University of Wisconsin-Madison (opens in new window)

Private Group Experiences

Slideshow Items

  • OUW Paddling AM 188 1 min

  • OUW Snowshoeing AM 050 1

Year-Round Group Experiences

  • Want to do something active and outside but don't see exactly what you have in mind? The best part about working with us is that we love a good challenge. Let us know what you're looking for and we'll find a way to make it happen. We can combine aspects of the activities you see above, or we can create a program unique to your group. Some fun ideas include climbing, sailing, Backpacking, and various Experiential Education programs!

    Call us at (608) 262-1630 or email ouwmanager@union.wisc.edu to chat about options.

  • Spend your evening outdoors and at the Terrace. Enjoy the leisurely hike to Picnic Point with our fun, energetic staff who will guide you on all the knows of the land. After the hike, enjoy a beverage at the terrace. Those 21 and over can enjoy an alcoholic beverage, so please bring your ID! Those under 21 will have just as much fun and can enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage! We would love to accommodate any size group.

    $21 per participant 

     

Winter Private Group Experiences

  • Venture out onto frozen Lake Mendota! Bring your friends, family, or coworkers for a winter experience you’ll never forget!

    Self-Guided Snowshoeing

    What: Choose your own adventure—explore frozen Lake Mendota or hike to your destination via snowshoe. Rentals and hot beverages provided.

    When: Events can be booked Mon-Fri from 126 PM or Sat-Sun from 11 AM 5 PM

    Cost: $9/hour per person (20 person max.)

    Guided Snowshoe Hike

    What: Explore the frozen lake with a guided snowshoe hike to Picnic Point! Rentals, programming, and hot beverages included. Add ons include bonfire or s’more-making! 

    When: Events can be booked Mon-Fri from 126 PM or Sat-Sun from 11 AM5 PM

    Cost: $15/hour per person  

    Winter Experiences Sampler (Skating & Snowshoeing)

    What: Why choose between ice skating and snowshoeing when you can do both! Rentals and hot beverages provided.

    When: With advanced notice, your event can be held at any time on any day of the week!

    Cost: $20/hour per person (min. 2 hour booking)

    Note: Only 16 participants can be on snowshoes at a given time due to limited supply

    Book Now

  • Bundle up your group and get outside this winter with this sweet winter activities!

    Guided Lakeshore Hike

    What: Hike along Lakeshore Path to Picnic Point while learning about local history, Lake Mendota, flora and fauna from the Outdoor UW naturalists.

    When: Events can be booked during our open hours.

    Cost: $5/hour per person (6 person min., 20 person max.)
    Private Ice Skating 

    What: Enjoy a private ice skating outing on Lake Mendota. Rentals, music, lighting, and hot beverages provided.

    When: Events can be booked during our open hours.

    Cost: $200-$320
    Winter Experience Sampler (Skating & Snowshoeing)

    What: Why choose between ice skating and snowshoeing when you can do both! Rentals and hot beverages provided

    When: With advance notice, your event can be held at any time on any day of the week!

    Cost: $20/hour per person (min. 2 hour booking)

    Note: Only 16 participants can be on snowshoes at a given time due to limited supply.

     

     

Custom Education

  • Snow before you go. Prepare to explore snowy, mountainous terrain with an introduction to the causes, risks, and signs of an avalanche, as well as the gear, resources, and training necessary to responsibly enjoy winter recreation.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • A good campout deserves a good campfire. Lear how to build a fire in the backcountry using Leave No Trace considerations and practices. As we sit around the campfire, our staff can facilitate team-building discussion or dive into another topic of your choosing. 

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Dinner is served... by you! Discover the tools necessary to catch, clean, and cook fish while exploring in the backcountry.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Sure, you can pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but how about enjoying a warm meal at the end of your day outside instead? Learn to plan, prepare and cook nutritious meals while on remote trips. 

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • We've got your back(pack). Find out more about what makes backpacking such a popular outdoor activity, while learning about local areas and reviewing how to best prepare for your next trip affordably.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Bike + backpacking = bikepacking. With the necessary knowledge skills, and equipment, you'll learn how to confidently travel under your own pedal power. 

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Get out the to-do list; this introduction to camping and trip planning will help you check all the pre-adventure boxes! We will briefly cover logistical considerations for organizing your trip such as: permitting, gear, food, self-care, first aid, emergency planning, etc.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Go further faster on your next adventure by learning how to plan and pack safely for a car camping trip! This course will specifically cover the ins and outs of parking and permits, safety measures, alternative housing, and gear for a successful adventure.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Win at winter in Wisconsin -- join us to learn about the basics of cross-country skiing both in the classroom and on the frozen lake!

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Explore more and worry less! This course will teach you the principles of wilderness first aid and introduce the Patient Assessment System with time to practice life-saving scenarios.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • It takes all of us. Preserve our planet and discover the 7 principles of Leave No Trace to create a better outdoor experience for yourself and future explorers.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply 

  • Bears. Burns. Blizzards. Be prepared for a variety of scenarios you may face in the wilderness! Kick-start any adventure safely and effectively by learning or refreshing your knowledge on how to safely adventure, while navigating tough situations outdoors.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • You can't always rely on your phone to get you to your destination--but you can rely on us! We'll teach you about tools you can use to successfully navigate the wilderness.

