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Free events for kids & families in September

Dear readers,Happy back-to-school time! It can be such an exciting and overwhelming time of year. I sincerely hope you’re able to take some time to enjoy some of these *free* activities together as a family.

For more kid-friendly events and activities, check our Event Calendar, which I update monthly.

Subscribe to our newsletter! Click here. You’ll receive *one* email per week with quick links to the Weekend Guide and other fun articles.

Happy exploring,


1. Free admission days:

Milwaukee Public Museum: Free on Thursday, September 7th for all visitors. Open 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Residents of Milwaukee County receive a $2.00 discount on general admission everyday with proof of residency.)

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Milwaukee Art Museum: Free to all visitors on Thursday, September 7th from 10:00-8:00. Find out about kid-friendly exhibits and activities here. The museum is always free for kids 12 and under!

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Betty Brinn Children’s Museum: Free to all visitors on Thursday, September 21st from 5:00-8:00 p.m. for Neighborhood Night. Join in for FREE admission, enjoy access to all of the Museum’s hands-on exhibits, and stop by our Be A Maker space to find tools, materials and techniques for endless ways to experiment and create.

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The Domes: All three domes are now open! Free admission to the Domes on Monday, September 11th, 18th, and 25th for all Milwaukee County Residents with proof of residency. (No free admission on Labor Day, September 4th)

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2. Third Ward Art Festival (event over)

September 2nd and 3rd

Historic Third Ward

Free and open to the public, the Third Ward Art Festival will showcase the work of more than 140-juried artists, 36 of whom are from Wisconsin, in a variety of mediums, including ceramics, fiber, glass jewelry, sculpture, mixed media, paintings, drawings, photography, printmaking, wood and furniture. Fun activities for kids include color creations, art fest bingo and spin art for all ages! There will also be live music from Parisian singer Michelet and guitar duo Patchouli. Guests can enjoy lunch alfresco, among neighboring restaurants and the Milwaukee Public Market.

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3. Lego Americana Road Show at Mayfair Mall (event over)

August 19th – September 4th

Don’t miss the only LEGO Americana Roadshow in Wisconsin! See American landmarks handcrafted into stunning, larger-than-life replicas.

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4. Nature Fun at Havenwoods State Forest

Family Nature Hike (event over)

Saturday, September 2nd

10:30 a.m.

Ever wonder how the legless creatures move around? Come explore the mobility adaptations of slithering snakes, slimy slugs and snails, and wriggling worms. Find out which are truly legless and which actually do have a foot!

Slither and Slime

Saturday, September 9th and 16th

Drop-in between 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Have a face-to-tentacle meeting with a slimy slug that lives under logs AND touch a slithering inhabitant of dry grasslands. Make your own spiraling snail craft and snake bracelet, plus pick your favorite in the live slug races!

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5. Family Flicks: “Top Gun” & “Groundhog Day” (Event over)

Sunday, September 3rd

Veterans Park

Enjoy this double feature with your family in the parks! Movies start at dusk.

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6. Open Climb at Urban Ecology Center – Riverside Park (Event over)

Sunday, September 3rd

2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Curious about rock climbing? Come try it out for free! Each participant will receive one free climb, with the possibility for additional climbs if time allows. First come, first served in the order of arrival and signed waiver. Come and climb – you might just get hooked!

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7. Block Party at Kith and Kin

Saturday, September 9th

12:00 – 5:00

Come celebrate Kith and Kin’s 1st birthday with a free-admission block party! Enjoy fun and games, Hamburger Dan, Kids Talent Show, performances by Mr. Pickles, Drift Food Truck, Scrach Ice Cream, Enlightened Brew Co. Beer, Face Paint, Hair Wraps, Hula Hoops, Chalk, Bubbles, and Fairytale Fun.

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8. Doors Open Milwaukee

Saturday, September 23rd and Sunday, September 24th

All over Milwaukee

Enjoy Doors Open Milwaukee with your kids using the family activity booklet that includes activities that invite kids and families to go beyond the buildings and explore their city. The booklet also features a passport with 20 child-friendly Doors Open sites. Pick up a passport at the event headquarters (235 E Michigan St) or at any of the family passport sites.

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9. Maker Faire Milwaukee

Saturday, September 23rd and Sunday, September 24th

Wisconsin State Fair Park

Called the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, a Maker Faire is part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new. Maker Faire Milwaukee joins a small group of other world-class cities, including Berlin, Detroit, Rome, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Cairo, Singapore, Istanbul, Paris, Barcelona, and others that are designated in 2017 as a larger-scale, regional Featured Faire. Maker Faire Milwaukee, which is the largest free event of its kind in the nation, is locally produced by the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum under a license from Maker Media, Inc., and is co-hosted by the Museum and Milwaukee Makerspace.

