Milwaukee may be nicknamed “Brew City” to honor its beer-making heritage, but you don’t have to be 21 and over to have a good time here. Family members of all ages will discover museums, attractions and enough family fun to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Learn how the iconic American motorcycle brand got its start in a Milwaukee shed at the family-friendly Harley-Davidson Museum. Motorcycle lovers could probably spend much of the day ogling the more than 450 “Hogs” and artifacts on display, but even non-enthusiasts will enjoy the interactive as well as visually stunning exhibits.
Highlights include Serial Number One, the oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle in existence; the “exploded bike” display featuring a separated 1940s Knucklehead; Discovery Drawers full of vintage toys; and the Experience Gallery, where you can sit on an actual Harley. The 20-acre campus also has a Harley-themed restaurant and a gift shop.
This 120,000-square-foot attraction isn’t your typical science center. Inside Discovery World, curious minds can pilot a virtual airplane, learn how to weld, build circuits, make their own music, operate an electric mining shovel, send a message in Morse code and more. There’s also an on-site aquarium with touch tanks and scheduled feedings.
Kids gravitate toward the replica Great Lakes Schooner, where they can explore the physics, science and technology of sailing as well as head below deck to experience the living conditions on board. Plan your visit right, and you may even be able to sail on the Denis Sullivan, the center’s operational Great Lakes schooner.
Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum goes out of its way to offer something for all ages. Before you go, download the free Family Touch Tour from the Google Play or App stores for games and videos related to the 30,000 works on display. Or, stop by the ArtPack Station when you arrive to borrow age-appropriate activities during your visit.
When the kids need a break, take them to the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio to make a masterpiece of their own, but keep an eye on the clock. You won’t want to miss the Burke Brise Soleil folding and unfolding its 217-foot wingspan at 10 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., weather permitting.
The brewery tour at Sprecher Brewery isn’t your typical brewery tour. For starters, kids can tag along as the group moves from the brewhouse to the aging cellar, bottling line and warehouse. But, while Mom or Dad sample its beers, kids get unlimited samples of the brewery’s nine sodas: Puma Kola, Cherry Cola, Cherry-Cran, Root Beer, Lo-Cal Root Beer, Cream Soda, Ginger Ale, Grape and Orange Dream.
The Safe House
Hungry? Drop by The Safe House before 8 p.m. If you don’t know the password for this spy-themed restaurant, you’ll have to perform a series of stunts, broadcast on video screens inside the restaurant, to determine you’re a friendly agent, but that’s just part of the fun.
Inside, kids can check out the “disappearing” booth, hidden cameras, safe that’s never been cracked and Cold War memorabilia while waiting for their food. There’s even a magician at the bar! Getting out is almost as challenging as getting in — you’ll have to access a tiny room using your fingerprint, dial in a code to the next room, dash past a guard and escape down a dark staircase.