10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wausau

Rib Mountain State Park

Our crew has been daydreaming about Wausau ever since we started filming our latest episode in central Wisconsin’s winter wonderland. In light of our fondness for the area, we’re revealing our list of the top 10 things we betcha haven’t heard about Wisconsin’s “Best Place to Play in the Snow.”

  1. The city was originally known as Big Bull Falls. Its neighbor to the south – now named Mosinee – was dubbed Little Bull Falls by the original French explorers because of the bubbles that were created by the river’s long rapids, called bulle in French. Wausau means “a faraway place” or “a place which can be seen from far away” in the Ojibwe language.
  2. Marathon County is the Ginseng Capital of the World, producing 95 percent of all ginseng exported from the U.S.
  3. Representing the largest curling facility in the country and housing eight Olympic regulation sheets of ice, the Wausau Curling Facility is the home base for approximately 350 adult members and more than 150 local high school student athletes.
  4. Wausau ❤s pretty parks. Here you’ll find 37 city parks, 18 county parks and 10 county forest units. If our math is right, that’s roughly 32,366 acres of alluring turf to explore.
  5. At 1,200 feet, Sylvan Tubing Hill is the longest tubing hill in the state. You’ll find both kids and their parents taking to this popular wintertime attraction, which features six runs and two tow lines.
  6. Speaking of steep slopes, the Wausau area is also home to Granite Peak Ski Area, where snow lovers relish the highest skiable peak in Wisconsin and one of the oldest in the nation. When it opened on the slopes of  Rib Mountain in 1937, it was one of the first ski areas in North America.
  7. At 241 feet high, Dudley tower is the tallest commercial building in Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee.
  8. Bull Falls Brewery is Wausau’s first micro-brewery. (Tip: Try the Five Star Ale.)
  9. Wausau is close to the center of the northern half of the Western Hemisphere. Just west of Wausau in the community of Poniatowski, 45°N meets 90°W (45°N 90°W), which is exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole and a quarter of the way around the world from the prime meridian.
  10. Dayspring Health Spa, located in the Jefferson Street Inn, is the only hotel/spa within a 100-mile radius. Needless to say, they keep busy!

Want more Wausau? Don’t miss our Wausau episode: The Best Place to Play in the Snow.

 

Downtown Wausau

 

 

Mariah Haberman is the co-host of the nation’s longest-running tourism TV show, Discover Wisconsin. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Watch Discover Wisconsin Saturdays at 10 a.m. on FSN Wisconsin’s outdoor block.

37 replies
  1. Cindy buffinton
    Cindy buffinton says:

    Very interesting and informative! Yes I love living here in Wisconsin we are very blessed to be born and raised here in Gods Country!!

    Reply
  2. Don Gorectke
    Don Gorectke says:

    I was born in Wausau in 1923′. Entered the US Navy in 1942. Now live in Ft, Myers Fl. From Sept. Thru May and it is usually in the 80’s or high 70’s daily, live in Woodruff, Wi. From Memorial Day to late Sept. When I return to ;Ft. Myers. While I visit Wausau yearly and enjoy my time their, I prefer my present lifestyle and don’t miss the cold weather at all, Enjoy your Wausau lifestyle, as it is great.

    Reply
    • Desiree
      Desiree says:

      I grew up in Melbourne, Florida and I now live in Wausau, Wisconsin. I been up here for years now and for the most part I hate it here for many reasons. I agree, Florida is a much better place to live than in Wausau, Wisconsin in my opinion.

      Reply
      • joe berndt
        joe berndt says:

        Desire, what is keeping you here. Feel free to live. Life is too short to be where you are not happy. Wausau is a great place to live and if you aren’t smart to realize it, then too bad. The crime is lower and the schools are much better. Oh, and you don’t have to worry about hurricanes either, or falling into a sink whole. Florida has a much worse crime problem to boot too.

        Reply
      • barb jones
        barb jones says:

        Please go back to Florida……to live in a city you hate has to be horrible!! I was born and raised here …..my family lives here also. We love Wausau and all it offers for all ages. Any community is what you make of it. I do think with an attitude like yours it would be difficult making friends.

        Reply
  3. Ciera
    Ciera says:

    Learned some new things about Wausau! But dont like fact #10 that fact i feel was a little pointless due to it being soley based on a spa being located in a hotel..

    Reply
    • Bradley
      Bradley says:

      I agree! Replace it by saying something about the downtown whitewater park. There are only a small handful of parks like this in the country. Last year 400 people from 30 countries came to Wausau and competed on the whitewater. Many people from Wausau don’t know there is a whitewater park downtown.

      Reply
      • Desiree
        Desiree says:

        Where is that at downtown? I’ve never seen or heard of it and I live in Wausau. I’m from Florida and now live in Wausau, Wisconsin. One of the reasons I don’t like it here is because there is nothing to do up here except go to a bar. I have a 7yr old and a 9yr old that are always bored with nothing to do cause I don’t know what fun things there is to do here. I thought there just wasn’t anything to do especially during the 8 months that it is freezing up here. I’m a very active person that loves to go places without freezing too death. Feels like I’m hibernating half of the year so maybe if I knew where to go, what there is to do and stuff like that I wouldn’t be so miserable living in Wausau. So if anyone that reads this can give me the 411 and fill me in please email me dez3482@yahoo.com …thanks so much!

