If you’re starting to get a bit stir-crazy indoors this summer, there are plenty of Milwaukee-area spots where you can enjoy the great outdoors while keeping appropriate distance. These spots are a perfect place for you and your family to explore the woods and they offer paths that are friendly to short legs and attention spans. You and your family will love the fresh air and chance to spend some time together in a whole new setting.
There are by far not the only places to check out – Milwaukee has more than 150 parks in their county-wide system – but here are a few places to get your started:
Alice’s Garden Urban Farm and Community Garden
2136 N. 21st Street
This unique community garden provides an oasis in the middle of the city. Meander their labyrinth, check out the garden or take guided walks and learn about biodiversity, vegetation, farming and more. Check out their weekly farmer’s market or sign up for one of their many events.
Cudahy Nature Preserve
501 E. College Avenue, Oak Creek
This state natural area is part of the Milwaukee County Park system. There is a .6 mile trail and a .4 mile trail that connect, so you can pick the distance that works best for your family. If you want to know what the Milwaukee area looked like before settlement, this will give you a good idea. Check out the old-growth beech forest and keep your eye out for all kinds of birds.
2028 S. 124th Street, West Allis
While this park is popular for its golf course, pool and water park, there’s actually a lot to explore here beyond that. Another calm oasis not far from the hustle and bustle, there’s a 1 mile hike here that goes through the woods and circles around the peaceful pond. You’ll love strolling here and spotting the many animals that call this spot home.
Havenwoods State Forest
6141 N. Hopkins Street
The state’s only urban forest, this more than 200 acre spot in the middle of the city feels like stepping through a magic wardrobe. You’ll have no idea you’re so close to civilization when you explore their six miles of trails. Hike or bike here and check out forest and wetlands. They do not require a state park sticker.
1130 N. 60th Street
A part of the Milwaukee Recreation Department, this 25 acre spot serves as an education center during the school year. There are forests, wetlands and prairie to explore, with a wide variety of plant and animal life. They’re still holding classes, though enrollment is limited, so sign up early to learn about bugs, the stars and so much more. There’s a .75 mile nature trail for you and your family to explore.
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
1111 E. Brown Deer Road, Bayside
There is an entrance fee of $8 for adults and $5 for kids here, but it will get you access to six miles of easy walking and hiking trails right alongside Lake Michigan. This place is a birders paradise, so bring your binoculars and get to spotting the dozens of species that live and pass through there. There’s an observation tower with sightlines up and down the lakefront, as well as wheelchair and stroller accessible paths.
Seven Bridges Park
Inside Grant Park, 100 Hawthorne Avenue
One of the most popular outdoor spots in the Milwaukee area, expect it to be crowded, especially on the weekend. But if you can find time during a week day, you should be able to keep your distance from other visitors while exploring the lakeside ravines and forests here. There are a lot of stairs and hills here, so it might not be the best for young kids, but if you think your little ones can handle it, it feels a bit like exploring a new world.
Three Bridges Park
610 S. 35th Street
Not as well known as Seven Bridges, this park is a bit of a hidden gem in the Menomonee Valley. You can’t see it from the street, but it stretches for more than 20 acres alongside the Menomonee River. There are canoe and kayak launches and access for fishing, as well as a number of trails and access to the Hank Aaron State Trail. This is a great place for biking, as well as hiking and your family will love discovering this little hidden park right in the middle of an industrial area near downtown.