25 Wisconsin Children’s Museums Your Kids Will Love (2023)

Are you looking for a fun and educational activity to do with your kids in Wisconsin?

Look no further than the state’s fantastic children’s museums!

From interactive exhibits to hands-on learning experiences, these Wisconsin children’s museums offer a wide range of opportunities for kids to explore, play, and learn.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at 25 of our favorite choices, so you can plan a family-friendly adventure that your kids will never forget.

Let’s dive in:

1. Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is a non-profit organization located in downtown Milwaukee, just a short distance from the shores of Lake Michigan.

The museum features a variety of interactive exhibits designed to encourage children to learn through play, including Home Town, Science CITY, Word Headquarters and Pocket Park for children age 4 and younger.

Betty Brinn Children's Museum Science City

Our favorite exhibit is Home Town, a kid-sized city that includes a city bus, grocery store, bank, vet office, and more.

Don’t miss the Be A Maker Space, where there’s always a new hands-on project to create.

Betty Brinn Children's Museum Treehouse

Special programs, workshops and family events are offered throughout the year to spark exploration among children.

And, there’s a new coffee shop inside! 

Pro Tip: Free admission is offered on the third Thursday of every month.

Read more about Betty Brinn Children’s Museum >>

2. Discovery World

500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202

Discovery World is the perfect place for young curious minds to explore all things STEM.

Visit the Innovation Station and try your hand with the flight simulator, construction truck display, and more.

Discovery World in milwaukee

Climb the winding staircase with neon lights to the second floor and check out the “bed of nails”, made of tiny spikes to teach kids about pressure.

Downstairs, the Reiman Aquarium makes the underworld of Lake Michigan come alive to visitors with hands-on and immersive exhibits. Fish swim above, below, and all around you, and kids can pet sting-rays, crabs and more.

In the Kohl’s Design It! Lab, families can create make and take projects together that vary in difficulty and complexity. They have staff on hand who can help you with creative tools such as hot glue guns, heat sealers, and vacuum-formers.

Reiman Aquarium in Discovery World

Towards the back of the building, you’ll find the a huge replica of the Great Lakes, where kids can cause a rainstorm or fog with the touch of a button.

Upstairs is a replica of 19th century Great Lakes schooner that you can climb on board and explore.

On one side of the life-size ship, you’ll find the Simple Machine Shipyard, where kids learn about the building blocks of complex machines. Kids are empowered to lift large boulders, use a pulley system to lift themselves into the air, and more.

On the opposite side of the ship, visitors can explore how Milwaukee Water Works purifies its water.

Discover more aquariums in Milwaukee >>

3. Madison Children’s Museum

100 N Hamilton St, Madison, WI 53703

The Madison Children’s Museum is geared towards kids 0-12 and is especially engaging for little ones under 8. You’ll find a variety of exhibits and activities designed to engage children in hands-on learning experiences.

Some of the most popular exhibits include the Possible-opolis, Trash Lab, an art studio, the rooftop garden, and the incredible Wonderground playground.

Madison children's museum Wonderground

The rooftop garden at the Madison Children’s Museum is a unique and beautiful space that provides a variety of educational opportunities for visitors. The garden is designed to be both functional and attractive, with raised beds filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Your kids can meet the famous rooftop chickens and free-flying pigeons, scale the Acorn Climber, and get a bird’s eye view of the city from the Crow’s Nest.

You can even see the Capitol Building from here!

Madison Children's Museum rooftop garden

New in 2022 is the Wonderground, an awe-inspiring, four-seasons, outdoor play space that the museum up-cycled from a defunct former parking lot area.

There’s a double-decker “birdhouse” climbing structure and and twelve-foot tall spiral slide, plus ladders, climbing tubes, and bridges that connect all parts of the climbing structure, providing innumerable paths to travel, exponentially magnifying the play potential of the whole sculpture.

There’ also wheelchair/walker/stroller-accessible pathways through the cabin gardens and orchard, a musical “Kiakophony” to play within the giant bucket, a new activity table in the orchard, and new gutters on the cabin made from a whole tree trunk.

The Wonderground is a permanent addition to Madison Children’s Museum and admission is included with all regular tickets.

The Children’s Museum is just steps from Capitol Square and within walking distance of shops and restaurants on State Street and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. The Henry Vilas Zoo is another must-stop destination for kids and families.

4. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center

7001 Gass Lake Rd, Manitowoc, WI 54220

The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc is a pretty epic experience for kids of all ages.

Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center sunflower field and barn Manitowoc Wisconsin

For an unforgettable experience, head to the Land O’ Lakes Birthing Barn to see a calf being born.

Upstairs are more interactive and hands-on exhibits that help teach kids and families about Wisconsin agriculture.

For example, kids can operate a tractor simulator, learn about geology with kinetic sand, feel bison, sheep, and mink fur, learn how to churn butter, and more!

5. Building For Kids Children’s Museum

100 W College Ave, Appleton, WI 54911

Building for Kids is non-profit, play-based children’s museum in Appleton, Wisconsin with diverse hands-on exhibits for kids ages 7 & under.

Building For Kids Children's Museum in Appleton Discovery Tree

Kids can pretend to fly a jet and drive a big rig in the Kids Town and Innovation Lab, go down the Amazing Heart Slide, and explore five forts in the magical Discovery Tree.

They also offer classes and workshops throughout the year.

6. Dinosaur Discovery Museum

5608 Tenth Ave., Kenosha, WI 53140

Just a hop skip and jump from Milwaukee is the Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha, one of our favorite free museums around Milwaukee

Your can tour the main gallery filled with impressive dinosaur skeletons that are casts of actual fossil bones. 

Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha

Be sure to head downstairs to dig for fossils, do dinosaur crafts, and peek into the on-site laboratory. Admission is free (suggested donation of $3 per person. 

It is about 40 minute drive from Milwaukee, and it makes for a fun day trip from Milwaukee for kids.

Read more about the Dinosaur Discovery Museum >>

7. Above and Beyond Children’s Museum

902 N. 8th St. #4005, Sheboygan, WI 53081

Enjoy almost 10,000 square feet of exhibit space on three floors and a mezzanine. It’s a vast interactive environment where families can discover and learn together.

Above and Beyond Children's Museum Sheboygan Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Facebook, @ABKIDS

Kids will love making impressions on the life-size Giant Pin Screen, voyage in the USS Efroymson ship, or play teacher in the 1900s schoolhouse. There’s also a really long sky crawl and a “Whompamaphone” (PVC pipe organ).

Purple octopus accessible playground in Sheboygan

The whimsical All-Abilities Purple Octopus Playground is Sheboygan’s first ADA-accessible outdoor play space, with landscape designed by Bookworm Gardens.

8. Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac

75 W Scott St, Fond du Lac, WI 54935

The Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac provides 15,000 square feet of indoor hands on learning, and an outdoor area as well.

Read a story in Marjorie’s Cabin, marvel at the hanging jellyfish in the Great Toddler Reef, climb inside a plane at the Transportation Station, and more.

Children's Museum in Fond Du Lac

Here’s what to expect at the Children’s Museum in Fond Du Lac by Go Oshkosh Kids.

9. Children’s Museum of La Crosse

Open since 1999, the Children’s Museum of La Crosse celebrates the value of play on their three floors of hands-on exhibits. They also offer related programming throughout the year.

Children's Museum of La Crosse

One of the highlights of the museum is a real 1963 fire truck, made in Wisconsin and donated by the La Crosse Fire Department. Kids can climb inside and explore inside.

Children's Museum of La Cross tree house

There’s also a dinosaur maze, giant pin screen, a three-story tree house, a huge light bright screen, and more!

10. Children’s Museum of Eau Claire

126 N Barstow St, Eau Claire, WI 54701

The impressive new building that is home to the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire is meant to feel like a giant tree house for kids.

Children's Museum of eau Claire

Kids will love visiting Oreo the Cow, playing with the fire truck near the interactive water table, and exploring the themed hands-on exhibits throughout the museum.

Reviewers have said the interactive water table was a real hit with their kids.

There are also play spaces in Chippewa Falls and Menomonie that are run by the museum.

11. Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum

1100 Main St, Stevens Point, WI 54481

The Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum is a non-profit organization located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The museum provides hands-on learning experiences and interactive exhibits for children aged 1-10 years old.

Central Wisconsin Children's Museum in Stevens Point

Visitors to the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum can expect to find a variety of exhibits and activities that promote creativity, imagination, and exploration. Some of the most popular exhibits include the STEM Lab, Life in a Pine Log, and Down on the Farm.

The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events, including workshops, classes, and camps.

Cemtral Wisconsin Children's Museum in Stevens Point

Based on reviews left by visitors, many people have found the museum to be a great destination for families with young children. They have praised the museum’s interactive exhibits and educational programs.

