The 14,000-year-old Hebior mammoth stands sentinel past the entrance to the Milwaukee Public Museum, serving as a massive reminder to all who enter that they are traveling back in time. Originally founded in 1882, the museum has spent more than a century collecting artifacts and fossils from around the world to portray the vast reaches of natural and human history throughout 150,000 square feet of exhibit space spread over three and a half floors.
Representing the recent past, The Streets of Old Milwaukee's turn-of-the-century gas-lit lanes and the European Village place visitors up close to replicas of more than 58 structures, including an old-fashioned barbershop and a fully furnished Scottish dwelling. Traveling further back to the Cretaceous period in the Third Planet exhibit, a life-size replica of a tyrannosaurus greets visitors with its tiny arms and impeccable manners. Visitors can also explore treasures from Africa, Asia, and the Arctic, or stroll through the butterfly wing to witness free-flying exotic and native species.
Adjacent to the museum, the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium and IMAX theater display astronomical wonders with a Digistar 3 computer-projection system. The Skies Over Milwaukee show lights up the ceiling with the current night sky for a tour of the planets and constellations. In the same theater, IMAX films transport audience members to the top of Everest or to the bottom of the ocean with a six-story screen, wraparound digital sound, and the distilled imaginations of 5-year-olds.
Though its staffed by a crew of student volunteers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Sailing Club at UWM has spent decades helping both the student body and community enjoy all aspects of sailing. Every year, from the end of April through late October, the group navigates Lake Michigan's waters aboard a fleet of sailboats that all either meet or surpass Coast Guard safety regulations. There are cruise boats designed for mild meandering, as well as sturdy Ynglings and Solings equipped with heavy fixed keels reinforced to maintain stability in turbulent weather or emotional break-ups. In addition to simple trips on the lake, members of the club can learn hands-on techniques from experienced sailors and participate in activities such as races, bonfires, and weekend cookouts.
Healthy bodies aren’t born—they’re built. Construction commences at Le Club, where exercisers hone physiques in a fitness center stocked with more than 80 pieces of resistance strength-training and cardiovascular equipment—including treadmills and rowing machines—and a spinning studio with 21 stationary bikes. Ten climate-controlled tennis courts and three racquetball courts await the sound of whizzing spheres, and pools, including the 25-meter indoor and outdoor lane pools and the warm-water-therapy pool, welcome aquatic athleticism.
Spa massages and facials whisk away stress, and locker rooms induce relaxation with attached saunas and recordings of Maya Angelou reciting the phonebook. While parents work out, kids can explore Le Club’s youth offerings, which include a teen space maze and an outdoor playground for younger children.
Tazinos Pizza & Salad Bistro provides patrons with a buffet-style smorgasbord of specialty pizzas, pastas, and salads. Already cooking at three locations, a fourth eatery in downtown Milwaukee is slated to open its doors this summer. Each casual restaurant revolves around an all-you-can-eat menu of fresh, nutritious Italian fare, including pizzas crafted from natural Wisconsin cheeses and dough that is kneaded onsite every morning using unbleached flour and absolutely no high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, MSG, or magic beans. Pies range from classic pepperoni and authentic Italian margherita to the specialty Tailgater, topped with Klement's bratwurst, green peppers, brown mustard, and barbecue sauce. Salads, such as a sweet Asian-style slaw, and pastas, ranging from mac 'n' cheese to garlic-and-herb fettuccini, keep forks gainfully employed, and each meal is rounded out by a selection of soups, desserts, and spicy pepperoni rolls.
On Saturday and Sunday, Sunriza pizzas fend off the morning munchies with renditions of breakfast favorites in pie form. Topping choices include eggs and bacon, eggs ranchero, and morning-fresh veggies, and each slice may be enjoyed alongside other breakfast staples such as french toast, cereal, and mini cinnamon rolls.
Passengers on the Iroquois, Vista King, and Voyageur cruise ships have passed under century-old raising bridges and laid eyes on history-rich chunks of Milwaukee skyline. However, they've also sat under squadrons of F-18s performing barrel rolls over Lake Michigan. Licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to perform tours and charters on the lake, Jake Chianelli and his captains offer their passengers a unique perspective on the city's waterside events. They also partner with the nonprofit organization Historic Milwaukee by using their trained docents to lead history tours, which include facts and anecdotes from the arrival of the first fur traders up to modern day.
With kitchen facilities and a full bar on board, each of the three double-decked ships are equipped for tours as well as a range of corporate events, wedding-rehearsal dinners, and Moby Dick-themed improv shows. Climate-controlled lower decks give passengers shelter in all weather, and open upper decks house a stage space where local indie-rock bands play during a summer concert series.
At Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, families and friends can explore 185 acres of scenic wilderness and wander along 6 miles of hiking trails. The myriad perks of membership entitle patrons to unlimited year-round access to the center as well as more than 140 partner centers across North America. Both adults and children enjoy discounts on educational jaunts and the chance to dominate the center's resident eagles and owls in aerial stunt challenges. Guests often ascend the park's 60-foot observation tower to observe hikers and cross-country skiers traversing the flora-laden premises. Invitations to exclusive events allow members to wine and dine with other nature lovers and included membership in the Schlitz Audubon Bird Club grants knowledge of the secret handshakes of local talons.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.