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The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is located in Manitowoc County at exit 144 (County Road C) on the west side of Interstate 43. Our address is 7001 Gass Lake Road in Manitowoc.
Admission to the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is:
- Adults - $16
- Youth - $8
- Ages 3 and under – Free
- Seniors (62 and over) - $12
- Groups of 15 or more - $10 per person, registration required
- School Groups - $5 for each student, registration required
Admission includes: 10,000 square feet of hands-on, educational exhibits, a Birthing Barn with up to five baby calves born each day, and a bus tour to nearby Grotegut Dairy Farm. The Center also features a café, ice cream counter, conference center, and gift shop.
Watch for special ticket pricing throughout the year.
The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center will be open 7 days a week from 10am – 6pm. We will be closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Hours are subject to change.
Many Wisconsin farms are family-owned and passed down for generations. You will have a chance to tour a local farm to learn about the rich Wisconsin history and how today's farms are using the best practices in the agricultural industry. Visitors will travel between the two facilities using coach bus transportation. The bus trips is part of the fun and interactive experience.
The Birthing Barn is included as part of the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center experience to give visitors a chance to see, firsthand, the miracle of birth. We expect between two and five calves to be born at Farm Wisconsin every day.
The LTC School of Agriculture is located adjacent to Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center at 7003 Gass Lake Road. Although currently there is no formal partnership between the two entities, we both recognize the potential—given our shared missions—for future collaborations. In 2017, Farm Wisconsin leased the plot of land to LTC for $1. The building contains two classrooms and one lab as well as a gathering space.
LTC is not a donor to Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center.
Agriculture is a very important part of the State of Wisconsin’s economy and culture, yet there was no agricultural education center located in the state. Today, most people are several generations removed from farming. With less than 2% of the population producing food for the other 98%, many Americans do not know where their food actually comes from, or how it is produced. Currently many people want to know more about the food they are consuming. While most have a vague understanding of the origin of their food, the enormous role of the agriculture industry in their lives is a mystery to many Americans.
With these facts in mind, the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center was a vision for over eight years. Through their countless hours of research, exploration, fundraising and planning, a dedicated group of volunteers and, later, a small staff have been able to make this project a reality. Farm Wisconsin answers the question, “Where does my food come from?” Showcasing Wisconsin’s family farms, other agricultural producers, and processors, Farm Wisconsin presents the complex and inspiring story of farmers’ commitment to provide food, fuel, and fiber: safely, humanely, sustainably.
The exhibits address six main themes:
- Wisconsin – America’s Dairyland
- Wisconsin’s Diverse Agriculture – From Alfalfa to Zucchini
- Feeding Your Family – Field to Fork
- Common Ground – Balancing Farming and the Environment
- Advances in Food Production – The Cutting Edge
- Agri-“Culture” – How are YOU Connected?
The exhibit committee, made up of individuals from many backgrounds in agriculture, came together under the leadership of the Director of Education and Programming to develop exhibits featured under each main theme. Creation and construction of the exhibits was undertaken by Split Rock Studios, Arden Hills, MN.
Economic Development Partners, LLC completed an economic development study on this project. The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center was evaluated on three criteria:
- Is the development and construction of a Center in Manitowoc County cost effective to build, operate and sustain?
- Will the Center be able to financially sustain its operations through positive cash flow and diversified streams of income?
- What are the feasibility conclusions and recommendations?
The economic development study found that the design, development and construction of the Center would be feasible and cost effective based on the revenue sources and funding sources available for the project. A large part of the cash flow will accrue from admissions, events, café and catering sales, facility rentals, and gift shop sales.
The Center’s location was found to provide an excellent opportunity to pull I-43 traffic traveling to-and-from Door County, Lambeau Field and the Fox Valley.
The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is being partially funded through a $5 million non-state agency grant. The remaining $8 million is being raised through corporate and individual donors. Limited exhibit naming opportunities remain, and other recognition opportunities are widely available.
The overall cost to build the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is $13 million.