12. Baraboo Children’s Museum

What started as a pop-up shop in 2018 is now a full children’s museum in the heart of downtown Baraboo, run completely by volunteers.

Baraboo Children's Museum

The Baraboo Children’s Museum is home to several themed exhibits, a Creation Station, and more.

One particularly popular exhibit is the Farm to Family exhibit, and the museum is expecting to install a brand new child-sized tractor in 2023.

13. Children’s Museum of Green Bay

1230 Bay Beach Rd, Green Bay, WI 54302

If you’re in the Green Bay area, the Children’s Museum of Green Bay is a great place to take the kids. They’ll want to play all day in the hands-on exhibits.

Kids can climb into a giant mouth to learn about the digestive systems, count and sort their veggies in the farmer’s market, tinker and build in the construction area, take care of pets in the vet clinic, and hide away in the nature club house.

Children's Museum of Green Bay

There’s also an Outdoor Discovery Center that’s open during warmer months where kids can climb on the play structure, walk through a sensory path, visit the herb garden, and more.

The museum is just a two-minute drive to other kid-friendly attractions in Green Bay like Bay Beach Amusement Park and the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.

14. North Woods Children’s Museum

346 W Division St, Eagle River, WI 54521

At the North Woods Children’s Museum, you’ll find 24 carefully crafted interactive exhibits for kids to explore.

North Wood's Children's Museum General Store

The WPS Energy Expedition has a giant Light-Bright and wind tunnel. In the Art Studio, you’ll find a popular Squirt-A-Shirt feature, magnet wall, and light laboratory.

And in Holperin’s Grovery Story, kids can learn about food choices and cash handling. There’s also a new fire fighter exhibit!

15. Cable Natural History Museum

13470 Co Hwy M, Cable, WI 54821

The Cable Natural History Museum is a natural history museum located in Cable, Wisconsin.

The museum’s mission is to connect people to the Northwoods by promoting appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of the natural world.

Cable Natural History Museum in Wisconsin

They offer a variety of exhibits, programs, and events focused on the ecology and natural history of the region. Some of the museum’s popular exhibits include displays on local wildlife, geology, and Native American culture.

They also offer guided nature hikes, bird watching tours, and other outdoor activities.

Additionally, the Cable Natural History Museum has a live raptor program and houses a collection of over 20 birds of prey that cannot be released into the wild.

16. Black Earth Children’s Museum

1131 Mills St, Black Earth, WI 53515

This museum’s motto is “Small town, big fun” and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Black Earth Children’s Museum.

They are a community supported museum with more than 50 handmade exhibits on a single floor.

Black Earth Children's Museum

Features includes trains, an art room, a climbing wall, fishing pond, and wigwam.

Reviewers have praised the use of space, emphasizing that the small rooms keep the museum from being overwhelming for kids and helps them focus on each exhibit.

17. Greater Wausau Children’s Museum

Wausau Children’s Museum began as a “museum without walls” in the summer of 2015 with free, weekly events that invited children, families, and the community to learn together through creative, interactive play.

In November of 2015, they opened their first 6,000 square foot indoor location in the Wausau Center Mall.

Greater Wausau Children's Museum

Their new museum space is located in a 16,000 square foot space in the Cedar Creek Mall.

Kids can explore the Wisconsin Children’s Farm, the Tinker Lab, and dedicated a space for music, sensory play, and active play.

18. The Children’s Play Gallery

The Children’s Play Gallery is an indoor play space located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

It offers a variety of activities and play areas for children up to 10 years old, including a Ship of Discovery, a soft play area for younger children, a pretend grocery store, a dress-up area, a tree house, a building zone, and more.

The Children's Play Gallery in Ocomonowoc Wisconsin

The Play Gallery also hosts birthday parties and other events, and offers a variety of classes and programs for children and families, such as music classes, art classes, and storytime.

The space is designed to promote active play, imagination, and interactive learning in a safe and engaging environment.

19. Explore Children’s Museum

1433 W Main St, Sun Prairie, WI 53590

The Explore experience is developmentally appropriate for children between the ages of 0-8 and emphasizes learning through play.

Explore Children's Museum in Sun Prairie

There’s a hot air balloon that welcomes you to the space, an Exploratorium jungle gym, a lego “brick forest”, a train table, an interactive kinetic sand box, a quiet space called the Zen Den, and much more.

20. Children’s Museum of Rock County

The Children’s Museum of Rock County (CMRC) is a volunteer-powered emerging museum with a starter space in Olde Towne Mall in downtown Janesville.  

