Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Group Tour magazine will continue to provide group travel inspiration. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information. 

Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, offers groups three distinct experiences.

First, according to executive director Aaron Sherer, is the centerpiece of the property: the historic Paine mansion with ornate period-style rooms.

Second, the estate offers 4 acres of manicured gardens, including a grand formal garden.

Paine Art Center
Nutcracker in the Castle, Paine Art Center
Credit: Paine Art Center and Gardens

Third, during the spring and summer, the Paine presents a major art exhibition within the mansion’s main gallery, and during the winter, the Paine presents a holiday display called Nutcracker in the Castle within the interior settings of the estate. 

“Visitors are very interested in the story of the Paine estate — how and why the founders, Nathan and Jessie Paine, created the property,” Sherer said. “They also are very impressed by the elaborate woodworking of the mansion and the furniture within the rooms. Of course, art lovers enjoy the paintings on display in the mansion, as well as the changing art exhibitions. Garden lovers appreciate the wide variety of plants and blooms outdoors.”

As a new feature, the Paine offers a visitor lounge on the lower level. This area includes seating for groups to watch an orientation film, as well as the opportunity to do simple artmaking activities and to look at books related to the dimensions of the Paine.

“While the Paine estate is an impressive historic property, it is also a dynamic and changing cultural venue,” Sherer said. “There is always something new and exciting to see here, whether it’s a new planting display of 10,000 tulips in the Formal Garden or the latest art exhibition, like next summer’s ‘Walk This Way,’ featuring 100 pairs of shoes.”

Paine Art Center
Gallery, Paine Art Center and Gardens
Credit: Paine Art Center and Gardens

Guided tours of the mansion (year-round) and gardens (May through October) are available by appointment. Operators should plan on spending one to two hours at the center.

For more information on Paine Art Center and Gardens call 920-235-6903 or go to thepaine.org.