Visit Milwaukee with Kids Milwaukee County Zoo

Visit Milwaukee With Kids

How often do you visit Milwaukee with kids? Do you head into the city often or mostly stay in our quaint suburbs enjoying the #lakelife?  Previous to 2020, we had been venturing in to Milwaukee a bit more often and had been enjoying the short day trips, especially to the butterfly room at the Milwaukee Public Museum. If you are looking to explore the area around you, Milwaukee is not far away and is loaded with family fun. Here is Lake Country Family Fun‘s top picks for fun in and around Milwaukee!

The following are top spots for Milwaukee family fun:

  • Milwaukee County Zoo
  • Domes
  • Milwaukee Public Musuem
  • Discovery World
  • Milwaukee Art Museum 
  • Milwaukee Brewers 
  • Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
  • Boerner Botanical Gardens (Hales Corners)
  • 3rd Street Market Hall

Fun Fact: We love our local libraries. The public libraries throughout Waukesha and Jefferson County are part of the Bridges Library System. You can rent things from one library and return at another. Except for the Library of Things. What is the Library of Things? Well, it’s things…like snowshoes and giant UNO cards and a Frozen shaped baking pan or a kayak…that you can rent for FREE from the library! Each library has their own “library of things”. You can learn more and search HERE.

PLUS – they offer passes to our favorites in Milwaukee, like the Domes and the Zoo, pictured above. 

Milwaukee County Parks, Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens Announce 2024 Free Days
WHEN: Sunday, May 19th, & the last Thursday of the month from May – Oct.
WHERE: Boerner Botanical Gardens, 9400 Boerner Dr, Hales Corners, WI 53130
WHAT: Milwaukee County Parks, in partnership with Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens, Inc. (FBBG), present free admission to Boerner on the last Thursday of the month. This special offer will run from May – October. Attendees will also receive free admission to Boerner on Sunday, May 19th for an informal event celebrating FBBG’s 40th year of dedication to Boerner! 
Thousands of plants bring the seasons to life at the Botanical Gardens, with colorful and fragrant displays laid out in 12 formal gardens. Explore a rose garden, peony garden and daylily garden; stroll under blossoming crabapples; and enjoy the view while at an event in the Garden Room. Take in the beauty of Margie’s Garden, a flower-themed garden that includes an “enchanted village” complete with a playhouse, twig hut, and mushroom chair rings; a big garden with interactive, friendly bug sculptures; and a ‘troll bridge.”
Boerner Botanical Gardens is located just 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee in the Village of Hales Corners. Visit throughout the year to see the different gardens in bloom.
Hours of Operation 
  • Botanical Gardens
    • Nov. 1 – April 30: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week 
    • May 1 – Sept. 10:  8 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week
    • Sept. 11 – Oct. 31: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.,  7 days a week
  • Education & Visitor Center
    • May 1 – Oct. 31: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week
    • Nov. 1 – April 30: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday only
  • Garden House*
    • May 1 – Oct. 31: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week
    • Nov. 1 – April 30: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., 7 days a week
*Hours may vary due to special events or rentals
  • Margie’s Children’s Garden**
    • May 1 – Aug. 31: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week**
    • Sept. 1 – Oct. 31: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week
    • Nov. 1 – April 30: CLOSED 

Join the Milwaukee Public Museum 7/22-8/17/2024 for four weeks of fun dino-themed programming! You’ll have the chance to examine real dinosaur fossils, think like a paleontologist, and learn how these amazing creatures lived.

Milwaukee County Parks Announces 2024 Discount Days for Mitchell Park Domes, Wehr Nature Center

WHEN: The last Thursday of each month, starting on April 25th

WHERE: Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes), 524 S Layton Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53215 – (414) 257-5600 AND Wehr Nature Center, 9701 West College Avenue, Franklin, WI 53132

WHAT: Milwaukee County Parks is offering special discounts to visitors of the Mitchell Park Domes and Wehr Nature Center. On the last Thursday of every month, admission to the Domes will be discounted to just $5.00. Visitors of Wehr Nature Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024, will have their parking fees waived. 
“Our Milwaukee County Parks offer an array of budget-friendly nature activities for all our residents and their families to enjoy,” says Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “The Mitchell Park Domes and the Wehr Nature Center are accessible ways to have your family experience the beautiful weather, get them inspired by nature, and encourage them to discover new ways to get involved outdoors.”
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is a living plant museum with a permanent collection of over 1,800 plant species that represent plant life from across the globe. The mission of the Conservatory is to inspire people through plants, and as part of the Milwaukee County Park system, the Domes also play a key role in the county’s vision that by achieving racial equity, Milwaukee is the healthiest county in Wisconsin, as studies have shown that plants have a wide variety of mental wellness benefits.
Currently displayed within the Floral Show Dome is this year’s Spring show, “Abstracting Georgia O’Keeffe”, a floral tribute to the art of Georgia O’Keeffe unfolds in the Show Dome, revealing the blooms of spring in all their glory.
“The County Parks is thrilled to announce this year’s discount days for both the Mitchell Park Domes and Wehr Nature Center,” said Guy Smith, Executive Director at Milwaukee County Parks. “With discounted admission prices to the Domes and waived parking fees for Wehr Nature Center, people from all over are able to enjoy some of Milwaukee’s most beautiful destinations at a lower price. Milwaukeeans give so much to their parks, and this is one of the many ways that we’re able to give back to them.”
At Wehr Nature Center, explore more than five miles of nature trails through woodland, wetland, prairie and oak savanna on 220 acres of protected land in Whitnall Park. Just outside the Visitor Center, you’ll discover labeled gardens featuring prairie, woodland and other plant varieties; a natural play space with a log cabin playhouse especially for kids; and a deck over Mallard Lake. Wehr Nature Center, which takes pride in its many accessibility features, also hosts nature-themed educational programming and special events year-round. 
Hours of Operation 
  • Mitchell Park Domes
    • Mon., Weds., Thu., Fri. – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
    • Sat. & Sun. – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
    • Closed on Tuesdays
  • Wehr Nature Center
    • Visitor Center – 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., seven days a week
    • The Nature Store is open on an irregular schedule; please call (414) 425-8550 for current daily hours.
    • Trails – Open dawn to dusk, daily, year round

Milwaukee County Zoo Bonus Bucks are back!

