100 Best Things To Do In Milwaukee With Kids (2024)

Welcome to Milwaukee!

Whether you’re a proud resident, or just visiting for the weekend, our city by the lake is truly a hidden gem in the United States.

Milwaukee With Kids is committed to one thing only: to connect you with the best things to do in Milwaukee (with kids!).

This city is very family friendly, so it wasn’t hard to come up with 100 of the best places in the Milwaukee area to bring your kids to make the most of your time here. Our city is packed with fun things to do with your littles. We know for certain you’ll have a good time here.

You’ll soon find out – if you don’t already know – we’re so much more than custard and cheese curds. (But yes, we do have great custard and cheese curds.)

Community Park
The Northwestern Mutual Community park is one of the city’s newest playgrounds.

There are so many great things to do here with your whole family. Here is comprehensive list of things to choose from for your adventures with kids in Milwaukee. Browse our favorite things in order, or jump to a section that interests you.

Happy exploring!


PLUS:


Museums

1. Visit Hometown at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

929 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum inspires children to wonder and explore their world through play and innovative, hands-on learning experiences.

Betty Brinn Children's Museum

Families can have fun learning together in the Museum’s interactive exhibits, including Home Town, Science CITY, Word Headquarters and Pocket Park for children age 4 and younger.

Special programs, workshops and family events are offered throughout the year to spark exploration among children.

And, there’s a coffee shop inside! 

Read more about Betty Brinn Children’s Museum >>


2. See the Butterflies at Milwaukee Public Museum

800 W Wells St., Milwaukee, WI 53233

With exhibits that showcase everything from prehistoric creatures to ancient civilizations, this Milwaukee Public Museum will be a hit with all ages.

Streets of Old Milwaukee Milwaukee Public Museum

Some of the most popular exhibits include the Streets of Old Milwaukee, which recreates life in Milwaukee in the late 19th century, European Village, and the Butterfly Vivarium, which allows visitors to walk among live butterflies from around the world.

Don’t miss The Third Planet, where generations of school children have marveled at a life-size T-Rex taking a bite out of a triceratops.

The museum recently unveiled their future plans for a new museum in 2026.

Read more about the Milwaukee Public Museum >>


3. Hop on a bike at Harley Davidson Museum

400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee, WI 53201

Harley-Davidson Museum Milwaukee Wisconsin

Pose for a photo with the company founders, see the oldest known Harley Davidson motorcycle (known as “Serial Number One”), rev up your engines in the engine room, rummage through discovery drawers filled with vintage toys and trinkets, make your own custom creation at the build-a-bike station, and much more!


4. Take a Tour of the Milwaukee Fire Museum (Free!)

1615 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53215
1st Sunday of each month (April – December, excluding holidays) 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM or by appointment

Firehouse

The Milwaukee Fire Museum features a vintage bunk room, alarm area and fire officers office. It is one of five fire stations of this style built in 1927.

The museum houses the first department ambulance, a 1947 Cadillac, plus two trucks built in the Milwaukee Fire Department Shop during the 1920’s and 30’s. The building also houses a vintage kitchen, locker room, and hose tower.

Read more about the Milwaukee Fire Museum >>


5. Find Giannis at the National Bobblehead Hall Of Fame & Museum

170 S. 1st St., 2nd Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53204
bobbleheadhall.com

This one-of-a-kind museum houses the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads from all genres and periods, plus dozens of exhibits related to the history of bobbleheads, the making of bobbleheads, and more.

There are bobbleheads of your favorite athletes, including Giannis!


6. Climb the North Point Lighthouse 

2650 N Wahl Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211
northpointlighthouse.org

North Point Lighthouse in Lake Park Milwaukee Wisconsin
Climb the North Point Lighthouse for a unique view of Milwaukee.

The North Point Lighthouse is home to a charming renovated museum, where you can learn about maritime history, see artifacts from ships that sailed Lake Michigan, and learn about the keepers who maintained the lighthouse (there are some real characters there!).

Older kids can climb the 74-foot tall tower for a spectacular 360° view of Lake Park, Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee. Kids must be at least 38 inches tall to climb the tower. The museum is located between two ravines in Lake Park on a two-acre semi-wooded parcel, and is one of the oldest structures that stands in the now-urban area.

Don’t miss the gift shop! There are some really cute Milwaukee-themed books and gifts for kids.

Read about more lighthouses around Milwaukee >>


7. Ride a High Wheel Bicycle at Old World Wisconsin

The Milwaukee area is home to several open-air museums, and Old World Wisconsin is crown jewel of them.

At Old World Wisconsin, families can walk through the 1870’s Crossroad Village, shop in the general store, watch the blacksmith work his craft, tour homes rom Irish and Yankee immigrants, learn about an early African-American community, take a lesson in the Raspberry School, explore immigrant homes, hop on a high-wheel bicycle, meet pigs, cows, horses, sheep, and chicken, and so much more.

The Wade House is another open-air museum in Greenish, Wisconsin. It’s a 240-acre Wisconsin historic site operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. 


8. Get in For Free!

Visiting museums is a great way to learn about the world around you, but it can be really expensive to purchase tickets for the whole family!

Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee Wisconsin
The Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee is a free museum for all.

Luckily, many local museums offer free admission days , and some free Milwaukee museums don’t cost anything at all to visit!

Discover free museums in Milwaukee >>


Tours & Tastings

9. Explore History at the Pabst Mansion 

2000 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233
pabstmansion.com

Visit the home of Captain Frederick and Maria Pabst, built in the 1890’s for $254,000 as a testament to America’s Gilded Age.

You can take a family-friendly tour of the mansion, specifically designed for kids.

See which animal friends you can find in the art and architecture, peek inside a secret cabinet, and imagine yourself as young Elsbeth Pabst growing up in the Mansion on this tour which leans less beer and more playful cheer.

They offer guided tours every day of the week during their regular season.


10. Taste Craft Soda at Sprecher Brewing Company

701 W. Glendale Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53209
(414) 964-2739
sprecherbrewery.com

Photo Credit: Facebook, @sprecherbrewing

Of all the brewery tours you can do in Milwaukee, this one may be the most family-friendly.

Sprecher root beer and craft sodas may actually be more popular than the beer! Visit the brew house and discover how Sprecher’s brewing process revives Old World traditions that made Milwaukee famous.

See the production line, then sip on four beer samples and unlimited craft soda in the tasting room.

The tour is about 45 minutes long, and there are no stairs for little legs to climb. Tour spots are first come, first served, so we recommend reserving ahead of time.


11. Smell the Beans at Stone Creek Coffee Factory (Free!)

422 N. 5th St., Milwaukee, WI 53203
(414) 431-2157
stonecreekcoffee.com

Stone Creek Coffee factory tour Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @stonecreekcoffee

Learn about the history of Stone Creek Coffee, see the farm-to-cup coffee journey up close, and get a behind-the-scenes look at their 1880’s factory. Learn more about coffee while you tour the green storage area, roasting facility, cupping lab, learning lab, and outside the bakery.

There will also be plenty of free coffee and some bakery treats to taste.

Tours take place every Sunday (excluding major holidays) at noon and 2 p.m., and you can sign up for them online.


12. Marvel at the Fiserv Forum’s Architecture

1111 Vel R. Phillips Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203
(414) 227-0599
fiservforum.com

If you’re looking for a fun family activity in Milwaukee, a tour of the Fiserv Forum is definitely worth considering.

This state-of-the-art arena is home to your World Champion Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and hosts a variety of other sports, entertainment, and cultural events throughout the year.

The Fiserv Forum is located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, making it easily accessible by car or public transportation. There are several parking options nearby, including the 5th Street Parking Structure, and a number of restaurants in the neighboring Deer District.

The tour lasts about 90 minutes and takes you through various areas of the arena, including the locker rooms, the player tunnel, and the court itself.

You’ll also learn about the history and architecture of the building, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of running a major sports venue.

One of the highlights is the chance to see the impressive collection of art and memorabilia that is on display throughout the arena.

The artwork includes pieces from local and national artists, as well as some pieces that are specifically related to the Bucks and the history of basketball in Milwaukee.

The memorabilia collection includes jerseys, trophies, and other items that highlight the team’s successes over the years.

Whether you’re a die-hard basketball fan or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon in Milwaukee, this tour is sure to be a memorable experience for the whole family.

Want to save some money? The Fiserv Forum typically offers free tours during Doors Open Milwaukee.


13. See Behind The Scenes at American Family Field

1 Brewers Way, Milwaukee, WI 53214
(414) 902-4000
mlb.com/brewers

American Family Field Milwaukee Brewers baseball stadium Wisconsin
Photo credit: Facebook, @brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers are an integral part of our city’s identity and play an important role in baseball’s history.

Did you know there is a plaque commeorating the exact landing point of Hank Aaron’s 755th career home run while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers? It’s one of the most historic moments in Brewers and Major League Baseball History. 

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium (formerly known as Miller Park) with an official tour.

The Classic Walk-Up Tour includes a visit to  the Selig Experience, Playing Field, Visitors’ Clubhouse, Visitors’ dugout, Brewers bullpen, luxury suite level, Press Box, Bob Uecker’s broadcast booth, and many other special locations.

Tours are capped at 20 guests, so be sure to book your tour in advance.

Check out 10 Tips for Visiting American Family Field With Kids >>


14. See the Milwaukee Skyline from the Water.

Hoan Bridge view from Lake Michigan Milwaukee River Cruise Line Edelweiss boat tour Wisconsin
Photo Credit: edelweissboats.com

Did you know you can get a front-row view of the Milwaukee skyline on a Milwauke boat tour?

You’ll learn about the historical landmarks on the shores of our great city, and get a narrated tour on the beautiful Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan.

You can also rent a boat and explore the water on your own.


15. Hop on “The Hop” Streetcar

Your kids will have so much fun hopping on and off The Hop, Milwaukee’s very own streetcar. Pick it up at one of its 10 stops through the downtown area.

Plus, here are 10 kid-friendly destinations along the route, including Milwaukee City Hall, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, the Milwaukee Public Market, and more.

Kids love riding the Hop streetcar through downtown Milwaukee.

Keep an eye out for special events like Holidays on the Hop and Hop Summer Nights, when riders get a free popsicle and enjoy live music aboard the streetcar.

See all 21 Tours and Tastings in Milwaukee >>


Art, Music, & Theater

16. See The Wings Open & Close at Milwaukee Art Museum

700 Art Museum Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202

Art Museum Calatrava

The Milwaukee Art Museum is the crown jewel of the lakefront, and it’s home to many special works of art, an on-site studio for kids, and architectural wings that open and close.

Make the most of your next trip to the Art Museum with some tips from our post: “10 Best Things To Do At The Art Museum“.


17. See a Broadway Show

With a combined 2,100 annual performances attracting 2 million attendees each year, Milwaukee is home to a thriving arts scene that the whole family can enjoy.

In fact, the Milwaukee Theater District is home to 15,000 seater seats, the highest number per capita. 

Marcus Performing Arts Center, Miller High Life Theatre, and six other venues are all located in a safe and convenient walkable cluster in the heart of downtown Milwaukee

The historic Pabst Theater often hosts traveling kid-friendly shows like “Cocomelon Live!” and “BabyShark”, or you can catch a visiting Broadway production at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

Plus, First Stage Children’s Theater puts on kid-friendly production year-round. They even offer sensory-friendly performances throughout the year, and pay-what-you-choose performances.

Subscribe to the Milwaukee With Kids E-newsletter to find out about ticket giveaways, events, and more.


18. Spot New Sculptures Along Wisconsin Avenue

Downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin Ave. 

Sculpture Milwaukee brings world class art to Milwaukee every year along Wisconsin Avenue. You can find a  particularly kid-friendly section in O’Donnell Park near the Art Museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

Check out our special feature on how to do Sculpture Milwaukee with kids.


Art & Pottery Studios

Up for a creative art project?

Cloud 9 Workshop has an eco-art studio offering projects for kids and adults.

Here’s a quick guide to some top spots for pottery and art in the area:

  • Cloud 9 Workshop, Milwaukee: An eco-friendly studio providing a whimsical space for diverse art projects, workshops, and classes for all ages.
  • VIBEZ Creative Arts Space, Milwaukee: A community-focused arts space offering paint & sip experiences, workshops, and events to ignite artistic passions.
  • Just Kiln Time, Menomonee Falls: Offers a wide range of artistic activities, from pottery painting to glass fusing, perfect for artists of all ages.
  • Glaze! Art & Ice Cream, Thiensville: Combines art projects with delicious treats, featuring paint-your-own pottery and an in-studio ice cream parlor.
  • Creative License Art Studio, Hartford: A family-friendly space for walk-in art creation, offering diverse projects like pottery painting and glass fusing.
  • La Terraza, Wauwatosa: A vibrant walk-in pottery painting studio with a wide selection of pieces and special party options for groups.
  • Soul Fire Art Studio, Lake Country: Provides a variety of art projects and classes, accommodating all skill levels in a flexible, fun atmosphere.

Discover more about these artist havens.


19. Discover the Best Milwaukee Murals

Photo Credit: Abby Hoerchner/Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee is home to some epic street art. Take a stroll around the city of to find some of these stunning Milwaukee murals.

From the new enormous Giannis mural on Wisconsin Avenue to the iconic Mural of Peace in Walkers Point, the streets are bursting with color and creativity.

Take the Milwaukee Mural Tour >>


20. Walk Through Black Cat Alley

Black Cat Alley Milwaukee Wisconsin

Black Cat Alley is an outdoor art gallery located in a private alley on the East Side. This unique street art destination was developed by a group of community members and artists back in 2015, and It now contains 21 murals by 24 artists from Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Columbus and even Berlin. 

Find out more about Black Cat Alley >>


21. Hike the Grounds of Lynden Sculpture Garden

2145 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53217

cow sculptures at Lynden Sculpture Garden in River Hills Wisconsin
Lynden Sculpture Garden is a unique experience of art in nature.

The Lynden Sculpture Garden is a sprawling property that provides a whimsical yet peaceful experience of art in nature.

The grounds of Lynden Sculpture Garden are currently open for walking at no charge.

Be sure to visit the bright polka dotted cows grazing along the pond (“Des Vaches: Mo, Ni, Que” by Swiss artist Samuel Buri), run around in the wide open spaces, explore magical trees the kids can hide inside of, and find frogs and turtles galore.

Remember to enjoy the sculptures with your eyes only. Don’t climb on them!

The 40 acre space makes it easy to keep a safe distance from others. The hours are 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m, and they are closed on Thursday.⠀

Discover more Milwaukee Gardens & Flower Farms >>


22. Take in the Sounds at Bradley Symphony Center

The newly renovated Bradley Symphony Center is the official home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. 

Free Saturday Classics concerts are held throughout the year to make classical music accessible to all. 

Before the concerts, families can enjoy a Children’s Program Notes presentation by their music educator. The concerts are recommended for grade 2 and up. 


23. Sit Under the Stars at Avalon Atmospheric Theatre

Avalon Atmospheric Theater
The historic Avalon Atmospheric Theater is located in Milwaukee’s funky Bay View neighborhood.

Milwaukee is home to a number of historic movie theaters your kids will be wowed by, including the Avalon Atmospheric Theater in the funky Bay View neighborhood, complete with a starry night sky in the main theater.


24. Experience Film History at Oriental Theatre

Perhaps the best known movie theater in Milwaukee is the Oriental Theatre on the east side of the city. Built in 1927, the theater’s design borrows from Indian, Moorish, Islamic, and Byzantine architectural styles.


Zoos & Aquariums

25. Visit the Family Farm at the Milwaukee County Zoo

10001 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226

Elephant at the Milwaukee County Zoo
The Milwaukee County Zoo has recently invested in renovating its Hippo & Elephant exhibits.

The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to over 200 wooded acres and more than 2,000 animals. You’ll come face to face with giant elephants, looming giraffes, roaring lions, bears resting in hammocks, swinging monkeys, a sweet red panda, Happy the Hippo, and more.

The Family Farm is a must-visit, and you can also ride the carousel or ride a choo-choo train through the grounds.

One of the newest additions to the Zoo is Gorilla Trek, a virtual reality experience that takes you within arms reach of gorillas in the remote mountains of Rwanda. It’s open year round.

Gorilla Trek is an exciting 3D Virtual Reality adventure!

For a unique, up-close experience, check out the Giraffe Experience, open in the summers. You’ll have the chance to feed a giraffe a few pieces of lettuce!

Around the holidays, don’t miss the magnificent Wild Lights show for a magical evening with your kids.

The Zoo offers Family Free Days throughout the colder months, and free admission for Frosty Free Week the last week of December.

And if you visit around Mother’s Day, be sure to stop by and say hi to one of our favorite moms at the Zoo, Patty the Lioness.

Here is a Complete Guide to the Milwaukee County Zoo & Pro Tips for visiting.

Discover more Milwaukee area Zoos & Petting Zoos >>


26. Touch a Shark at Reiman Aquarium at Discovery World

500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202
discoveryworld.org

Discovery World is the perfect place for young curious minds to explore, and their exploration can start before you even get inside. Don’t miss the Wind Leaves right outside of the main building. These tall aluminum columns are made of thousands of stainless steels disks, and they rotate with the wind. The material reflects light beautifully. You can also play on the musical benches surrounding the columns.

Once inside, visit the Innovation Station and try your hand with the flight simulator, construction truck display, and more. Climb the winding staircase with neon lights to the second floor and check out the “bed of nails”, made of tiny spikes to teach kids about pressure.

Downstairs, the Reiman Aquarium makes the underworld of Lake Michigan come alive to visitors with hands-on and immersive exhibits. Fish swim above, below, and all around you, and kids can pet sting-rays, crabs and more.

There’s also a road race simulator, a holiday exhibit around Christmas time, and the Kohl’s Design It! Lab, where families can create make and take projects together that vary in difficulty and complexity. They have staff on hand who can help you with creative tools such as hot glue guns, heat sealers, and vacuum-formers.

Towards the back of the building, you’ll find the a huge replica of the Great Lakes, where kids can cause a rainstorm or fog with the touch of a button. Upstairs is a replica of 19th century Great Lakes schooner that you can climb on board and explore.

On one side of the life-size ship, you’ll find the Simple Machine Shipyard, where kids learn about the building blocks of complex machines. Kids are empowered to lift large boulders, use a pulley system to lift themselves into the air, and more. On the opposite side of the ship, visitors can explore how Milwaukee Water Works purifies its water.

Discover more aquariums in Milwaukee >>


Sports

Deer District Fiserv Forum
The Deer District outside of the Fiserv Forum is a great place to walk around downtown.

27. Cheer on Your World Champion Milwaukee Bucks

Catch a professional basketball game when our World Champion Milwaukee Bucks take on visiting teams in the state-of-the-art Fiserv Forum.

Kids who love the Bucks can join Bango’s Kids Club  which offers a special certificate, discounts, and more.

The Bucks occasionally offer Family Nights with tickets that include a hot dog and soda.

Before the game, walk around and have lunch in the popular Deer District.


28. Roll Out The Barrel at the Brewers Game

Cheer on the Milwaukee Brewers in the newly-named American Family Field (formerly Miller Park, and County Stadium before that).

No worries about our unpredictable Wisconsin weather, because it has a retractable roof.

Discover some helpful tips for visiting American Family Field with kids.


29. Attend a Milwaukee Wave Theme Night

Milwaukee professional soccer team, the Milwaukee Wave play at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, and they offer lots of family promo nights like Princesses & Superheroes, Zooperstars, and more. 


30. Watch The Milwaukee Admirals Take the Ice

Milwaukee’s professional hockey team the Milwaukee Admirals also play at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, offering family-friendly promos throughout the night.


31. Run The Bases at a Lakeshore Chinooks Game

The Lakeshore Chinooks Baseball Club are a summer collegiate baseball team, and their games are packed with good old-fashioned family fun.

They play all of their games at Kapco Park, located on the campus of Concordia University in Mequon. The stadium sits on the shores of Lake Michigan, so fans can get a beautiful view of the lake on warm summer nights.

Read more about the Lakeshore Chinooks >>


32. Meet Bo Vine at a Milwaukee Milkmen Game

The Milwaukee Milkmen are a pro baseball team in Franklin. You can park for free at Franklin Field and get affordable tickets online or in person. Hang out with their mascot, Bo Vine, and enjoy family entertainment including stunts, games, and promotions.


Gardens

33. Get Zen at Boerner Botanical Gardens

9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners, WI 53130

Explore with your kids to find colorful rose, peony, annual, and perennial gardens, a fragrant herb garden, a daylily path, a serene rock garden with trickling streams and waterfalls, a regal shrub mall, an expansive arboretum, and a bog walk. Here is a Family Guide to Boerner Botanical Gardens

In the Fall, the gardens are typically host to the magnificent lights show and lantern festival China Lights.


34. Visit the Potter’s Shed at Margie’s Garden

Margie’s Garden is a must-visit garden located within Boerner Botanical Gardens.

The children’s garden is an enchanted village for kids, featuring an Alphabet Garden, a Numbers Garden, sound makers, playhouses, slides, a giant caterpillar and birds nest to play on, a “Flower Shop” with complimentary postcards, a small stage and seating area, and more.

It is an accessible space that is wheelchair and stroller friendly, with a pavilion for shade and benches for resting. Bathrooms are in the main Boerner building.

Read more about Margie’s Garden >>


35. Stay Warm at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes)

524 S Layton Blvd.
milwaukeedomes.org

Mitchell Park Domes Milwaukee Wisconsin

When the weather turns cold in Milwaukee, the Domes is a great spot to escape. But it’s worth a visit all year round.

You won’t believe you’re in the heart of the midwest as you roam through desert oasis, a tropical jungle, and elaborate floral gardens, all in one afternoon!

The massive greenhouse structures consist of three domes: The Tropical Dome, The Desert Dome, and the Show Dome, where seasonal exhibits take place. The Mitchell Park Domes also offers story times during the week, a Farmer’s Market in the winter months, live music in the Music Under Glass concert series, and special events throughout the year.

Don’t miss their annual Train Show in the winter, their festive Holiday Show, and their gorgeous Summer Floral Show.


36. Smell The Flowers on the Grohmann Museum Rooftop Garden

rooftop sculpture garden at Grohmann Museum MSOE campus
Photo Credit: Facebook, @grohmannmuseum

Located on the Grohmann Museum on the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) campus, this rooftop garden features a dozen large, bronze statues of men at work – toiling in the field and foundry, heaving hammers or pinching molten metal with hot tongs. Each sculpture is about 9 feet tall and weighs a thousand pounds. From their perch along the roofline, they have a commanding view of the city that was built on the hard work they depict.

The Grohmann Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12.


37. Walk the Labyrinth at Alice’s Garden Urban Farm

2136 N. 21st St, Milwaukee, WI 53205
(414) 687-0122
alicesgardenmke.com

girl in urban Alice's Garden Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: alicesgardenmke.com

Alice’s Garden is a two-acre urban garden that is committed to wellness and community, and it sits on land that used to be a part of the Underground Railroad.

You can check their website for upcoming events such as yoga classes and movie nights, or you can drop by with your children and take a walk in the labyrinth. They also offer free movies for kids and families in the summer – check their Facebook page (or our Calendar) for dates and times!

Discover more Milwaukee Gardens and Flower Farms >>


Playgrounds

Here are some of the best playgrounds you’ll find in the city of Milwaukee, and a few extra-special spots that are a short drive from the city.

38. Play at Community Park at Summerfest

Henry Maier Festival Park, Enter Through Mid-Gate

Community Park at Summerfest

The brand new Northwestern Mutual Community Park officially opened at Henry Maier Festival Park in June, 2021. This entirely redeveloped entertainment space for families offers inclusive and accessible play for children ages 2 – 12 years of age, including those who may experience a variety of challenges.

Located adjacent to the Henry W. Maier Festival Grounds is access to Lakeshore state park trails, a small beach, and accessible paved trails that link to Milwaukee’s other lakefront parks and the Hank Aaron State Trail.

Read more about Northwestern Mutual Community Park >>


39. Climb The Tower at Harbor View Plaza

Great Lakes Research Facility, 600 E Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Website

Harbor view Plaza Milwaukee Wisconsin
Harbor View Plaza has a tall play structure with a great view of the Milwaukee River.

Harbor View Plaza is the first waterfront public park in the Harbor District, located at the east end of Greenfield Avenue in front of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. The Plaza opened in July 2019.

The plaza includes a play structure for children, a water play area and water feature, and a canoe/kayak launch and dock. The play structure is designed to look like the shipping containers synonymous with ports around the world.

The water play area allows children to explore water flow and cool off on hot days. The canoe/kayak launch and dock allows visitors to get to the water’s edge and provides the only public canoe/kayak launch and docking south of the Milwaukee River in Milwaukee’s inner harbor.

It is the first major investment in what will eventually be a continuous network of Riverwalk and waterfront parks spanning much of the western shore of the Harbor District.


40. Run Around the MKE Rec Renovated Playgrounds

Franklin Square Playfield Milwaukee Recreation parks Wisconsin
Franklin Square Playfield

Milwaukee Recreation is on a mission to revitalize 52 Milwaukee play spaces in its “Dream, Build, Play” playfield renovation project. Based on the work completed via the Equity Prioritization Model, a series of projects are already complete. Here are the department’s completed projects thus far:

Franklin Square Playfield (2021) – 2643 N. 13th St.
Clovernook Playfield (2020) – 6594 N. Landers St.
Southgate Playfield (2020) – 3350 S. 25th St.
Ohio Playfield (2020) – 974 W. Holt Ave.
Custer Playfield (2019) – 4001 W. Custer Ave.
Columbia Playfield (2019) – 1345 W. Columbia St.

Click here to learn more about the playfield renovation project.


41. Climb Through the Caterpillar Tunning at Kayla’s Playground

Franklin Woods Nature Park, 3723 W. Puetz Rd., Franklin, WI

At Kayla’s Playground, you’ll find wide, fully-accessible ramps, a ground-level merry-go-round that wheelchairs can fit on, a special needs swings, two huge stainless steels slides (facing north to keep them cool), a rope climb, a wiggly balance beam, two-height monkey bars, a climbing wall and much more.

In the younger children’s area, you’ll find double swings, fiber glass mini-slides, a kid’s city hall, police station, and firehouse, a caterpillar tunnel, a registered Little Free Library and more.

Read more about Kayla’s Playground >>


42. Slide Down the 33-foot-slide at Fox River Park

W264 S4500 River Rd., Waukesha, WI 53189

This award-winning natural playground is located in Waukesha’s Fox River Park between picnic areas 1 and 2. The standout feature is the 33-foot side-by-side slides built into the side of a hill.

Kids will love the giant boulder to climb on and the spiral-designed sandbox. There’s also a play area for smaller kids (with a smaller slide, build into a smaller hill!).

Animal discovery is emphasized at the park with a natural rain garden and butterfly garden. Kids will find butterflies, insects, frogs, and more.

Fox River Park is a 257-acre park located on the Fox River and is full of mature woodlands, wetlands, marsh, and many species of wild flowers, birds, and wildlife. There are 2.25 miles of paved trails and 4.3 miles of wooded trails for hiking, biking, and rollerblading. 

Admission is $4.00 per car, or you can use your Waukesha County Parks pass.


43. Explore Marty’s Play Space at Mequon Nature Preserve

This natural playspace at Mequon Nature Preserve is located behind the PieperPower Education Center, and all are welcome to play.

You can enter the play space through the custom wooden door structure, and your kids will find log balance beams, a 16-foot dragon toy, a turtle made from stones, log steps, a hammock station (you’ll need to bring your own), human-sized birds nests, a lost climbing beam, plenty of shaded areas, and rocks to climb and sit on.

Plus, a local Eagle Scout made two sensory boards to demonstrate the different textures that can be found in nature.

All of the materials in the play area are natural and locally sourced, including pressure-treated lumber, green and white ash logs and European Alder harvested from MNP land restoration projects, ironwood logs from MNP wood lots, Lannon Stone from Halquist Stone in Sussex, and granite boulders from northern Wisconsin.

Discover more Must Visit Playgrounds in the Milwaukee Area >>


Restaurants

Let’s face it. Dining out with kids can be a challenge.

Their attention spans are, well, limited. And meltdowns happen to the best of us.

But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid taking your kids out to eat.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding a place where you and your littles can feel welcome.

We found more than 30 Milwaukee restaurants for kids that are locally-owned AND serve up good food, even on the kids menu.

From downtown Milwaukee to the surrounding suburbs, these fun restaurants do their best to help all their guests (big and little) feel at home.

Here are some of our favorites:

44. Drink Hot Cocoa at the Milwaukee Public Market

400 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
milwaukeepublicmarket.org

Milwaukee Public Market
Grab a hot cocoa or lunch at the airy Milwaukee Public Market.

You won’t have to worry about keeping your kids still and quiet at the bustling Milwaukee Public Market, though you will have to deal with some crowds.

The best part? There are lots different food options to please everyone’s pallet, and you can eat in the casual dining area upstairs.

You’ll find a local coffee shop, artisan cheese and sausage, fresh fish, soups and salads, a variety of ethnic food options, and an amazing bakery.

Don’t miss the vegan restaurant with a real vintage bus.

45. Play Cornhole at Third Street Market Hall

The Avenue MKE (275 W Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203)
Website

Third Street Market Hall Milwaukee Wisconsin

Third Street Market Hall is new food hall in downtown Milwaukee that is equal parts good food and good fun.

You’ll find local eateries like Dairyland and Paper Plane Pizza, along with free games your family can play together like Shuffleboard, Giant Jenga, and more.

There’s also a Selfie Museum and a Top Golf Swing Suite.

You can park affordably in the adjoining garage.

46. Become a Spy at the Safe House

Location: Top Secret
(Okay, okay, it’s 779 N. Front St., Milwaukee, WI 53202)
safe-house.com

Safehouse Restaurant Milwaukee Wisconsin
Even the location of the spy-themed Safe House restaurant is top secret.

The Safe House, if you can find it and figure out how to pass the agent authorization process, is a unique experience for the whole family.

Your kids will love this spy-themed restaurant hidden downtown, where every turns presents interactive elements, spy technology, gadgets, and riddles.

You’ll learn about 50 years of spy history and see the world’s largest puzzle wall.

(Yes, cheese curds are on the menu.)

Don’t miss the new mural on the wall outside!

47. Polka Dance at the Lakefront Brewery

Make an early reservation for the Friday fish fry at Lakefront Brewery, a craft brewery located along the Milwaukee River.

Your kids will love the polka music, dancing, and delicious food.

Our readers highly recommend it!

48. Taste New Foods at Zócalo Food Park

Zocalo Food Park food trucks and vendors Milwaukee Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @ZocaloFoodPark

Milwaukee’s first and only food truck park, Zócalo has something for everybody. The name Zócalo is Spanish for “plaza” or “town square.” It’s a gathering place where everyone belongs. The expansive patio is the perfect spot to snag a seat and enjoy some global cuisine.

49. Drive-in to Leon’s Frozen Custard

3131 S. 27th St. , Milwaukee, WI 53215
Website

Leon's Frozen Custard Milwaukee Wisconsin

Leon’s opened for business in 1942, and is still owned by the original family. Their custard is so iconic it has been featured on the Travel Channel.

