Looking for something to do with your kids this summer? Here are some ideas.

Zoos and Other Places to See Animals Around Milwaukee

Visit the Milwaukee County Zoo. While you’re there, check out the summer robotic dragon exhibit.

Visit the Racine Zoo. The zoo recently won a grant to incorporate empathy into its exhibits. See if you can spot the signs.

Discover Lake Geneva Animal Safari. You can stay in your car while you observe the animals.

Library summer reading program and local bookstores

Sign up for your local library’s summer reading program. In addition to keeping track of the books your kids read, they can attend fun events like outdoor story times and Lego builds.

Support local bookstores with your kids. Lion’s Tooth in Bay View has books for children and adults, as does The Little Read Book in Wauwatosa. Rainbow Booksellers is all about children’s books. And La Revo doesn’t have a storefront, but they do a great job of curating books online and often have book sale pop-ups.

Barbara Cerda of La Revo Books is known as Barby the Book Fairy, and she makes it her mission to fill the little free libraries in her neighborhood with children’s books. Be inspired by her with your own kids and make sure these places are stocked with books the kids can take away.

Toy stores

Take your kids to buy a new toy, either an outdoor toy to enjoy the summer weather or an indoor toy for rainy days. Check out these local independent toy stores while shopping.

Host a board game marathon after a shopping spree at Board Game Barrister. Their employees are great at advising people on the perfect game for different groups of people.

American Science & Surplus has science kits, buildable toys and lots of fun things to keep your kids occupied on rainy days. It’s also just a fun place to explore.

Beaches, pools and wading pools in the Milwaukee area

To go to the beach.

Spend time at a local swimming pool, wading pool or wading pool. Here is a list in Milwaukee County.

Step up your swimming game with a trip to a water park. There are some at hotels like the Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee and the Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva, water parks in Milwaukee County, and some a little further from home like Raging Waves and Hurricane Harbor in the Illinois.

Frozen custard, food trucks, farmers markets, beer gardens and more places to eat around Milwaukee

Go out for ice cream or frozen custard. Better yet, visit a few custard restaurants and vote for your favorite.

Head to downtown Milwaukee and check out the new food hall that was once the Grand Avenue Mall.

If you are still working from home, take your child with you to work at a coffee shop or cafe. Bring a tablet, books, or art supplies so the kids can “work” alongside you, and be sure to offer them a fun drink or snack. You can try your local Colectivo, or there’s the Rise & Grind Cafe in Sherman Phoenix. You can of course also head to your nearest Starbucks, or whatever your favorite neighborhood spot is. Kwik Trip also has a really good cafe (and some of them have indoor or outdoor seating).

Eating outdoors is perfect for the summer, it’s safer than indoors for meals in the age of the pandemic, and it’s more relaxed for kids. Here are some places to eat on the terrace.

Food trucks are even more fun and laid back.

Visit a few farmers’ markets. Go without a plan, buy whatever product looks good that day, and think about how to use it to cook your dinner.

Relax in a beer garden or two. Many of them are in parks with nearby playgrounds for children.

Camping & Summer Camps Around Milwaukee

Go camping. If your family is not very fond of nature, camp in your garden or even in your living room.

Milwaukee offers many summer camp options. There’s a day camp or overnight camp at the YMCA, science day camps at Discovery World, acting classes at First Stage, art classes at the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and themed camps. animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Racine Zoo.

The Domes, nature centers, parks and playgrounds around Milwaukee

Go to a nature center to see flowers and hike trails. Some examples: the Domes, the Wehr Nature Center, Boerner Botanical Gardens, Hawthorn Glen or Schlitz Audubon.

The Urban Ecology Center has three locations in Milwaukee Parks. And members can rent equipment there, including bikes, Frisbees and croquet sets.

Visit a state park. If you’re concerned about crowds, these parks usually have the fewest visitors.

