Milwaukee, Wisconsin may not top your list of family vacation spots, but how about rethinking that list? Milwaukee has tons to offer kids and families, starting with these…
Milwaukee is known for its green: parks, that is. There is a park for every day of the week in the Milwaukee area. As the mother of three boys, we have tried them all. Top star ratings go to these:
1. Possibility Playground in Port Washington. Located on an Upper Lake Bluff, the view is spectacular and worth the 40 minute drive from Milwaukee. Your children will never see a larger park than this one. Eye-popping and the size of a football field, they’ll be busy for hours. Named Possibility Park since all equipment is wheelchair accessible, which makes the extra ramps safe for the little ones, and even more fun for the bigger kids. There is equipment for children who use sign language, there is braille, there are hand rails along the timber walks for those that need it. This is not just a park, but an experience. This is an amazing, one-of-a-kind playground you just have to visit to believe.
2. All Children’s Park in Cedarburg. Only 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, and named All Children’s since its all-timber playground equipment is wheel chair accessible–making it double the fun for everyone. Clean, spacious, green, and expansive, plenty of shade, large restrooms readily available, with picnic benches amidst. Absolutely incredible park set alongside the Cedarburg Community Pool with a zero-depth area in the pool for infants. Toddler swings, regular swings, plenty of bridges and tube slides, as well as climbing inclines matted with tires. A lagoon nearby creates a whisper of a wind on warm summer days.
3. Carver Park in Milwaukee. Whoa–an eyeful of playground equipment as huge as an alien spaceship. My children almost didn’t wait for me to park the car when they first caught sight of this park. Gargantuan play gym–minutes from downtown and right off the freeway. Picnic shelters, tables and a colorful splash pad. There is a kiddie pool, baseball diamond, a soccer field, and a large pavilion with clean rest rooms nearby. In the summer, the water park is free! I have to say it again: This park is enormous.
4. One of my favorite restaurants is the German Mader’s Restaurant. As much as for the gastronomical proportions (not for the dainty eater) as well as the comfort food quality. You can eat to your heart and stomach’s content with hardy dishes like sauerbraten, schnitzel, and rouladen. This restaurant is first on everyone’s list. The 106-year-old Mader’s Restaurant has been visited by Presidents Kennedy, Ford, and Reagan. Dining in this old world architectural delight will leave you with an evening to remember. With flavor and atmosphere of Old World Europe, the menu offerings transport you to Germany instantly. You’ll dine amid a stunning $3 million dollar collection of art, suits of medieval armor and antiques dating back to the 14th century. Mader’s has been voted the most famous German restaurant in North America and houses the world’s largest Hummel collection.
5. The best kids’ restaurant in Milwaukee is Bravo! Cucina Italiana! Your child can make his own pizza! The waitstaff walks the mound of dough over, and your child shapes it, then adds his own toppings. Then they get to go to the kitchen and watch them put their very own pizza in the authentic pizza oven from Italy! Oh my gosh… sensational sophisticated menu for kids, too. Like breaded grilled salmon with dill sauce, spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, mac and cheese, and make your own pizza. Such a memory maker!
6. Take a tour at the nationally famous Palermo’s Pizza factory. For just $5 per person, you will receive a tour of the facility, a slice of Palermo’s pizza in the café and a Palermo’s souvenir. Yum!
7. The Art Museum designed by Spain’s Calatrava, where 1500 works of art are on display. It has a kid-loving gift shop sure to please and a cafe with plenty of kid-friendly (and healthy!) options.
8. The Milwaukee Public Museum has something for everyone. Take a small step back in time to the turn-of-the-century Streets of Old Milwaukee and European Village and to ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Or, take a giant leap back more than 65 million years to The Third Planet, see the world’s largest-known dinosaur skull and a life-sized replica of Tyrannosaurus rex. Stroll amid free-flying butterflies from around the world in The Puelicher Butterfly Wing.
9. The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, is a Milwaukee landmark and treasured educational organization for locals and visitors alike. Especially great for kids ten and under.
10. For the serious diner, (if you can ditch the kids!) you can’t beat Sanford’s. Chef Sanford D’Amato, yes – the national award winning Sanford D’amato, treats you as if you are the most important customer in the world. Quaint as quaint can be, this restaurant is housed in what once was Sanford’s family’s grocery store. This is the very Sanford that cooked for Julia Child’s 80th birthday party. Hard to beat credentials like that. Simply one of the best restaurants in the state of Wisconsin. Come only if you’re serious about food and wine. Dining here is a once in a lifetime chance.
Got some favorite spots in Milwaukee? Share them in the comments!