Milwaukee, a vibrant city nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, is a treasure trove of family-friendly activities and cultural gems. Known for its scenic lakefront, rich brewing history, and diverse cultural festivals, Milwaukee offers an array of experiences that cater to all ages. Whether you’re looking to explore interactive museums, spend a day at the zoo, or enjoy a picnic in one of the city’s lush parks, there’s something in Milwaukee for every family to enjoy. In this post, we’ll dive into a handpicked list of fun things to do in Milwaukee that are perfect for families with kids, ensuring a memorable experience for all.
If you have kids who like to learn, they are guaranteed to enjoy themselves at Discovery World. There’s so much to do, with science-related activities and simulations of every kind.
Just a few of the exhibits to explore include:
- Automation Everywhere: This exhibit lets you see different automated machines at work
- Physics and You: Participate in different experiments on how things work. Kids can launch a rocket, sail air cars, and see how forces work together to make stuff happen
- Virtual Explorer: Jump right in with Virtual Reality experiences
- Les Paul’s House of Sound
- Power On: Learning and hands-on experiments with power and energy
- Kohl’s Design It! Lab: This is the place to make a variety of creative projects, which change regularly
- Great Lakes Future: Check out cool exhibits about the water supply and the future of the Great Lakes
- Reiman Aquarium: Learn about and see aquatic life from the Great Lakes, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean
Discovery World is a bit pricey, but as long as you have a couple of hours to devote there, it’s well worth the money. If you’re local, be sure to spring for the yearlong pass.
Try the museum out with a day pass, and if you’re happy with your experience, apply your ticket cost to the yearly membership fee. With that, you get discounted parking as well as unlimited admission to the museum for 12 months.
Another bonus of the membership: you get reciprocal admission to over 300 STEM museums around the world. So even if you don’t live nearby, it might be worthwhile to spring for the pass.
It only takes two visits to recoup the cost of a membership pass. With every visit, you take your cost-per-visit even lower. Since they have a picnic area, carrying your own picnic or snacks is a great way to save money for the day.
Milwaukee County Zoo
We love our giraffes, lions, tigers, otters, and other zoo animals. For the animal lovers out there, visiting the Milwaukee County Zoo is sure to be a fun-filled day.
This zoo, like Discovery World, is at its best value when you purchase a family membership. There’s plenty to do and your parking is FREE with membership.
Despite its location in Wisconsin and long, cold winters, the zoo is still useful year-round. Since it boasts plenty of indoor exhibits, you can enjoy a visit on a rainy or icky day.
The zoo often has special exhibits available only for a limited time, too. You do have to usually buy tickets in addition to regular admission, but you can pick if it’s interesting to your family.
This zoo is spacious and clean, and there is so much to see. Of course, you can purchase food from a variety of vendors, but we usually bring a backpack or a small cooler with snacks.
Milwaukee Art Museum
We still haven’t made it there, but the Milwaukee Art Museum is home to close to 25,000 works of art. Art lovers can browse whatever categories they like, but here are just a few of the permanent collections you’ll find there:
- Ancient Mediterranean Art
- Early European Art
- 9th Century European Art
- American Art to 1900
- Folk and Self-Taught Art
- Haitian Art
- Paintings and Sculptures
- Decorative Art
The building that houses the Milwaukee Art Museum is a work of art in itself, as you can see in the photo.
This is the huge annual music festival in Milwaukee. Over 800 bands/artists of all genres will grace stages around the city.
If you’re not big on crowds, navigating large festivals like Summerfest can be a nightmare. However, with the right band, It’s more than worth the trip and dealing with the crowd. Also, it’s just fun to be outdoors with people all enjoying the same music. So be sure to check out the lineup of musicians if you’re going to be in the area this summer.
Technically, Pike Lake isn’t in Milwaukee, but it’s only about 25 miles north of the city. It’s worth mentioning as it’s one of the coolest spots in the area.
For the avid hiker, nature enthusiast, or just someone who wants to get away from the bustle of the big city, Pike Lake is a fantastic option. A state park visitor sticker is required for each vehicle, but the cost is very reasonable. You might even luck out and get to visit on one of their occasional free weekends.
Here, families can swim or kayak in the lake, build sand castles, have a picnic, play lawn games, fish, hike, and bike. Tons of great scenery and exercise await.
More Fun Places to Visit In Milwaukee
The city of Milwaukee is not limited on things to do around the city for families. Here’s a list of just a few other places you might enjoy seeing with your family:
- Miller Park
- Harley-Davidson Museum
- Milwaukee Public Museum
- Historic Third Ward
- Pabst Mansion
- Humboldt Park
- Veterans Park
Milwaukee is more than a town of breweries. It’s a very family-friendly city. There’s a ton of stuff for family members of all ages to enjoy.
Have any questions about things to do in Milwaukee? Let us know in the comments below.
Kevin Payne is the budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. He’s also the host of the Family Money Adventure Show podcast, where he helps families learn to manage their money better so they can afford to do the things they love.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Fox Business, Credible, and CreditCards.com.