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. No matter the day of the week, there is always a reason to get out of the house and experience something. Not only that, these are all activities you can enjoy for free, which as a parent, is always a bonus! Here’s a short list of some of our favorites.
During the summer months, First Stage holds free family programming every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10-11 at their outdoor theater. The programs feature everything from plays to story times, African drumming to Irish dancing, flipping gymnasts, and so much more. If you have a younger kiddo, these programs provide the perfect opportunity to practice sitting and watching a performance, without leaving you embarrassed if you have to leave half way through. Find out more here.
A.W.E’s mobile art studio is like an ice cream truck to feed the creative mind. These mini-vans are stocked with loads of art supplies and friendly artists who lead creative projects at local parks, playgrounds, libraries and community events. Every summer, the vans travel around Milwaukee providing opportunities to nurture the imaginations of Milwaukee youth. Their schedule can be found here.
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. The projects are perfect for a wide range of ages- we have seen kids from 2-12 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. Every Saturday at 1, at the locations in Menomonee Valley and Riverside Park, your little one can help feed turtles, frogs, and other reptiles! You can see their full calendar of events here. All of the branches are open six days a week, so check one out today.
The Boerner Botanical Gardens may possible be one of the most underrated kids activities in our city. Not only is every garden 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, pack up the family and snacks, and take a stroll through rose buses, smell some tulips, and wave hello to all the koi.
Once a month, you can check out a Fox and Branch concert at Anodyne Coffee Roasters in Walker’s Point for free. 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. (They also play at various other locations around the city).
8. 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.
- 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.
I hope this list gave you a few ideas for some free fun in Milwaukee. I know there’s plenty more things to do, too. So, tell me! What’re your favorite things to do for free in our wonderful city?
UPDATED May 2018.
Original Post, “Six Free Kid-Friendly Activities in Milwaukee” by Megan Olson