City Cast

Your Guide to Wisconsin’s State Symbols

Hayley Sperling
Hayley Sperling
Posted on November 15
Flag of the US State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin is more than just the Badger State. (Getty Images)

Wisconsin is known for a lot of things, mostly dairy related. But the cheese and milk aren’t the state’s only official emblems — did you know Wisconsin has an official plaid pattern?

Here’s a quick guide to some of the state’s official symbols.


Wisconsin’s official state animal is the badger. But badgers aren't the only species that represent the state. The robin is the official state bird. Dairy cows became the state’s official "domestic animal" in recognition of its many contributions to the state. The American water spaniel was named Wisconsin’s official state dog in 1985.

The muskellunge became the official state fish in 1955 and not long after, the white-tailed deer was named Wisconsin’s official wildlife animal. The mourning dove was named the state symbol of peace in 1971. Wisconsin has two sub-species of Mourning doves.

Honey bee on a flower

The monarch butterfly, dragonfly, ladybug, and mosquito were all contenders for the title of Wisconsin's state insect. (Getty Images)


The sugar maple was selected as the state tree by school children in a statewide vote in 1893. State flowers were first nominated in 1908 and the following year, school children selected the wood violet as Wisconsin’s official flower. Wisconsin’s state rock is red granite, not to be confused with Galena, which is the state’s official mineral.

The trilobite was named Wisconsin’s state fossil in the 1980s in an effort to drive interest in the sciences. In 1977, a class of third graders in Marinette pushed to name the honey bee as the state insect. The monarch butterfly, dragonfly, ladybug, and mosquito were all contenders for the title, but ultimately, the honey bee won.

Milk bottle on table with a bright blue background

It's no secret that Wisconsin is proud to be the Dairy State. (Getty Images)

Food and Drink

The Wisconsin Legislature designated milk as the official state beverage in 1987 in honor of the drink’s contribution to the state’s economy. In 2017, cheese became the state dairy product of Wisconsin.

Corn was designated the official state grain in 1989 and in 2003, the cranberry was designated the state fruit. Wisconsin gained an official state pastry in 2013, when it gave kringle the honor (no specific flavor though).

View of polka dancing couple's legs

Polka has been Wisconsin's official sate dance since 1993. (Getty Images)

Song and Dance and the Rest

The polka was designated the state dance in 1993 at the request of a second grade class from Charles Lindbergh Elementary School in Madison.

Wisconsin gained an official tartan pattern in 2007. With dark greens, blues, and accents of red and yellow, the Hunting Tartan is meant to symbolize the many notable Wisconsin families of Scottish ancestry.

“On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Grand old badger state! We, thy loyal sons and daughters, Hail thee, good and great. On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Champion of the right, `Forward', our motto — God will give thee might!" So goes the official state song, “On, Wisconsin.”

Hey Madison

Want to know what's happening in Madison? Sign up for our free newsletter, Madison Minutes. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.