The Great Outdoors

What separates you from the outside? It can be daunting to muster up the fortitude to enjoy the great outdoors in the wintertime. But what if we take the time to appreciate the small wonders? The stark treescape from the back door as you take out the recycling or the plump squirrel resting on a fence post on your commute home. When we take time to appreciate the small intricacies that are woven together to make the “great outside”, we can hopefully feel a swell of gratitude for the coziness in our interior spaces and the wonders of the natural world. 

If you are feeling pangs of cabin fever or desperately looking forward to spring, here are some free and inexpensive ideas to make winter in Madison more tolerable.

Madison Public Library Seed Library

The library just keeps getting cooler! There’s no limit to how many seeds you can take home with you and by participating in the seed library you are helping to create a culture of sharing, community and sustainability for your community and your garden.

Goodman South Library, Hawthorne Library, Lakeview Library, Meadowridge Library, Pinney Library, Sequoya Library


Wisconsin State Park System

Need I say more? Wisconsin boasts over sixty state parks that are available to explore year round. 2024 vehicle admission stickers are available now and are a good deal if you think you’ll make it out to visit a Wisconsin state park at least three times this year. 

Orchid Escape

Looking for a burst of color? This annual orchid show is sure to delight with a thousand orchids in bloom inside Madison’s iconic botanical gardens. General admission is $8 and free for kids under 5 years and under.

January 27 through March 3

10am to 4pm 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

3330 Atwood Avenue 

Madison, WI 53704

University of Wisconsin Geology Museum

This literal hidden gem located on the University of Wisconsin campus rocks for people of all ages. Explore Wisconsin’s deep geological history and see glowing minerals, fossil collections and much more. Admission is free!

Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm 

Saturday 9am to 1pm

1215 W. Dayton Street

Madison, WI 53715

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Hanna Kohn

Hanna Kohn is the Operations Manager & Marketing Coordinator with Green Life Trading Co. where she has been educating and connecting individuals and small businesses with sustainable products and solutions since 2021. She holds a degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a Sustain Dane Master Recycler and Water Steward. When she's not at the shop, Hanna volunteers at WVMO 98.7 FM - Monona's Community Radio Station where she hosts Playhouse, a weekly broadcast of music including contemporary electronic, synth pop and jazz. Connect with Hanna via email: