Father-son weekend in Milwaukee
August 23, 2012 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan an awesome father-son trip to Milwaukee with my 7-year-old!

1. The main logistical question is: where to stay? We're going to see the Brewers play a Saturday evening game. Does it make sense to stay at a hotel in the general vicinity of Miller Park (e.g. the Best Western in Brookfield) and take the hotel shuttle to and from the game? (The last time we went, I remember parking and getting in and out of Miller Park as a colossal hassle, but for all I know, maybe hotel shuttles are a hassle too.) Is there a hotel in downtown Milwaukee that offers shuttle service to the ballgame? That would save us having to drive back and forth to downtown to see other attractions on Sunday and/or Monday. Or should I forget about the shuttle, book a hotel downtown, and drive there after the game?

2. Possible destinations: Milwaukee Zoo, Discovery World (he's been there before and really wants to go back), Milwaukee Public Museum, Safe House, the Domes, Speed Queen BBQ, Harley-Davidson Museum, American Science and Surplus (He's been to the Milwaukee Art Museum and negged it for this trip.) What am I missing? And which of these are missable? (We won't have time to do it all...) Stuff in greater Milwaukee could work too, though preferably westward, so we can do it on the way back home to Madison.

3. What neighborhoods in Milwaukee are good for just walking around and exploring with a kid? It would be fun to have some of the weekend consist of unplanned wandering.
posted by escabeche to Travel & Transportation around Milwaukee, WI (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Take him to the Safe House for lunch or dinner!! He'll get a kick out of it - definitely do the secret phone booth exit (totally worth it just for that). All of the spy stuff is awesome.

If you're at all interested in exploring outside of Milwaukee, you could take him to the Jelly Belly distribution plant in Kenosha and he can learn all about how jelly beans are made!
posted by honeybee413 at 9:36 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

I grew up in Brookfield, and looooooooooved the zoo when I was a kid.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:14 PM on August 23, 2012

If you're hanging around downtown and need to grab a bite, maybe check out Pizza Shuttle. My (now ex) girlfriend and I went there almost weekly back in the day.

I never really liked the Harley museum. I loved the science and surplus store as a kid, so going there is a no-brainer.

I see you're going to a Saturday game, but if you're coming into town on the Friday before or earlier on the Saturday, that Lakefront Brewery has a very short tour which could be interesting to your son in a "how it's made" kind of way. They also have the Bernie Brewer home run slide from the old County Stadium, so there's a tie-in to your game.

I don't know much about hotels, but the idea of taking a shuttle to and from the game is a good one. No reason to get caught up in the mess of trying to park in Miller Park, or having to possibly deal with rowdy driving fans after the game.
posted by King Bee at 6:27 AM on August 24, 2012

Definitely the Zoo.

Parking is always kind of crazy during the games, but it can be less stressful if you're planning on arriving early to tailgate. If you have tailgating experience, I think you'll find a Brewers game to be a great place to do it, and your son will probably have a blast.
posted by philosophygeek at 6:28 AM on August 24, 2012

Best answer: 1. I would stay downtown. Driving and parking at the game isn't bad at all. I would use the Molitor Lot off Bluemound it is the easiest to get out of after the game. This way you can leave when you want and you don't have to wait around for a shuttle post game.

2. I recommend the public museum and zoo. A walk down to the lake might be nice. You can rent a paddle boat/bikes, buy a kite etc.

3. The 3rd Ward/Riverwalk would be a good place to explore. Likewise, the Oak Leaf Trail/Urban Ecology Center & East Side have a lot to offer.
posted by fixedthefernback at 6:34 AM on August 24, 2012

If you don't take him to Kopp's Frozen Custard, you are a bad parent!

I keed, I keed.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:07 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If it's this weekend, Mexican Fiesta is going on down at the festival grounds. There's also a big car show at Veterans Park. If it's next weekend, there's the (free) Milwaukee [Harley-Davidson] Rally going on all over town. Official site (autoplaying engine sounds)

Beyond that, check here for events. If you find something you like, I would go to that. The Zoo will always be here, and you're not far away.

I wouldn't call Brookfield "in the general vicinity of Miller Park," but it's not bad. Traffic will suck, but it's nowhere near the level of Chicago's. You're still going to be stuck in it with a shuttle service, so I'd drive. I'd stay downtown. Brookfield is extremely boring and not that close to anything you want to do (except for the zoo).

If you do stay downtown and you're coming before Sept 8, ride the trolley loop. It's probably not going to be terribly exciting to you, but small children like trolleys for some reason.
posted by desjardins at 11:40 AM on August 24, 2012

Sept 8 & 9 there's a kite flying festival at the lakefront (autoplaying plane noises)
posted by desjardins at 11:42 AM on August 24, 2012

Sept 7-9 is the Indian Summer festival, which was one of my favorite things as a kid. (yay frybread!)
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on August 24, 2012

Best answer: I've been a fan of American Science and Surplus for something like 30 years. I used to beg my Dad to take me there when I was little. It's not to everyone's taste, but I can still easily spend an afternoon there. I was excited to see the name, even.

I've never been, but my nieces very much enjoyed the Betty Brinn Children's Museum.

And allow me to pile on about the Zoo. It's a good place to take a kid. The Milwaukee Public Museum too. It has an interesting old world Milwaukee set up with fake houses and shops which I've liked forever.

Old World 3rd street is fun. It's cobble stone, and there's Usinger's Sausage, the Spice House and the Hofbrauhaus, which is a full-on Bavarian beer hall with all manner of beer hall-type food and some weird beer hall-type games. If you're downtown that might be worth a wander.

Personally, I think Speed Queen is good, but somewhat overrated. It's more evidence of a city starved for great BBQ than evidence of great BBQ. It's also a bit out of the way. Portropolis in Sun Prairie is far better, IMHO.

And, no offense to King Bee, and though I have fond, hazy memories, I'd avoid Pizza Shuttle like the plague. There are too many better options.

I hate stadium traffic, but there's not much heart to Brookfield. Though the zoo is right there, I suppose. There's a bus that runs from downtown to Miller Park on game days that might be worth a look.
posted by farmerd at 12:09 PM on August 24, 2012

Response by poster: Hi guys, we're home! Thanks so much, Cream Citizens, for the great suggestions. We spent Saturday at the zoo, American Science and Surplus (omg) and finished it off by seeing Corey Hart blast a walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Pirates. Then we stayed downtown (Priceline will get you a 4-star room in downtown Milwaukee at bargain-basement prices, by the way) and in the morning wandered down the river and over to the lake to Discovery World. Then we were going to explore some of the many other great downtown suggestions on this thread but my son said, "Daddy, that Brewers game was so awesome I want to go to today's Brewers game too." So that's what we did! We'll hit Safe House and the Public Museum and all the other great stuff on this thread another time, in the off-season.
posted by escabeche at 9:34 AM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, yeah, and -- we parked in the preferred parking lot, which is really not that much extra, and getting in and out was a breeze. To be fair, neither game was sold out.
posted by escabeche at 3:58 PM on September 3, 2012

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