Here are some family-friendly events that are totally *FREE* around Milwaukee this month (September 2018)!
St. Francis Days
August 31 – September 2, 2018
Milton Vretenar Memorial Park (4230 S Kirkwood Ave, St Francis)
Enjoy carnival rides, a parade, pony & camel rides, a walk-in petting zoo, a fairytale princess photo ppportunity, food and drinks, free admission and free parking next to the park
Fire, Police, & EMS Expo at MATC – Oak Creek (Free!)
Saturday, September 8 from 9:00am – 3:00pm
MATC Oak Creek Campus (6665 S Howell Ave, Oak Creek, WI)Website
MATC is working with The Milwaukee Fire Historical Society (MFHS) and other Milwaukee area Fire and Law Enforcement organizations to provide an informational, enjoyable, and memorable day for all ages, with particular focus on service to community, safety, and fitness. The free public event will feature a fire & police vehicle parade, September 11 Memorial Ceremony, fire and police physical challenge activities, antique fire & police vehicles on display, food & refreshments, fire truck & squad car rides, fire & police displays, demonstrations, auction, and other family friendly activities. Enter off College Avenue – take fork to right for free parking.
Critter Club at Wehr Nature Center
Saturday, September 8 from 1:00 – 2:30pm
Wehr Nature Center (9701 W College Ave, Franklin, WI 53132)
Have you ever wondered how snakes hear or if you really get warts from touching a toad? Come visit with Wehr’s resident turtles, snakes, salamanders, and other cold blooded critters to discover more about these oftenmisunderstood animals. You may even get to touch a turtle or snake! Free! Parking fee applies. This is an open house program, so come anytime between 1:00 and 2:30 to visit!
Meet the Artist at Cloud 9 Workshop
Sunday, September 9 from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Cloud 9 Workshop (5205 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53208)
Enjoy A Morning with Art Teacher, Author and Illustrator, Amy Ward. Amy will read her new children’s book, “Crunchy Not Sweet” and lead a hands-on art activity in the studio geared towards children ages 3-5 and their families! Facebook RSVP Requested.
Bay View Bash
Saturday, September 15 from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Potter and Clement on Kinnickinnic Avenue in Bay View, Milwaukee.
The Bay View Bash is a community festival of food, art, music, crafts, books, and community organizations. The Bay View Bash partners with local composting group Kompost Kids to continue efforts in making the Bash a Zero Waste Festival.
Wine & Harvest Festival
September 15 – 16, 2018
Festivals of Cedarburg, Inc (W63 N643 Washington Ave, Cedarburg)
This free, family-oriented arts and crafts event is an absolute must for all fest-goers! The Winery’s hilarious Grape Stomp, a daily crowd-pleaser with both a Kid’s Stomp and an Adult’s Stomp competition, will appear at the Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement. Don’t leave without a souvenir!
Urban Forest Fest
Saturday, September 15 from 10:00am – 4:00pm
Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd
The Lynden Sculpture Garden is delighted to be partnering once again with Wisconsin Urban Wood to present Urban Forest Fest 2018. Urban Forest Fest brings together a range of individuals and organizations with an interest in sustainability–and particularly in the fate of the trees that surround us in our urban and suburban neighborhoods. Through exhibitions, demonstrations, presentations–and plenty of family-friendly hands-on activities and entertainment–we will tell the log-to-table story of urban wood and the many uses for these local trees after they are cut down. Help us spread the word about the role of locally produced wood in a sustainable forest cycle, climb a tree, or just stop by to enjoy the sculpture and the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra. Other activities include sawmill demonstrations, urban wood furniture makers, an info fair, hands-on art and nature activities, and the Falafel Guys food truck. Please park at the Park & Ride located just to the west of the Brown Deer Road exit of I-43. A free shuttle bus will run between the Park & Ride and Lynden beginning at 10 am. If you require handicap access, you may park in the lot at Lynden, but please notify us in advance by calling 414-446-8794.
Oktoberfest in Frame Park
September 21 – 22, 2018
Frame Park Dr, Waukesha, WI 53186
Join us for a taste of Deutschland in the heart of Waukesha! Oktoberfest has a family activity area, dancers, and music the kids and their families will all enjoy. We can talk about too. Nonstop music, food, Sprecher beer and root beer, old world games and activities. Have your picture taken with our Bronze Alive statues that will amaze you. Try your hand (or should we say hammer) at Nagelschlagen. Play Sheepshead. Toss a few in our Das Bag Tourney. “Who’s the Best Dressed for Octoberfest” – show us your style and win. And oom-pah under the Big Tent with classic sounds and dance of old world Germany. The setting couldn’t be more perfect and unique under the stars in Waukesha’s Frame Park along the picturesque Fox River.
Doors Open Milwaukee Kids Passport
September 22 – 23, 2018
Doors Open Milwaukee is a two-day public celebration of Milwaukee’s art, architecture, culture and history. This event offers behind the scenes tours of more than 170 buildings throughout Milwaukee’s downtown and neighborhoods and 30+ ticketed tours led by community leaders. Plenty of great family-friendly options!
Saturday, September 22 from 10:00am – 6:00pm
Henry W. Maier Festival Park (200 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202)
A FREE family and pet-friendly festival hosting a variety of fun pet-focused attractions and activities. Check out their website for activities & entertainment.
Autumn Equinox Hike
Sunday, September 23 from 2:00 – 3:00pm
500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI, 53202, United States
Enjoy a fall hike through the park as the Asters are in bloom, and other plants begin their transition. Free. All Ages. Dogs are welcome at our public events, as long as they are in compliance with the park rule of being on a leash no longer than 8’ in length. As a reminder to all visitors, no alcohol is allowed in the park (with the exception of on-site purchase of beer at the Urban Island Beach Party). It is typically more windy and cool by the lake during our events, so please dress accordingly. Free parking is available at the south entrance by following Erie St to the park access road along the Milwaukee Harbor and behind Summerfest’s American Family Amphitheater. Limited 3-hour free parking is available along N Harbor Drive and Clybourn St near Discovery World (portions of this may be closed during festival dates). Paid parking is available at the O’Donnell parking structure on Michigan St.
