School just started but do you already feel the need for a family break? If you have a free weekend why not plan a mini road trip to Milwaukee, our friendly neighbor to the north where you'll family activities galore! A fair warning - don't attempt to visit everything all in one weekend! Lucky for us, Milwaukee is just a quick drive away.
Where to play:
Even if you aren't much of a Harley fan, you'll appreciate the Harley-Davidson Museum's well-thought-out exhibits with over 500 motorcycles, interactive areas for the youngest fans and a ton of photo opportunities for kids (and parents!) to pretend to ride off into the sunset!
If you have kids with a lot of energy - and who doesn't? - head to the highly rated Betty Brinn Children's Museum where kids can let loose. Older children will shriek with excitement at the three-story play structure while the younger set will have fun exploring Home Town, a revamped kids-size community sporting a brand new Harley-Davidson dealership. A large play area complete with a tree house slide, sand area and water play will entertain the tots.
For more hands-on learning, visit Discovery World where science, technology, innovation and environmental science meet. Plan to spend at least half a day here - there's that much to see! But if you're pressed for time, you won't want to miss their aquarium or their 1900's recreated schooner.
If the kids (or you!) find poop fascinating, you won't want to miss the Milwaukee Public Museum's newest exhibit based on the popular book by Dr. Wayne Lynch, "The Scoop on Poop." Make sure to save time for the museum's butterfly vivarium where you can walk amongst free-flying butterflies, stroll through Milwaukee's streets of yesteryear or take a peek at the world's largest dinosaur skull.
Sure, Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo are great, but they're missing one animal that we love - the elephant! When my family wants to see them we head to one of our other favorite zoos, the Milwaukee County Zoo. Take some time to monkey around at the Monkey House, feed a giraffe or choo choo chug away on the mini train!
Although baseball season is coming to a close, be sure to mark your calendars next spring for a game at Miller Park. The sausage races alone are worth the trip, but we found that the stadium is very family-friendly with an area made for kids including a replica Bernie Brewer slide and clubhouse, pitching cages and batting cages. To add to the excitement (and to avoid feelings of guilt visiting the "other" team) come here to cheer on the Cubbies when they're playing the Brewers!
Where to chow down:
You and the family could probably spend an entire weekend just eating your way through "Brew City" Milwaukee. And yes, there is more than just beer and brats there!
For fun on Fridays dine at Lakefront Brewery for the infamous Captain Rusty's Fish Fry where there's Polka music wafting through the air and an electric atmosphere where you won't be ashamed of your children's loud mouths.
Try Blues Egg, a wildly popular restaurant that combines old world ingredients and fresh products which results in a diverse menu and delicious food. They donate a portion of their daily egg plate to a different charity each month.
For a unique spin (pun intended!) on eating with the family, head to the trendy hot spot SPiN! Milwaukee, and challenge each other with a round of ping-pong while waiting for your food. Try their Ooey Gooey Mac and Cheese Truffle Burger. You can thank me later!
Do you have picky eaters? Then you have to stop by the Milwaukee Public Market. With 16 vendors that specialize in Wisconsin products, you'll be hard-pressed to find something you and your kids don't like. At Green Kitchen, healthy food is the name of the game. Or taste different cheeses at West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe.
Where to stay:
Parents looking for a family friendly (and pet-friendly) hotel with a great location should look no further than the Hilton Milwaukee City Center located right in downtown. If you don't mind being away from downtown stay at Staybridge Suites Milwaukee Airport South. They offer a "home away from home" atmosphere with a very convenient kitchenette including a fridge, microwave and dishwasher. Don't miss their free hearty breakfast - one of the best we've seen!
Cheryl Eugenio is a wife and mommy to two toddler boys who are officially addicted to traveling and exploring Chicagoland and beyond.
See more of Cheryl's stories here.