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Upcoming events

    • August 26, 2022
    • October 27, 2023
    • 15 sessions
    • Marquette Hotel Cafe, 414 S. Baldwin St, Madison, WI 53703

     We encourage those who wish to wear masks to do so.

    Breakfast Get-Together

    Make new friends, meet new PLATO members for breakfast or a chat over a cup of coffee

    Eastside Location:  Madison Marquette Hotel Cafe 

                                          414 S Baldwin St, Madison, WI 53703 

    • Day: Meets on fourth Friday of each month. 
    • Time: 9:30 am to 11:30 am
    • Place: Madison Marquette Hotel Cafe
    • Breakfast Menu, directions and hours
    • Parking: Street Parking available
    • Organizers: Catherine Masi
    • RSVP or Questions?: Let one of the organizers know you're coming the Wednesday before the breakfast by email
    • COVID Protocol: Please continue to use a masks at this event unless you are eating.

    • May 09, 2023
    • May 29, 2023

    • May 12, 2023
    • May 10, 2024
    • 9 sessions
    • 402 W. Lakeside St, Madison, WI 53715-1702


    Make new friends, meet new PLATO members for breakfast or a chat over a cup of coffee


     Meets every 2nd Friday

    Make new friends, meet new PLATO members

    for breakfast or a chat over a cup of coffee

    • Where: Lakeside Street Coffee House
    • Day: Meets on second Friday of each month. 
    • Time: 9:30 am to 11:30 am
    • Seating is on both the main floor and down stairs levels.  You will need to climb a flight of steps in order to be seated on the downstairs level.
    • The menu changes daily.  To find out today's menu, please call the restaurant directly - 608 441-7599
    • Place: Lakeside St. Coffee House, 402 W Lakeside St, Madison
    • Directions are pictured on the map, below
    • Parking: Street Parking
    • Organizer: Sharon Scrattish
    • RSVP or Questions?: Let Sharon know you're coming the Thursday before the breakfast by email or phone ( or 608 280 8050)
    • COVID Protocol: Wear a mask to the event if you prefer.

    Questions? Sharon's contact information is:  or 608-280-8050

    • June 05, 2023
    • July 05, 2023

    • June 09, 2023
    • August 11, 2023
    • 3 sessions
    • 800 Langdon St, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1419


    We're Outside June through August

    on The Memorial Union Terrace

    Every 2nd Friday of the Month

    Make new friends, meet new PLATO members for breakfast snacks or a chat over a cup of coffee – view Peet's Coffee menu here. Also, a wider variety of restaurants open at 11am for carry out lunch.

    • Location:  UW Memorial Union Terrace
    • Day: Meets on the second Friday of each month. 
    • NEW! Time: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
    • NEW! Place: UW Memorial Union Terrace
    • Parking: Lake Street Ramp and some street parking
    • Directions: from Lake Street Ramp to Memorial Union
    • Organizer: Sharon Scrattish – look for Sharon setting up tables and chairs for the gathering.
    • Rain Considerations: If it rains, we'll move inside the Union. Look for Sharon who will be in the large glass-enclosed dining area.
    • RSVP or Questions? Let Sharon know you're coming the Wednesday before the breakfast by email or phone ( or 608-280-8050).
    • COVID Protocol: Wear a mask to the event if you prefer.
    We are looking for a fall and winter location to replace the Memorial Union. If you have ideas for a breakfast location that can handle 15 to 20 people, send a note to Sharon Scrattish.

    contact information is 
    or 608-280-8050.
    • June 14, 2023
    • 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
    • Goodman Community Center's BRASSWORKS Building 214 Waubesa St, Madison
    • 222

    Members & their guests are invited to PLATO's


    Keynote Speaker

    Amy L. Rosebrough, Interim State Archeologist

    “The Story of the Discovery, Recovery and Preservation

    of the Lake Mendota Canoes


    12:30pm                     Check-in/pick-up name tags

    12:30 – 1:00 pm         Refreshments and Social Time

    1:00 – 1:35 pm           Business Portion of Annual Meeting

    • Introduction of new Officers and Committee Chairs
    • Rod McKenzie, PLATO President
    • Jatinder Cheema: The Treasurer
    • Tim Otis: Fund Development
    • Kathy Michaelis: Diversity Awareness
    • Hedy Lukas: “Sharing our Love of Learning”  
    • Edie Urness-Pondillo: Agora Editorial Board
    • Kathy Burman: "Meet the Curriculum Committee"
    • Carla Di Iorio: Special Events

    1:35 – 2:35 pm         Keynote: Amy L. Rosebrough, Interim State Archeologist

                                         There will be time for Q & A

    2:35 –3:15 pm          Refreshments and Social Time


    Registration is required and closes Friday, June 9.