See more of our favorite Milwaukee custard and ice cream spots >>

50. Play in the Arcade at Organ Piper Pizza

organist at Organ Piper Pizza in Greenfield Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @organpiperpizza

This Milwaukee landmark, opened in 1976, boasts delicious thin crust pizza and the country’s finest organists to entertain you. (Did you know that one of the organ players here is also the organ player at Miller Park?) There is also an arcade and a small merry-go-round. This place is known for being boisterous and noisy, so your kids will likely fit right in!

51. Eat Brunch at Uncle Wolfies

Uncle Wolfie’s is one of our favorite Milwaukee brunch spots, tucked away in Brewers Hill.

Known for its delicious food, friendly owners, and thoughtfully curated adjacent store, the details here make all the difference.

The coloring page is a separate menu for little ones inspired by the Owners’ memories of family dinners out.

Discover more Brunch Spots Around Milwaukee >>

52. Grab a milkshake at Don’s Speakeasy

Sometimes the best places are hiding right under our noses.

Don’s TV & Repair is a secretive speakeasy on Milwaukee’s southeast side, operating under the guise of an outdated TV & Repair shop.

Their build-your-own milkshakes alone make it worth a visit, but the decor will take you back to your nineties roots in the best way.

53. Sip Coffee & Play at Blum Coffee Garden

Blum Coffee Garden (4930 W Loomis Rd in Greenfield) is the perfect cafe to visit with your kids when you have some time to kill or want to give them a special treat.

The building itself makes a statement, with a century-old copper and stained-glass dome that greets you upon arrival. The dome was actually part of the former South Division High School (you’ll see other SDHS memorabilia inside).

Inside you’ll immediately feel cozy with warm brick throughout, vibrant green plants, local art, and a zen fountain as the centerpiece.

Outside you’ll find yard games ready for the playing, colorful perennials, landscaping models to ooh and aah at, trickling fountains, and plenty of space to run around.

Read more about Blum Coffee Garden >>

54. Have Afternoon Tea at the Pfister

For a fancy afternoon out with your kids, head to the historic Pfister Hotel for their afternoon tea. The Afternoon Tea experience is held in Blu, the cocktail lounge on the 23rd floor.

You’ll be surrounded by panoramic views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan, enjoying Rishi Tea, headquartered in Milwaukee.

They offer a children’s menu, and can also provide a high chair for little ones who do not require a tea tray.

Discover more Kid-friendly Restaurants Around Milwaukee >>


Indoor Playgrounds

In Southeast Wisconsin, you just never know what the weather will do.

But even if it’s freezing cold, too hot, or raining buckets, the kids will still need to get their energy out.

We curated a list of the 25 Best Indoor Playgrounds in Milwaukee.

Here are some of our favorites:

55. TBD

56. Play at Little Sprouts Play Cafe

4606 N. Wilson Dr., Shorewood, WI 53211
1406 W Mequon Rd, Mequon, WI 53092
littesproutsplaycafe.com

Little Sprouts Play Cafe Shorewood Wisconsin
Little Sprouts Play Cafe is the play date perfected.

Ideal for ages up to 6 years old, Milwaukee’s favorite play cafe offers indoor play and so much more.

At Little Sprouts Play Cafe, young kids will enjoy safe, creative play, while parents can relax with a drink from their espresso bar, enjoy free wifi, and snack on some delicious food options.

It’s a well-loved spot for birthday parties, children’s classes, and family events. This shoe-free (socks required) environment is a perfect spot for your family to enjoy year round!

Locations in Shorewood and Mequon.

57. Bounce at Sky Zone Greenfield

4940 S. 76th Street Greenfield, WI 53220
414-409-8150
skyzone.com/Greenfield

Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park, the inventors of “fun fitness”, and the makers of trampolines as far as the eye can see.

Test your skills on the Ninja Warrior Course or challenge your friends to Ultimate Dodgeball. All ages can enjoy active play at Sky Zone Greenfield! They also provide birthday parties and group events – give them a call to book!

58. Climb at Adventure Rock

2220 N Commerce St, Milwaukee, WI 53212
adventurerock.com

Adventure Rock Milwaukee Wisconsin
You’ll find Adventure Rock in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

At Adventure Rock, you’ll find indoor and outdoor rock-climbing opportunities for all ages and abilities in Milwaukee’s up and coming Riverwest neighborhood.

First timers ages five and up can be a part of the Clip’N Go program that uses an auto-belay system.

You won’t have to tie knots or learn commands, and a staff member will help orient you.

59. Get Cozy at Bug & Goose Play Cafe

Elm Grove & Delafield

Bug and Goose

Bug & Goose Play Café is a cozy indoor play space in Elm Grove. It’s especially designed for kids from 6 months to 6 years old to learn through play. Plus, there’s coffee for the caregivers. It is also great spot to have a convenient and special birthday party or event.

New in 2022, they opened up another location in Delafield! Read more about the Delafield location.

60. Splash at Springs Water Park

Ingleside Hotel, 2810 Golf Rd., Pewaukee, WI 53072

Springs Water Park Pewaukee Wisconsin
Springs Water Park is the closest indoor water park to downtown Milwaukee.

Over 45,000 square feet of water park adventures await you just outside of Milwaukee at The Springs Water Park. It’s one of 5 indoor water parks near Milwaukee.

Your family will love exploring the high-speed raft and body slides, the relaxing lazy river, activity pool with water basketball & lily pad rope walk, indoor and outdoor whirlpool, and interactive arcade. Don’t miss the the Triple Dog Dare, a 362 ft. long boat slide for up to three people. For little kids, head to Waukesha Waterworks, a zero depth entry interactive area with a 600 gallon dump bucket, squirting water cannons, small water slides, water geysers, and more.

See more indoor water parks near Milwaukee >>


Planetariums

Apollo, we have a great idea for you.

Whether you’re looking to explore the stars, learn about our solar system, or discover the latest discoveries in space exploration, these planetariums have something for everyone.

61. See The Stars at Manfred Olsen Planetarium

Tucked away inside the Physics building on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus is a hidden gem for families around Milwaukee.

The Manfred Olson Planetarium offers live, interactive programming for kids and families to learn more about the night sky and the cosmos.

It’s equipped with a Spitz A3P optomechanical projector that projects stars, planets, the Sun, and the Moon on the Planetarium’s 30-foot dome.

62. Explore the Galaxy at Daniel Soref Planetarium

800 W Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53233

MPM’s Planetarium is Wisconsin’s largest and most modern of its kind. It is also the first Planetarium in the world to debut a Digistar 6 computer projection system that fills the entire Dome Theater with stunning 3D animations, creating an immersive astronomy experience. You’ll see breathtaking vistas of the night sky, planets, the Milky Way, and distant wonders of the universe.

63. Watch The Sky at Retzer Nature Center Planetarium

S14 W28167 Madison St., Waukesha, WI 53188
(262) 896-8007
waukeshaschools.com/planet

The 40 ft. dome shaped ceiling in the Charles Horwitz Planetarium recreates the day or night sky by projecting images of the stars, planets, the sun, and the moon. The special star projector can be set to show the sky for any date, time, or latitude. You’ll be able to see 2,500 stars fill the sky, along with digital video and sound. The planetarium offers year-round public shows and occasional Sky Watch events. Check their website for the most up-to-date schedule.

Read more about Milwaukee Planetariums >> 


Beaches

There are nine public beaches along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan (the greatest lake in our humble opinion!)

Here are a few of our favorite hot spots:

64. Watch the Surfers at Atwater Beach

East Capitol and North Lake Drive, Shorewood, WI 53211
villageofshorewood.org

Atwater Beach Shorewood Wisconsin
Yes, that’s a surfer on Atwater Beach in early Spring.

When you first arrive, you’ll see a playground in the park overlooking the lake. When you’re ready to head down to the beach, you can get there via an impressively steep set of stairs, or a more gentle winding path. Once there, you’ll find 800 feet of flat open beach. You’ll be steps away from the city and shops on Capitol Drive, but the wild foliage of the tall bluff behind you will make you feel far from the city streets.

