Milwaukee: Trip on Tank

By: Phil Levin Email
By: Phil Levin Email

If your family is considering a change of scenery this summer, consider a trip to Milwaukee. You can get there on much less than a tank, and have a lot of fun too.

Below are some of the highlights from our Trips on a Tank series.

Milwaukee County Zoo

Beginning Saturday, the Zoo will open an immerse new butterfly exhibit.

"People will walk in, there will be butterflies that are feeding at certain stands," said Craig Berg, the Reptiles and Aquarium Curator. Patrons will walk in a room filled with up to 500 flying butterflies from 30 different species.

"A lot of the colors are actually warnings to let birds and other animals know that they are distasteful," said Berg. "Because they're so colorful animals are likely to remember if they've ever tried them and discovered they're bitter and avoid them in the future."

The zoo also offers other favorite animals as well, like bears, big cats, apes, elephants, giraffes and many more.

Betty Brinn Children's Museum

The museum is a fun stop for kids on both rainy and sunny days. One of the highlights is a miniature town permanent exhibit.

“We are in the hometown area, it's out kid-sized community,” said Michele Duranso. “We have a little grocery store, super service center is out auto mechanic shop, a bank, a bus to get around, and it basically teaches families and kids how commerce works."

“We'll be opening our ABC garden in June which is our balcony garden and we have plants that start from A to Z and the kids can learn a little bit about gardening."

Discovery World

A trip to Milwaukee doesn't just showcase a new city, but also new worlds.

At Discovery World, a new interactive museum along the lakefront, one of the favorite stops is the aquarium.

“Around me you'll see there are lots of different fish and fauna that are found in the Caribbean," said Dave Gahl.

Fish from the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast fill tanks overhead and underfoot.

"We've got the puffer fish which guests like, we've got a blue durgon, lots of other fish swimming around in their natural environment," said Hagl.

And if science isn't your thing, try sound. A Les Paul collection chronicles his upbringing in Waukesha and world-famous guitars and inventions. You can see some of his most well-known and most expensive models.

The Domes

Although Miller Park, the home of the Brewers, is probably Milwaukee’s busiest dome, just down the street three other domes dominate the skyline.

The Mitchell Park Horticultural Domes have been around since the sixties. Staff say they're a favorite spot for a winter change of scenery, and for photos, and even weddings.

"It's the best environment, everything is controlled, the humidity is controlled, the temperature is controlled, so it's ideal circumstances for these plants to grow in," said Executive Director Sandy Foleron.

Three domes house a local, tropical, and desert climate.

"You'll see things in there that you'd never see out in the wild because we don't have the insects, and we don't have the animals or the wind or the weather that might destroy or hurt a plant, said Foleron.

Historical Segway Tours

Milwaukee’s lakefront is both scenic and dense with attractions. Walking to each could take the better part of a day, but riding on a Segway shortens the trip.

"You can see in 15 or 20 minutes what it would take you walking an hour," said Pete French. He owns Milwaukee Bike & Skate Rental in Veterans Park.

French rents surrey multi-person bicycles, rollerblades, and bicycles. He also leads the Segway tours along the lakefront.

"We go all along the lakefront right up from the point here from the north gap and we go down to the middle gap way down by the red lighthouse we go through Discovery World up on top of the art museum," said French.

You have to be fourteen to ride but French says you don't have to have great balance. He leads hundreds of riders every year and says almost everyone learns in only a few minutes.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Maybe the most striking spot on the lakefront is the art museum's new pavilion. With wings that open to the sky some call it a sailboat, others a soaring bird.

“The Milwaukee Art Museum is 125 years old but the building behind me the Quadracci Pavilion is celebrating its 10th anniversary and it was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and his vision for the building was to connect the city of Milwaukee to the beautiful lakefront," said Kristin Settle.

Inside, staff are busy assembling a new exhibit on Chinese Art set to open in a couple weeks.

"This summer we're celebrating the summer of China which is 5 exhibitions celebrating 3,000 years of Chinese art and architecture in the City of Milwaukee so we have 5 concurrent exhibitions that are running."

If kids aren't into art by Monet, Renois, Lichtenstein, or Warhol, they can make their own.

“You can come and create your own art you can take it home. There’s all kinds of interactive things for kids to do there and the other one is our Kohl’s Art Generation Gallery called Just the Right Size and its a big room full of building blocks and doll houses and toys and its a lot of fun to come and play."

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