Unlock the Fox: Fox Locks Visitor Center

We are launching a funding drive to construct a Visitor Center to the Fox Locks System. This hands-on, interactive facility will preserve the historic importance of the lock system and have a future impact on tourism and recreation opened by the locks.

In 1850, if you had tried to canoe from Menasha to Green Bay, it would have been a wild ride of roaring rapids and hidden hazards. The Visitor Center will provide an engaging, layered, and multifaceted learning experience for children and adults that commemorates this journey into present time. Throughout the exhibit, immersive experiences, re-creations of the locks, boats, tools, and other relevant items will provide opportunities for visitors to imagine themselves in another time and place.

The Visitor Center will be part of a multi-use building located at Appleton’s Lock 3 at Lawe Street with a 7,200 square-foot first floor dedicated to the Locks. The goal of the center is to provide visitors with:

The Center will make evident that the locks are not solely for boaters. The site will be enhanced with public access via outdoor trails that link the site to the Newberry Trail and provides future plans for public docks on the Fox River. It is also linked to a revitalization effort to integrate the riverfront into the already vibrant downtown Appleton area.

The project has been years in the making and developed with input from community leaders and educators and we anticipate breaking ground in early 2019. You, your family or business can play a critical role in telling the vibrant story of the lower Fox River Lock system and bringing this historical asset to life. For information on sponsorships and underwriting, please contact our office directly.

Visitor Center site concept with docks & pavilion looking up river

Visitor Center site concept including lock tender house

Visitor Center proposed interior floor plan