I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I really loathe staying at home. My kids are so much easier to handle when I get them into public, so I like to be out with them whenever possible. However, living in Wisconsin means the weather might not always allow you to be outdoors. Thankfully, we in the greater Milwaukee Area are blessed with some fantastic places for kids that you can still visit when the weather is bad.
My son is a bundle of energy. I love having places that make him channel that energy into something other than trashing my house.
My husband just took my son to one of their open gyms over winter break and he had a blast! Older kids will enjoy the trampolines and loose foam pits. This place is also great for birthdays!
8989 N. 55th St., Brown Deer
This gymnastics center is perfect for ages 18 months and up. They pride themselves on being accessible for ALL ability levels. What’s more, you can have a private playgroup there for $7/child. (Minimum 4 children).
4650 N. Port Washington Rd., Glendale
Kids 10 and up will love the mini golf, laser tag, inflatables, play field, batting cages, and pitching tunnel. Parents will appreciate the free wifi.
955 Maritime Drive, Port Washington
Looking to get your kids involved in sports? There are leagues for basketball and volleyball. In addition to the five full basketball courts and 8 volleyball courts, your family can take advantage of the court-side pub and grill.
815 Northview Rd., Waukesha
Three huge indoor soccer fields with league play available for a wide range of ages, including adults! Plus, they have birthday parties available! If you’re already hanging out enjoying some indoor soccer, ask about the summer camp opportunities too!
19485 West Lisbon Road Brookfield
With locations in Brookfield and Milwaukee, this place is great for kids (ages 6 and up) AND adults. Clip in and have fun!
Check the website for regular open gyms. Monday open gym includes giant inflatables for extra fun!
W189 N10991 Kleinmann Drive, Germantown
Offers classes to kids of all ages (walking on up) and abilities. Check website for open gym times.
2214 S. 116th St., West Allis
Gymnastics, rock climbing, and yoga are all available at this convenient downtown location.
1034 North 4th Street, Milwaukee
Check the website for open gym dates and times. Open gyms last 90 minutes, offering ample time to get those wiggles out!
W59 N270 Cardinal Avenue, Cedarburg
Bounce and Arcade
These places are great for getting out energy and many of them are just as entertaining for teens as they are for younger kids.
Jump around, play dodgeball, and more! Check out the Rockin’ Tots program just for toddlers!
9009 N Deerbrook Trail, Brown Deer
Climb, jump, and shoot buckets at this fun indoor arena.
W229N1420 Westwood Dr., Waukesha
Kids will enjoy laser tag, rock climbing, inflatables, and the adrenaline zone. Parents will have fun too.
2801 S 5th Ct., Milwaukee
Kids 10 and under will love the inflatable playground, obstacle courses, and slides.
1235 Dakota Dr., Grafton
Even the littlest kids are sure to have fun here. In addition to the slides, jumps, obstacle courses, and inflatables for bigger kids, there is a toddler area.
2040 W. Bluemound Rd., Waukesha
An indoor race speedway that is PERFECT for a parent/kid date!
w229N1400 Westwood Dr., Waukesha
Older kids and teens will have a blast with the laser tag, dodgeball, mini bowling, and arcade. All-you-can-play and family pricing help keep it reasonable for mom and dad.
1814 Dolphin Dr., Waukesha
Be sure to check their website for the deals of the week!
w248 N5250 Executive Dr., Sussex
Inflatables, laser tag, rock climbing. Check website for open times.
6544 S. 108th St., Franklin
Plenty of space and plenty of ways (giant trampolines, laser maze, hamster balls) for kids to burn off energy.
16235 W. Beloit Rd., New Berlin
Check the website for open jump times.
195 N. Janacek Rd., Brookfield
I used to belong to a bowling league in college, so I love having an activity that my three-year-old finds as interesting as I do. Many lanes will even have “day leagues” specifically for kids.
Gyms and Pools
Just because it’s crummy outside doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little aquatic fun!
So many people head south to enjoy the water, but this local gem is perfect for a staycation! With a lazy river, activity pool, arcade, indoor/outdoor hot tub, and slides, this place is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
2810 Golf Rd., Pewaukee
Five locations all over the area with programming for individuals and families. So many options to choose from and a fantastic kid care program for members. Plus, birthday parties and seasonal sports leagues too!
Locations in Waukesha, Wauwatosa, Greenfield, Mukwanago, and Menomonee Falls
All ages will enjoy the huge indoor water park. Littles will enjoy the separate kiddie pool.
1350 W. North Ave., Milwaukee
Free childcare for members, an indoor pool, and a lap pool.
9250 N. Green Bay Rd., Brown Deer
Indoor water park appropriate for all ages.
1111 Y Dr., West Bend
An easy to get to vacation place with a full indoor water park.
725 Blue Harbor Dr., Sheboygan
Ice and Roller Rinks
Throw on a pair of skates and enjoy a fun workout like Laurie does. Even if you’re a little unsteady, it’s sure to be a great time for you and your kids.
In addition to skating lessons and open skate times, the indoor track is a great place for moms to get a workout in. Only $4/adult and strollers are allowed (check before going to make sure the track is not too full for a stroller).
500 S. 84th St., Milwaukee
Check website for public skate times. This is a laid-back and fun place to hit the ice!
5505 W. Pioneer Rd., Mequon
Libraries and Bookstores
I don’t know why this is, but my kids will be completely entranced by a story during story time in a way that they never are when I read to them.
Kids programs (toddler-5th grade) and a separate kids’ room help foster a love of reading.
5420 N. Marlborough Dr., Whitefish Bay
With a myriad of locations all over the city, you’ll be able to find a story time, play time, or other activity any day of the week. We love the kids’ room at the central library, plus there is train table, climbable lighthouse, Lego table, and a puppet theater!
