Hey peeps! I’m not sure if you noticed, but the family didn’t get to take any family trips this summer, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. We attempted several areas and even a weeklong trip to Texas, but it just didn’t work out in our favor. With tuition for the cellist, and building a new home, we had to stay close to home, but far enough where we couldn’t see our skyline. Since Mr. Houseful and I enjoyed Wisconsin so much when we went several weeks ago, we were excited to go again with our family in tow. This time we headed up to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin a western suburb of Milwaukee, where we got to experience the Milwaukee Public Museum (located in Downtown Milwaukee) , Milwaukee County Zoo, Pizzeria Piccolo, and TosaFest which kept us all on our toes and made sure that we slept fitfully each night in Wisconsin.
If you are in the midwest, and looking for a place to trek to for a weekend getaway with the kids, Wauwatosa is a perfect spot. It’s still close enough to a larger city (Milwaukee) and attractions if you need it to be, but Wauwatosa is quiet enough to be mistaken for a sleepytown which it is far from.
Friday Evening – Milwaukee Public Museum & Crown Pointe Plaza
Milwaukee Public Museum
Our weekend started with a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum – which is 15 minutes away from Wauwatosa and the Crown Point Plaza Hotel where we were staying. The Museum consists of three levels, and is jam packed with exhibits that will wow each age level in family units. The littles really loved walking through the museum (the museum has four – ground, first, second and third floors) and especially loved walking through the rain forest and the Puelicher Butterfly Exhibit while the cellist enjoyed walking through the Streets of Old Milwaukee and The European Village. I happened to love seeing the different aspects in color and light in the European Village and shared with Mr. Houseful how much decor changed between countries. The food too, although we did notice that potatoes were a major ingredient in most of the homes. Take in mind we were able to do so much in the museum on a Friday because of several things happening in our favor. There was an overcast sky (which usually DRIVES me indoors to visit, but not this time,) it was the day after Milwaukee County Residents free first Thursdays – so we were in a wonderful silence, and it was the weekend. I think sometimes, Friday evenings are probably the best time to go to museums because most people gear up to visit them on the weekends anyway. So remember that. If you can, plan your visit to Wauwatosa on the first weekend of the month, and you can enjoy the Milwaukee Public Museum on a Friday afternoon, it will save your sanity whether you have children or not.
Crown Point Plaza Milwaukee West
Our lodging for two nights was at the fantastic Crowne Pointe Plaza Hotel (Milwaukee West) located in Wauwatosa right off of Mayfair Road & Watertown Plank Road. Before getting to describing the rooms I’ll let you know that they were almost at capacity when we visited as they were hosting a 50th year class reunion, a little league traveling team, AND several Cardinals and Brewers fans in town for the baseball game. Even with that many guests, we were given a ton of attention and really loved the atmosphere.
Amenities that are on site are a 24 hour pool and workout room – which included top of the line equipment for those who want to workout away from home. The pool being open 24 hours was probably one of the best things about it. With the children wanting to go downstairs to use it, it was nice to be able to go in the morning before a large influx of hotel guests came down and hung out.
They also offer shuttle service to any place within a five mile radius, and will do their best to work around the scheduled time that you need to be out. They run on average of every 15 minutes. Parking is also free, so no worries on driving to the hotel and then having to pay an extra fee for that. There are handicap accessible rooms as well, but I didn’t get a chance to see the layout of those.
The rooms were spacious. Because there are six of us, and one of those six happens to be a teenager, while two of those six are married, it was smartest to get two rooms with adjoining doors. That way, we could just go in and out of the second room, without ever having to leave through a door that may lock us out. The kids loved feeling as if they were staying alone, and we loved the privacy that we had as well as being able to keep a close ear on what they were doing. The kids stayed in a double room with a bathtub shower combo, while we were in a king room with just a shower addition. The beds we super comfortable, and our pillows were FIRM – which is a big deal for all of the people in my family. Don’t ask.
Friday nights at Crown Point Plaza are Fish Fry nights at their restaurant called Innovations. You can choose between all you can eat fried or grilled fish, or a la carte entrees. The meals also came with an all you can eat salad bar as well. I had the cod (fried of course) and loved the beer batter breading that they used. Within the three choices of sides that we had, I did the baked potato while Mr. Houseful claimed the fries, and no one got the potato pancake. The atmosphere was nice and laid back, but it was a little crowded, which let me know that this place is a hot spot for a lot of people. There were regulars there guys. REGULARS at a hotel restaurant, which impresses me a lot. That fish fry sent us to bed FULL. We’re normally night people, but I believe we were all knocked out before 9:30 pm, and it was a good thing because we had the Zoo and TosaFest along with pizza from Pizzeria Piccola to enjoy the next day. Did I mention how comfortable the beds were? We slept like a dream, and since we were in even numbered rooms, we got the first rays of sunshine in the morning. Best thing ever, but no worries, there were blackout curtains for those of you who cringe at the sight of the sun.
We also chose to eat breakfast on Saturday morning in Innovations as well, and Mr. Houseful chose the breakfast buffet again, while the littles got shortstacks (with personal size syrup – always a big hit with them) and the cellist ordered french toast which he said was delicious. The manager stopped by to speak with us (as he did several dining parties in general) and when I asked him what he enjoyed most about working at Crown Point Plaza, he replied saying that the families were the best thing about it. There are families that come several times a year, and he’s gotten to know them over the course of his time there, and he appreciates the connection. Being able to stop and connect with all the different tables while we were there was awesome. It let me know that the entire staff honestly cares about the guests of the hotel for family stays, this hotel has taken the top spot.
We’re anxious to get back, and to just be able to relax with so many good spots to hang out in! Stay tuned for the second blog post discussing the Milwaukee County Zoo, Pizzeria Piccola and TosaFest! See you soon!
Our family was invited to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to check out the city in exchange for our thoughts and opinions – which indeed are all ours.