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Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee’

  1. Discovery World

    January 11, 2015 by admin

    We were recently gifted with a membership to the Discovery World Museum (DWM) in Milwaukee.  We immediately started making plans for a visit.  We’d been to this museum before, so we knew it would be a great trip.  In fact, our kids had been asking when we’d get to go back!

    Tip1:  DWM has very steep admission prices.  If you don’t have a membership, you’ll need to plan ahead for the expense.

    We started our exploration of the DWM at the science and biology end of the building- a three story wing that faces Lake Michigan and offers amazing views along with great interactive displays.  We particularly love the Great Lakes map exhibit where you can actually make rain fall from the ceiling.  And our Bluey greatly enjoys scrambling around on the full sized boat on the 2nd floor.

    IMG_9770In the basement level, a top-notch aquarium can keep you mesmerized for quite some time.  There are jellyfish to watch, and sting rays and sturgeon fish that you can touch!  They feel like… well, that would be telling. You’ll have to find out on your own. 😉

    Tip2:  A snack before romping through the DWM’s 2nd wing is a great idea.  There is only one small, overpriced cafe at the museum.  We recommend you enjoy your own snacks from home!

    At the other side of the building, you’ll find the technology in Wisconsin wing.  It holds fabulous displays on various machines that have been developed and built in Wisconsin- from Evinrude engines to Les Paul guitars.  There are countless devices to manipulate and learn the science and technology that went into making them.

    Also within this wing, The Kohls Design Center allows you to take a break from the museum exhibits and create various arts and crafts projects – for FREE.  A team of assistants will help you find all the materials you need to make a unique craft that you can take home from the museum.IMG_9768

    Exploring the entire DWM will easily take all day, if you can last that long.  If possible, we recommend you break your enjoyment of the DWM into several separate day trips.

  2. The Pabst Theater

    May 4, 2014 by admin

    Pabst TheaterWe are always on the search for sites offering free, legal Mp3s to expand our musical knowledge-base.  A frequently overlooked source for free cutting edge songs is the venues that host concerts.

    Many theaters are able to host songs from bands as promos for upcoming shows.

    2767747155_0ef8e6cac9A great theater we love (where TRMom and TRDad saw the ubercute Martha Wainwright, among others) is the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.

    A quick view of the Pabst website shows the “Free Mp3” tab on the right-hand side.  A few seconds later you’ve got eight or ten new songs to enjoy.

    You don’t need to attend the concerts, or join the theater’s website.  You don’t need to live in Wisconsin, or anywhere near the Pabst.  Just download and enjoy!

    Is there a theater near you offering free music to entice ticket sales?  If so, let us know!

  3. Great Museums In Milwaukee

    December 9, 2013 by admin

    IMG_3792Milwaukee is a great city, and we are fortunate enough to live nearby.  As winter sets in, we find that a museum is a fantastic place to visit on the weekends.  Milwaukee has several options.  If you are looking for a place to go in Cream City, check out any of these museums!

    MPM:  We LOVE the Milwaukee Public Museum.  There are three floors of history and science to explore!  We never tire of going here.  It is so big, in fact, we’re pretty sure there’s a nook or two that we haven’t seen yet.IMG_2334

    Discovery World:  A science and technology center focused on Great Lakes ecology and manufacturing, this museum is a whirlwind of activities.  Be prepared to be exhausted when you are finished here.  Admission is steep.

    Harley Museum:  Do you like motorcycles, engines, and/or Americana?  Then the Harley- Davidson Museum might be just for you!  It’s a rather expensive entry, but a fun trip.  Unless you plan on numerous return trips, opting for a membership isn’t worth it.

    Haggerty Museum of Art: This museum on the Marquette University campus is a fun (and Free!) stop.  You should bundle this stop with another destination because you’ll go through the whole museum in under an hour.

    Mitchell Domes:  If the space ship from Silent Running crashed into Milwaukee, it’d look like this: giant futuristic domes filled with plants from all around the world.  Consider a membership as they reciprocate with many public gardens across the U.S.A.

    Milwaukee Art Museum:  We always have a great time here, and we never get through the entire museum in one visit!  If you can, check it out on the first Thursday of the month, when admission is free thanks to Target (children under 12 are always free).  If you have kiddoes in tow, make sure you seek out the free art kits!  These bags full of art activities encourage kids to interact with the exhibits; by trying to create their own versions of some of the works they’ll see, or by following an art scavenger hunt.

    IMG_1155These museums will keep you busy for many weekends of exploring in downtown Milwaukee.

  4. Accidental Excursion: Urban Ecology Center

    September 16, 2013 by admin

    IMG_1991We recently headed to Milwaukee to visit one of our favorite places, the Discovery World Museum.  Located right on Lake Michigan, Discovery World seemed like a great choice on a fine, Fall day: walks along the lake, a great view of the ships, and sailboats…

    But it was not to be.  For reasons still unknown to us, that entire section of town was blocked off by police.  Several ramps from the interstate were closed, and when we tried to reroute via side-streets, we met the same fate- blocked streets.  We asked a police officer how to get to the museum, and he just shook his head- “You can’t.”

