Kick off your day
Kick off your day at Rotary Botanical Gardens, an award winning, 20-acre non-profit botanic garden home to many dramatic and themed gardens. Some have an international focus, such as the Japanese and English Cottage gardens, while others are less formally-structured, such as the children's garden, Hosta Hollow, the fern and moss garden, wellness garden and labyrinth, and other seasonal displays. Much of the garden is wheelchair and stroller accessible, with wide, level paths and many benches to sit and take in the surrounding beauty. Each summer, the Gardens partner with the Hedberg Public Library to host a Story Walk program featuring a different children's book. In December, the Gardens presents the spectacular Holiday Light Show. Plan to spend 2 hours. Follow the Gardens visit with lunch in a separate dining room at Citrus Cafe, which serves an amazing selection of breakfast and lunch items, fresh squeezed orange juice and fresh ground coffee every day.
At the Rock County Historical Society Campus, tour the Lincoln-Tallman House, an Italianate-style mansion constructed in 1857 and occupied by William Morrison Tallman, a lawyer and abolitionist. Abraham Lincoln visited in October of 1859 prior to his election in 1860. The tour focuses on how a prosperous Victorian family would have lived, weaving in stories about the Tallman family. In November and December, come for the Lincoln-Tallman House Holiday Tour with the house decked out in its holiday finery both inside and out. Next door, the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center offers exhibit galleries that feature Pauline Pottery and Pickard China, as well as rotating exhibits celebrating the history and heritage of Rock County. Visit the gift shop, which features work by regional artists and makers including pottery, children's items, soap, sculptures, and much more.
Next, head to K&W Greenery, an extensive greenhouse growing operation with about 2 acres under cover. It is open year round, so stop in, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the beautiful flowers. Customers can find garden supplies and tools, patio accessories, Christmas trees and other unexpected treasures. The K&W gift shop offers collectibles, stylish home decor, wind chimes, candles, and seasonal items. K&W Greenery welcomes groups, and offers specialized tours and customized classes for groups including educational lectures, holiday poinsettia tours and make-and-take creations.
Afterward, head to Prime Quarter, where you can grill your own USDA Choice steak over an indoor live hickory charcoal grill, with baked potato, unlimited salad bar and grilled Texas toast. Staff are on available if you'd rather leave the grilling in their hands.
Round out the evening
Take in a show at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, whether it be a play, live music, stand-up comedy, or improv with audience interaction. The 633 seat theatre, lobby, art gallery and box office are located in the historic Janesville High School/Marshall Junior High School building, which has hosted performers from Tony Bennett to Charlie Berens, and Donny Osmond to Leann Rimes.
Kick off your day
Kick off your day with a step on guided tour of downtown Janesville's public art, history and architecture by Roaming Rich from Roam Around Tours. Tours can be customized to your group's interests. Explore some of Janesville's 13 historic districts and hear stories about the architecture and history. See more than 25 large scale murals, plus numerous sculptures, statues, historical markers and monuments. After the guided tour, get off the bus in Janesville's park-like Town Square and wander Janesville's compact downtown, with plenty of boutique shopping. Tour goers can choose from several restaurants for lunch on their own. Downtown gift cards can be included to cover the meal cost.
It's time to decide: Is your group interested in Wisconsin's beer heritage, or do they prefer to explore the expanding wine culture in Wisconsin? If you choose beer, take your group to Rock County Brewing Company for a guided beer flight tasting followed by a themed trivia game. If wine is your thing, the group can head to Milton, just north of Janesville, and will split between Northleaf Winery and Timber Hill Winery, just blocks apart, for wine tasting. The group will switch wineries after 45 minutes. Another wine option is Fermenting Cellars Winery, which can accommodate the full group in their covered pavilion.
Next, visit Janesville's Woman's Club to tour their art Janesville Art League Gallery and the Elinor Mills Gallery, then enjoy a catered meal at that location.
Wrap up your visit
Gather along the Rock River in Traxler Park for world class entertainment at the Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show. Performing Wednesdays and Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the Rock Aqua Jays are the most successful water ski show team in the world, with more than 60 tournament victories, including more than 20 U.S. National Championships.