Take a tour of several playgrounds and parks. Waukesha’s Fox River Park natural playground features an incredible slide built into a hill. And the Northwestern Mutual Community Park on the Summerfest grounds has an inclusive playground and plenty of places for families to hang out. It is open to play during festivals and also has daily hours when there are no festivals. There are also Family Fun Days on Sundays where local arts and entertainment groups will put on fun for the whole family. These dates are June 19, July 17, August 7, September 18 and October 9.

Go hiking with your children. Here are some good ones around Milwaukee.

Where to See Kids’ Movies Around Milwaukee

Catch a movie at the Milky Way Drive-in or one of the many outdoor movie options this summer.

See a $3 family movie at Marcus Theatres. The movies run from June 5 to September 1 and feature a different movie every week like “Sing 2”, “Paw Patrol”, and “Minions”. There’s also $3 popcorn and $3 drinks for sale.

Milwaukee-area museums offer plenty for kids to do

Take a trip to the Milwaukee Museum of Art. Then find a nice place to sit by the lake, get out some art supplies, and have your kids recreate their favorite artwork.

Visit the Milwaukee Public Museum to see some of Milwaukee’s favorite exhibits, from the streets of old Milwaukee to the dinosaurs to the igloo. Also, see if you can find the rattlesnake button!

Go to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Admission is free from noon to 8 p.m. on June 16, July 21, and August 18, but you must reserve a time slot in advance.

Take a trip to Discovery World. A visit to the Milwaukee Science Museum is a great way to ensure your kids’ science literacy – what the pandemic has taught us is highly relevant and very important.

The Perseid meteor shower is a good reason to roll your eyes skyward in August. If stargazing piques your kids’ interest in space, visit the Horwitz-DeRemer Planetarium in Waukesha, or the Manfred Olson Planetarium at UWM, or the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater and Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum. .

Summerfest, State Fair and more festivals

Go to the lake or a park to fly a kite. Better yet, go to one of the kite festivals of the summer.

After a few years of cancellations and then attendance restrictions due to the pandemic, most festivals are back. Discover some of them.

Last year, Summerfest returned from its cancellation in 2020 with a three-weekend festival. It’s happening again this year. Here’s how to get in for free.

From the giant slide to tasting tons of delicious food to midway rides, State Fair is one of the most family-friendly ways in the Milwaukee area to spend a few summer days.

Milwaukee’s July 3 fireworks return this year after a two-year hiatus.

See what’s happening in your community for July 4th. Go to your own parade, fireworks or carnival or, if your local celebration doesn’t appeal to you, try a nearby community’s festivities.

Milwaukee is hosting its 51st annual June 19 parade this year to celebrate the official end of slavery. The Milwaukee celebration also includes a street festival and community block party.

Explore Milwaukee Neighborhoods

Milwaukee is considered the city of neighborhoods. Pick a few neighborhoods you don’t live in and explore them.

Stroll through downtown Milwaukee admiring Sculpture Milwaukee.

Artists working in education roam the parks and events in the summer with mobile art projects and artists to guide children through them. Find out where they will be.

Road trips, brewers, dairymen and birthday parties around Milwaukee

Take a road trip. A drive to the Dells is very manageable time in the car for toddlers, and there’s plenty to do once there. Or, if you’re interested in outdoor explorations, take this road trip that passes through stunning state parks along your journey.

Go to a baseball game – a Brewers game, a Milwaukee Milkmen game, or a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game.

If your kid is having a birthday party in the summer, head to one of these cool places to have a birthday party around Milwaukee.

Things to do with the kids on a rainy day around Milwaukee

60 to Escape in Southridge Mall has several kid-friendly escape rooms for your family to get away with.

If your kids feel like their Lego collection isn’t big enough or cool enough, check out Tosa Block Party. The store has tons of Legos and open play times where anyone can just hang out and build.

Go roller skating. Your home’s exterior is perfect if it’s sunny, and Incredi-Roll in West Allis works if it’s raining.

Go ice skating at the Pettit National Ice Center. They also have ice skating lessons and a summer camp.

Contact Amy Schwabe at (262) 875-9488 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @WisFamilyJSInstagram at @wisfamilyjs or Facebook at WisconsinFamily.

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