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)


The China Lights Wisconsin Festival presented by TriCity National Bank, is returning to Boerner Botanical Gardens this fall after two years’ pandemic cancellation.China Lights MIlwaukee

From September 16th to October 30th, 2022, Boerner Botanical Gardens will once again be transformed into a spectacular destination, illuminated with more than 40 sets of handmade lantern sculptures. This year visitors can expect brand new displays and the return of the cultural performance stage, which is again sponsored by WE Energies.

Similar to previous years, a wide variety of food & beverage vendors will be open throughout the ground.

This year’s theme will be: Adventure in Lantern Wonderland

September 16 – October 30, 2022
​Tuesday to Sunday
5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

From Sept 16-Oct 30, visitors will enjoy an ‘Adventure in Lantern Wonderland’, with over 40 larger-than-life themed lanterns, including the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, an Illusion Tunnel, and the Queen of Hearts. At the end of the adventure, visitors will be invited to a tea party for a photo opportunity with all the characters. 

The lanterns, which are displayed around a three-quarter mile walking route through Boerner Botanical Gardens, also include eleven interactive light displays, including a light kaleidoscope, an illuminated ‘drumming tree’ and illuminated swings. 

The festival, presented by Tri City National Bank, will also celebrate Asian folk-culture, with live performances from professional entertainers on the We-Energies stage each night, and a variety of food and beverage selections. 


PRESENTED BY: TriCity National Bank

Get tickets NOW here:

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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.
      • Things to know about the reopening in May 2021:
        • Your family’s safety is their first priority in welcoming you back. Please review their reopening guidelines and instructions for planning your visit.
        • Here’s what you can expect:
          • Timed-entry passes will need to be reserved online in advance.
            • The capacity and days of operation will be limited to start, and they are welcoming members only for the first two weeks.
            • Online registration will open in May and a play time can be reserved up to 2 days in advance.
            • They will reopen with a number of health and safety requirements in place. This will include face coverings for all visitors age three and older and social distancing of 6′ between groups. Please plan to review the guidelines in advance of your visit.
  • 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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