Various locations all over the city.
This is our library. We love the easy-to-get-to location and the separate kids’ room with trains and games.
6800 N. Port Washington Rd., Glendale
Search “events” for free story times.
Check their facebook page to stay up-to-date on story time offerings.
1800 E. North Ave., Milwaukee
Great for Littles
Currently, with a one- and three-year old, these places are my jam.
Soft play area for toddlers in the food court. Enter near Old Navy or through the Lydell garage.
5800 N. Bayshore Drive, Glendale
Enjoy some nosh from Cafa B Data while the kids play.
6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay
Kids love the play structure and imagination-based play. I love that staff will watch our kids during yoga.
1932 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee
We love this place so much we devoted an entire post to it!
4606 N. Wilson Dr., Shorewood
Art room, play room, story time, and a gym. Also great for birthdays!
7265 S. 1st St., Oak Creek
Toddler play area located in center court, close to the JCPenney entrance.
5300 S. 76th St., Greendale
Offers six different play groups for parents and their children up to 6 years old.
1320 E. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee
GiGi’s Playhouse is a one-of-a-kind achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. GiGi’s Playhouse offers more than 30 therapeutic and educational programs that advance literacy, math skills, motor skills and more; all of which are free of charge.
8685 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point
Some days, you just need some entertainment.
On Tuesdays, take advantage of the $5 tickets and free popcorn for rewards members.
Dinner and a movie are easily combined here. Eat while you watch!
334 E. Silver Spring Dr., Whitefish Bay
Develop a love of theater in kids as young as three.
325 W. Walnut St., Milwaukee
Milwaukee’s many museums are both fun AND educational. You can feel awesome about yourself for bringing your kids to one of them.
Free on the first Thursday of every month. We love the dinosaurs, butterfly wing, and streets of old Milwaukee. Toddlers love the Sesame Street planetarium show on Saturday mornings. For a calmer time, start on the third floor and work your way down.
800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee
The kids can have fun while developing problem-solving skills, school-readiness, and physical coordination. Tickets available through the website, along with membership options. I especially like coming here because the attached garage helps us to avoid the weather altogether. Bring in your parking ticket to be validated.
929 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee
Hosts several events including weekly Toddler Tuesday and karaoke. Membership options available.
902 N. 8th St., Sheboygan
The staff here believes that play is the true work of a child, and the gallery works to provide updated experiences year round.
126 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc
Free on the first Thursday of every month. Check out the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio.
700 .N Art Museum Dr., Milwaukee
My high school students (back when I taught) would always come back from their field trips here totally jazzed about learning. I can’t wait to take bug!
500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee
Harley makes sure that even the littlest members of the family will enjoy the ride.
400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee
Okay, if I didn’t go outside when it was cold out, I would be stuck in my house from November to March. These places totally work for a winter outing without letting you get too exposed to the elements. (Dress appropriately for the weather, of course!)
My son loves the fish in the tropical dome and the trains in the show dome. I love walking through the desert dome and pretending I’m in Arizona.
524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee
Download their app for mapped out route that will keep you inside for as much of your day as possible. 2017 Free Days: 1/7, 2/4, 3/4.
10001 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee
When the weather’s too cold for a hike, you can still take advantage of the facility’s fascinating indoor educational programs, such as Word with a Bird. Little ones will also enjoy visiting with and learning about the resident turtles and other small animals housed in the lobby.
1111 E., Brown Deer Rd., Bayside
Three locations, but our team favorite is the Riverside location. They have live animals in display and lots to explore in their building and informational displays about the environment. They also have plenty of open space that gets tons of sun: perfect for sitting and reading, or playing with games or puzzles (which they have on hand).
Riverside Park, Washington Park, Menomonee Valley
That’s right, we can totally bring the fun inside. These indoor playgrounds are ah-MAZ-ing.
Great for indoor play!! 6000 sq ft of Wisconsin’s “backyard”! Includes a playset, space to run, a “driveway” basketball court, and patio furniture for moms!
890 Badger Cir., Grafton
Indoor playground with monthly specials.
2857 S. 160th St., New Berlin
Also great for birthdays!
14135 W Greenfield Ave., New Berlin
Yes, it’s a playset showroom, but you can also pay to come play!
W229 N1416 Westwood Dr. Ste 2, Waukesha
Because sometimes, you want to entertain your kids and NOT have to cook. No worries, we got your back, mama.
It’s exactly as I remember. Perfect for littles. Enjoy all the pizza, tokens, and games you can handle!
This place looks so cool I might go without the kids! Also great for birthdays!
5320 South Moorland Rd., New Berlin
Numerous locations in the Milwaukee area have a play place, and all of them have free wifi for the parents.
This is one of the only sit-down restaurants I know that has a play area for kids in the “family room” so you can actually eat in peace!
Shorewood and Brookfield
Free wifi and a kids area. Check your local store for FREE sandwich days.
12625 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield | 2645 S 108th St, West Allis
Palermo’s offers Milwaukee’s Only Pizza Factory Tour! Reservations are required. Guests can schedule a pizza tour and even a pizza making lesson! Visit http://www.palermospizza.com/about-us/tours for details.
3301 W. Canal St., Milwaukee
Explore the delicious and handcrafted offerings at this local artisan chocolate shop, which sells candy, ice cream and hot chocolate, as well as coffee and espresso drinks.
125 West Grand Ave., Port Washington
Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list! There are countless amazing indoor play opportunities around the area that will be equally valuable in the heat of August when we all go searching for air conditioning. We would love to hear about your favorite indoor retreats when it’s time for a change of scene that keeps you out of the elements.