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Looking for outdoor activities that will thrill the kids? Milk every ounce out of our unbeatable Wisconsin summers with these affordable 53 places to find Milwaukee kids’ activities.

We are on a mission to expose our 2 and 4 year olds to as many environments and experiences as possible while staying close to home this summer. A few of the items below are on the docket for 2023 adventures.

Below are 53 Milwaukee Kids’ Activities to relish the warm weather months.

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A Garden for Curious Kids

Margie’s Garden

In 2022, the Boerner Botanical Gardens opened a children’s garden called “Margie’s Garden.”

Kids can skip through the gardens, tiptoe across a troll bridge, climb their hearts out, read stories, and play pretend. Bring a picnic and spend 2-3 hours giving them unstructured play.

It is a beautiful tribute to a former educator and passionate gardener Margie Kezman who was lost to cancer in 2019.

Free Outdoor Shows

Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Show

Free. Every Thursday at 6:30pm

Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Show

Friday Flicks – Elm Grove

The 2023 schedule will be posted here.

Moonlit Movies – Oconomowoc

Watch their Website for 2023 dates.

Moonlit Movies - Oconomowoc

Concerts in the Park

Here are three choice parks for outdoor concerts. They each offer play structures to keep your little ones entertained.

Tosa Tonight Hart Park – Wauwatosa

Wednesdays at 6pm*There’s a splash pad here too!

Nixon Park Concert Series – Hartland

Thursdays at 7pm: *Also has a splash pad!

Summer Sounds at Cedar Creek Park, Cedarburg

Fridays at 6:30pm. Food trucks are available onsite, pack a picnic, or grab takeout from a Cedarburg eatery.

Kids Summer Sounds Cedarburg | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee
Summer Sounds

Animal Encounters

Get up close and personal at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Zoo days are a favorite Milwaukee kids’ activity for our boys.

Stroll through Shalom Wildlife Park

Feed the animals at Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm

This petting zoo is a gem giving kids a wonderfully interactive experience! For a $10 per person (Free under 1 year old) you’ll find a solid variety of animals, including the curious and playful lemurs!

Sports Related – Get in the Game

Give Minor League Baseball a Shot

Catch a minor league game in Franklin and cheer on the Milwaukee Milkmen. Tickets right behind home plate are extremely affordable so it is more likely you’ll keep our kid’s attention while they’re immersed in the action vs. in the grandstands at the Brewers Stadium.

Grab your Peanuts and Experience a Brewers Game at American Family Field

If it is your child’s first Brewer Game, make sure to pick up one of these certificates as a memento!

Remember, you’re allowed to carry in one factory sealed water, soda, or juice per person (32 oz. or smaller). They also will allow a personal size food item (e.g., a sandwich, small bag of snacks or fruit).

If your child wants to explore or run, check out the playground and activity area for kids. The Aurora Health Care® KidZone is located behind section 406.

Morning Mini Golf

Moorland Golf Center is a local fan favorite for metro-Milwaukee mini golf. Plus, it is wheelchair/stroller friendly!

If you’re heading out on a weekend, you might find less of a crowd at Swing Time in Germantown. Swing Time is our go to with the boys who love the three waterfalls and the ducks.

Kid Friendly Golf Course

Let your little one swing their heart out at a family friendly course like Lake Park’s Par 3. No tee time required and it’s only $7 for kids, $9 for adults.

Toddler Golf Wisconsin| Kids Golf Wisconsin | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee
Our Future Pro

For Truck, Train, & Airplane Obsessed Children (& Adults)

Attend “Touch a Truck” – Sussex and Greenfield

Our 2 year old was in Heaven seeing the trucks up close. Greenfield, New Berlin, and Sussex have hosted in the past. Watch for 2023 event dates to be released.

Hit Up “Kids Building Wisconsin”

This construction themed event will blow kids’ minds. Save the date for May 20, 2023 in Fitchburg! Registration is open as of January 24, 2023! Sign up now for this FREE event as space is limited.

Ride the Electric Railroad and Visit the East Troy Railroad Museum

Kids East Troy Wisconsin | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee

While you’re in East Troy, don’t miss J Lauber’s Historic Ice Cream Parlor for a malt or sundae.

