There’s nothing quite like the look on a child’s face when their imagination is running wild and they start to learn that what they think and create can matter. Nourishing that instinct isn’t easy – nor is keeping your kids happy and entertained all summer long.
Here is Wisconsin, we’ve got a ton of great museums that encourage creativity and imagination – and getting a little bit dirty. By no means an exhaustive list, here are 13 museums across the state where you and your kids can get hands-on while learning a thing or two:
1. The Children's Museum of Green Bay - Green Bay
The Imagination Station is constantly hosting different events, including students from the local high school and college doing awesome science experiments on Science Saturdays. Their activity calendar is jam-packed every day during the summer.
They're open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from noon to 5 pm.
In the summer, they are open Mondays from 10 am to 5 pm, but they are closed Mondays during the school year.
Located at 301 N Washington St, Green Bay, WI 54304.
2. The History Museum at the Castle - Appleton
This museum in Houdini's hometown has an awesome interactive exhibit that allows you to test your magic and escapism talents. There's also currently an exhibit called Play that looks at toys throughout history that will delight visitors of every day. The Castle is open Tuesday through Sunday from
11 am to 4 pm. Located at 330 E College Ave, Appleton, WI 54911.
3. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art - Madison
This awesome museum sponsors Kids' Art Adventures on the second Sunday of each month, September through April. Six- to ten-year-olds and their families should meet in the lobby at 1 pm.
The MMoCA is located at 227 State Street, Madison WI. Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday-Thursday from noon to 5 pm, Fridays from noon to 8 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm and Sundays from noon to 5 pm.
4. Dinosaur Discovery Museum - Kenosha
This Smithsonian affiliated museum is all kinds of cool in its own right, at any time, but if you head there on the weekends, your kids can join the Dino Digs. Every Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm for children ages three and up.
Admission to the Dino Discovery Museum is free. They are located at 5608 10th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53140. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 pm.
5. Northwoods Children's Museum - Eagle River
A fishing pond, a giant loom, a log cabin, a bubble station and more welcome your kids to let their imaginations loose here. They are open every day, year round. On Monday - Saturday, they're open from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from noon to 5 pm. Located at 346 W Division St, Eagle River, WI 54521.
6. Milwaukee Art Museum - Milwaukee
The museum has a whole set of kids programming sponsored by Kohl's. On Saturdays and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm and on the first Thursday of the month from 10 am to 7 pm there are open studios. There's also an app that you can use while walking through the museum with info and games to help make the experience more interactive. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and on Thursday until 8 pm. Located at 700 N Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
7. UW-Stevens Point Museum of Natural History - Stevens Point
This museum is wonderful because often the students are the ones giving tours and working there. They share their studies and run programs. The museums is open Monday through Friday from 7:45 am until 4:#0 pm in the summer months. Located at 900 Reserve St, Stevens Point, WI 54481.
8. EAA Aviation Museum - Oshkosh
There's certainly plenty here to catch your fancy, but they've done a spectacular job of integrating technology and making this so much more than your standard museum. From simulations to model building, there's plenty here to get your hands on and learn from. The KidVenture Gallery is totally hands on and totally worth the trip. They are open every day from 10 am to 5 pm, though hours will vary during the AirVenture Fly-In at the end of July. Located at 3000 Poberezny Rd, Oshkosh, WI 54902.
9. Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum - Wausau
In addition to their Art Park and Sculpture Gardens, both of which have constant hands-on programming and opportunities, they have printable activity guides to help guide you through the museum.
The Woodson Art Museum has free admission. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. The first Thursday of each much has extended hours from 9 am to 7:30 pm. On the weekend, they are open noon to 5 pm. Located at 700 N 12th St, Wausau, WI 54403.
10. Children's Museum of La Crosse - La Crosse
This place is positively giant with three floors full of tons of activities to keep you and your kids engaged and entertained. Make sure to check the schedule to see when UW-La Crosse Physics students will be there to lead workshops. They are open on Tuesday through Saturday from
10 am to 5 pm and on
Sundays from noon to 5 pm. The climbing wall is open every day in the summer.
Located at 207 5th Ave S., La Crosse, WI 54601.
11. Circus World Museum - Baraboo
The circus is the perfect place to let a child's imagination run wild. The museum dates back to the 1880s and there's something here for everyone.
Located at 550 Water St, Baraboo, WI 53913. The Museum opens at 9 am daily and has shows throughout the day. In the summer, they are open until 5 pm. Their hours vary by season, so make sure you check before you go.
12. Madison Children's Museum - Madison
Located right on Capitol Square in Madison, this place has two floors plus a rooftop for you to explore. The ground floor is history and earth science, the second floor is art and the roof is all about exploring your imagination in the outdoors. Located at 100 N Hamilton St, Madison, WI 53703, they are open from 9:30 am to 5 pm daily.
13. Discovery World - Milwaukee
This science and technology center is a feast for the senses and does a great job of integrating information about Milwaukee and the world we live in. There's an aquarium and information about the Great Lakes, Machines, physics, a focus on innovation and plenty of chances for you and your kids to design things yourselves.
Discovery World is located at 500 N Harbor Dr. Milwaukee, WI 53202. They are open 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Friday and 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday.