Retro Cool Things To Do Before Summer’s End
280 Cedar Creek Road
It is a sensory overload of delight in Slinger: Just northwest of the city, some 34 miles from Milwaukee, you can lose yourself in the sound of screeching tires, the roar of engines and smells of burning rubber—intermingled with fried chicken tenders and cheesy potato wedges, of course. It has remained a small town slice of Americana since the track opened in 1948, and don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Folks of all shapes and sizes flock on Sunday nights to hear the pun sung by a longtime stock car announcer: “You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.”
There is something strangely relaxing about watching the brightly colored decals on the racecars whirring by in a blur round and round the track. There are many special events throughout the season, and the Speedway is open through Sept. 7 this year. An excellent time to venture out is toward the end of the summer, when you can feel that nip in the air while cuddling up on the rough wood benches. Regardless of when you go, bring a good sweatshirt or jacket. Be sure to stick around for the Figure Eights division, a literal description of the kamikaze course where diehards often near-miss each other as they zoom around faster and faster. There is also the always-entertaining Area Sportsman race. If you want to visit the pit after, chat up the racers and perhaps try a seat in a stock car, give it a go.
Nite Owl Ice Cream Parlour & Sandwich Shoppe
830 E. Layton Ave.
This Milwaukee establishment was rumored to be one of Elvis’ favorite pit stops when he was in town. These juicy jumbo burgers at the vintage stand are best eaten on an empty tummy. Their thick, generously breaded onion rings are some of the best in town and their malts are not too shabby either. Open for going on 66 years, the Night Owl deserves your summertime stop. Their open season is typically March through November. This would be for when you want to almost get away, but don’t feel like traveling that far to do it.
Little Amerricka Amusement Park
700 E. Main St., Marshall
This family owned and run park in Marshall is so refreshingly old fashioned, you want to gather it up in your arms and give it a big squeeze. It features 26 classic rides and attractions to try. Be sure to give the Mad Mouse rollercoaster a spin, and get ready for the herky jerks. Also well worth your while: taking the leisurely Whiskey River Railway train ride around the entire property, a good two miles. You will find curious zebra and other wildlife looking back at you that are cared for there. Load up on old-fashioned treats like cotton candy or soft serve vanilla ice cream. When your sugar high is at its peak, feel your way through the genuinely spooky and somewhat claustrophobic haunted house. There will not be day-long lines to contend with here, and it is also incredibly affordable with no general admission required. Check their calendar online for operating hours—they are open May through October.
The fun point to these activities is that they are all pretty economical if you are looking to save a buck. So if you’re dreaming of seemingly simpler times and want to play “Leave it to Beaver”-style hooky for a day, I highly recommend any of these adventures. It could be food for your soul.