Milwaukee Public Museum

Parents who grew up in Milwaukee will delight in sharing their old favorites with their kids -- and give them a valuable education at the same time! The Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells St., is home to 4.5 million specimens stretched out over three floors and spanning all seven continents.

  • You can visit the Arctic where your kids can sit in an igloo listening to the wind howling outside, while learning about how an Inuit family would live.
  • Kids love strolling along the cobblestone streets of the newly remodeled Streets of Old Milwaukee where they can see an old-time theater, ride back in time on a trolley and even buy candy at the store.
  • For kids who love dinosaurs, there is plenty to explore! View bones and models up close, and hear the sounds that a T-Rex would make.
  • The Puelicher Butterfly Wing creates an opportunity to learn about the life cycle of butterflies, with the truly hands-on opportunity to be a landing pad for some beautiful creatures.

Of course, it's not just about the exhibits we adults remember so fondly. MPM's newest special exhibit is Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture. The exhibit runs through July 9 and has some fun interactive components that engage all the kids' senses.

  • Families will view a waste sculpture which contains the average amount of food a family of four wastes each year.
  • History is integrated into the exhibit through a life-size re-creation of a 16th-century Aztec marketplace.
  • Food Ships is an interactive game that demonstrates challenges with food transport.
  • Visitors can even engage their senses of smell and taste in the Smelling Stations and Demonstration Kitchen, which allows visitors to taste and learn at the same time.

Local exhibit curator Martha Davis Kipcak says, "This is more than an exhibit. It's a cultural experience that connects us to the rest of the world using our most common thread: food."

Discovery World

Staff at Discovery World, at 500 N. Harbor Dr., make it a priority to give visitors a new experience every time they arrive. Senior Public Relations Manager Paul Fladten says, “Gone are the days when you only needed to visit Discovery World once a year. Our entire organization has adopted the mentality that if a family comes back weekly there will be always be something new for them to do or see. These new adventures will range from traveling exhibits like Sportsology, special events such as Girls & STEM or new weekend projects in the Kohl’s Design It! Lab."

That Kohl’s Design It! Lab is a great opportunity for educational fun. The make-it-and-take-it Quick Shop allows kids to make projects that range anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. Friendly and enthusiastic staff members, whose backgrounds range from design to engineering to art, help the kids use materials like hot glue guns, scissors and recyclables. Children of all ages can choose from a menu of projects that change monthly, including things like planetary headwear, jewelry, bobbleheads and 3D post cards of the Milwaukee skyline.

A recent addition to the Design It! Lab is the Kids Corner, which is geared to the littlest makers -- kids under 5 who can enjoy free play in a space which is decked out with building blocks, markers, crayons, pillows and small stools and tables.

Discovery World also forges a Milwaukee connection with its partnerships with numerous local organizations and businesses. The museum's labs, where lots of technology and science based classes take place, are sponsored by businesses, such as the Bill Brady Intelligent Products Lab and the Rockwell Automation Lab. Discovery World also works with local organizations to put on special events. The recent Love Your Great Lakes event hosted many local nature centers, other water-oriented organizations and both the Milwaukee Art Museum and Milwaukee Public Museum.

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