        Reply
        • judy
          judy says:

          Desiree,
          Sounds as if you need better/warmer clothing fo the outdoors! The snowcan be so much fun for you and your children…build snow forts, make snow angels, play fox and goose( make trails in the snow, usually in a large circle, and you may not step off trail..it’s a game of tag, per say), go snowshoeing, ice-skaking, sled-riding; walk up a trail on Rib Mt. Learn to down-hill ski or cross-country ski (Nine Mile Forrest has some of the best trails in the State.) Their are several museums, live theatre, take winter pictures in some of the great parks. Look for tracts in the snow of animals around your house and try to identify them…fun learning for the kids and maybe you too. I came up with these ideas in 5 mins….just saying, there is much to do! Have fun trying some new activities!

          Reply
      • Desiree
        Desiree says:

        I grew up in Melbourne, Florida and for years now I have lived in Wausau, Wisconsin. I don’t like Wausau much at all. The only thing I knew about Wausau in the top 10 is the Ski Hill in Rib Mtn and the place where the Northern & Western Hemisphere come together. I only know of 5 parks in the area excluding school parks. I had no idea there was a Whitewater park downtown that someone mentioned in a previous comment. I didn’t know there was a place to go tubing. I feel that Wausau is a very boring bitter cold (freezing 7 months out of the year) place to live. I’ve also have had problems making friends here…people here don’t seem to like outsiders which is hard for me because I’ve always had a lot of friends.

        Reply
        • Bradley
          Bradley says:

          Desiree- The whitewater park is located behind the library. Check out their facebook by searching wausau whitewater. They have a website but its not very good.

          Reply
  4. Marlene Rochon
    Marlene Rochon says:

    Noticed you didn’t mention Nine Mile Recreation area… super place for cross-country skiing… many groomed trails… snow-shoe trails, etc.

    Reply
  5. Kelley
    Kelley says:

    Wausau is in your blood. If you grew up there, you understand all of the top ten things about Wausau. Like all hometowns, you can’t come here and feel the same sense of awe. The best places are wrapped in the memories of my childhood. I can’t separate my memories from the cold. They were the sweetest:
    ->Walking four blocks with my ice-skates over my shoulder, in the dark, with my sister, so we could skate at the many ice rinks in Wausau…grassy areas covered with water and little sheds to change out of our boots. We went after dinner many times.
    ->Going up Rib Mountain Ski Hill on the T-bar with my 13-year-old girlfriends, cousins, and siblings.
    ->Going to Sylvan Hill every weekend and just teaching myself to ski! Just use the tow-rope and down you go!
    ->Snowmobiling with uncles and cousins on Lake Wausau…pulling each of us on sleds…and warming up at Grandma’s house.
    ->Sledding down the hills on Thomas Street into the baseball field and running back up to do it again…or have my dad drag me in the sled!
    ->Walking all around my Wausau neighborhood in a snowmobile suite and finding places to make snow angels, dig forts, and slide…just slide.
    ->Building snowmen that were six feet tall and needing Dad to get a ladder to put the top on it.
    ->Enjoying the crackling fireplace and the hot cocoa…long enough to get warm and go back out and do it all again!
    You have to understand…it’s just in the love of memories.

    Reply
  6. KJ
    KJ says:

    This was fun to read, but may want to check on the ginseng fact. While that was true at one time, a lot of ginseng is now grown in Asia and the local farming has dwindled. It may still be true, but given shift in the market I don’t know that saying that is accurate anymore.

    Reply
    • Sharon Kreft
      Sharon Kreft says:

      I’ve noticed a lot of ginseng being planted in the area these past two years or so. It seems to be making a comeback. It’s still better quality than the others.

      Reply
  7. Craig
    Craig says:

    It’ is or used to be a fact that 90% of the Brandy consumed in the US was consumed in Wisconsin and 90% of that was consumed in Marathon County.

    Reply
  8. Ellen R. (Heinrichs) Stiner
    Ellen R. (Heinrichs) Stiner says:

    I am a Wausau native now living in Colorado. I truly miss Wausau except for the cold. Loved reading your observations about the city’s attractions. Still have family and friends back there.

    Reply
  9. Mary Ketelhohn
    Mary Ketelhohn says:

    I grew up about 25 miles north of Wausau and I am not impressed with all the road construction and turn-abouts. that has been done in the past several years. What happened to Hyw. 29 that used to go past the Marathon County fair grounds. I miss that terribly as it doesn’t seem like the same town anymore and now I am afraid I would get lost up there. Just not the same any more. Even my relation that I have left up there isn’t in favor of all the new streets and so forth.

    Reply
  10. Bonnie Osswald
    Bonnie Osswald says:

    On of the most beautiful parks to go to near Wausau is approx. 9 miles east on Hwy. 52 to the Dells of the Eau Claire park. It is a very scenic area with waterfalls and beautiful rock formations, trails, plus a nice picnic and camping area. It is a treasure in Marathon County..

    Reply
  11. kim poitier
    kim poitier says:

    i need your help, feedback, comments etc.!!!!!
    okay my only child/ son moved to Wausau with his girlfriend from Florida. Her family is originally from there but my son and I, umph! FLORIDA BOUND!
    Well, I have two beautiful grandkids now and with life situations THEY need my help. I may be forced or consider moving to Wausau. Thing is… I HATE COLD WEATHER…I AM BAHAMIAN!!!!!!
    Looking at the comments, websites about Marathon
    County etc. I deathly afraid of boredism and THE COLD!!!
    What kind of jobs, what kind of hangouts, what? what? what?
    BUT MY ONLY CHILD, MY SON, MY ONLY GRANDKIDS NEED MY HELP!!

    Reply

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