It’s *finally* warming up around here, and the time is right to get some much needed fresh air. Here are some of our favorite hikes in Metro Milwaukee for kids and families.
1. WEHR NATURE CENTER
9701 W College Ave, Franklin, WI 53132
Wehr Nature Center is located in Whitnall Park in Franklin, and presents the perfect family-friendly trail aptly named “Family Friendly Trail.” It’s a short .5 miles, mostly flat, and really beautiful.
The trail begins at the amphitheater and takes you past Mallard Lake, the Wetland, and the Woodland, before taking you back to the Visitor Center. The trail is made of woodsheds and boardwalk and can sustain a stroller.
If you keep straight along the trail instead of heading up to the Visitor Center, you can walk further along the lake and discover a beautiful waterfall.
There’s also a Nature Play Space overlooking the lake, which is a playground constructed with all natural materials.
2. SCHLITZ AUDUBON NATURE CENTER
1111 E Brown Deer Rd, Bayside, WI 53217
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside is located right on Lake Michigan and charges a small fee for the day. You currently need a reservation to hike there. From the Nature Center (which has all kinds of fun activities and stations for kids), take the hiking trail down to Mystery Lake. You’ll pass the Observation Tower, which might be open for climbing depending on weather conditions.
Mystery Lake has a boardwalk that lets you get close to the frogs, turtles, and ducks, and it is wheelchair/stroller accessible.
3. URBAN ECOLOGY CENTER
1500 E Park Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53211
The Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park is the perfect place to visit on a pretty Spring day because there is so much to explore, and all of it is free and open to the community.
From the main building, head past the rock wall, down into Riverside Park, keeping a look out for murals and sculptures. In the northeast corner of the park, you’ll find a small habitat-themed playground.
4. HAWTHORN GLEN
1130 N 60th St, Milwaukee, WI 53208
Hawthorn Glen provides the perfect length loop for little legs, and there are posts along the way to teach you about the trees and wildlife in the area. If you climb the steps towards the back of the property, you’ll get a pretty view of the whole place. There’s also a playground and a Nature Center to explore.
5. RETZER NATURE CENTER
S14 W28167 Madison St, Waukesha, WI 53188
The Nature Trail Loop at the Retzer Nature Center.
Explore a small nature center with fish, small animals, and educational materials, plus many beginner level nature trails perfect for hiking with kids. We recommend the Nature Trail Loop, the Fen Boardwalk Trail, and the Prairie Vista Trail for a wonderful view of the surrounding area. There’s also a Planetarium with shows that your kids will love.
6. Humboldt Park
3000 S Howell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
Gazebo at Humboldt Park. Picture from Instagram, @bakergonnabake
Humboldt Park is one of Milwaukee’s original parks (established in 1890!) and your kids will love exploring its 73 acres:
There’s a lagoon with plenty of geese and wildlife, stroller-friendly walking trails, a pretty gazebo, a large playground, and a wine and beer garden that opens in May.
Fun fact: It was originally named South Park, and you used to be able to rent row boats! Maybe they’ll bring that back one day.