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10. Sturgeon Fest

Saturday, September 30th

Lakeshore State Park, Milwaukee

Enjoy family fun at Sturgeon Fest, one of the biggest annual conservation events and festivals in Wisconsin, returning a breeding population of Sturgeon to Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River! The festivities continue all day with games and activities for kids, kayak demonstrations, prairie tours, educational booths, delicious local food trucks, and more. Sturgeon Fest celebrates Riveredge’s 25 year partnership with the Wisconsin DNR to bring back Lake Sturgeon, a critically important species both environmentally and culturally, to the Milwaukee River, where they haven’t been seen in over 100 years.

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11. Family Frontier Day

Pioneer Village (N58 W6194 Columbia Road, Cedarburg, Wisconsin)

Saturday, September 23rd

10:00 – 2:00

Explore over 24 restored building from pioneer living, challenge yourself to popular pioneer games such as hoop rolling, create your own pioneer inspired crafts, make your own rope, experience story time in a hay barn, complete a scavenger hunt, and enjoy lunch at this free, family-friendly event.

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12. Church Festivals

Saints Peter & Paul Block Party

Saturday, September 9th

12:00 noon – 9:30 p.m.

Enjoy free admission, children’s games and bounce house, a silent auction, great music, food, and fun for the whole family. Live music includes JT and the Congregants, Sweet P’s with a mix of contemporary and parish music, and Stray Voltage covers from several decades.

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Community Carnival

Sunday, September 10th

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Centennial Lutheran Church

3558 S 24th Street

Milwaukee, WI

Three bounce houses, His Way band, balloon tying clown, raffle items, caricarurist, face painting, fire truck, police car, and snacks. Everything is free!

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St. Luke Fall Festival

Friday, September 8th

4:00 – 11:00 p.m.

St. Luke Catholic Church

18000 W. Greenfield Avenue

Brookfield, WI 53045

Fish fry and lots of other food, local crafts and vendors, live music including a Frank Sinatra impersonator, cash raffle, and children’s activities including games, bounce house, balloons, prizes, and flashlight candy hunt.

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13. Tree Climbing Championship

Saturday, September 16th

Wirth Park Playground

2440 Dousman Trail

Brookfield, WI

The Wisconsin Arborist Association will be holding their annual tree climbing competition, where men and women from around the state will climb trees in a variety of challenges to see who is the best in the state. This year’s event will also have an Arbor Fair. There will be Kids Tree Climbing with ropes and harnesses, tree trivia contests, “Ask an Arborist”, and a kids tree part obstacle course. All 100% free!

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14. Boerner By Moonlight Family Garden Walk

September 15th

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Special End of the Season Family Garden Walk! Grab your flashlight and let’s explore Boerner by moonlight. Families will be guided around Boerner for this special nighttime walk. You’ll get to discover what nocturnal creatures come out at night in the Gardens! Refreshments will be provided after the walk. Contact (414) 525-5653 for more info. This is a free event – no pre-registration necessary.

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15. Silver City InterNational Festival

Saturday, September 9th, 2017


West National Avenue(between 33rd St. and 35th St.)

FREE Admission!

LBWN and Presenting Event Sponsor, Komatsu invite you to the 6th Annual Silver City InterNational Festival on Saturday, September 9th from 12:00pm-5:00pm along West National Avenue between South 33rd Street and South 35th Street. This fun festival celebrates the cultural diversity of the Silver City neighborhood through food, the arts, and music! Nearly 2,000 neighbors and visitors traveled the world along West National Avenue between South 33rd and 35th street last year and sampled ethnic cuisine from countries spanning the globe while also enjoying live art performances, free live music, free activities for kids and displays from local businesses.

Some fun things to expect:

Enjoy music all day from The Squeezettes at the Mamie’s Main Stage!

Enjoy a wide variety of cultural music and dances from Escamilla Entertainment, Lao Youth Dancers, Fox Valley Filipino Dance Group, Nefertari African Dance Group and more at the Silver City Main Stage sponsored by Premier Motors.

Enjoy listening to your fellow neighbors and Milwaukeeans perform at our Community Stage!

Take part in free art activities with the A.W.E. Truck Studio and other local artists from the neighborhood and Milwaukee.

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Do you know of any other free events? Comment below and let other parents know about them!

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