On Saturday, September 22, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett will gather local businesses, community leaders, and citizens between the two bridge houses of the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge. There, he will ceremonially raise its steel structure and announce a mission to revitalize the street. Following the ceremony, more than 20 motorboats and sailboats will surge down the river and under the bridge, each decked out in Milwaukee-themed decorations and bright colors. Near the bridge, Historical Society members will stage a reenactment of the Milwaukee Bridge War of 1845 and initiate a game of tug of war across the street; on the bridge, meanwhile, trainers from Gold’s Gym will lead lightly sweating groups through yoga poses.
Visitors drink and dine to the sounds of live music and multicultural dance performances as well as the sights of a one-act play on two stages on the Riverwalk. They can browse local vendors at a craft market, explore permanent sculpture installations, and stroke their chins while gazing at art pieces in paint, photography, blown glass, and other media from more than 50 local artists at booths along both sides of the river. As the crowd mills about throughout the event, artists from the Plein Aire Painters’ Association make art live, painting the beautiful city skyline and buzzing groups of people. A complimentary water taxi runs between both Riverwalks throughout the day’s festivities.
Eight enormous inflatables tower above the sock-clad youngsters visiting Jump Zone's indoor park. Decorated with kid-friendly themes such as Batman, fire trucks, and the rainforest, inflatables accommodate kids ages 2–12 as they hop in bounce houses, slip down slides, navigate obstacle courses, and hatch plans to open up 401(k) accounts. Meanwhile, a toddler play area entices children ages 2 and younger with a pirate-themed inflatable. Along with its inflatable fun, Jump Zone enthralls guests with an arcade and offers to host parties complete with an inflatable throne for guests of honor. Parents enjoy free admission when they enter with a child, at which point they can watch their youngsters play, surf the facility's free WiFi, or join their kids for a bite in the café.
As Madison residents bid good riddance to cold weather, Elements Boardshop throws open its doors to prepare for summertime activities. Rows of Element, Zero, and Darkstar skateboard decks entice visitors to shed their wheel-less shoes for more mobile transport with crisp, colorful designs and sturdy construction. T-shirts by Hurley stand at the ready to free patrons from the confining threads of suits or giant silkworm cocoons, covering torsos in purple, green, and black designs emblazoned with the company's iconic logo. Board shorts and bikinis in assorted styles are durable enough to brave rough waters or cover their owners as they lounge beachside.
At Bouncy Town USA, children cavort, slide, and bounce across five inflatable structures. Regular hours encourage kids to make friends across the padded bounce floor, while parties make memories out of birthdays with private rooms, pizza, and cupcakes. On the first and third Fridays of the month, Bouncy Town USA welcomes kids for drop off while parents enjoy a night out.
Dolphins Cove thumbs its nose at the furious summer sun with more than 46,000 square feet of watery attractions. Revelers steel their courage before careening down 800 feet of waterslides, or challenge each other to games of water basketball, wall-climbing, and zip-line drops. More relaxing diversions include the outdoor bar and party deck, as well as the lazy river—which will never live up to the example set by the Colorado River in terms of canyon carving and doesn't really care. Kids can safely splash in their own activity pool.
During Milwaukee Winter Fest, visitors of all ages can shake the snow from their sleeves inside a climate-controlled facility filled with festive lights and colorful decorations. There they can play in more than 50 attractions including inflated fun zones, carnival rides, and a 240-foot indoor zipline. Singers and musical acts take to the stage during scheduled events to inspire impromptu dance parties and prove once and for all that guitars can be used for more than just housing herb gardens.
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