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.
A Garden for Curious Kids
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
Friday Flicks – Elm Grove
The 2023 schedule will be posted here.
Moonlit Movies – Oconomowoc
Watch their Website for 2023 dates.
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.
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, $9 for adults.
For Truck, Train, & Airplane Obsessed Children (& Adults)
Attend “Touch a Truck” – Sussex and Greenfield
Our 2 year old was in Heaven seeing the trucks up close. Greenfield, New Berlin, and Sussex have hosted in the past. Watch for 2023 event dates to be released.
Hit Up “Kids Building Wisconsin”
This construction themed event will blow kids’ minds. Save the date for May 20, 2023 in Fitchburg! Registration is open as of January 24, 2023! Sign up now for this FREE event as space is limited.
Ride the Electric Railroad and Visit the East Troy Railroad Museum
While you’re in East Troy, don’t miss J Lauber’s Historic Ice Cream Parlor for a malt or sundae.
I feel my mouth salivating just thinking about this place. We grabbed a sundae and sat on the sidewalk watching the trolley go by. J Lauber’s gave me my change with a 50 cent coin which made for another special ‘treasure’ to show my toddler.
Ride The Hop Downtown
The Hop is downtown Milwaukee’s free-to-ride Street Car. Stop off at Cathedral Square Park for a picnic and to burn off some energy or ride it to grab lunch at the Milwaukee Public Market.
Plates with a Side of Planes
Each Friday, starting in June through September the Waukesha County Airport hosts Food Truck Friday.
Get Soaked at All the Splash Pads
I learned a pro-tip this year from a friend after she saw how tentative my then 3 year old was about the splash pad on our arrival. Pack plastic cups! Yep, it was that easy. We handed him a plastic cup and now he had a mission; fill, pour, repeat. In no time at all he went from clinging to my leg to running through the water and having a blast.
Here are some excellent Splash Pads in the Milwaukee Area.
Hart Park Splash Pad – Wauwatosa
Elm Grove Park Splash Pad ($)
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
Waukesha County Fair
Checkout Wisconsin’s oldest county fair on July 20-24, 2022
Kids will love the Dachshund Derby, polka dancing, and the German Fairy Tale Parade! Check out German Fest on July 29-31, 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
August 18-21, 2022
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.
Little Amerricka – Marshall, WI
Little Amerika feels like old Americana and is wonderfully tailored to younger kids. Check out their rides, here.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.