Are you and your little ones looking for a splash-tastic adventure in Milwaukee?
The Milwaukee area is home to several aquariums that kids and families will enjoy exploring, filled with fascinating creatures and ecosystems.
From state of the art aquariums like the one you’ll find at Discovery World, to mom and pop shops that are well-kept secrets, here’s a list of the best aquariums in metro Milwaukee:
Reiman Aquarium at Discovery World
500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Milwaukee’s premier science museum, Discovery World, is home to the Reiman Aquarium, the largest aquarium in Wisconsin.
Situated along the shore of Lake Michigan, there’s no better place to learn about sea life in the Midwest.
You’ll find fish and sea creatures from around the world including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the rivers of the Amazon Basin, African Rift Lakes, and the Great Lakes.
The immersive aquarium tunnel is a highlight of the visit.
Visitors can pet stingrays and sturgeon, plus meet turtles, a ball python, poison dart frogs, and more.
The aquarium is full of interactive technology that helps visitors to learn more about the wildlife they see.
Kids will love looking through the clear floor to find fish beneath their feet!
Don’t miss the aquarium tunnel that immerses visitors in a completely unique view of the fish, and the submarine that you can walk through.
Visitors can pet sting rays and other fish.
Discovery World is also home to the Kohl’s Design It Lab, Wind Leaves, dozens of science and technology exhibits, a gift shop, and more.
Milwaukee County Zoo Aquatic & Reptile Center
10001 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Peek into the 28,000-gallon Pacific Coast Marine Aquarium at the Zoo.
The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to a huge collection of fish, reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians. You’ll find them in the Aquatic and Reptile Center. Peek into their 28,000-gallon Pacific Coast Marine Aquarium or the 30-species Lake Wisconsin exhibit.
Interested in venomous lizards? Don’t miss the Gila monster, a venemous lizard that spends up to 95 percent of its time in underground burrows.
The Zoo offers Family Free Days throughout the colder months, and free admission for Frosty Free Week the last week of December.
Here is a Complete Guide to the Milwaukee County Zoo & Pro Tips for visiting.
Discover more Milwaukee area Zoos & Petting Zoos >>
Racine Zoo Discovery Center
2131 N Main St, Racine, WI 53402
This small, charming zoo is home to a hundred different species of animals, and it’s perfect for young children who are having a first-time zoo experience.
It’s located right along the shores of Lake Michigan, so you can make it a full day trip with a stop at nearby North Beach.
The Benstead Discovery Center is located near the Zoo entrance across from the Zootique Gift Shop.
You’ll find reptiles and amphibians from around the world, plus an aquarium and a bat exhibit.
Mom & Pop Shops
There are many aquarium stores in metro Milwaukee, but these shops rise above the rest, known for their great customer service and selection.
You and your kids can peruse their selection of tropical fish, marine fish, pond fish, pond plants, glass aquariums, and more.
(Warning: you might go home with a new pet!)
Check their Facebook Page for the most up-to-date information on hours.
3485 N 124th St, Brookfield, WI 53005
Fun Fact: There are over 3,000 gallons of water in their Brookfield showroom!
3550 S 108th St, Greenfield, WI 53228
Aquatics Unlimited features over 12,000 square feet of tropical fish and aquariums, more than 350 display tanks, over 12,000 gallons of freshwater, and over 3,000 gallons of saltwater.
The Fish Factory
9218 W Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53227
Aquarium Day Trips
We know these aquariums aren’t technically in Milwaukee, but you have easy access to two other aquariums within a two hour drive:
Henry Vilas Zoo
702 S Randall Ave, Madison, WI 53715
Henry Vilas Zoo is a free admission zoo in Madison, WI.
The Discovery Center and Herpetarium is home to reptiles, amphibians, and fish. (Don’t miss the green anaconda, the largest snake species in the world, or the Aldabra tortoise, the largest tortoise species on the planet!)
In the Discovery center, you can use microscopes and magnifying lenses to view the fine details of feathers, scales, and eggs. The Discovery Center and Herpetarium is located on the south side of the zoo near the Bridge Gate entrance.
1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
The world-renowned aquarium in Chicago is worth the trip, and your kids will never forget their visit.
From the playful dolphins to the majestic beluga whales, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Plus, the interactive exhibits will keep your kids engaged and learning all day long.
In 2013, Calie Herbst, a former teacher with three little ones, saw a need for a “One Stop Shop” for family fun in Milwaukee. So she founded Milwaukee With Kids. Her goal was to find the best this city has to offer families and share it with other parents. In one place.
In 2019, she published “Exploring Milwaukee WIth Kids”, a comprehensive Milwaukee travel guide for families and kids.
She appears regularly on WISN News, Fox 6’s ‘Real Milwaukee’, B93.3, and Wisconsin Morning News. She has been featured in Medium, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NPR, the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, and on CBS 58 News.
Calie is available for hosting, moderating and media appearances.