    Well, all the museums we are familiar with are in this same area, but there was no way to get close to them.  We had to quickly change gears in order to save the day.  Searching our brains, and the internet for new options, we finally remembered reading about the Urban Ecology Center.  It looked to be far enough away from the blocked streets that we would be able to access it, and we’d never been there before- so it would be a new adventure for everyone!

    Boy, were our instincts right!

    The Urban Ecology Center is a beautiful oasis in the middle of urban Milwaukee.  It is close to a main bus route, has access to a river, and a bike path going right through the main property, so it is easy to get to it by a variety of transportation options.  Once you arrive, you’ll find miles of nature paths winding through woods and prairies, up to the river and back.  The Center itself is a beautiful building with several small tanks of live, local animals; musical instruments you can play; arts&crafts tables; A funky slide from outside to inside; and a cozy woodstove.  Outside the building you’ll find more animal habitats, a huge climbing wall, and a tall (but sturdy) observation tower.  All offered with no admission fee.

    Entering the secret slide!

    Entering the secret slide!

    We explored the area for quite a while before heading off for lunch, with vows to return to explore some more.

    Next time your intended destination doesn’t quite work out, don’t throw in the towel!  Check out some of the lesser known places in your area, you never know what you’ll find.

  5. Go Back To Old Milwaukee

    April 1, 2013 by admin

    We had been planning to head over to MPM one weekend, when we saw on their website that the museum was hosting a number of archeology exhibits and historic re-enactors during the time we planned to visit.  Although we were concerned that this might make the museum too crowded for our taste, we decided to go for it as we had never attended this particular event.

    We arrived early, to beat as many crowds as possible.  But we still found the museum more populated than we usually enjoy.  We checked out several of the archaeology booths.  And we could have spent all day talking to the Underwater Archaeologist from the Discovery World.  Then we moved on to explore some of our favorites spots at MPM, like the hidden candy store in Old Milwaukee.

    Although we have been to MPM frequently, we know we’ll be back again soon.  We always enjoy our visit and we usually discover something we managed to miss last time.  Don’t treat your whole life like a bucket list—many things are worth experiencing more than once!


  6. Milwaukee Art Museum

    February 4, 2013 by admin

    IMG_1504We’ve had the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) on our short list of local places to visit.  But we’ve been intimidated by the admission cost.  Even though children 12 and under are free, adults pay $15 to enter.  It is an expensive endeavor, when you consider parking costs and lunch on top of the admittance fee.  But we lucked out with a buy-one-get-one coupon for an adult ticket, and it was finally time to head to the MAM.

    After some research, we discovered that there is a surface lot on the north side of the MAM, where you can park all day for $6.  This is MUCH cheaper than the MAM’s underground lot.  And you get to view the small public display section of the War Memorial Center as you wait for your elevator to the MAM.

    The architecture of the MAM is awe inspiring both inside and out.  The admission staff is incredibly friendly and quickly got us orientated with a map and directions to the free coat check.  Once we were ready to explore, we headed to the Kohl’s Art Generation wing.

    Tip#1:  As in most art museums, the “security” staff is not as family friendly as you would hope.  Just ignore them as they snip at you and they’ll eventually wander away.

    The Kohl wing is a fantastic, family-friendly, and hands-on area of the museum.  You can pick up free art packs, which contain either material for sketching or themed textiles (some with costumes).  You can keep these packs for the day, switch them out if you desire, and enhance your exploring.  When you return the cases, your child will get to pick out a small prize.

    This area also has a large arts & crafts space with a themed project.  But you are welcome to create your own masterpiece with their large supply of materials.  The staff is very helpful and engaging.  They have smocks for you to borrow while working on your art and a large sink area to clean up.  If you ask, you can leave your creations in a corner to dry and then return to pick everything up at the end of your visit.IMG_1511

    Tip #2:  Bring your own food to the MAM to eat somewhere on their gorgeous grounds or inside at a random table or bench.  The MAM’s café is horribly overpriced.  And unless tablecloths, waiters, and hostesses are your speed for a family meal, it isn’t a welcoming atmosphere.

    We explored the MAM for about 2 ½ hours and didn’t come close to seeing all the art.  Even though we had a lovely time, we won’t return to the MAM until the weather is warmer.  We want to be able to enjoy the expansive grounds and witness the opening and closing of the MAM’s wings.

    Tip #3:  Don’t bother with the gift shop unless you have money to spare.  And be sure to experience a ride in the circular glass elevator!


  7. Dinosaurs and Butterflies

    September 29, 2012 by admin

    We are proud 2nd year members of the Milwaukee Public Museum.  Our membership garnishes us $5 parking for the entire day in MPM’s covered lot, a 10% discount in the gift shop and at the café, as well as free stroller rental for the day, and exclusive member viewings and discounts on special exhibitions.  MPM participates in the ASTC so our membership also opens the doors to countless museums throughout the USA.  It is one of our shining budgetary moments.