I feel my mouth salivating just thinking about this place. We grabbed a sundae and sat on the sidewalk watching the trolley go by. J Lauber’s gave me my change with a 50 cent coin which made for another special ‘treasure’ to show my toddler.

Ride The Hop Downtown

The Hop is downtown Milwaukee’s free-to-ride Street Car. Stop off at Cathedral Square Park for a picnic and to burn off some energy or ride it to grab lunch at the Milwaukee Public Market.

Plates with a Side of Planes

Each Friday, starting in June through September the Waukesha County Airport hosts Food Truck Friday.

Food Truck Friday at the Waukesha County Airport

Get Soaked at All the Splash Pads

I learned a pro-tip this year from a friend after she saw how tentative my then 3 year old was about the splash pad on our arrival. Pack plastic cups! Yep, it was that easy. We handed him a plastic cup and now he had a mission; fill, pour, repeat. In no time at all he went from clinging to my leg to running through the water and having a blast.

Here are some excellent Splash Pads in the Milwaukee Area.

Hart Park Splash Pad – Wauwatosa

Elm Grove Park Splash Pad ($)

This Splash Pad is inside of the Community Pool area so there is a fee to enter giving you access to both the pool and splash pad. It’s about $9.50 per person (non-resident) or $6.50 for Elm Grove residents.

Elm Grove Splash Pad
Elm Grove Splash Pad

Hickory Park Splash Pad – Jackson

Menomonee Falls Village Park (Opening in 2023)

A circular splash pad with fountains and lighting effects is scheduled to open in 2023 right next to the beautiful new all abilities playground.

Sussex Village Park

Beach Bumming

Our favorite Family Beach spots are the following because they are family oriented, have plenty of parking, and offer other things to do like playgrounds or trails.

As parents, a day at the beach is far from relaxing. Lather on the sunscreen and follow the kids’ lead and you’ll have one of the best beach days ever.

Grant Park Beach – Free Milwaukee County Park

It’s easy to spend a day at Grant Park which sprawls along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. (Park Map)

  • Build Sand Castles and Splash in the Shore
  • Explore the several trails, including the beautiful seven bridges trail.
  • Picnic on the Beach or in the Park
  • Try Frisbee Golf
  • Hit up the playgrounds

Pewaukee Lake

Pair beach time with Pewaukee’s free Thursday night Water Ski Show mentioned above! There are numerous restaurants from which to grab takeout for a picnic on the beach.

Kids Pewaukee, Wisconsin | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee

Fox Brook Park – Waukesha County Park

Daily / Annual Fee applies. What we like about Fox Brook’s manmade pond and beach is that there are designated swimming areas, clean facilities, plenty of parking, and a fun playground. They even have peddle boat rentals!

Beer Gardens

Reward yourself after a busy day out and about with the kids.

Lifesize Lincoln Logs, Live Music, and Brews at Depot Beer Garden

Our new Beer Garden of choice is the quiet Depot Beer Garden in Menomonee Falls. The best part of it was the life size Lincoln Log set that entertained my 3 year old for an hour. It was fascinating to watch a group of 3 through 7-year-olds mobilize a mini construction crew and build a little cabin with no adult intervention.

Kid Friendly Beer Garden | Menomonee Falls Beer Garden | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee

Catch a Pop-up Beer Garden

We are partial to the Raised Grain’s Traveling Beer Garden because they have some of our favorite local brews like the Naked Threesome and the Summer Ale.

Pick a stop that also offers a beach and playground (like Menomonee Park) and you have a trifecta!

Stop By One of These Permanent Beer Gardens

Both of these often feature live music as well. Fingers crossed it’s Polka!

The Landing at Hoyt Park – Wauwatosa

Estabrook Beer Garden – Milwaukee

Support a Local Farmer’s Market

Start your morning with a productive trip to a farmer’s market as a family.

West Bend Farmer’s Market

West Bend’s Market astonished us and remains one of our most loved. It is right up there with Madison and Waukesha’s and parking is much easier and so is pushing a stroller! Every Saturday 7:30am-11:00am.

Our son enjoys the free balloon animals.

Free Balloon Animals at West Bend's Farmers Market | Kid Friendly Farmers Market | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee
Free Balloon Animals at West Bend’s Farmers Market

Waukesha Farmers Market

Waukesha’s local market runs Saturdays 8am-12pm

Menomonee Falls Farmers Market

My local market. It’s open on Wednesdays and Sundays in Village Park.

