There’s a little-known secret that insiders savor during EAA’s weeklong AirVenture. Only 3.8 nautical miles southeast of the hectic bustle and wonderment at Wittman Regional Airport is the AirVenture seaplane base—technically Oshkosh Seaplane Base (96WI), a water landing area that operates only during AirVenture. Nestled in a lagoon on the west side of Lake Winnebago, a visit here provides a refreshing escape. Tall trees provide abundant shade throughout the day, and there always seems to be a breeze.
Like seaplane flying itself, the seaplane base offers an oasis of tranquility. It has its own camping area, vendors, and food services. Visit in the morning to enjoy coffee and pastries, as you watch the temporary community slowly come to life. During the afternoon you’ll find people sitting around the many picnic tables, talking; a few may stretch out on a shady patch of grass for a short nap. Many evenings find social activities.
All day, pontoon-boat tours of the seaplane anchorage are offered, along with periodic seminars and presentations. You’ll see some floatplane flying, too, as pilots come and go. Count on seeing a wide variety of seaplanes, from amphibians to flying boats.
If you visit long enough for the wind to shift, you can watch as all the seaplanes moored in the lagoon obediently turn to remain facing into the breeze. Never been? From AirVenture, it’s a short drive or an easy $3 bus ride from the airshow grounds.