Betty Brinn Children’s Museum: A Family Guide for Visiting (2024)

Parents of young children, we hear you!

We know that finding fun and engaging activities for your little ones can be a challenge, especially during summer vacation when they’re out of school.

That’s where the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee comes in.

Photo from bbcmkids.org

This interactive museum is the perfect solution for parents seeking a fun and educational experience for their young kids.

In this blog post, we’ll give you an overview of what to expect at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and why it’s a must-visit destination for Milwaukee area families with kids.


Overview

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1995 with the mission of inspiring and empowering young children through play-based learning.

The museum is named after Betty Brinn, a local philanthropist and children’s advocate who recognized the importance of early childhood education and the need for interactive learning experiences for young children.

The museum’s exhibits and programs are designed to encourage children to explore, create, and learn through hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) fields.

The museum also emphasizes the importance of social and emotional development, encouraging children to build confidence, empathy, and communication skills through play and collaboration.

The museum has won numerous awards and recognitions for its innovative exhibits and programs, and has become a beloved destination for families in Milwaukee and beyond.


Current Exhibits

Each exhibit at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is designed to be engaging and educational, providing children with opportunities to explore, experiment, and learn through play.

Here are some of their permanent exhibits:

Home Town

The engaging Home Town exhibit invites children to explore a miniaturized version of a city, complete with a grocery store, bank, post office, bus, mechanic, news station, construction site, and other businesses.

Children can play the role of a customer, employee, or business owner, practicing social and emotional skills as they interact with each other and learn about different roles in a community.

Photo from bbcmkids.org

Our favorite is the miniature Sendik’s where kids can take a cart and shop for food, flowers, and more.

The museum also offers a variety of temporary exhibits and programs throughout the year, so there’s always something new to discover.

Pocket Park

This pretend urban park setting offers research-based features that support children’s learning and development.

Photo from bbcmkids.org

Kids can climb up into a tree house puppet theater, visit the groundkeeper’s cottage and try vertical gardening, care for pretend animal friends, steer the kid-sized sailboat, fish in a pretend pond, and more!

Hot Lava

The museum got hotter with its latest exhibit, ‘Hot Lava’!

Tailored for imaginative adventurers aged 3-10, this interactive experience allows kids to become architects of their own volcanic adventures. They’ll learn about balance, spatial reasoning, and teamwork as they navigate a pretend lava landscape using mats, stepping stones, and more.

Perfect for fostering creative problem-solving and physical coordination, ‘Hot Lava’ adds a thrilling new dimension to the museum’s already diverse range of educational and fun exhibits.

Dive into our detailed blog post to learn more about this fiery addition and get tips for your next family visit!

Be A Maker

The museum’s maker space allows children to engage in hands-on making and tinkering activities, encouraging creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration.

Photo from bbcmkids.org

Children can use tools and materials to build and create projects of their own design, from simple circuits to complex structures and collaborative project.

The museum also offers a variety of temporary exhibits and programs throughout the year, so there’s always something new to discover.


Pro Tips

Parking: Park in the Museum Center Park adjacent to the facility. You can access the museum via the elevator or stairs. A $3-off discount is available for Museum visitors (receive your voucher at the Museum’s admissions desk). Rates may change during festival season in downtown Milwaukee.

You can also park near one of the streetcar stops and ride The Hop.

Save on parking: A $3 flat-rate parking is available for Museum Members (you will receive a voucher when checking in at the Museum’s admissions desk and pay in the parking structure).

Photo from bbcmkids.org

Events Calendar: Keep an eye on the museum’s Events Calendar. They offer special programming throughout the week that appeals to a wide variety of interests. You might find a themed story time, crafts like mosaics, meet Birdy Brinn or a mascot from a local sports team, or stumble upon an interactive and educational program.

Get in Free: The Museum offers free Community Access Days once a month.

Pack Snacks: You can pack snacks and eat them in the museums’ new coffee shop, Betty’s Beans and Books. They serve Stone Creek Coffee and sell an assortment of snacks.

Wonder Wagon: The museum recently launched the Wonder Wagon which brings their signature brand of fun to kids around the city.


Reader Tips

We asked our readers for their Pro Tips, and here’s what they shared:

“You can go out of order! Start at the end (jungle gym) where it’s not as crowded at opening.”

“Hit the mini grocery store right at opening for best chances at using one of the few carts.”

“Afternoons during the week are not as crowded.”

“Pack a lunch and picnic blanket because seating is limited.”

“End of the day is surprisingly fun! Less busy than the morning and they close with a big parade of kids.”


Admission, Hours, & Fees

Admission

General admission to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is $12 for adults and children, $11 for seniors, and children younger than 1 receive free admission. 

The museum also offers discounted rates for military families and members of certain organizations.

Additionally, the museum participates in the Access for Everyone program, which provides free or reduced admission to low-income families with an EBT card or WIC ID.

The Museum offers free Community Access Days once a month.

Photo from bbcmkids.org

Family memberships can also help you save on admission if you plan to visit regularly.

Hours

The museum is open from 9:00am to 4:30 p.m. every day of the week, except Tuesday when it is closed.

Photo from bbcmkids.org

Parking

The museum offers affordable parking in the garage located adjacent to the museum. Street parking is also available, but limited.

Park in the Museum Center Park adjacent to the facility. You can access the museum via the elevator or stairs. A $3-off discount is available for Museum visitors (receive your voucher at the Museum’s admissions desk). Rates may change during festival season in downtown Milwaukee.

Nearby Attractions & Restaurants

If you’re in the downtown area visiting Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, there are several other places you may want to stop by.

Just steps away is the world class Milwaukee Art Museum, and we’ve rounded up the 10 Best Things To Do With Kids at the Art Museum >>

Also nearby is the impressive Northwestern Mutual Community Park, located on the Summerfest Grounds.

Community Park

Consider grabbing lunch at the Safehouse, a spy-themed restaurant that kids will love.

Your family might also like Third Street Market Hall, where there are plenty of options for the whole family, plus games and a small play area for kids.

The Milwaukee Public Market is another good option for families because there are many options for food and plentiful seating upstairs.


What did we miss? Email us at hello@mkewithkids.com.

Related Posts:

25 Best Indoor Playgrounds Around Milwaukee

20 Milwaukee Museums Your Kids Will Love

15 Free Milwaukee Museums to Visit

Related Posts