Fancy a Festival?

Many events have returned to the City of Festivals in 2021. Here are our top picks for young kids:

The Bristol Renaissance Faire – Kenosha

Saturdays 10am-7pm

Waukesha County Fair

Checkout Wisconsin’s oldest county fair on July 20-24, 2022

German Fest

Kids will love the Dachshund Derby, polka dancing, and the German Fairy Tale Parade! Check out German Fest on July 29-31, 2022

German Fest Milwaukee | German Fest with Kids Wisconsin | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee
German Fest Milwaukee will return in 2022

Ozaukee County Fair

August 3rd – 7th 2022 – Ozaukee County Fair is one of the last remaining FREE fairs.

Wisconsin State Fair

August 4-14, 2022

Irish Fest

August 18-21, 2022

Mexican Fiesta

August 26-28, 2022

Pint Size Amusement Parks – Day Trips from Milwaukee

Bay Beach – Green Bay, WI

I have vivid memories of visiting Bay Beach as a child myself. I felt like a superhero the first time I dared to ride the giant slide and I can still smell my cousin’s vomit after the Ferris Wheel.

Back then, tickets were only 10 cents a piece! They are still shockingly affordable though, at 25 cents. With the biggest thrill rides requiring only 4 tickets.

38. Bay Beach - Green Bay, WI   | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee

Little Amerricka – Marshall, WI

Little Amerika feels like old Americana and is wonderfully tailored to younger kids. Check out their rides, here.

Natural Areas

Take a Hike at one of the 15 State Parks near Milwaukee

Hike Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve in Grafton (25 minutes north of Downtown)

A short hike (10 minutes) will reward you with views over Lake Michigan atop a 90′ bluff. Another 15 minutes will take you down a long staircase to access a quiet and gorgeous beach.

Entertain your 2-7 year old with a nature scavenger hunt.

Get Out On the Water

I personally love kayaking, but I’m 90% confident we’d end up in the drink with our 1 and 4 year old so we will hold off a couple more years. Anyone had success in a kayak with littles? Let me know how you pulled it off in the comments below.

Cruise the River, Harbor, and Learn Milwaukee’s History

Edelweiss offers a variety of cruise types.

Kids Lake Michigan | Kid Friendly Milwaukee Boat | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee

Rent a Swan Boat at Veteran’s Park

From the Field

Pick Fresh Strawberries at Brehmer’s U-Pick

Go Apple Picking

Looking for the best area orchards? Check out: You had me at Honeycrisp. 8 Apple Orchard Trips from Milwaukee

Kid Friendly Apple Picking | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee | Wisconsin Orchard

Primo Playgrounds

Conquer a New Play Structure

MKE With Kids has an excellent blog about the best Metro Milwaukee Playgrounds. I pinned all of them in Google Maps for when I’m in the area.

In addition, the Henry Maier Festival Park (Summerfest Grounds) overhauled its playground in 2020! I was in awe and had just as much fun as my kids. It was designed with all abilities in mind.

Finish Your Day with Something Sweet & Sticky

Eat All The Custard

My personal favorite custard is from Kopp’s. I particularly like their Brookfield location for its outdoor seating. Leon’s has a fun ‘drive-in’ style so they take second. Oscar’s and Gilles are tied for third place.

Kid Friendly Milwaukee | Outdoor Kid Activities Near Milwaukee
Kopp’s Burgers and Custard Brookfield

Wisconsin Worthy Ice Cream

If you prefer Ice Cream to Custard, see yourself out. You can exit through Purple Door where, lucky for you, you’ll find fifty fantastic flavors of Wisconsin’s favorite Ice Cream.

person holding ice cream with cone

Find the WOW Factor at Better Together Café

This South Milwaukee gem has a standard menu of droolworthy milkshakes and a rotating monthly feature. Check these out from March and July 2022.

Milwaukee Kids' Activities Summer Better Together Cafe

I hope you enjoyed this round up of Milwaukee kids’ activities!

Looking for a micro-adventure? Sheboygan is a kid-friendly overnight getaway from Milwaukee.

One more time?

Milwaukeeans, what else are you doing this summer in and around Milwaukee? Let us know in the comments below.

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