    If you prefer wearing a mask, we encourage you to do so.

    Driving & Parking Directions

    The PLATO Annual Meeting & Refreshments will be held at:

    The Goodman Community Center's 

    BRASSWORKS Building located at

    214 Waubesa St., Madison, WI 53704

    Click here
    for the Goodman Community Center's website.

    The Goodman Center BRASSWORKS Building features convenient, free parking & ADA accessible facilities

    Overflow parking is located across from the BRASSWORKS, behind St. Bernard's Catholic Church. 

    • June 21, 2023
    • Dubuque, Iowa
    • 18

    Historic Dubuque and National Mississippi

    River Museum Field Trip

    Wednesday, June 21, 2023

    The registration deadline is June 6. 

    We encourage you to register early so we can determine if we have enough people to make the trip financially viable.

    Celebrate the summer solstice by  joining us on a scenic  bus ride through  southwest Wisconsin  to Dubuque,  Iowa’s oldest city,  chartered in 1837.    Settlers to this vibrant river city were known for mining and fur-trading, but later flourished in the industries of button making, boat building, logging, mill working, meat packing, and other heavy industries.

    When we arrive in Dubuque, you will have two options about how you want to spend your morning: exploring downtown Dubuque or spending time in a park on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river.   In the afternoon we will go to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium where you will have two hours to explore the museum on your own.  Lunch will be on your own in downtown Dubuque.


    Morning Option A - Explore downtown Dubuque on your own

    There is no shortage of things to do in downtown Dubuque whether it is riding the historic Fenelon funicular, viewing the dozens of Tiffany stained glass windows at St. Luke's United Methodist church, walking the Riverwalk, or shopping the unique stores.  You will have 2 1/2 hours to explore the area and have lunch.


    The bus will drop you off at the Travel Dubuque visitor's center in the heart of the Old Main Historic District considered to be the "largest concentration of significant nineteenth-century commercial architecture" in Dubuque.  There are dozens of unique stores and restaurants to explore - see  Downtown Dubuque stores .


    Fenelon Place Elevator Company - Also known as the Fourth Street Elevator, this funicular railway, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been called “the world’s steepest, shortest scenic railway.”  At the top there are magnificent views of the downtown Dubuque business district, the Mississippi River and three states. Rates are $4/round trip -  cash only. 5 minute walk from the Visitor's Center.


    St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 1199 Main Street - Over 100 Tiffany windows turn this historic church into a stained glass paradise.  It is the fifth largest collection of Tiffany's stained glassworks in the world.  You will be viewing the collection on your own.  The church is open for walk-ins from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.  You can view the video tour at video tour  or you can watch it on site with the television in the back of the sanctuary.  10 minute walk from the Visitor's Center.


    Riverwalk - The Riverwalk is a 1/2 mile walkway atop Dubuque's flood wall, offering spectacular views of the Mississippi River, rail and road bridges, and Dubuque's downtown.  10 minute walk from the Visitor's Center.



    Morning Option B - Stay on the bus for a ten minute ride to Eagle Point Park

    Eagle Point Park is a 164 acre scenic park on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river and lock and dam no. 11.   You will have fifty minutes to walk around the park  before the bus returns to downtown Dubuque for lunch.

    The park is ADA accessible with a level, paved sidewalk and has accessible restrooms. 

    Prairie style  architecture is very recognizable in the buildings and gardens and the use of native construction materials, craftsmanship, and unique designs make the park one of the most beautiful in the Midwest.  The park was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.


    National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

    We will spend our afternoon at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.  Part aquarium, part museum, part science center, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium creates educational experiences where history and rivers come alive!   The 14-acre campus on the banks of the Mississippi River features two separate two-story buildings and an expansive outdoor plaza. It is is home to over 100 species of animals and thousands of historic artifacts.

    You will have two hours to explore the museum on your own.  There will be docents at all of the aquariums and main exhibits so people can ask all the questions they want.  There are also several videos available for $5 each for people to watch.  If you finish viewing the museum early, feel free to take a walk on the adjacent riverwalk.


    Lunch in Dubuque

    Lunch will be on your own in downtown Dubuque from 12:20 PM to 1:40 PM.  The cost of lunch is separate and is not included in your registration fee.