Don’t miss it! Look for an impressive sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa of a contemplative man overlooking the beach.

65. Play Volleyball at Bradford Beach

2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53211
bradfordbeachmke.com

Bradford Beach Milwaukee Wisconsin
Bradford Beach is known for its festive atmosphere and volleyball tournaments.

A favorite of college students, Bradford Beach is bustling and boisterous. You can watch sand volleyball on any of the 35 courts, grab some shade in a tiki hut, or rent a cabana. There’s also a boat house building with convenient restrooms and a concession stand.

66. Have a Snack at South Shore Beach

2900 S. Superior St., Milwaukee, WI 53207
county.milwaukee.gov

On the shores of Milwaukee’s funky Bay View neighborhood, this beach offers picturesque views of South Shore Yacht Club and the downtown skyline. There’s a large playground and a park with picnic tables and a sand volleyball court. In the summer, you can walk to South Shore Terrace, one of Milwaukee’s newest beer gardens. However, this beach frequently closes due to bacteria levels. The Milwaukee County Parks system has implemented a green infrastructure project to improve the conditions.

Discover more of the best beaches in Milwaukee >>


Hiking

With its abundance of parks and trails, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and explore with your little ones.

But not every hike is kid-friendly, and it can be hard to find trails and paths that are appropriate for young kids and their little legs.

Luckily, we’ve found dozens of hikes that will be perfect for all ages.

From scenic overlooks to hidden waterfalls, there’s something for everyone on our list of the best hikes for kids in Milwaukee.

Here are some of our favorites:

67. Hike Through Lakeshore State Park

500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202
friendslsp.org

Lakeshore State Park Milwaukee Wisconsin
Lakeshore State Park is located right along Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee.

Lakeshore State Park is an urban oasis located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, adjacent to the Summerfest Grounds and Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, right along the shores of Lake Michigan.

In addition to the paved paths, there is a small beach and a link to the Hank Aaron State Trail. The park is 22 acres, with 1.7 miles of hiking and biking, water access for canoes and kayaks, fishing area, boat slips, and a bridge that connect the park to the Summerfest grounds.

Families with young kids will love the accessible paved paths and you’ll all enjoy the unobstructed views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline.

Here’s a list of more State Parks near Milwaukee.

68. View the Haunts of Nature at Seven Bridges Trail

100 S. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172
county.milwaukee.gov

Grant Park Milwaukee Wisconsin

“Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature.”

This message, written on a sign atop a covered bridge, welcomes you to the Seven Bridges Trail in Grant Park. So it’s no wonder that there are rumors the trail is haunted. But if you head there during the day, there’s nothing spooky about it. The trail runs along a babbling creek, and leads all the way down to Lake Michigan, where you’ll find a beautiful beach. 

To get there, enter Grant Park at South Lake Drive and Park Avenue, and travel about 1/8 mile. On your left you will find parking spaces with a path leading to the trail’s main entrance.

69. Climb the Tower at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., Bayside, WI 53217
schlitzaudubon.org


Mystery Lake is frog & turtle heaven at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center offers six miles of trails through 185 acres of habitats such as forests, wetlands, prairies, and Lake Michigan shoreline. Hike on the stroller and wheelchair friendly boardwalk through Mystery Lake.

Climb a 60-foot Observation Tower, take the paved trail down to Lake Michigan, and stop in the visitor center and see Emerson, a resident snapping turtle, and other animal ambassadors.

70. Meet the Turtles at Urban Ecology Center (Free!)

The Urban Ecology Center is an innovative environmental education organization with three branches, all adjacent to Milwaukee County Parks. 

Riverside Park (1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53211)

This branch is normally open seven days a week, and you can spend a whole afternoon discovering all that the sun-soaked, plant-filled lodge has to offer, including games, instruments, puzzles, and blue slides with a secret door! Don’t miss the Native Wisconsin Animal Room, where you can greet turtles, snakes, fish, and frogs.

Here’s a Kid’s Guide to the Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park >>

Insider tip: You can help feed the animals every weekend at 1:00 p.m. Check their website for the most updated times and locations.

Washington Park (1859 N. 40th St., Milwaukee, WI 53208)

The Washington Park branch has thriving gardens throughout the park and a Young Scientists club for kids who want to participate in hands-on nature activities. They also have a Native Wisconsin Animal room with a 560 gallon fish tank. You’ll get to see turtles, snakes, frogs, and fish. In the summer, you can canoe on the fresh water lagoon, and in the winter, it turns into an ice skating rink.

Menomonee Valley (3700 W. Pierce St., Milwaukee, WI 53215)

This branch is part of an exciting partnership that aims to revitalize the Menomonee Valley. They offer a young scientists club, nature playgroups, family hikes, nature crafts programs, and more throughout the year. Plus, you can help feed the animals every weekend for free.

Read more about the Urban Ecology Center >>

71. Walk the Foot Bridge at Lake Park

2975 N Lake Park Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53211
lakeparkfriends.org

Lake Park Milwaukee Wisconsin footbridge
Lake Park is one of the most beautiful and historic parks in Milwaukee.

Truly beautiful in any season, the paved winding paths of historic Lake Park will bring you gorgeous lake vistas, rocky ravines, impressive statues, and the charming North Point Lighthouse. It’s home to an awesome playground, too! This park was designed by Frederick Olmsted, the same landscape architect who designed Central Park in New York City and the U.S. Capitol Grounds.

72. Visit the Waterfall at Wehr Nature Center

 

Yep, this waterfall is right here in Milwaukee County.

You’ll find it at Wehr Nature Center in Franklin. Take the Lake Loop, which runs along the shoreline of Mallard Lake and right to this waterfall into the Root River.

You can also explore the short and flat “Family Friendly Trail” which will take you through beautiful woodlands. You’ll see lots of birds, and you may even come face to face with a wild turkey.⠀

See all 5 Waterfalls in Milwaukee >>

73. Explore Discovery Trail at Retzer Nature Center

Discovery Trail entrance at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha Wisconsin

Even for the littlest feet, Retzer Nature Center is filled with majestic pines, picnic tables, and stroller-friendly paved paths.

The newly renovated Discovery Trail includes a variety of “Exploration Stations” for outdoor education, sensory-based play experiences, and STEM activities for families and school groups. 

You can also explore “Vista Trail” where you’ll get a good view of Waukesha, and the “Nature Trail” where there are boardwalks and babbling brooks.⠀

Read more about Retzer Nature Center >>

74. Climb the Lapham Peak Observation Tower

observation tower at Lapham Peak Unit in Kettle Moraine State Forest Delafield Wisconsin

If you’re looking for a family-friendly hiking destination in the Wisconsin State Parks system, Lapham Peak State Park in Delafield may be just the place for you.

We recommend starting at the Hausman Nature Center and picking up the Plantation Path trail from there.

The Plantation Path will lead you to the crown jewel of the park, 45-foot observation tower atop the highest point in Waukesha County (1,233 feet above sea level) to take in the beautiful views.

The Lapham Peak Observation Tower is especially spectacular in the fall!

If you want to skip the hike and go right to the observation tower, there is a convenient parking lot located very close-by.

Read more about Lapham Peak >>

75. See the View at Holy Hill

Holy Hill is a special place that you need to visit if you live in southeastern Wisconsin.

You can admire the beautiful architecture of the neo-Romanesque church built in 1926, enjoy the peaceful environment and expansive views, and even climb the scenic tower.

Once you get to the top, the view is absolutely incredible.

The paths leading through the forest and up to the church are especially magical in October, when all the leaves turn golden yellow.

See all 9 Best Views in Milwaukee >>

76. Walk the Bluffs of Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve

511 High Bluff Dr, Grafton, WI 53024

Lake Michigan shoreline at Lion's Den Gorge

This nature preserve in Grafton is home to one of the last remaining stretches of undeveloped bluff land along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The views are stunning!

The park is 73 acres with plenty of hiking trails, boardwalks through wetlands, picnic areas, and restrooms.

