Winter In Milwaukee with Kids

When the weather turns, there is plenty to do in Milwaukee in Winter with Kids! From indoor experiences and energy busters to outdoor activities that embrace below freezing temperatures, our guide has you covered.

Indoor Things to do – Milwaukee in Winter with Kids

Catch a Show or Sporting Event at Fiserv Forum

The Fiserv Forum is Milwaukee’s premium recreation arena and home to the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team.

The forum is multi-purpose, hosting everything from sporting events, to headliner concerts, to Disney on Ice, to Monster Jam making it a thrilling place to be in Milwaukee in Winter with kids.

Check their event calendar to find the best option for your family. Note that bags and purses are NOT allowed. Strict exceptions are diaper bags and bags for medically necessary items.

If you’re heading to a Bucks game, make sure to look into Bango’s Kid’s Club,

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Fiserv

Eat and Play at the 3rd Street Market Hall

The former Grand Avenue Mall has been converted to a food hall featuring diverse and eclectic food and beverage stalls. There’s plenty to satisfy your cravings or sweet tooth too! Kids’ toys are setup in an enclosed areas surrounded by tables where parents can keep an eye on their kids while enjoying their meal.

Older kids will enjoy video games, cornhole, shuffleboard courts and the selfie museum. All of these entertainment options are completely free. For an additional cost, you can check out the golf simulators at Swing Suite.

This is the ideal place to grab a bite after taking the kids to the Public Museum, Discovery World, Red Arrow Park, or Betty Brinn.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids 3rd Street Market

Discovery World

Discovery World is both a science museum as well as an aquarium primarily featuring fish native to the Great Lakes. My kids carefully tiptoe over the plexiglass flooring as they pass over the fish below. They love to stand in front of the floor to ceiling tank arguing about which is the biggest. On several occasions we’ve caught the scuba divers in there cleaning which only added to my kids’ amusement.

The science exhibits are especially hands on, including interactive automation demonstrations, the Design It! Lab, energy exercises, and simple machines. My kids love exploring the Schooner model as well.

Admission: $22 adults, $18 ages 3-17, free for 2 and under. They offer free admission through ASTC membership reciprocity (excluding other Milwaukee based ASTC memberships)

Milwaukee Public Museum (Butterfly Room)

The Milwaukee Public Museum is preparing for relocation and exhibit overhaul in 2026 so be sure to check out its current building while you still can!

Do you like scavenger hunts? A fun hunt loved by locals is to track down the two buttons that trigger rattlesnakes tails to shake. There is one on the 2nd floor and one on the 3rd. These photos should get you close!

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids MPM

A favorite attraction inside the museum is the Butterfly Room. If you’re patient and move slowly, there’s a good chance a butterfly will land on you. Don’t miss the butterflies emerging from their chrysalis just inside the door, it’s easy to walk right past!

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids MPM Butterfly

The streets of Old Milwaukee showcase nationalities of the original immigrants to settle in Milwaukee. The people are modeled around ACTUAL residents of Milwaukee in the 1800s.

When you arrive, ask about the IMAX showtimes of the day. My 2 year old can only take about 10 minutes of it, but older kids may really enjoy being immersed in the action.

Admission: $22 ages 14+, $18 ages 4-13, free for 3 and under. They offer free admission through ASTC membership reciprocity (excluding other Milwaukee based ASTC memberships)

Join the fun at a Milwaukee Wave Game (Indoor Soccer)

Wave games are wonderfully geared toward kids. I was wowed by how the players interacted so warmly and authentically with the kids. If there was a slight break in the game play you’ll see the players shooting the kids smiles and waves.

They have themed events too. We had a blast at Superhero and Princess Night.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Wave game

Field Workshop Creative Space (Greenfield)

Do your kids like to tinker, craft, or design? Drop in for an hour or two of creative expression. For $12 per hour, kids have free reign to use the craft supplies and equipment in the Tinker Lab. You take home everything you create.

For a unique family experience, consider pre-booking their Glow in the Dark Splatter Room (Milwaukee’s only). Splatter paint items of your choosing!

Lucky Bob’s Raceway (Slot Cars)

While we are talking about Greenfield, this I have two more gems in the area. Lucky Bob’s and Big Putts (described next).

Lucky Bob’s Raceway is a blast for kids and adults alike! My 2 year old is obsessed with ‘vrooming’ cars around my house, so when we knew this would be right up his alley. Simple, competitive, and unique fun for the whole family.

Cost: Rent a slot car for 15 Min. $5.00 | 30 Min. $10.00 | 60 Min. $15.00. The smaller cars are even cheaper, $3 per 15 minutes.

Milwaukee in winter with kids slot car

Big Putts Indoor Mini Golf

Winters are hard for golf lovers like my husband. Big Putts has an ultra creative indoor mini-golf course in Greenfield including plinko, under trucks, over your head, and down slides.

They offer an arcade too and the owners could not be more hospitable!

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is just the place to let curiousity be the guide. It’s ideal for kids up to age 10. There are many pretend play stations (the grocery store being the most beloved), a Be a Maker space with organized projects of the day, and a special area just for kids 5 and under.

If you’ve been before 2020, it’s worth another visit as many spaces have been redesigned with new exploration opportunities.

Visitors can bring food and beverages to enjoy away from exhibit areas.

Admission: $12 Ages 1+, free for babies under one. They offer free admission through ACM membership reciprocity.

Every 3rd Thursday of the month is free, tickets can be reserved 2 weeks in advance.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Betty Brinn

Soak in the Ambiance of the Milwaukee Public Library Children’s Room

The 125 year old building that serves as the Milwaukee Public Library headquarters is a joy to explore in its entirety, but the Betty Brinn Children’s Room is a unique gem. The beauty of the spacious Renaissance room adorned with colorful kid centric displays makes the area feel welcoming and special. Kids deserve fancy too! Check their calendar for special programming.

Milwaukee in winter with kids library

Play Cafés

For the rare chance to sip a coffee while your toddler is thoroughly absorbed in activities, check out a Play Café!

What a genius concept! Play cafes are a safe space for little ones to explore new activities, interact with other children, and practice sharing and taking turns. Meanwhile, parents caffeinate with coffee or espresso beverages sold onsite.

Little Sprouts Mequon or Shorewood, Bug and Goose Elm Grove or Delafield, or the brand new Little Village Play Café in Wauwatosa

These are play spaces typically set up with structures, pretend play, and reading rooms for ages 6 and under. They serve coffee, light snacks, and beverages. Don’t forget to bring socks for adults and kids!

Springs Water Park at the Ingleside Hotel

Much closer than the mega water parks of Wisconsin Dells, the Ingleside Hotel has a large indoor water park about 25 minutes from downtown Milwaukee.

The space has three large waterslides, a basketball area, lazy river, lily pads, and hot tub for ages 6+.

They also have a large kiddie pool and play structure with smaller slides and a toddler friendly water slide.

When you arrive, request a lock for a locker ($10 refundable down payment) and towel vouchers.

Day passes often sell out, so reserve in advance online! Food items are sold at a discount if pre-purchased online as well.

Once kids are done in the water, they may enjoy the arcade on the 2nd floor.

Admission: Day passes range from $25 (weekday) to $40 (weekend) per person. Depending on the size of your family, it may be advantageous to just book a hotel room with the waterpark included.

Milwaukee in winter with kids Country Springs

Mitchell Park Domes

The best place in Milwaukee to fight the winter blues. Shed those jackets when you walk in the door and escape to the tropic jungle or swap out a rainy Milwaukee day for a dry desert!

My 2 and 4 year olds move pretty quickly through the two ecosytem domes and prefer to spend most of their time in the show dome or at the Education Center (limited hours).

The show dome has rotating exhibits and our family’s favorite is the Train show. You can almost always count on finding Thomas or one of his friends riding the rails.

Admission: Ages 13+ $9, Ages 3-12 $6, 2 and under free.

Kids in Motion or Big Backyard Indoor Playgrounds

Put a dent in their endless energy or celebrate a birthday at one of the area’s indoor Playgrounds. The snack counter has a large variety of kid approved fare for fair prices. Don’t forget to bring socks for adults and kids!

The Milwaukee area’s newest indoor playground is in Brookfield, called “Nugget Nation.”

Admission: $8-9 per visit per child or discounted with multi-use punch card.

Milwaukee in winter with kids Big Backyard

Milwaukee Fire Museum (Free!)

Have a Fire Truck fanatic in your crew? See if your schedule jives with the museum’s limited open hours.

This is a wonderful free museum, but unforunately only open from April – December, on the 1st Sunday of the month, 1 – 3 p.m.

Adventure Rock Climbing

You’ll no doubt be amazed at what your kids can do when up against a rock wall! There are several Adventure Rock Climbing locations in the Milwaukee area. I recommend choosing any of them except Walker’s Point which only has bouldering. Young kids especially will prefer the automatic belay climbs more.

If it is your first visit, staff will guide you through a brief orientation tour to cover safety policies and direct you to age appropriate sections.

Rental equipment is available for a small fee.

Clock Shadow Creamery Tour

Wisconsin and cheese go hand in hand. Don’t leave the state without seeing how it is made and devouring plenty of the product.

Clock Shadow Creamery makes some of our favorite cheese curds too! Buy a fresh batch, they’re best served at room temperature and should squeak when you bite into them. They typically make curds on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Fill out their online form to arrange a tour.