    The bus will drop us off at the visitor's center, 280 Main street,  and all of the restaurants below are within a three block radius of the drop off point.  The underlined blue links on the restaurants listed below work if you want to find out more about the restaurants.  A printed map of downtown Dubuque will be handed out on the bus the day of the tour.

    Caroline's Restaurant at Hotel Julien – 200 Main Street - American cuisine served all day in a stylish, simply appointed dining room inside Hotel Julien.

    1st & Main – 101 Main Street - Brick-lined joint with specialty drinks & a pub menu, including weekend breakfast & daily specials.

    A&W - 250 W 1st St - Iconic chain serving up namesake root beer, plus burgers, chicken & fries.

    Baraboo's on Main  – 345 Main Street – Voted #1 burger in Dubuque

    Barrell House – 299 Main Street – Features burgers, pizzas, salads, apps, and more

    Jimmy John's - 356 Main Street - Counter-serve chain specializing in sub & club sandwiches, plus signature potato chips.

    Adobos Mexican Grill – 756 Main Street - Cheery Mexican counter serve offering build-your-own burritos, tacos & nachos, plus big margaritas.

    Lot One – 100 Main Street - Laid-back watering hole offering a pub-grub menu & a sizable array of beers in a casual atmosphere.

    Vault Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge – 342 Main Street - From sandwiches to fine dining options.

    And a 10 minute walk to the river will take you to the Filament restaurant inside the Diamond Jo Casino or Tony Roma's inside the Grand Harbor Hotel.



    Registration Fee:  The registration fee for members is $58 which includes the bus,  driver's tip, admission to Eagle Point park,  and the entrance fee of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.   Lunch is not included in the registration fee.   Non-member guests pay an additional $10 registration fee.

    Registration Policy:  PLATO will refund an event fee if cancelled prior to the registration deadline of June 6.  Refunds after the registration deadline are only processed if a wait-listed registrant can attend or there are extenuating circumstances.  We encourage you to register early so we know if we have enough people to make the trip financially feasible.

    Dress Appropriately:  We will be outside in downtown Dubuque and Eagle Point park.  You should dress appropriately for the weather (i.e., comfortable, closed-toed shoes, umbrellas, raincoats, jackets, hats and gloves).

    Accessibility Policy:   On the bus, you must be able to climb steps to board and exit the bus.  If you need assistance, we require that you bring a friend to give you a hand.  Eagle Point Park has paved pathways.  There are benches available along the path for anyone that needs to take a rest or simply wants to take in the scenery or have a great conversation with someone.

    Non-Member Policy:   Members must register their guests. Each PLATO member is entitled to bring one non-member guest per bus trip. Members may bring more than one guest near the registration deadline date if seats are available. Check with trip organizer.  Non-member guests pay an additional $10 registration fee.

    PLATO Membership:  PLATO membership is $60.00/year and all memberships renew on July 1. 

    Mail-In Registration Form:  Print, Fill-In, and Mail this Form for those who wish to register off-line and by check.


    Bus and Travel Details

    We will have a 56-passenger Van Galder/CoachUSA bus.  Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus.  When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave.  Arrive early and we will all arrive at our destination on time to begin our adventure.

    – Don’t be late.  We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.

    Our bus is equipped with WiFi and toilet facilities. 

    - Social Distancing will not be available on the bus.


    Leave Madison

    8:15 AM    Bus arrives at East Towne Sears

    8:30 AM    Departs East Towne Sears

    8:50 AM    Departs Capitol Lakes

    9:15 AM    Departs Oakwood Village University Oaks, 6205 Mineral Point Rd

    In Dubuque

    11:00 AM    Arrives Travel Dubuque, downtown Dubuque

    11:15 AM    Arrives Eagle Point Park

    12:05 PM    Departs Eagle Point Park

    12:20 PM    Arrives Travel Dubuque, downtown Dubuque for lunch

    1:40 PM      Departs Travel Dubuque for museum

    1:45 PM      Arrives National Mississippi River Museum

    3:45 PM      Departs museum for Madison

    Arrive Madison (Estimated)

    5:15 PM     Arrives Oakwood Village University Oaks

    5:40 PM     Arrives Capitol Lakes

    6:00 PM     Arrives East Towne Sears

    For further information, contact Dubuque trip organizers, Bob Shaw, , 608-255-3486 or Marsha Janota,, 608-442-7676


    PLATO's COVID Protocol

    By registering for this event you agree to the following:

    1. Masks are not required while on this field trip.  

    2. However, persons wishing to wear a mask are encouraged to do so.

    3. Health  protocols are subject to change as conditions change; PLATO reserves the right to change the protocols for this trip accordingly.