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

  • Camp stop, won't stop. Don't let the winter weather stop you--learn about different forms of winter camping and skills to keep you safe (and warm)!

    Begin, grow, or master your outdoor knowledge and skills with custom
    courses! Courses may be taught in the Mendota Lodge, virtually, or offsite,*
    and cost $8 per person/hour (minimum 10 people per hour-long session).
    *Additional fees may apply

Summer Private Group Experiences

  • Enjoy the challenge and excitement of learning to paddle watercraft with your friends or colleagues. Test your newly developed skills through instructor led challenges!

    *Cost is per person, per hour for this instructor guided experience.

    Group Size  Cost Per Person/Hr 
    1  $26.00
    2  $23.00
    3  $21.00
    4  $19.00
    5-24  $17.00

     

    Book Now

  • Looking to head out on the lake with a group? With a morning reservation, you can ensure that you have the equipment you need at the time you want it. An instructor will paddle along with you facilitating activities, or paddling a distance away from the group, letting you enjoy your own time to explore Mendota's beauty. Perfect for enjoying a leisurely paddle on the lake or some exciting games on the water.

    *Cost is per person, per hour for this instructor guided experience.

    Group Size Cost Per Person/Hr 
    1  $26.00
    2  $23.00
    3  $21.00
    4  $19.00
    5-24  $17.00

     

    Book Now

  • Through activities on and off the water, you are sure to have a blast whether your group is getting to know each other for the first time or are longtime acquaintances. You’ll leave this experience feeling stronger as a team and bringing the fun off the water!

    *Cost is per person, per hour for this instructor guided experience.

    Group Size  Cost Per Person/Hr 
    1  $26.00
    2  $23.00
    3  $21.00
    4  $19.00
    5-24  $17.00
  • Embark on a paddle on Lake Mendota led by UW-Madison students to have fun in nature, get great views of the city, and learn along the way. Perfect for visitors to Madison or locals who want to learn more about the UW, the Wisconsin Union, and their relationship with Lake Mendota.

    This experience has the option to beach up on Picnic Point for a fire and s’mores!

    *Cost is per person, per hour for this instructor guided experience.

    Group Size  Cost Per Person/Hr 
    1  $26.00
    2  $23.00
    3  $21.00
    4  $19.00
    5-24  $17.00
  • Fun and games feel fresh and exciting when you put them into action on the water. Bring your group out to enjoy competitive challenges on and off the water! Team up or every one for themselves as our OUW staff referee games on the water and on land.

    *Cost is per person, per hour for this instructor guided experience.

    Group Size  Cost Per Person/Hr 
    1  $26.00
    2  $23.00
    3  $21.00
    4  $19.00
    5-24  $17.00

     

    Book Now

  • Rent a mix of paddle craft (kayak, canoe, paddle board and supsquatch) for your large group. Reservation slots filled? Let us set something up for you and your group. We secure the boats for your group during normal rental hours.

    *Cost is per person, per hour for this self guided experience.

    SUP OR Kayak OR Canoe One Person Craft Two Person Craft Multi Person Craft (5-8 persons)
    UW Madison Student $15 $19 -
    Non-Student $17 $21 -
    Lily Pad - - $35
    SupSquatch - - $45

     

    *The Lily Pad and SupSquatch rentals are per equipment, per hour for pricing

  • Rent the SupSquatch, an 8-person standup paddleboard, and work as a team to propel and steer this behemoth. Whether it's a success or a navigational bust, taking this monster inflatable SUP out on Lake Mendota will be a memorable self guided adventure.

    Cost: $45/hr
    Group Size: 5-8 people, 2 guardian minimum with youth participants

    Book Now

  • All paddle boards all the time. Float on or paddle hard with your crew as you soak up the summer sun. We can accommodate up to a 30 person group for this adventure!

    Cost is per person, per hour for this self guided experience

    SUP OR Kayak

    OR Canoe

    One Person Craft Two Person Craft
    UW Madison Student $15 $19
    Non-Student $17 $21
  • Splash, plunge, soak, and have fun in the sun this summer. Cool off with our floating Lily Pad just off the Terrace. Take on this self guided experience during our open hours!

    Cost: $35 per hour,

    People: 5-10 persons, 2 guardian minimum with youth participants 

  • Adventure out on our adaptive kayak made for paddlers with physical limitations. This tandem kayak is customized to you and your needs to sight see Lake Mendota. Please note two people are required to be on the kayak at all times.

     

    Guided Reservations
    Group Size  Cost Per Person/Hr 
    1  $26.00
    2  $23.00
    3  $21.00
    4  $19.00
    5-24  $17.00

     

    Unguided Reservations
      Per Hour
    UW Madison Students $17
    Non Students  $21

     

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