    Regardless of the positive monetary impact our membership provides, we thoroughly enjoy our visits to MPM.  There are 3 floors of exhibits to explore and a large state of the art planetarium and IMAX theater.  Any age will enjoy their experiences at MPM.  We go several times a year, and usually walk out discussing a display we hadn’t really noticed or enjoyed on previous trips.

    Highlights of the wonderful exhibits include a year round live butterfly wing, a surprise candy store in the Streets of Old Milwaukee, and secret buttons that activate certain characters within specific exhibits (1 hint- in the American Southwest look for the rattle snake and then search the rocks).  Not only will you learn a lot during your visit to MPM, but you’ll have a ton of fun!

    The museum café’s food isn’t spectacular but you can eat relatively inexpensively if you’re careful.  The museum allows you to bring food from home to enjoy at one of their numerous tables inside or out.  The gift shop is large and well stocked.  You could easily spend around 4 hours exploring all there is within MPM.

  8. If You Should Meet An Elephant

    August 18, 2012 by admin

    Today was our very first trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo.  What an amazing experience that was made all the better by the fact that our trip was essentially free, plus the cost of gas to get there!  We like that a lot!

    At the Milwaukee Zoo, the admission price, not including the parking fee, can really empty out your wallet.  But since we are members of the International Crane Foundation which is part of the Associate of Zoos and Aquariums, we got in for FREE.  We parked on the street for free and walked three blocks rather than pay for parking.  So instead of dropping $51 bucks for admission (2 adults with 1 child) and parking, we paid nothing.  A great way to start a great day.

    The peafowl are loose throughout the zoo, a nice bonus.

    We followed our time-tested practice of arriving at the destination as the doors open.  This made parking easier (we pulled right into a spot not far from the entrance), the lines were shorter (there was no line at all,) and the zoo was less crowded.  We enjoyed being able to get close to the animals and see them without having to wait for other people to get out of the way.  In almost all cases, it is best to be early.  The zoo was no exception.

    You should have seen the crowds when we left two hours later.  The line  of cars approaching the zoo for parking stretched two lanes wide for blocks past where we parked.  And the crowds, especially near the entrance, were getting big.  We left after 2 hours chock full of enjoyment just as the majority of people were beginning their day at the zoo!

    We had advance knowledge (because we do our research!) of two important facts about the Milwaukee County Zoo.

    One:  Bring a stroller or wagon.  The zoo is very spread out with some of the exhibits located very far from the entrance.  So if you want your kiddoes to have the energy to see as much of the zoo as possible, and you want them to enjoy it, bring a wagon so they don’t have to walk the whole way.  You can rent a stroller or wagon from the zoo if they haven’t sold out, but why pay the extra money?

    Two:  Bring your own food.  The food in the zoo is very expensive and not very healthy with few vegetarian choices.  It is easy to bring your own snacks.  And if you have your wagon with you, it is easy to carry your snacks around.

    The Milwaukee County Zoo is beautifully laid out with many wide, shady paths connecting the different areas.  Scattered throughout are many benches and tables for resting and snacking.   Bathrooms and water fountains are never hard to locate.  We found the zoo to be pretty easy to navigate. (Get a free map at the entrance, so you can easily find your favorite animals!)

    One of our elephant friends.

    The exhibits are generally very well done, with numerous informational plaques identifying traits of the animals.  The enclosures are clean and the animals all look healthy.  Another benefit of arriving early: many of the animals were eating when we got there, which was lots of fun.  The polar bear was floating like a big, sleepy, furry iceberg (which was pretty funny!); but otherwise most of the animals were alert and active.

    He’s not dead, just floating.

    Several groups of animals were in large, well designed buildings.  Some of these buildings were DARK- it required extra attention to keep track of Bluey in the nocturnal mammals building.  Keep tabs on your kids in these spaces– in the dark, a lot of three-year olds look alike!

    There is a dinosaur animatronic adventure area, which costs $2.50 additional to get into.  We didn’t explore this option, because when we asked for a review from parents leaving this section, they shrugged their shoulders and said, “Eh…”  We figured it wasn’t worth it, when there are so many real animals to see, plus we go to dinosaur museums regularly.

    We were not able to bring Plum on this trip, but took note of an awesome looking ROPES course just inside the entrance.  This also costs extra, but includes a tall climbing wall, an obstacle course, and a zip line.  If you have older kids who are daring, it looked like a good treat.

    Sleepy flamingos

    As we ran out of steam, we headed for the gift shop at the main exit where we found a not unusual collection of stuffed animals, coffee cups, and t-shirts.  Prices were about what we would expect.  But we were able to raise our usual spending limit since we hadn’t spent any money thus far during our adventure.  Bluey found an adorable stuffed alligator to take home.

    If you do it right, not only is the Milwaukee County Zoo an affordable destination, but it is also highly enjoyable!