Harvest Fair at State Fair Park
September 28 – 30, 2018
Wisconsin State Fair Park (640 S 84th St, West Allis, WI 53214) Fri 5-9pm Sat 9am-11pm Sun 9am-5pm
Get the family together for a day at Harvest Fair! Enjoy fall-focused events, activities, live entertainment, competitions, scarecrow making and the much anticipated Pumpkin Bowling.
Saturday, September 29 from 11:00am – 3:00pm
Friends of Lakeshore State Park (500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202)
Head to Lakeshore State Park in downtown Milwaukee on September 29, 2018 to enjoy a day of free, family fun (and make a huge difference while doing it!). The festivities will include everything from games and crafts for kids, educational booths, great community partners, delicious local food trucks, and much more! (Plus, of course, the opportunity to sponsor and hand release a sturgeon into Lake Michigan!) 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.
Friday, September 28th – 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, September 29th – 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, September 30th – 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wisconsin State Fair Park (8200 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis)
The 2018 Maker Faire® Milwaukee is a FREE, family-friendly event Maker Faire® Milwaukee that welcomes makers – tech enthusiasts, artists, inventors, crafters, educators, tinkerers and hobbyists of all ages – to exhibit their work and share their knowledge and skills with other makers and with the community. Maker Faire also showcases the Maker Movement, a growing global community of do-it-yourselfers that is pushing the boundaries of creativity, product development and manufacturing through technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Over 100 makers will be featured at Maker Faire Milwaukee.
Monday, September 10 from 6:30 – 7:00pm
Weekly on Monday, until Dec 18, 2018
Milwaukee Public Library East Branch (2320 N Cramer St.)
Families with young children are invited to come dressed in your coziest PJs and bring a stuffed animal friend for stories, songs, and rhymes designed to develop early literacy skills and encourage a love of reading.
Thursday, September 13 from 3:30 – 4:00pm
Weekly on Thursday, until Oct 26, 2018
Milwaukee Public Library Mitchell Street Branch (906 W Historic Mitchell St.)
Enjoy a free healthy snack every Thursday afternoon from 3:30 – 4 p.m. in Mitchell Street’s Community Kitchen. All school-aged children 18 and younger are invited to make and eat a simple snack and learn how about the importance of snacking healthy! The Snack Hack series is generously supported by Pete’s Fruit Market.
Free outdoor Movies
Family Flicks: “The Karate Kid” / “Spaceballs”
Sunday, September 2 at 8:00 p.m.
Veterans Park, Milwaukee, WI
The lakefront park at 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive starts its Summer Night Movies at dusk. It’s sponsored by Gift of Wings, Milwaukee County Parks and Prairie Farms. Sept. 2: “The Karate Kid” (1984) and “Spaceballs”
Family Movies at Konkel Park: “Despicable Me 3”
Saturday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Konkel Park (5151 W Layton Ave, Greenfield, WI 53220)
The Greenfield Parks & Recreation Department will be showing a family-friendly movie (G or PG rated) on its 16′ screen–guaranteed fun for all ages. There is no better place to be this summer than Konkel Park by the Amphitheater watching movies under the stars. Free parking is available in the Konkel Park parking lot. Movies will start at dusk, approximately 730p. Please bring a chair or blanket to sit on and don’t forget the bug spray. No registration required.
Film on the Hill
Saturday, September 22 at 8:30 p.m.
Humboldt Park Milwaukee, WI 53207, USA
Enjoy a relaxing evening at the Humboldt Park band shell with a family-friendly movie: Black Panther! Yet another way to enjoy your late summer and early fall while supporting the BVNA and the Milwaukee County Parks! All films will begin shortly after sunset with select food vendors at each movie.
Ongoing free events
Kids Workshops at Home Depot
The Home Depot near you hosts Kids’ Workshops every month recommended for kids ages 5-12. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron, and pin. All attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times.
Family Nature Hikes at Havenwoods State Forest
Pajama Story Time at Barnes & Noble Bayshore
(weekly on Monday)
Kids Hour classes at Apple stores
(through October 21st)
21 works by renowned artists on display along Wisconsin Avenue through October 21. Hop on the trolley with your kids and see the art from the window, or you can take a casual stroll down Wisconsin Avenue on a self-guided tour. Start at O’Donnell Park at the lakefront and move west down Wisconsin Avenue to 6th Street. Or start on the northeast corner of 6th and Wisconsin Avenue and walk east toward the lake. Or start anywhere in between! Each sculpture displays an informational plaque about the artist and the artwork.
Free admission to area attractions:
Boerner Botanical Gardens
Boerner Botanical Gardens Free on Tuesday, September 4th.
The Gardens offer free admission to Milwaukee County residents with proof of residency on the first Tuesday of each month, May through September. Check their website for the most updated information.
Milwaukee Public Museum
Free on Thursday, September 6th 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.)
Free admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum
Free to all visitors on Thursday, September 6th from 10:00-8:00 for all visitors. Check out an art pack and explore the galleries, or visit the Kohl’s Art Generation Open Studio. The museum is always free for kids 12 and under!
Free admission to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
Free to all visitors on Thursday, September 20th 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 the Be A Maker space to find tools, materials and techniques for endless ways to experiment and create.
Enjoy free admission to the Domes on Monday, September 10th, 17th, and 24th (not Labor Day) for Milwaukee County Residents with proof of residency.