Just in time for summer 2024, the Bonus Bucks special gift card promotion is back! For every $100 purchased in gift cards from now until May 31, you’ll receive $20 in Bonus Bucks to “cash in” this summer including for admission, special events, daily attractions like Gorilla Trek, and more!   

Join the conversation on Facebook –

we want to know if you’ve been to a Brewers Game this season ⤵️

Visiting Milwaukee with Kids

This is the summer of outdoors for us! We haven’t ventured into Milwaukee County since quarantine lifted, but for those that are looking for ideas and live close in the eastern part of Waukesha County – there’s still so much to do! 

They have beaches and plenty of area to walk along Lake Michigan in the outdoor air. 

Here are some ideas from our past adventures, with updates for 2020 and 2021:

  • Head to Discovery World, right on the lakefront in Milwaukee, and visit this hands on learning environment.
  •  View all the rules and policies for re-opening HERE.
    • We visited in a couple springs ago and had a fun-filled day. Touching the stingray was the highlight of my little one’s day.
    • Discovery World is best aimed for children at elementary school age.
    • Lake Country Family Fun reader Heather S. suggests, “Consider purchasing a membership which has reciprocal admission to hundreds of museums around the country, including the Madison Children’s Museum, Building for Kids in Appleton, and most of the major museums in Chicago. This is hands down the best membership value we have found!”
  • The Milwaukee Public Museum has their FREE admission days on the first Thursday of the month, this is a great way to visit the museum on a budget.
    • The butterfly room is the best!
    • My youngest loved the museum from ages 3 and up.
    • We like to head down on the first Thursday of the month for Kohl’s free day, meeting up with some other mom friends and then heading home around lunch time. There is a cafeteria to purchase lunch or you can pack your own.
    • We like to park in the Museum’s parking ramp to walk directly into the museum and not have to walk outside in the winter months/rainy days.
  • Did you know the Milwaukee County Zoo is open year round?
  • **View updated guidelines HERE
    • During the winter there are various FREE admission Saturdays at the zoo, and during the summer there is always a special exhibit. Hello Dinosaurs!
    •  Plus, the Milwaukee County Zoo pass pays for itself in two visits!
    • We love the big animals and don’t leave without a train ride!
    • The zoo is great for kids of all ages, baby and up!
  • Visit the Mitchell Park Domes and be transported to a tropical environment, or the desert in one location. They are definitely a tropical escape right here in Wisconsin!
  • Brewer’s Games are always a fun pasttime from spring through fall!
    • Plus, our kiddos love going to Brewers Games.
    • If you head to a game on Kid’s Day, don’t forget to snag a free lunch and go down the slide.
    • Miller Park is great for kids of all ages. There are lots of places to walk around for toddlers, plus slides and a playground outside of the stadium for bigger kids to play.
  • Have you taken your kids to a summer festival?
    • In summer 2017 and 2018, we took our kiddos to Irish Fest at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds) and they had a blast!
    • Milwaukee summer festivals in 2020 were cancelled.
  • The Milwaukee Art Museum has undergone renovations and is an iconic Milwaukee building.
    • Snag FREE admission from July 16, 2020 through August 16, 2020 as the Milwaukee Art Museum re-opens. Details.  
    • Stop by the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio to create art inspired by the artwork in the Museum. Each month features a different theme, and the projects are always changing!
  • Visit Sprecher Brewery and go on a tour.  Yes, this is family friendly!
    • All adults 21 (proof of age required) and older get 4 samples of beer (chosen from up to 20 beers on tap) and a beer tasting glass to take home.
    • Tour participants of all ages get to sample all of their available sodas to their heart’s content.
  • Find the Bronze Fonz and take photo and feel like you are hanging out  with Arthur Fonzarelli on Happy Days which was set in 1950’s Milwaukee.
      • We have!
  • If you have little ones, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum should be on your list to visit.
    • Kids can spend hours with the interactive exhibits.
    • The Museum will be closed September 4-8, 2023. They will reopen on Saturday, September 9. Plan your visit
    • PNC Mobile Learning Adventure 
      September 11, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
      Staff is excited to host the #PNCGrowUpGreat Mobile Learning Adventure! Children can enjoy hands-on activities and a photo station in the Museum’s Atrium. While the PNC Mobile Learning Adventure is free to the public, standard admission rates apply for the Museum.
    • Community Access Day
      September 21, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
      Families can enjoy free admission on the third Thursday of every month. Just a reminder that they open a half hour later on Access Days.
    • Sensory-Friendly Sessions
      September 10, 5-7 p.m. and September 24, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
      Experience the Museum in a calmer, quieter space with these special playtimes. Learn more about our Sensory-Friendly Play Pass.
  • In the winter, you can find the Door County Sled Dogs at Whitnall Park when the weather is favorable.  Always check their website to find the status of rides.
  • Visit Slice of Ice at Red Arrow Park, try ice skating with the kids at this outdoor skating rink during the winter months.

What’s your favorite place to visit with kids in Milwaukee?

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