Oshkosh's Family-Friendly Culture Lures Newcomers

May 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm EST


Community attractions such as the Oshkosh Public Library and Little Oshkosh playground and zoo help keep “bored” out of kids’ vocabulary.

Little Oshkosh

Constructed in Menomonee Park by 6,000 volunteers over the course of a week, Little Oshkosh covers 30,000 square feet and is one of the nation’s largest community-built playgrounds. The playground incorporates suggestions gathered from children at 23 local elementary schools. Features include a model of a human skull big enough to climb in, a rocket ship, a castle and an airplane. The playground and the zoo in Menomonee Park provide schoolchildren a popular place to go on a field trip. Handicapped accessible, the playground is open 7 a.m. to dusk from spring to late fall.

Oshkosh Public Library

A community fixture since 1900, the Oshkosh Public Library on Washington ranks first or second every year in library use per capita among libraries of its size in Wisconsin – partly because of its ability to keep pace with technology. Designed by local architect William Waters, the library opened in 1900 on Labor Day. An addition was built in 1967. In 1993, a $10.9 million expansion and renovation created a U-shaped structure embracing the Waters building. Through it all, Sawyer and Harris, 9-foot bronze lions, have stood guard at the library’s main entrance since 1912.

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