This is a spin-off of my Irish Fest for Families blog. If you’ve missed the original article, check it out here! It’s bursting with insider tips from event organizers and parents who’ve been to Irish Fest, North America’s largest celebration of Irish music and culture which takes place each August at Henry Maier Festival Park in downtown Milwaukee.
However, the fun doesn’t have to end when you leave festival grounds. Milwaukee is brimming with places and events that will delight ankle biters and AARP cardholders alike.
5 Ways to Turn Irish Fest into a Weekend of Family Fun
1) Enjoy a kid-friendly brewery tour! While Milwaukee has some excellent options for brewery tours, one particular brewery appeals to kiddos as well: Sprecher Brewery produces beer AND gourmet soda. While adults, 21 and older, can enjoy get 4 samples of beer, participants of all ages can sample all of the available sodas till their heart’s content.
2) Take in a Brewers Game: Okay, so there aren’t any games at Miller Park on the weekend of Irish Fest, but there are midweek games before and after. But here’s the thing: anytime is a great time to take the family to Miller Park.
Confession: We are a family of Cub fans, but this is our favorite park when it comes to family-friendly convenience. True, Wrigley is bursting with nostalgia, and it’s a place every Cubs fan must visit at some point. But if you ask anyone (who isn’t a liar) which ball park is ideal for families, they’ll admit it’s Miller.
Before games, the parking lot is a tailgater’s mecca. During games, a retractable roof prevents those pesky rain delays. And Bernie’s Clubhouse, filled with slides, tunnels and giant food that is just begging to be climbed upon, is the perfect spot for restless young fans to work off their wiggles.
Money-saving tip: We use the seating map to find front-row cheap seats, which offer an excellent viewing experience at a fraction of the price. If you’re worried about drunk and disorderly fans ruining your family fun, get seats in the alcohol-free family sections.
3) Museums! Museums! Museums!: Milwaukee is swimming with ’em. And plenty exhibits will engage even the youngsters. Here’s just few:
- The stunning, shore-side Milwaukee Art Museum is just a brief walk away from Irish Fest, and it features the family-focused, interactive Kohl’s Art Generation Gallery with special activities every Sunday afternoon. Check out there “family fun” brochure here. (Money-saving tip: Kids 12 & under are free, and there’s free admission the first Thursday of every month.)
- The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is perfect place for little kids to hone their skills as a news anchor or explore a giant human heart.
- Discovery World Center for Public Innovation boasts a flight simulator, 3D tour of planet Earth, and a open tank where kids can bond with sharks and stingrays.
- Think the Harley-Davidson Museum is just for grown-ups? Think again. Check out this handy dandy guide of kid-friendly activities from the Harley-Davidson Museum.
4) Celebrate with the Milwaukee County Zoo: In honor of its 125th anniversary, the Zoo—which is home to over 2,000 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles—will will be offering all sorts of special events and exhibits. Check out all of their anniversary plans here.
Don’t worry about spending all day on your feet. Your entire family will be captivated by the birds of prey and the sea lion and seal shows.
Warning for parents of young train fanatics: When our son was just a toddler, this was his first zoo visit, and we rode the Safari Train again…and again…and again….and…
Money-saving tip: If you’re going to visit in spring or fall, check out their “family free days” by scrolling down their hour & admissions page. But year-round, their rate are quite reasonable (under $15 for adults and under $12 for kids; 2 and under free).
Here’s a preview some of what the Milwaukee County Zoo has to offer:
5) Pretend you’re a British spy at the Safe House. By night, this OO7-themed bar is a favorite watering hole for grown-ups in downtown Milwaukee. By day, you can bring young Bond wannabes along to the Safe House for lunch. Don’t be put off by the its oddly nondescript alley entrance. And if you don’t know the password (I’m not telling!), don’t fret. You can gain entrance by passing a series of tests used to weed out double agents. But, as you’ll learn once inside, the adventure is just beginning…
PG-13 disclosure: There is a rather revealing portrait of Burt Reynolds wearing nothing but a strategically placed heart in the ladies room.