Last week I did something that I thought that I would never do. I traveled alone out-of-town with the Houseful Of Littles, and spent two days with them exploring more of what Milwaukee had. This time, we ended up at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in downtown Milwaukee, and had a blast. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm, and Sundays from noon until five and is geared towards children ten and under. Admission is $8 for ages 1-adult and $7 for Senior Citizens. Children under 1 are free.
Lately, the kids have taken to using a small notepad and the toddler aprons to pretend like they are in a diner. Someone always plays waitstaff, another plays the diner, and then the last person plays the short order cook. It’s hysterical to watch, and seeing them in full-fledged pretend play makes me happy.
When entering the building, I loved the fact the steps has the alphabet and numbers while we were ascending. Sir Twizzler enjoyed yelling out each and every single letter and number with each step that he took. The learning and interaction started right away, and it let me know that we were in for a pretty fantastic ride. In a nutshell, the museum is super hands on with a portion of it dedicated to real life situations. There’s a Home Town area that presents real life scenarios for children to participate in. One of those places is a Harley Davidson dealership where kids can ride a kid sized motorcycle, and learn all about them. I didn’t expect the kids to take to the bikes like they did, even though my grandfather was a bike rider.
We then moved around to the city bus, bank, grocery store, post office and the television studio. Everywhere we went, all of the exhibits were perfect for tiny hands to explore. I think that MY favorite by far was the miniature bank that was present. It put me right where we spend quite a bit of time while running errands every couple of weeks or so. The kids had a ball playing with pretend money, and withdrawing and depositing cash into their bank accounts. The ladybug enjoyed playing a bank teller far more than she did being a customer.
Everything is on one level, which makes it very easy to walk around with multiple children. No worries on anyone accidentally going to another floor while your back is turned. It’s a full circle as well, so you will inevitably run into your child if they do get away from you – but that would never happen, right? The last stop that we made was to the exhibit that I like to call the magic wind down room for the children, while Betty Brinn calls it the Kohl’s Healthy Kids: It’s Your Move. It’s an interactive area where kids can learn about healthy lifestyles, while playing games, and going through the Action Contraption, which is a child friendly obstacle structure that can provide hours of fun for kids. Trust me on this one. Hours, literally. Every single parent had to pry their children from this room during our time there. I’m not sure the twins have forgiven me even today.
Believe it or not, after spending two hours in the museum, we didn’t get to visit every single area. While at first glance it looks small enough to move through in that amount of time, it takes quite a bit of time to properly allow your children to enjoy each area. Know that if you make a date to go, it should really honestly be all about the kids. Once they step through the doors, you’ll completely understand. EVERYTHING in the museum is geared towards them from eye level to oversized props for proper pretend play.
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is located at 929 E. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414)390-KIDS (5437).