The top five coolest places on campus you’ve (probably) never been to

Story by Breann Schossow

Last week, a friend and I found out that the fallout shelter door in Zorn Arena — which is usually locked — was open. At last, a chance to explore!

We raced there after our 11 a.m. class ended but, alas, it was not to be; the door was locked yet again, halting our explorations of what we deem to be a cool place on campus.

That is what’s so spectacular about the university — it’s the ultimate treasure trove for neat things to see, do and visit and I would say that most of us students, during our short time here, rarely see any of it.

So here you have it — the coolest places that you have never visited at UW-Eau Claire!


1) The fallout shelter – Zorn Arena

I have never ventured into the shelter, primarily because I do not have a key. However, it is a piece of UW-Eau Claire and world history — at one point, we felt there was the need for such things. You know, protection from radioactive debris and whatnot.

How to get there: The shelter is nestled in the corner of the building closest to the campus mall, and it is usually locked. Trust me, I check.


2) The Penthouse – Hibbard Hall

This is absolutely my favorite place on campus (outside of The Spectator office, of course) because of the view — sorry, fallout shelter. Narrow windows face the footbridge. According to Mary Hoffman, chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism, urban legend says the windows are narrow for defensive purposes.

“I don’t know where I heard the urban legend,” she said, with a laugh. Regardless of why they were built, the windows let in a surprising amount of light and showcase our gorgeous campus. The penthouse is large enough to host a gathering or class — at one point, The Spectator office was squeezed up there while our current space was built. However, with cozy chairs and tables, it is perfect for studying, too.

Plus, there is a kitchenette. Enough said.

How to get there: In Hibbard Hall, there are two elevators at the end of the building. Just enter, hit the PH button and voila! Sadly, the penthouse doors are locked to students without a reservation.


3) The University Greenhouse – Phillips Hall

Phillips itself is filled with awesome places, such as the hallway where the gorgeous fish tanks sit. However, a freshman general elective led me to the greenhouses, and my heart has been there ever since because it is an oasis, especially as we spend much of our time in a
Wisconsin winter.

According to the geology department website, the greenhouse provides plants for courses and research and is open year-round. However, the Tropical and Succulent Houses are open to students, faculty, staff and the community during school hours.

That way, anyone can check out orchids, trees and the ever-popular Venus Flytrap, among other awesome and rare plants.

I am excited to visit once the snow starts flying — in fact, I may station myself in the Tropical House as often as possible.

How to get there: When in Phillips, take the south elevator to the fifth floor. For more information, contact Greenhouse Manager Lynn Janick at [email protected] or at 715.836.3523. You can also read a past Q & A that Janick did with The Spectator about the greenhouse.


4) Indoor Archery Range – University Recreation & Sports Facilities (inside Hilltop)

I am fairly embarrassed to admit that I have never been to the range, but here it is, sitting at number four. I have come to terms with it, and have already started debating who I can persuade to go with me. After all, if you have a current UW-Eau Claire ID card, the range is open to you, according to the Recreation & Sports Facilities website. Users do have to go through a brief safety review, but equipment is usually provided.

How to get there: University Recreation & Sports Facilities is located in Hilltop 105 — they will direct you to the range.


5) Foodlums Garden – Phillips Hall Courtyard

I have tons of runners-up, such as the Japanese garden inside of Schofield Hall or the steam tunnel that runs up the hill. But the Foodlums garden nestled in the heart of Phillips is a place I discovered late in my time here at the university. It has passed its peak for the season, but I am always in search of a quiet place on campus, and the garden fits the bill.

It is an especially nice place to be during the fall and spring, and maybe, it is just the opportunity you have been looking for to get your hands dirty.

How to get there: There is an entrance on the side of the building facing the parking lot behind Phillips.