find unique stops of entertainment. Mainstream excursions are fun, sure, but they lack character and originality. I have a seven-year-old niece, whom I call my Love Bug, and we like to plan day-long adventures together – just the two of us. Whenever we plan a “Love Bug and Auntie Day” she usually gets to choose what we do. Her number one choice: Build-A-Bear. While I don’t mind taking her there once in a while, it’s the same experience every time. Nothing changes except the merchandise, and she doesn’t really get any lasting, impactful memories from it.
Having the treat of working with the Walworth County Visitors Bureau, I have the opportunity to learn about all of the amazing, fun things to do in the Lake Geneva area. We had a “Love Bug and Auntie Day” coming up, and I really wanted to go somewhere that would tie in with her current seven-year-old interests and give her a true experience. Right now she’s CRAZY about horses. With the horse theme comes cowboys/cowgirls, cowboy boots, cowboy hats…you get the idea. Come to find out, there’s a little slice of the Wild West right here in Walworth County at Watson’s Wild West Museum in Elkhorn.
Love Bug was a bit apprehensive about going to a Wild West museum, most likely because we’d never done anything quite like this before. That said, she probably didn’t know what to expect. Once we pulled into the parking lot at Watson’s, her excitement instantly grew and I couldn’t park the car fast enough for her.
It genuinely looks like you are driving into the Wild West. There is an old mine, covered wagons, a big teepee, wagon wheels, and tons more. Love Bug was enamored by the place, and we hadn’t even gone inside yet!
Once she had her fill of the incredible outdoor display, she said it was time to go inside. The large wood door was of significant stature, so we gave it a good pull together to open it. The “foyer” hall was decorated from floor to ceiling in interesting vintage Wild West artifacts, but as soon as Love Bug saw the old saloon doors, she was ready to go in!
We pushed through the saloon doors and there wasn’t anyone in sight. We went through the next door slowly peeking through when we heard a loud, “Howdy Partner!” There before us stood a tall, gentle man that looked as though he literally stepped right out of the American Old West. He had a huge smile on his face, introduced himself as Cowboy Doug, and welcomed us in true western fashion.
Cowboy Doug took us around the room sharing tall tales, offering tidbits of history, and helping us imagine life in the 1800s. There’s much to look at inside the museum, enough to enthrall both young and old. We talked about chores and entertainment of the time, panned for gold, yelled “Ye-Haw!” as we sat in an old western saddle, got roped, and even had a Sarsaparilla slid down the bar to us, just like they did in the old days.
When it was time to head out Love Bug showed off the stash of gold she panned for, grabbed a Sarsaparilla, and walked out looking back over her shoulder with that typical kid look of wanting more. She bounced across the parking area pointing out things she missed when we originally walked in. As I drove out of the museum lot I heard, “Auntie, when can we go there again?” That was all the confirmation I needed to be convinced that Watson’s Wild West museum trumped Build-A-Bear for a “Love Bug and Auntie Day”. I guarantee we’ll return for another visit, and I’m almost certain that the next trip will be as unique as this one was.
Watson’s Wild West Museum
W4865 Potter Road, Elkhorn
$3.50/Child aged 4 – 10