Tour cost: $3 adults, $2 Ages 12 and under

Organ Piper Pizza

One of the Milwaukee Area’s most family friendly dining spots is Organ Piper Pizza. Order a pizza, play in the arcade, and hop on the dance floor while the organist navigates 500+ controls on the Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. Kids will be in awe of the animated décor and for just 25 cents they can ride the carousel!

The musician takes requests and naturally has mastered many Disney favorites from Little Mermaid, to Frozen, to Encanto (even Star Wars!).

Sprecher Brewing Company (Awesome Root Beer)

If you’re looking for a brewery tour you can do with the whole family, check out Sprecher Brewing. Kids can sip one of their many in house soda offerings while learning about the brewing process.

Sky Zone or Urban Air Trampoline Parks

Months later, my son talks about his morning at Sky Zone as the best day of his life.

If you have young kids, our favorite offering there is available all winter long and is called Little Leapers. On Sunday mornings at the Waukesha location, only kids 6 and under are allowed to jump from 9am-11am.

First and Bowl

While we haven’t yet brought our young kids, 1st and Bowl in Wauwatosa would be fantastic for kids 8+ to get a unique spin on their favorite sports.

Reservations are highly recommended to snag a lane of football bowling (throw a football to knock down ten bowling pins before your opponents), basketball connect4, cornhole, or nerf wars. Must be 10+ to play football bowling.

milwaukee indoor activities with kids 1st and bowl

Winkie’s Toys & Variety

Want to find a special gift for a child in your life? Winkie’s in Whitefish Bay has it all. They have so many things you’ve never thought of too! It’s a great spot to shop small and find a truly unique gift.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Toys

The Milwaukee Zoo

Open 365 days per year, who says the zoo is a warm weather outing? Even the carousel is open on moderately cool winter days! Our go to Winter areas are the indoor buildings like: Fish & Reptile (our favorite), Small Mammal, Big Cats, Giraffe, and Elephant.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Zoo

Tralee Irish Imports

Get all your authentic savory and sweet Irish goods at Tralee Irish Imports! They have some incredible Cadbury Easter Treats too that are difficult to find stateside.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Tralee

Rainbow Booksellers

Near Tralee Irish Imports you’ll find Milwaukee’s beloved Children’s Bookstore, Rainbow Booksellers. You have to plan ahead or get lucky to catch them open though, as they are only open Wednesday evenings and Saturdays.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Rainbow Booksellers

Fish Fry with a Side of Polka

Naming a brewery my preferred kid friendly Fish Fry atmosphere is counter-intuitive, but you have got to take your kids for Friday Night Polka and a fry at Lakefront Brewery!

Share an Order of Wisconsin Cheese Curds

Warm up with gooey fried Cheese Curds! Guess what, Lakefront Brewery serves them! We call that a twofer.

Outdoor Things to do – Milwaukee in Winter with Kids

Ice Skate in Red Arrow Park or at the Pettit National Ice Center

Ice Skating at Red Arrow’s Outdoor Rink is a right of passage for any Milwaukeean’s first winter here. Kids can get an assist from the gliding penguins.

Be sure to warm up with a hot coffee or chocolate at Starbucks.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Red Arrow

Snow Tube

About 40 minutes from Milwaukee, you’ll find the self proclaimed “world’s largest tubing hill” at Sunburst. Book online in advance for a two hour slot that costs $20-25.

There’s another tubing hill in Franklin, which is smaller but closer to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee in winter with kids - Sunburst

Ski at Little Switzerland

If you love skiing or snowboarding or would like to take a lesson, check out Little Switzerland! Just 35 minutes from Milwaukee.

Snowshoe at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is a beautiful place to explore year round. In the winter, they load out snowshoes for both adults and kids. They recommend at least 4 inches of snow for the best experience.

As a member, you can use the snowshoes for free.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Nature Center

Retzer Nature Center

A beloved Waukesha County Park, Retzer, has excellent winter trails, but also a beautiful indoor education center and planetarium.

Milwaukee in Winter with Kids Retzer

There you have it, 32 incredible ways to enjoy in Milwaukee in Winter with kids.

Did I miss one of your favorites? Share it below!


  1. Wow, this is such a comprehensive guide! I can’t believe how many indoor things there are to do in Milwaukee with kids, but that’s great, since it’s so cold for most of the year. Indoor mini golf sounds so fun (kids or no kids, haha). Thanks for sharing!

  2. It’s great that there are so many things to do in Milwaukee with the kids. Love the idea of mini golf, it was always a favourite of mine.

  3. The Basilica of St. Josaphat will soon be adding a scavenger hunt for kids to coincide with their new
    self-guided audio tour.

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