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8 must-do events before summer ends

It’s true. Summer officially ends Wednesday, September 21st. There’s so much to do, and only a few more week to do it! Here are some of our top picks for kids and families in the metro-Milwaukee area:

1. Doors Open Milwaukee

Saturday, September 17th – Sunday, September 18th

Doors Open Milwaukee designates 24 sites of special interest to families with children! Children 18 and under may pick up a FREE passport book featuring 24 family-friendly sites at any designated passport location, and have them stamped. (Please check hours. as they vary by location. Specifics about each passport site are given on the Doors Open website.)

Stops on the Family Passport include Havenwoods Environmental Center, the Milwaukee Fire Museum, the Milwaukee Public Museum Planetarium, The Safe House restaurant, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, the UWM Manfred Olsen Planetarium, and the Milwaukee Survive Alive House in Germantown.

2. Briggs & Als Run & Walk

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk is a much-loved celebration and a Milwaukee fundraising tradition that starts on Marquette’s campus and winds through downtown Milwaukee, finishing at the Summerfest grounds. Benefiting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, it’s an inspirational and magical day that draws over 16,000 people to support kids. The run is 8k and walkers have the option of a 3-mile or 5-mile route. Children 2 and under are free and any current or past patient of Children’s Hospital (Children’s Champion) can register for free as well.

Entertainment around the start line will include Spinn Doctors, Disney princesses, sports mascots, Marquette basketball players, cheerleaders, face painting and more! Our finish line celebration will feature The Eddie Butts Band (free and open to the public) along with children’s inflatable games. There will be food and beverages for sale. Looking for even more fun after the finish line celebration? Show your race bib at Betty Brinn’s Children’s Museum and get 50% off general admission!

3. Indian Summer

Head to the Summerfest grounds for a family-friendly celebration including traditional dances, costumes, drum circles, fiddle and jig contests, corn husk doll making, la crosse for all ages, pow wows, parades, and poetry readings.

4. Grand Opening Kith and Kin

We love to see new kid-friendly places opening in the area. And you may need somewhere fun to go with your kids when the weather turned colder.

The East Side’s newest hot spot for kids is Kith and Kin, and their hosting their grand opening celebration Saturday, September 10th from 12:00-5:00. They offer custom play structure, a kid’s stage, crafts and a cozy reading nook. For the parents, The Kith & Kin Café offers an assortment of coffee and tea, local and organic whole fruits and veggies and build-your-own panini’s. They also offer weekly classes, including kids yoga, dance, music, and language. Oh, AND they offer 30, 60, or 90 minute massages with skilled therapists. That’s right! They’re open for birthday parties, too. Check them out at their grand opening celebration!

5. Watermelon Festival

Saturday, September 10th

Does Franksville count as the Milwaukee area? Probably not. But I’m gonna go with “yes” just for today, because Swan’s Pumpkin Farm is hosting a Watermelon Festival on Saturday, September 10th. There will be live music, a best dressed watermelon contest, watermelon eating and seed spitting contest, hayrides, barrel train rides, corn mazes, pony rides, pedal karts, and pork sandwiches, sweet corn and apple cider donuts. Sounds like it will be worth the ride!

6. Frank Mots Kite Festival

Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11

Don’t miss the Grand Launch of over 600 kites at noon! Enjoy live music, local food vendors, the Kids Mad Dash at 2:00, mascots and more!

7. Ride on the Wild Side

Sunday, September 11

With its hills, winding paths and beautiful setting, the Milwaukee County Zoo is a great place to ride your bike. At the Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s annual bike ride fundraiser, you can do just that. Kids can cruise in the Critter Caravan, a special 2.5-mile kids’ route through the Zoo. Their favorite plush-toy animal friends can tag along in a bike basket or backpack. Seasoned riders with a passion for pedaling can choose one of the distance routes (10- to 20-mile+ rides), sponsored by Mallery & Zimmerman, S.C., that start at the Zoo and continue north along the Menomonee River Parkway and the Oak Leaf Trail.

Kids can enjoy a post-ride snack, make some crafts and get a temporary tattoo in the Kids ‘n Critters Corral, sponsored by Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C. After the ride, all participants can park their bike in the Bike Corral, sponsored by Hungry Man Moving, and enjoy lunch. Rides start at 8:00 and 8:15 a.m. The registration fee includes entry to the Zoo and parking, a continental breakfast, lunch and a long-sleeve T-shirt. Remember to bring your bike helmet!

8. Wine & Harvest Festival

Spend a sweet, end-of-summer weekend in the country in Historic Cedarburg during the 44th Annual Wine & Harvest Festival, Saturday, September 17th from 10:00-6:00 p.m. & Sunday, September 18th from 10:00-5:00 p.m.

This free, family-oriented arts and crafts event features live music, tractor-drawn hayride wagons, unique local foods like the Apple Brat and Cranberry Turkey Wraps, locally produced foods and products, an art fair, a pumpkin weigh-off, giant watermelons, tomatoes and gourds, and a Giant Pumpkin Charity Regatta, and Kid’s Grape Stomp.

The festival’s Ashley’s Candyland for Kids will feature Popcorn the Clown, a bouncer, coloring tables, spin art, and Paint a Pumpkin and more!

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