Quick: Hawthorn Glen Nature Center

Ages: This place is perfect for young kids because the terrain is flat and the hikes are short.

Where: Hawthorn Glen is located at 1130 N 60th St, Milwaukee, WI 53208 (in Milwaukee, near Wauwatosa).

Hours: They’re open every day from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. During the day, it’s used mostly for field trips for Milwaukee Public Schools, but families are welcome there on the weekends and in the afternoons.

What: Hawthorn Glen is an outdoor education center owned by Milwaukee Public Schools.

Before you begin your hike, you can spend some time on the playground sets near the parking lot. The structures are not new, but they did the trick. My daughter loved the tire swing.

You can also visit the Little Nature Museum to see native Wisconsin inhabitants. The building was actually built in 1938 as part of the Works Progress Administration. They used salvaged material from the old 27th street viaduct.

Just behind the Little Nature Museum, follow the path to a flat and easy nature loop, perfect for young kids. There are educational posts along the way to learn about the plants you encounter.

We found hollowed out logs that acted as telescopes for my kids, Hawthorn trees that look like giant rose bushes, and lots of little critters getting ready for Spring.

As you emerge from the nature loop, you’ll find a large hill that your kids can climb. It used to be a gravel pit, but now it’s perfect for mini-explorers.

Up ahead near the watertower, you’ll find a big flight of stairs. It will lead you to a nice lookout that gives you a clear view of the whole park.

But the best part is running back down, of course.

Hawthorn Glen was a nice little place to spend the morning outdoors. There is plenty of wildlife and space for kids to run and play, and its location in the city makes it unique among the concrete.

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Find out more about Hawthorn Glen.

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