While they are not currently holding programming in our starter space, they are hosting pop-up events throughout Rock County.

There’s a capital campaign currently running to support their efforts.

21. Milwaukee Public Museum

800 W Wells St., Milwaukee, WI 53233

With exhibits that showcase everything from prehistoric creatures to ancient civilizations, this Milwaukee Public Museum will be a hit with all ages.

Streets of Old Milwaukee Milwaukee Public Museum

Some of the most popular exhibits include the Streets of Old Milwaukee, which recreates life in Milwaukee in the late 19th century, European Village, and the Butterfly Vivarium, which allows visitors to walk among live butterflies from around the world.

Don’t miss The Third Planet, where generations of school children have marveled at a life-size T-Rex taking a bite out of a triceratops.

The museum recently unveiled their future plans for a new museum in 2026.

Read more about the Milwaukee Public Museum >>

22. Milwaukee Art Museum

700 Art Museum Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202

Art Museum Calatrava

The Milwaukee Art Museum is the crown jewel of the lakefront, and it’s home to many special works of art, an on-site studio for kids, and architectural wings that open and close.

Make the most of your next trip to the Art Museum with some tips from our post: “10 Best Things To Do At The Art Museum“.

23. Harley Davidson Museum

400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee, WI 53201

At the Harley Davidson Museum in downtown Milwaukee, kids can hop on bikes in the Experience Gallery, pose for a photo with the company founders, and see the oldest known Harley Davidson motorcycle (known as “Serial Number One”).

Harley Davidson Museum kids area

Plus, they can rummage through discovery drawers filled with vintage toys and trinkets, make their own custom creation at the build-a-bike station, and much more.

24. Milwaukee Fire Museum (Free!)

1615 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53215
1st Sunday of each month (April – December, excluding holidays) 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM or by appointment

Milwaukee Fire Museum fire truck

The Milwaukee Fire Museum features a vintage bunk room, alarm area and fire officers office. It is one of five fire stations of this style built in 1927.

The museum houses the first department ambulance (a 1947 Cadillac), plus two trucks built in the Milwaukee Fire Department Shop during the 1920’s and 30’s. The building is home to a vintage kitchen, locker room, and hose tower.

Read more about the Milwaukee Fire Museum >>

25. Museum of Wisconsin Art

205 Veterans Ave., West Bend, WI 53095

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fabric Arts Cedarburg
Photo Credit: Facebook, @MuseumofWiArt 

The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) explores the art and culture of Wisconsin with over 5,000 works of contemporary and historic art by more than 350 artists. 

West Bend is about a 40 minutes drive from Milwaukee, making this one of our favorite day trips from Milwaukee.

The 32,000-square-foot modern facility is located along the river in downtown West Bend, and houses five permanent collection galleries, three temporary exhibition spaces, and two classrooms, as well as visible art storage, a shop, and a large atrium for public events. 

Check online for family programming, including Studio Saturdays + Monthly Maker Kits.

Tip for Visiting Children’s Museums

Here are some tips for your next museum visit to help you make the most of your experience:

  1. Plan ahead: Check the museum’s website for information on hours of operation, admission prices, and special events or exhibits. You may also want to consider purchasing tickets in advance to avoid long lines.
  2. Arrive early: Museums can get busy, especially on weekends and during school breaks. Arriving early can help you avoid crowds and ensure that your family has plenty of time to explore the exhibits.
  3. Dress appropriately: Children’s museums features a variety of interactive exhibits, some of which involve water and messy materials. Consider dressing your children in clothes that can get dirty and bringing a change of clothes if needed.
  4. Bring snacks and drinks: Some museums have small cafes, but bringing your own snacks and drinks can save you time and money.
  5. Participate in the programs: Children’s museums often offers a variety of educational programs, including workshops, classes, and camps. Consider signing up for one of these programs to enhance your child’s learning experience.
  6. Have fun!: Remember that the museum is designed to be a fun and engaging experience for children. Encourage your child to explore and play, and don’t be afraid to get involved in the exhibits yourself.

Wisconsin is home to some amazing children’s museums that offer a fun and educational experience for kids and families.

From interactive exhibits to hands-on activities and workshops, these museums are dedicated to inspiring creativity, imagination, and learning in children of all ages.

Whether you’re a local resident or just visiting our great state, we hope this list of the best Wisconsin children’s museums inspires hours of play and memorable quality time for your family. 

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