Perched on the edge of Lake Michigan, within walking distance from the art museum and children’s museum, is a budding scientist’s paradise. Milwaukee’s Discovery World is a delightful mix of hands-on technology, local history and a small aquarium. Only an hour’s drive north, it’s a smaller scale science center that has a lot to offer.
The technology exhibits are where we started. From the outside it looks deceivingly small, but the building actually stretches for three stories and has hundreds of exhibits tucked inside. Kids of all ages can use a robotic machine to create animals out of foam that you can then assemble and take home. My kids were fascinated by the multiple steps it took the robot to create their simple animal. Entire families with children ages five and older will enjoy the Kohl’s Design It Lab, where you can learn and assemble 3D projects to take home. It doesn’t get much more hands-on than this!
From hair raising electromagnetic fields, to laying on beds of nails, to piloting an airplane or a race car, to experiencing the magic of sound in the Les Paul guitar exhibit, everyone is bound to try out something new. Our family’s favorite experience was the Hive, a mirror covered dome that is actually a mini, 360 degrees IMAX that only five people can enter at a time. I highly recommend that you sign up for a time slot for this exhibit when you arrive to get a spot before they fill up. When it’s your turn, slip on the Crocs shoes they provide and the 3D headgear, and enter for a wild ride. Our family took a turn on a roller coaster over the Grand Canyon, and my body definitely thought it was soaring on the rails as evidenced by the number of times my stomach dropped. Next time we will try out the solar system to experience floating in space!
Exploring and Adventure
When you’ve had your fill of technology, head down to the aquarium section of the museum. You can literally be suspended over Lake Michigan in a giant boat that kids can explore, and then descend into the depths to see and touch local native fish and salt water varieties as well. The periscope peering into Milwaukee was my kids favorite part. It was miraculous to them that they could be under the water and see onto the top of the water at the same time.
We spent a good six hours at the museum and still had more left to visit. While there is something for all ages, it definitely is geared towards grade school ages. My four-year-old enjoyed herself, but wasn’t as enthralled as my seven-year-old. So pack a picnic lunch, put on your walking shoes, and learn some more about this amazing world we live in! The best part is, if you have a Museum of Science and Industry membership, admission is free!
- Parking onsite is $6-$16 depending on length of time, and fills quickly on busy days. Street parking is available as well. If you choose to arrive by boat there are also docks available for $20,
- There are lots of tables to eat at, and it is permissible to bring food in, although they have a small snack bar with hot dogs, pizza, etc.,
- Strollers are allowed, but the exhibit area is tight,
- Lockers are available in the parking area, and
- There are changing tables in the restrooms.
500 N. Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI | (414) 765-9966
What is your favorite place to visit in Milwaukee? Tell us about it in the comments section below.