Five Free Family Activities near Milwaukee, WI

With my favorite time of year approaching, I love to be out and about with the family.
As always, budget of these trips is a concern. Sure there are plenty of places to go and things to do if your wallet is nice and fat, but what about families who can't afford much?  Well, problem solved. I've compiled a list of free things to do near Milwaukee. The last two are trips that I hope to make with the whole crew soon, and will post pics and stories when we get to it!

1. Local Parks -
We do this often. There are many parks near us with slides, swings and other toys for T to play. Parks are a mama's best friend. The kids can scream, run, go crazy, and it's all OK.  Change it up, go for a 5 min extra drive to a new park in town.
New parks I want to visit:
Waukesha's Fox River Park.  A 32 foot slide? Yes please!
Retzer Nature center.  Hiking trails, children's garden, and Apple Harvest Festival on Sept 22nd. Gotta check this out!

2. Local Library -
Another E family favorite. Our library has toys near the kids books, so I can let T sit and play while Baby C and I search for good books to read. Libraries also have free movie and music rentals.
My favorite part? The online catalog.  I can use to read book reviews on specific topics (like hitting, potty time, etc) then search for the book at our local libraries online. There's a handful of libraries all co-oped together in my area, so if my specific library doesn't have the book I'm looking for, they can get it from one of the others.  It's like click-n-pull shopping. I find what I want online, wait for the email to tell me it's arrived, then simply go up to the desk and ask for my books! So easy. No searching shelves. LOVE IT!

3. Mall indoor play areas -
Sure, there are almost endless possibilities of free entertainment outdoors: hiking trails, dog parks, kiddo parks, lakes, beaches... it goes on. But what happens on those rainy days?  Pack up and head to the mall! Lots of malls now have children's play areas, including Mayfair in Wauwatosa. The only downside is that they still have to use their inside voice.

4. Holy Hill, Hubertus WI -
I'm super excited to visit the Basilica and grounds sometime soon. I remember going when I was in grade school as a field trip. It was mid-fall, the leaves were crimson and orange, the air was crisp, and it was lovely. Other than the gas to get there, no admission, and mass is free too :) Mr E will probably protest, but how can we go enjoy the sights of a Catholic Basilica and not attend mass? C'mon, I've gotta be a good deacon's daughter here.

5. Jelly Belly Factory, Pleasant Prarie, WI -

This one is a little bit further of travel for us, but it's a free tour! How cool? Anything related to candy will hold a 3 year old's attention for sure. This trip won't be totally free in the end.. since I won't be able to resist buying at least one bag of jelly beans. However, it's something different, and is inside.



  1. We take a family road trip each summer, and I am always looking for ideas from a mommy who knows. These are great. Thanks for sharing!

    1. What a great family vacation tradition! I hope you get a chance to visit some of the wonderful things that Milwaukee has to offer.
      Thanks for stopping by!


Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I love to read your comments, thoughts and questions on my posts.