We recently returned to Wisconsin over the Christmas holidays for a visit with family and friends. One of our first stops was a trip to the Milwaukee Public Museum with some dear friends. Our three preschoolers and one infant all seemed to enjoy the museum. It is large and much of the historical information is somewhat over the heads of our littles ones, but they found many ways to have fun and explore regardless. Us grownups had fun too. I haven't visited the Museum in at least 10 years and was delighted to find that little had changed - in the best possible way.
We started our visit on The Streets of Old Wisconsin. This has always been my absolute favorite part of the Museum. If you only visit one part of the Museum with your little one, go here. It brings to life the textures and sights of the historical streets of Wisconsin. Young children enjoy exploring the cobbled roads and peeking in the windows. These streets wander into a historical look at European homes, which was especially delightful at Christmas time.
Next we headed upstairs. (Riding the escalators were definitely a highlight for the three 3 year olds). Here there were a variety of exhibits which were to advanced for our kids. They were mildly interested in the Native American displays and in some of the animals. There is a frighteningly realistic T-Rex in the museum as well. Older children, especially those interested in dinosaurs, will be fascinated. Our kids had a blast regardless.
Back on the lower level was a Butterfly Exhibit. I feel people have strong opinions one way or another about butterfly exhibits. My husband hates the idea of butterflies landing on him, I think it's pretty neat. Children are of course the same way. Some will love it, some will be frightened. However, this was my son's favorite part. He was desperate to have a butterfly land on him and demonstrated remarkable patience and focus in his pursuit. He was thrilled (and I was relieved) when he finally got a butterfly on his finger.
Overall, it was fun. Beforehand I was slightly hesistant to take little children to this museum. I was delighted to find it child friendly and full of enough excitment to keep our busy ones interested. If we lived nearby, we would certainly visit again soon - especially with this cold weather upon us.
*I recommend visiting on a weekday morning. It is uncrowded. We had most of the museum to ourselves.
*It is a LOT of walking. Make sure your child(ren) are well rested and recently fed.
*Don't feel bad about not seeing everything. Pick a few things you believe will be most interesting and follow their lead.
*There is an IMAX theater also at the museum.
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