It’s that time of year again: the sun is shining more, the flowers are blooming, and everyone in the family is just sick of being stuck in the house. When spring hits, my entire family is itching to get out of the house and just do all the things. It’s a good thing we’ve settled ourselves in Milwaukee, where there’s a ridiculous amount of kid-friendly activities available. No matter the day of the week, there is always a reason to get out of the house and experience something. Not only that, many of these activities you can enjoy for free! In the last couple of years that I’ve spent as a Milwaukee Mom, I have definitely mastered the art of finding free family fun. Here’s a short list of some of my favorites.
Once a month, you can check out a Fox and Branch concert at Anodyne Coffee Roasters in Walker’s Point for free. We are totally F&B groupies. Not only is the music amazing (and not even the slightest bit annoying like most kids music), but you can sit and enjoy a cup of good coffee while the kids are entertained. Don’t believe me, listen to one of my favorite F&B songs here. Check out that washboard action!
If you’ve never been to a Home Depot Kids Workshop, get there now! Workshops are held the first Saturday of the month, and are different each time. At each workshop, kids receive an apron, wooden project, and a pin that says they’ve completed the project. We’ve made butterfly houses, wagons, airplanes, fire trucks, picture frames, and more. The projects are perfect for a wide range of ages, too. We started taking my son when he was about two, and we’ve seen kids up to ages 10 -12 there. Bonus: Your kids get to make a huge mess and it’s not at your house! You can check out upcoming projects on Home Depot’s website. Pro tip: Send the kids with someone else if you have even the slightest headache. There will be lots, and I mean lots, of pounding.
The Urban Ecology Center is my favorite hidden Milwaukee gem. There are three locations around Milwaukee that are all worth visiting. They provide the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about the environment. Each is home to live animals that your kids will love, and they have a bunch of informational exhibits. Plus, each of the buildings are beyond gorgeous and include “green” features, such as solar power stations and plenty of recycled materials. The Urban Ecology Center in Riverside Park even has a slide that takes you into the building! They also host a ton of events such as family hikes, young scientist’s club, and stargazing. You can see their full calendar of events here. All of the branches are open six days a week, so check one out today.
I think the Boerner Botanical Gardens are one of the most underrated kids activities in our city. I love them so much! Not only is every few more picturesque than the next, but there’s a ton of space for your little ones to stretch their legs and explore. Although the Gardens aren’t free every day, Milwaukee County residents receive free admission the first Tuesday of every month, May – September. So, back up the family and snacks, and take a stroll through rose buses, smell some tulips, and wave hello to all the koi fish.
During the summer months, First Stage holds free family programming every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at their outdoor theater. I love taking my kids to these shows! The programs feature everything from plays to story times, African drumming to Irish dancing, and so much more. I always loved going to First Stage performances growing up, and I love sharing those memories with my son. Since he is still a bit young to sit through an actual play, these programs provide the perfect opportunity to practice, without leaving you embarrassed if you have to leave half way through. Find out more here.
6. Milwaukee Attraction Free Days
Last, but most certainly not least, many of the museums and attractions around our beautiful city offer regular free days. Mark your calendars now!
- The Mitchell Park Domes are free every Monday morning for Milwaukee County residents. (They’ve been experiencing quite a few technical difficulties lately. Be sure to check their website before visiting to make sure at least one of their domes is open.)
- The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum offers free admission from 5:00 – 8:00 PM on the third Thursday of the month.
- On the first Thursday of every month, admission is free to the Milwaukee Public Museum.
- Finally, check out the Milwaukee Art Museum for free on the first Thursday of every month.