Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin is known to be a lumber town but it also has one of the most wonderful parks I have ever been too. The first time I visited this park it was a complete surprise as we were just driving by unexpectedly so we decided to go see what was at Irvine Park.
It was 20 years ago as we turned into the park we saw it was nearly empty with a few picnic tables and a lot of trees. As we drove farther we found a parking area so we stopped to take a hike.
As we walked we found a small pond and beyond that was a building with wired cages. The cages held some animals like raccoon and birds. There were quite a few of these caged animals. We went back to the car and drove along a river to see buffalo and elk. It was a great park and we would go back soon.
Over the years this little park has changed and it is very busy and popular. It now has a zoo full of exotic and native animals like bears, tigers, peacocks and hyenas. The cages are more animal friendly and very creative. The bears have a large enclosure complete with toys to play with and so do the tigers. The animals are content and well cared for. The road that goes to the buffalo and elk pastures now has a trail you can hike on to view them. The road also has a charming old church and a log building that you can take a look at.
The picnic area is large and it seems to always be full of people. A river runs along the park and a bridge can take you across the river to a area where you find a cave. This cave was used for storing beer at one time but now it is just a cave that you can visit. It is a cool place to go on a hot day.
The pond is still at the park but now is has water fowl swimming in it and a fountain aerates the water and looks pretty. And now there is a small tractor museum in the park that has some logging equipment.
As the years have gone by it has been fun to watch Irvine Park grow and become the park it is today. People come to this park for a fun relaxing day with plenty to do and see. It is a clean well kept park. You can read more about Irvine Park at http://www.enjoyeauclaire.com/irvine-park.html.