Waukesha County Parks
Waukesha County maintains eight parks, most of which are larger than those in Milwaukee County. For example, Minooka Park, on East Sunset Drive in Waukesha, covers 580 acres. The park system offers many special events throughout the year; the events calendar is on the web site. The Waukesha County parks charge entrance fees. These fees are per vehicle, rather than per person. On weekdays, the fees are $3.00 per car, or $18.00 per bus (10 or more people per vehicle). On weekends, the fees are $5.00 per car and $25.00 per bus. For individual family vehicles, there is an annual park sticker available.
All Waukesha County parks boast features that make them great for kids. The Information & Activity Guide contains a map and table showing the amenities available in each park. For example, Minooka Park, offers the following:
- Archery with Tower
- Swimming beach
- Drinking Water
- Play Fields
- Concessions (summer only)
- Group Camping
- Hiking Trail
- Nature Trail
- Sand Volleyball
If groups plan to make use of the park pools or beaches (where applicable), please call Holly Glainyk in advance to ensure that there will be sufficient lifeguards staffed during the visit. She can be reached at (262) 896-8074.
For more information, call (262) 548-7801 or visit www.waukeshacountyparks.com
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee WI 53217
Open between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week
The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is a 185-acre stretch of undisturbed land along the Lake Michigan shore. Visitors who want to escape the city’s concrete and asphalt can hike six miles of trails, walk along the beach, or enjoy a spectacular view from the Center’s 60-foot observation tower. Visitors can also attend programs and workshops, see nature exhibits, meet the resident raptors—eagles, owls, and more—even go geocaching.
Admission is $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for children.
The Center offers a variety of special events, tours, nature programs, school programs, and summer camps.
For more information, call (414) 352-2880 or visit www.schlitzauduboncenter.com
Gift of Wings and Milwaukee Bike and Skate Rental
Veterans Park, Milwaukee Lakefront
In Veterans Park, near the marina, stand two small nondescript buildings that house very cool activities for kids. One of them houses Gift of Wings, a kite store. The other serves as the headquarters of Milwaukee Bike and Skate Rental.
Gift of Wings has kites available in all shapes, sizes and prices, many very reasonable. The staff can show kids how to construct the kites, and even show kids how to fly them. Since Gift of Wings is located on the lakefront, there’s usually a good breeze just outside the store’s front door. In fact, the Milwaukee lakefront is ranked as one of the top ten places in the country to fly kites.
If your group would like assistance building and flying their kites, it’s best to call ahead.
For more information, call (414) 273-5483, or visit www.giftofwings.com
Milwaukee Bike and Skate Rental has some regular—and some unusual—vehicles available at reasonable hourly rates. How unusual? Try four kinds of pedal-powered “skelters,” which is Dutch for go-cart. Or try one of two sizes of “coyote bike,” a cross between a lawn chair, a wheelchair and a tricycle. Another option is a four-person, pedal-powered surrey… with a fringe on top.
In-line skates, mountain bikes and paddleboats are also available. A release form is required, and it’s a good idea to call ahead to confirm that they’re open since their business is weather-related. Standard hours of operation are between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day.
For more information, call (414) 273-1343 or www.milwbikeskaterental.com
Manfred Olson Planetarium
UW-Milwaukee Campus, Physics Bldg.
At the Manfred Olson Planetarium on the UW-Milwaukee campus, kids who want to try stargazing can attend a one-hour show that features a guided tour of the constellations visible in the evening, night and morning skies. With advance notice, visitors can choose a program topic, such as the planets, the seasons, or the life cycles of stars. The program can also be adapted to the age level of a group, from third grade on up.
There are planned program events many evenings; some of these events are FREE and some involve a cost. Check the web site schedule for events and fees. Event shows typically run weekly for a period of time and then change, so keep checking for new information.
Programs are available Monday through Friday during daytime hours. Call to schedule a visit and request a particular type of program. The fee for a planetarium show is $25 per group, for up to 75 people.
The fee for hands-on activities ranges from $25 to $50 depending on the size and age of the group, and the particular activities chosen. The activities can last between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the activity and the age of the group. Please contact Jean Creighton for more information and reservations.
Visit the web site for public viewing times, event schedules and summer camps.
For more information call UWM Planetarium Reservations, (414) 229-4961, email Jean at email@example.com, or visit www4.uwm.edu/planetarium
Larson's Famous Clydesdales
W12654 Reeds Corner Rd., Ripon
This is one of the only places in the United States where visitors can see Clydesdale horses up close and personal. It all happens during an exciting, entertaining, 90-minute guided tour that includes a Grandstand Show.
Larson’s operates from mid-May through mid-October. Admission is $5.00 for children, $15.00 for adults. Groups of 35 or more are $14 per person. Rservations are a good idea. Check the web site for coupon offers.
For more information, call (920) 748-5466, or visit www.larsonsclydesdales.com
5006 S. Sylvania Avenue, Sturtevant
Apple Holler is more than just a restaurant in Sturtevant, it’s also an active farm with a lot of fun educational programs for kids. Each season brings new activities and events for kids of all ages. There are per-person fees that vary by event. Check the web site for the event schedule and fees.Group outings are theme-focused to be educational and fun. Groups of fewer than 20 children may be combined. Reservations are required. Many outings are $7.00 per person but fees do vary.
For more information or to arrange a tour call Sheryl at (262) 884-7100 or visit www.appleholler.com/school-programs.htm
9160 S. Pennsylvania Avenue, Oak Creek
Preschoolers and teenagers gain confidence and skills as they explore their dance, music and acting talents. Group pre-ballet, ballet, hip hop, poms, tap and dance sampler classes are offered by age group. Choose from group piano and guitar lessons, or private piano, voice, guitar, acting, and dance lessons.
Summer camps include acting, music and dance sports, arts and crafts – all in air-conditioned comfort – plus outdoor games and activities.
For more information, call (414) 768-0101 or visit www.OakCreekPerformingArts.com
Kids Bowl Free
Not much is more Milwaukee than bowling! Kids get two FREE games of bowling daily all summer long! Just go the web site, select your nearby bowling alley and register your kids. You will be encouraged to buy a Family Bowling Pass, but no purchase is required for your kids to bowl FREE.
For more information, call (414) 768-0101 or visit www.kidsbowlfree.com