    4. You are asked to stay home if you are not feeling well. Please contact the trip organizer to inform them of your decision.

    • July 07, 2023
    • November 03, 2023
    • 5 sessions
    • Madison

    Below are five guides to popular bicycling routes in Madison.   Each guide is broken up into distinct sections with maps providing detailed instructions.  These are not group rides but are to be taken whenever you want to go.


    Bicycling Around Lake Monona

    The 12.5 mile route around Lake Monona is one of the most popular bicycle trips in Madison.  It goes through a mixture of bicycle paths and lightly traveled streets and takes about 75 minutes for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling Around Lake Monona


    Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop

    The route (8.2 miles) traverses a mixture of bicycle paths, city streets with bike lanes, and a quiet road through the U.W. Arboretum.  It takes about 50 minutes for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop


    Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop

    The route (18.1 miles) is entirely on dedicated bicycle paths with the exception of a short 1/2 mile section on a quiet road.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop


    Bicycling the McFarland Loop

    The highlight of this route (18 miles) is a mile-long bridge spanning Lake Waubesa.  It is the longest inland boardwalk bridge constructed solely for non-motorized transportation in North America.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the McFarland Loop


    Bicycling the Blackhawk Path/Lake Mendota Drive/Lakeshore Nature Preserve Loop

    This 7.8 mile loop begins at Allen Centennial Garden and parallels University Avenue on bike paths before heading over to Lake Mendota Drive, a quiet, tree-lined residential neighborhood.   It then follows the Lakeshore Nature Preserve back to the starting point.   It takes less than one hour for the average cyclist.

    2023 Update - The Blackhawk / Campus bike path that goes by University Station, Lodgic and VA hospital will be closed from Wednesday April 19 for at least three months. Detour signs are in place sending bikes along Harvard Dr and Highland Ave.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Blackhawk Path, Lake Mendota Drive, Lakeshore Nature Preserve Loop


    BCycle Stations along the Route

    Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the routes where you can rent an electric bicycle.


    Other Resources

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Biking in Fitchburg


    Compiled by Bob Shaw -

    August 2020;  Updated April 2023

    • July 25, 2023
    • 9:00 AM - 11:30 PM
    • Westside Park, 300 West Water Street, Cambridge, WI
    • 24
    Registration is closed

    Free to PLATO Members and Guests

    Registration is required

    What to Expect

     CamRock County Park is located in eastern Dane County along the banks of Koshkonong Creek, between the Village of Cambridge and the historic Village of Rockdale. This 427-acre park boasts three shelters, play equipment, hiking trails, a canoe/kayak launch, cross-country ski trails, a sledding hill (near shelter #3) and prairie restorations.

    The Walk
    The path we will follow is 3 miles long, on relatively flat terrain and a well-maintained wide path.  You can plan on a loop walk (5 miles) or a 3 mile walk, as we will park cars on both ends of the trail.  The 3 mile walk will take 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

    Points of interest
    Occasionally running parallel to the walking path is a “mountain bike trail” maintained by volunteers. Near the midpoint of the walk, you may choose to walk through the large prairie on soft, grassy paths.  We will walk past the base of a hill used for downhill and cross-country skiing.  

    Our Guide
    We will be led by a long time resident and owner of a local farm.  Janice has compiled stories of the Cambridge area with the thought of writing a local history.  She has a lot of interesting stories to tell.

    Driving and Parking Instructions
    We will meet at Westside Park, located at 300 W. Water Street, Cambridge, Wisconsin, 53523.  There is street side parking on W. Water Street and in the parking lot on the east side of the park.

    Relatively flat, smooth, compressed earth and thick lawn-like trails make this walk one of the more accessible we'll offer this year.

    Our leader will have a microphone along to assist in delivering her message clearly as possible.

    There are bathroom facilities at both the start and end of the walking trail

    General guidance:

    PLATO has the right to cancel any event if it is apparent that the activity itself does not comply with the current guidelines.  PLATO can also cancel any activity if there is an increase in COVID cases (or hospitalizations or deaths), which would increase an infection risk for the participants.

    Questions?  Contact trip leader Mike Dilorio at

    • August 22, 2023
    • September 11, 2023

             PLATO Course registration always begins on a Tuesday four weeks before the week in which most courses begin.  

    The class list becomes public on the same day that registration opens.

