The Fox Bay Cinema Grill marquee lights up the theater's outdoor marble ticket kiosk, transporting moviegoers to a bygone era of the silver screen. Renovated in 2000, the spacious art-deco theater drapes its large screens in scarlet curtains, and wraparound, swivel lounge chairs and tables wait to support patrons as they immerse themselves in the digital sound and projection pouring forth from the latest Hollywood hits. The theater doesn't only sate the imagination's appetite with lush filmscapes; servers shell out light finger foods and hearty pizzas and sandwiches throughout the movie, quieting growling bellies that may otherwise spoil the film's ending. Though not included with this deal, alcohol is available via Fox Bay's wait staff and at the lobby bar.
The 14,500-year-old Hebior mammoth stands sentinel at the entrance to the Milwaukee Public Museum, serving as a massive reminder to all who pass 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 National Geographic Dome Theater and Planetarium 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, giant screen 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.
Reservations/Appointments: Not offered
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Pro Tip: If you call in advance, we can get a docent for your tour.
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Exhibits on Golda Meir and Jews Who Rock
Q&A with Ellie Gettinger, Education Director
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Jewish Museum Milwaukee has beautiful engaging displays, including the only Marc Chagall tapestry in Milwaukee. This is an epic piece—it's 14'x19') and provides perspective on Jewish history. In addition, our changing exhibits enliven the understanding of the Jewish experience. Every three months, JMM has a totally new display to explore.
Have you ever been a patron of your own business? If so, what was the most enjoyable part?
I love touring the Museum. There are so many interesting and unique stories that show the development of the city of Milwaukee. There is a lot of information, but the museum's size makes it easy to get through in an hour or two.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Right now our changing exhibit is Stitching History from the Holocaust (through February 28)— the museum's largest exhibit to date. The exhibit details the experience of Paul and Hedy Strnad, a woman who sent eight designs to Milwaukee in the hopes of immigrating.
Discovery World’s 120,000 square feet of exhibits celebrate exploration—both of technology and aquatic life. Guests can gaze at a 75,000-gallon freshwater tank filled with species found in the Great Lakes, stroll down a glass-enclosed tunnel beneath the 65,000-gallon saltwater tank containing colorful Caribbean fish, and admire jellyfish showing off their limber break-dance skills before getting their hands wet in touch tanks with sturgeon, stingrays, and more. The museum further satisfies thirst for watery knowledge with to-scale replicas of the Great Lakes and the Challenge, a 19th-century schooner.
Discovery World houses plenty of exhibits dedicated to innovative technology, including Les Paul’s House of Sound, which features guitars from Les Paul’s own personal collection. Visitors can also practice flying a plane and skywriting marriage proposals in the airplane simulator, or peer inside a nuclear reactor as it generates energy.
Bigger isn’t always better, and that's especially true at Koz’s Mini Bowl. As you might guess from the name, everything here is just a bit smaller, from the bowling balls to the little man who cleans up the pins. Practically the only thing that hasn't been scaled down is the sense of competition; the goal is still to get as many strikes and spares as possible. As players palm miniature bowling balls and toss them down four lanes, a jukebox fills the alley with classic tunes and a bartender fills pitchers to the brim with beer.
Completed in 1892 as the private home of the Pabst family, Pabst Mansion stands as the last bastion of more than 80 mansions built for Milwaukee’s elite during a booming, bygone era. Since its construction, the estate has housed archbishops, priests, and sisters and was saved from near-demolition during the 1970s. The Flemish-Renaissance-Revival home has since been awarded a place on the National Register of Historic Places for its bounty of architectural intricacies.
Today, on-staff docents conduct a range of tours for public groups, private parties, school groups, and well-behaved rugby teams through the fortress of halls, opulent rooms, and verdant grounds, each restored to their original condition.
The Pabst Mansion’s impressive art collection includes works from the 1640s through the 1900s by artists such as William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gaetano Trentanove, and Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven. The emporium of excess also features Pabst Beer Pavilion, the pavilion built for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the glass-covered conservatory where tropical plants and beer trees continue to flourish.
The mansion gift shop holds classic Pabst drinkware and memorabilia as well as antique photos, books, and former employees' original finger paintings.