The trails are relatively stroller-friendly, but you’ll have to ditch the stroller to take the stairway down to walk along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Caution! Be very careful on the trails because the cliffs and bluffs are very steep. It’s best to put babies and toddlers in a carrier.

77. Hike at Havenwoods State Forest

Havenwoods State Forest is the only state forest in the city of Milwaukee, located on the north side, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

It boasts 237 acres, hiking trails, colorful wildflowers, a pond, a nature center with animals, and more!

Here is a list of State Parks near Milwaukee >>


Libraries

Allow us to introduce you to some of the best libraries in Milwaukee that you may not have visited yet.

From secret gardens to climbable lighthouses, these libraries are sure to spark your child’s imagination and reignite your passion for reading.

Read on for little-known facts, library art, and secret hiding spots!

78. Climb the Lighthouse at Central Library

814 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53233

Central Library Milwaukee Wisconsin
The Betty Brinn Children’s Room in Central Library is a wonderful space for kids.

The Betty Brinn Children’s Room at Central Library gives kids their very own separate area to explore. There’s a lighthouse to climb, plenty of cozy reading alcoves, 30 computers, and special children’s book collections grouped together.

Fun Fact: The stained glass window in the Central Library Children’s Room is called the “Hans Christian Andersen Window”. It was designed by Marie Herndl in 1896, one of the only women in her field at the time. It was restored for the grand opening of the children’s room in 1998.

 

79. Read by the Fireplace at Mitchell Street Library

906 W. Historic Mitchell St., Milwaukee, WI 53204

Mitchell Street Library Milwaukee Wisconsin

The recently renovated Mitchell Street Branch used to be home to a department store, and it’s the largest of Milwaukee Public Library’s branches. You’ll find a bright and expansive space with a high-tech maker-space, laptops for checkout, a children’s collection, puppets, audio books on c.d.’s, and a cozy reading area with a fireplace.

Discover more of the best Milwaukee libraries >>


Shopping

Bayshore Town Center in Glendale Wisconsin
Bayshore Town Center is home to Target, Athleta, Culver’s, The Yard, and more.

80. Hit the Mall

From The Yard at Bayshore in the city’s north shore area to the ritzy Corners of Brookfield, Southeast Wisconsin has something for everyone when it comes to shopping.

See the “11 Best Shopping Malls around Milwaukee, WI” >>

81. Shop Local

Rooted MKE BIPOC Children's Bookstore and Literacy Exploration Center Milwaukee Wisconsin

From locally owned children’s bookstores like Rooted MKE to quirky toy stores like Ruckus & Glee, Milwaukee’s local economy is thriving.

See the 9 Best Milwaukee Toy Stores and Children’s Boutiques >>

 

Seasonal Fun

82. Soak Up Summer

Let’s be honest, the summer months are the real reason we live here. There is nothing like the magic of summertime in Milwaukee when it comes alive June through August.

From exploring the city’s festivals and outdoor concerts to cooling off in water parks and splash pads, there’s no shortage of activities to keep kids entertained all season long.

Here are our most popular summer recommendations:

Outdoor Water Parks & Pools

Strawberry Picking

Best Splash Pads

Kid Friendly Summer Festivals

Beer Gardens (Yes, they’re Kid-Friendly)

Outdoor Summer Concerts

Sunflower Fields

Swimming Ponds and Lakes

Fourth of July in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Riverwalk
The Milwaukee Riverwalk is fun to explore with kids during the summer.

Exploring the Milwaukee Riverwalk

Farmer’s Markets

Mini-Golf


83. Fall in Love with MKE

As summer fades away and the leaves start to change, it’s time to welcome the arrival of fall – a season filled with cozy sweaters, warm drinks, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

And what better place to enjoy the crisp autumn air than Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where you can find an abundance of fall-themed fun for all ages.

From apple picking to pumpkin patches, corn mazes to observation towers, Milwaukee has it all.

So grab your loved ones, bundle up, and get ready to experience the best of fall family fun in and around Milwaukee!

Here are some of our top recommendations:

Milwaukee Apple Orchards

Milwaukee Harvest Festivals

Doors Open Milwaukee

Milwaukee Pumpkin Patches

Milwaukee Corn Mazes

Observation Towers

Halloween Events

Spooky Halloween Displays

Day of the Dead Events


84. Get Jolly For the Holidays!

The winter holidays are a magical time of year, especially when you’re a kid.

And if you’re looking for ways to make the most of this festive season with your little ones, there’s no better place than Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

From twinkling holiday lights to bright red Santa’s mailboxes and magical holiday events, Milwaukee has it all.

So, get ready to bundle up, sip on some hot cocoa, and dive into the winter wonderland of Milwaukee.

Here are out top recommendations:

Holiday Fun Guide

Milwaukee Holiday Lights

Santa’s Mailboxes

Milwaukee Christmas Parades

Christmas Tree Farms

Meet Santa

Magical Holiday Experiences

Sleigh Rides

Winter Break Guide

New Year’s Eve With Kids

Volunteering With Kids


85. Make the Most of Winter

Photo by Little x Little Photography

Winter in Milwaukee might be chilly, but that doesn’t mean you and your family have to stay cooped up indoors.

In fact, with the right mindset and a bit of preparation, the frosty season can be the perfect opportunity to create lasting memories and bond with your loved ones.

From thrilling winter sports to cozy hot cocoa spots, Milwaukee has a wealth of options to keep your family entertained all season long.

So, put on your warmest hats and mittens, and make the most of winter!

Here are our top recommendations for Winter:

100 Winter Fun Ideas Around Milwaukee

Ice Skating Rinks

Sledding Hills

Snow Tubing

Skiing & Snowboarding

Snowshoeing

Ice Festivals

Winter Festivals

Candlelight Hikes

Dog Sledding

Best Hot Cocoa Spots

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Winter Day Trips

Winter Date Nights

Celebrate Black History Month

Valentine’s Day Events

5 Wintry Things to do Without Snow


86. Celebrate Spring

As we emerge from winter, spring celebrations are a welcome reprieve.

From St. Patrick’s Day festivities to Easter egg hunts, 414 Day, and maple sugaring events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re a long-time resident or a first-time visitor, Milwaukee has plenty of reasons to get out and explore the city in the spring.

Let’s dive into some of the top events and activities:

Free Things to do in Spring

Maple Sugaring Events

St. Patrick’s Day Events

Pi Day Activities

March Madness With Kids

Spring Break Staycation Ideas

Easter Egg Hunts

414 Day Events

Earth Day Events

Mother’s Day Events


Day Trips

Are you ready for an adventure?

If you’re looking to break out of your routine and explore new destinations with your little ones, you’re in luck!

Milwaukee is surrounded by picturesque towns, scenic parks, and cultural attractions that are just a short drive away.

We’ve got an epic list of the 100 Best Day Trips From Milwaukee, each offering a unique blend of fun, education, and adventure. 

Here are some of our favorites:

87. Walk Through Bookworm Gardens

1415 Campus Dr., Sheboygan, WI 53081
bookwormgardens.org

Bookworm Gardens Sheboygan Wisconsin
Bookworm Gardens is a meticulously tended children’s garden based on childhood books.

What a treasure this place is. Bookworm Gardens, a sprawling green space based entirely on children’s literature, offers free admission and hours of whimsical fun to area families. Located just off the highway in Sheboygan, it is well worth the 50 minute drive from Milwaukee.

Explore the Magic School Bus, the “Hansel and Gretel” Learning Cottage, the Secret Garden, the dinosaur garden, giant Goldilock chairs, a Japanese teahouse, Charlotte’s Web Barn and Garden, koi pond, and so much more.

Read more about Bookworm Gardens >>

88. Be Charmed by Cedarburg Historic District

cedarburg.org

Located just 22 miles north of Milwaukee, historic Cedarburg offers fun for the whole family.

Browse through the shops in the Cedar Creek Settlement, check out the General Store Museum and enjoy a walk over the last covered bridge in Wisconsin in Covered Bridge Park. Cedar Creek Park has a nice playground along the river next to Cedar Creek Brewery.

One of the best new places to visit is Art of Joy, a social house and mercantile located in the heart of historic Cedarburg. You’ll find zero-proof cocktails, live music, and a kids area on the upper level!

89. Say Hi to the Dinos at Dinosaur Discovery Museum (Free!)

5608 Tenth Ave., Kenosha, WI
museums.kenosha.org/dinosaur

The Dinosaur Discovery Museum is a small but mighty museum located in Kenosha, about 45 minutes from Milwaukee.

You can tour the main gallery filled with impressive dinosaur skeletons that are casts of actual fossil bones.

Head downstairs to dig for fossils, do dinosaur crafts, and peek into the on site laboratory. Admission is free!

Read more about the Dinosaur Discovery Museum >>

90. Ride the Trains at East Troy Electric Railroad

2002 Church St., East Troy, WI 53120​​
(262) 642-3263
easttroyrr.org

East Troy Railroad Easy Troy Wisconsin
 
You can ride the historic railcars through the beautiful landscape of Southeast Wisconsin via the East Troy Electric Railroad.

Board at either the depot in East Troy or at The Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago.

Meander through the depot museum where kids can be a trolley motorman, discover the joy of model layouts and learn about electricity. The gift shop features a unique selection of railroad souvenirs for all ages.

For more fun, try the ice cream at the Lauber’s Old Fasioned Ice Cream Parlor next to the depot or enjoy a meal at Ivan’s on the Square in East Troy.

Read more about the East Troy Electric Railroad >>

91. Explore Chicago

One of the best parts about living in Milwaukee is having easy access to the world-class popular attractions in Chicagoland (without the daily traffic!).

Whether you’re planning an easy day trip from Milwaukee, a full weekend of fun, or just wondering what to do while you visit relatives, we rounded up the 100 Best Family Attractions Around Chicago.

If you’ll be spending most of your time in the surrounding suburbs, check out the 100 Best Things to do With Kids in Chicagoland.

And, if your Chicago relatives are wondering what there is to do in Wisconsin, send them our list of the 25 Best Wisconsin Day Trips From Chicago >>

91. Madison

From the free Henry Vilas Zoo, to the towering State Capitol on State Street, Madison is packed with family-friendly fun. 

Take time to smell the flowers at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, take a tour of the capitol, stop by the Madison Children’s Museum, and taste something new at the Dane County Farmer’s Market.

If you’re visiting in the Fall, head to a UW Badgers Game. Here are 10 Tips for Visiting Camp Randall With Kids >>

92. EAA Aviation Museum

3000 Poberezny Road Oshkosh, WI 54902
eaa.org

With a collection of more than 200 historic airplanes along with world-class galleries and displays, the EAA Aviation Museum is a year-round destination. Check out the annual AirVenture event every summer and the Kids Gallery year round.

93. Bay Beach Amusement Park

1313 Bay Beach Rd., Green Bay, WI 5430
greenbaywi.gov/baybeach

This municipal amusement park offers a ferris wheel, bumper cars and boats, a giant slide, a roller coaster, and more. It is located on the Fox River. Admission and parking are free. Rides cost anywhere from 25 cents to two dollars.

94. Wisconsin State Parks

stockades at sunset at Aztalan State Park near Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Whether you and the kiddos are looking to hike nature trails, swim, canoe, have a picnic or just take in some fresh air, state parks offer all that and more in a no-frills format.

The best state parks offer incredible views of natural beauty, miles of trails, plenty of outdoor activities and inviting picnic areas.

We found 15 Beautiful State Parks Within Two Hours of Milwaukee >>

If you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely want to check out Aztalan State Park, a National Historic Landmark where you can learn about an ancient village that thrived between A.D. 1000 and 1300.

See all 100 Best Day Trips From Milwaukee >>


Weekend Trips

95. Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee

Tons of water fun awaits just over the Illinois border at this 80,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor waterpark. Great Wolf Lodge (formerly Key Lime Cove) opened its Gurnee, Illinois, location in 2018, and its been a hit ever since.

Fort Mackenzie is an interactive four-story water fort full of slides and toys for the littles. Younger children love to wait while the giant bucket at the top fills up with gallons of water and then comes splashing down on them.

See all 5 Indoor Water Parks Near Milwaukee >>

96. Wisconsin Dells 

The Wisconsin Dells is the Water Park Capital of America, and you’ll have no problem finding ways to keep your family entertained.

To start your search, check out our post about the 5 Best Wisconsin Dells Hotels With Indoor Water Parks >>

97. Grand Bear Resort at Starved Rock

Grand Bear Resort is located in the beautiful setting of Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois.

The recent reviews on Trip Advisor are consistently glowing.

It offers an indoor water park, a miniature golf course, an arcade, crafts, family movie nights, outdoor bar, and more.

See all 20 Wisconsin & Illinois Hotels With Indoor Water Parks >>

98. Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

If you’re headed up to northwest Wisconsin with the kids, or happen to be passing through the charming city of Hayward, you’ll want to make a stop at the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

It’s better known as the “Musky Museum”, thanks to the 143 foot long, four story muskellunge sculpture that serves as the destination’s centerpiece.

Read more about the World’s Largest Musky Sculpture >>

99. Camping 

Looking for a great place to camp this summer with kids?

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor family, or it’s your first time camping, these campgrounds and RV parks offer plenty of family fun for all ages.

The most popular weekends for family camping are Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, but these Wisconsin campgrounds are available throughout the summer.

Gather ’round the campfire, and let the good times roll!

Here’s a list of the 11 Best Campgrounds With Water Parks in Wisconsin >>

100. Apostle Islands 

Perhaps the most famous of all the national parks and trails in Wisconsin is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a coastal park located on the northeastern tip of the Bayfield Peninsula, brimming over with natural beauty. 

Read about 4 Stunning National Parks in Wisconsin >>


Midwest Travel

St. Louis

Perhaps best known for its iconic Gateway Arch and blues music scene, St. Louis is one of the biggest cities in the Midwest.

It has a rich history. This is where Lewis and Clark began their expedition in 1804, where the Supreme Court heard the pivotal Dred Scott case, and it was host to the World’s Fair in 1904.

Today St. Louis offers an abundance of free museums and attractions for visitors, making it a prime candidate for your next family road trip.

Here are 15 free family activities in St. Louis, plus some bonus ideas for your itinerary.

Direct Flights From MKE

You can fly direct from Milwaukee to Orlando via Mitchell Airport.

Heading out of the Milwaukee area for awhile?

Traveling with kids can be a daunting task.

And when you add the stress of navigating through multiple airports and long layovers, it can quickly turn into a nightmare.

But the good news is that you don’t have to go through the stress of multiple connecting flights to reach your dream family vacation destination.

The Milwaukee airport has you covered.

There are direct flights from the MKE airport to some of the best family destinations in the US, such as Orlando, Seattle, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Washington D.C.


Giving Back

While it may be difficult to squeeze one more thing into your busy schedule, doing community service sure knocks out a lot of things on a parent’s “to-do list for raising a good person.”

Besides positively impacting the people and organizations that you help, the service can help your own child in many ways.

First, it helps them to develop empathy and compassion, learn more about their community and the people who live in it, and feel more connected to their world.

Sunbeam Kids is a local organization that facilitates service projects for families.

Besides that, it’s a great way to bond with friends and family in a new way. You may even discover or develop new skills and talents that you didn’t know about before.

Finally, it can help them learn the importance of responsibility, keeping commitments, and get them in the habit of using their free time productively.

With all this in mind, some projects are better suited to kids than others.

Here are 7 fun ways to volunteer with kids around Milwaukee >>


At Home Activities

Sometimes no matter how many fun things there are to do in your city, the thing you want to do most is stay home and have fun together.

We’ve got you covered there, too!

From easy science experiments to the best backyard games and activities, we’ve got an epic list of 100 boredom busters.

See all 100 Fun Things To Do At Home With Kids >>


What did we miss? Email us at hello@mkewithkids.com.

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