    • September 12, 2023
    • 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
    • W7480 Prairie Ln, Lake Mills, WI 53551
    • 40
    Registration is closed

    Free to PLATO Members and Guests

    Registration Encouraged




    Registration is suggested so that we may communicate with you if their are any changes to our itinerary or if the paths become waterlogged.

    The Walk

    On this walk in Faville Pond Sanctuary, we will introduce you to the 300 acre Audubon property lying along the Crawfish River, with a spring fed pond and acres of restored prairies, grasslands and woods.  The property comprises restored prairie and wetlands and 40 acres of savanna and open oak woodlands. We recommend returning to this property in all seasons to enjoy the view of wildlife using this plush property.

    Our Walk Leader

    Graham, an Audubon land manager, will lead us on the walk and tell us about the maintenance techniques and goals for the property. We have planned a 2 hour walk and educational conversation, covering 2 + miles, partly along limited use county roads. 

    Faville Grove Pond Sanctuary: An Audubon Property

    Faville Grove Sanctuary - Lake Mills, WI Songbirds, wild grasses, trees, a pond. Faville Grove Sanctuary is a gift of nature managed by a team of volunteers, and the Madison Audubon Organization. Includes more than 300 acres of restored prairie and wetlands and 40 acres of savanna and open oak woodlands.

    Walk off-trail to experience the landscape as the Native Americans did. Get your feet wet in the prairies of the Crawfish River floodplain; sit in the shade of centuries-old bur oaks on outcroppings of pre-Cambrian quartzite bedrock; or stand in a dry, short-grass prairie and watch a harrier hunt over a floating bog of sphagnum, sedges and tamarack. Faville Grove is open to the public and welcomes individuals from every walk of life. Come out and explore this unique sanctuary where rich history and biodiversity intersect.


    Our leaders will have directional microphones to assist in delivering the message clearly as possible.  The microphones have added greatly to the quality of the conversations as we walk and make informational stops along the way.

    Length, Difficulty & Pace of Walk

    A two plus mile walk along wide trails recently mowed through most flat prairies (with one tall hill we will climb.) at a  moderate pace and with informational stops.  The walk will take about 2.5 hours,

    On a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is very  steep, I would rate the hilly trails about a 1.5.

    Handicap Accessibility?

    The trails are not handicap accessible, although the picnic area and prairie walk are manageable with a walking stick.  Please call Mike at 608 257-9164 to further evaluate the trails.

    Driving and Parking Information

    If you are using a GPS enter the following address as our starting point:  W7593 Kampen Road, Arlington.  Do not use GOOSE Pond, as that will not work.

    Meet behind the Audubon Farm House, used as Audubon Offices, at W7593 Kampen Road, Arlington.  Park anywhere on the paved parking areas behind the building.  

    Questions?  Contact trip leader Mike Dilorio at

    • September 18, 2023
    • October 18, 2023

    Many Fall courses begin the week of September 19. Most Fall courses will meet once a week for 10 weeks.  Be sure to check the course list to see the dates, times and lengths of individual courses.  

    The end date on this calendar event does not refer to the end of the Fall courses. It refers to the date that this message will no longer be public.  That makes room for a new message to be available.


    • November 30, 2023
    • Locations described in eaach event description
    • 25

    Free to PLATO Members and Guests

    No Registration Required


    Persons wishing to wear a mask during any of the walks are encouraged to do so.

    The walks listed below are based on popular guided walks organized by PLATO'S Special Events Committee over the last 5 years. The descriptions are meant to aid you in finding interesting, welcoming, safe places to walk during the year and include driving and parking information. One walk requires permission to walk on the grounds. In that case the description of the walk describes the procedure to follow.

    1. A Self-Guided Walk in the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood

    2. Indigenous Earthwork (Indian Mound) on Lake Mendota's North Shore

    3. Stewart Lake County PArk


    5. Cherokee Marsh : Yahara Heights unit

    6. Cherokee Marsh - North unit

    7. Edna Taylor Conservation Park,  Aldo Leopoled Nature Center and Madison's Woodland Park

    8. Donald Park: Woods, hills and farmstead

    9. Wilkie Gorge of the Cross Plains National Scientific ReserVE

    10. Pheasant branch conservancY

    11. Olin Park and turville point conservation park

    Questions?  Contact trip creator Mike Dilorio at  Please text me at 608-520-4448 for a 24 hr response.

    • December 12, 2023
    • January 08, 2024

    • January 08, 2024
    • January 29, 2024

PLATO is proudly supported in part by Oakwood Village.

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

for more information, contact us at:


6209 Mineral Point Road #203
Madison, WI 53705

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