17 of the Best Children’s Museums in Wisconsin

children's museum in sheboygan

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If you and your family need a fun and educational outing but are on a tight budget, consider visiting one of Wisconsin’s children’s museums. Visit a children’s museum on rainy days or any other day to spend quality time with your young one in a hands-on environment.

17 of the Best Children's Museums in Wisconsin

Many museums have quiet hours or special programs for people with sensory processing disorders. The interactive displays and programming of a children’s museum make it a popular place for birthday parties. Continue reading for a thrilling new experience.

ABOVE AND BEYOND CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

902 N. Eighth St., Sheboygan

Since 1999 the Above & Beyond Children’s Museum (ABCM), a non-profit organization, has positively changed thousands of children’s lives from its landmark site at 902 N. 8th Street. The museum is in a three-story building with the prow and stern of a ship protruding from its sides, making it stand out from the crowd.

You will also find a fire station with a fire truck and an incredible PVC pipe organ that stretches 15 feet in length here. The Urban and Children’s Garden on the building’s north side is full of blooming flowers and vegetables in the spring and summer.

ABOVE AND BEYOND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

The purple octopus playground includes a wheelchair transfer deck and other ADA-compliant inclusive fun. The museum also has special hours for individuals with sensory sensitivities. Local families can choose from membership options, host birthday parties, and even rent out the museum after hours.

ATLAS SCIENCE CENTER

425 West Water St., Appleton

The Paper Museum first welcomed visitors in February 2005. As a former Paper Discovery Center in downtown Appleton, it has a variety of hands-on exhibits and activities where you and your family can explore the science and history of papermaking.

Upstairs in the back of the building are regularly scheduled interactive STEAM presentations. Your child can participate in periodic hands-on workshops at the Atlas Science Center, where they will create and take home a science-themed project.

A visit to the Atlas Science Center provides an educational opportunity that is both exciting and practical for the business world by combining science, art, and history. Experience the STEAM Hub, a stage, temporary and permanent exhibits, and more!

the giant sneeze at ATLAS SCIENCE CENTER

BARABOO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

1212 8th St., Baraboo

The 11,000-square-foot Children’s Museum is a beautiful destination for families in the scenic Baraboo region of Wisconsin. During the weekly art clinics, STEM workshops, and scavenger hunts, your children will have a blast exploring the museum and learning new things.

A railway room with a massive wooden train model that you can ride is also part of the exhibition schedule. A traveling circus exhibit features carnival mirrors, costumes, and interactive displays to celebrate the history of the Ringling Brothers and their impact on Baraboo.

Kids can learn about farming and the history of the region by exploring a farm-themed exhibit complete with a garden they can help harvest, a grocery store, and pedal tractors they can use to get around.

BETTY BRINN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

929 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in downtown Milwaukee is an excellent place for kids of all ages to run around and discover. Through play and creative, hands-on learning experiences, the museum encourages children of all backgrounds to marvel and explore the world around them.

If you’re looking for a place to get your creative juices flowing and work with others, Be A Maker space is the place to go. Try out Pocket Park, another interactive exhibit tailored to the requirements of children ages four and under.

betty brinn children's museum sign

In displays like Home Town, a small community is equipped with a TV station, a grocery store, and a Harley-Davidson dealership. Your children will have a blast playing at being adults by taking on roles like bus driver and post office mail carrier.

Play in the Cloud is a collection of online creative and cultural courses taught in real-time by instructors worldwide in this incredibly interactive environment. Additionally, there is free admission for families every third Thursday of the month between 9:30 am to 7 pm.

BLACK EARTH CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

1131 Mills St., Black Earth

The historic building that now houses the Black Earth Children’s Museum was formerly the headquarters of the first cooperative in the United States, the Patrons’ Mercantile Co-Op, in the quiet town of Black Earth, west of Madison. Exhibits are thoughtfully crafted with the local community’s history, customs, and environment in mind.

The Native American ecosystem features tools and baby dolls. At the same time, the Bambino Barn provides a soft block, stuffed animals packed into the Bambino Barn, a dramatic play area, and a tiny mart grocery store—perfect for the littlest visitors.

Children slightly older will like the elevated tree house, complete with a climbing wall, fishing pond, faux two-story marsh overlook, slide, and cargo-net bridge. There are many activities for the whole family, from musical workshops for toddlers to skill-building seminars for high schoolers.

BUILDING FOR KIDS

100 W. College Ave., Appleton

There is no better place to kick off lifelong learning than Appleton’s museum. This two-story, 31,000-square-foot structure full of displays has a lot to see. The exhibits span three stories, including water tables, a painting studio, and role-playing areas.

This museum hosts a variety of interactive exhibits for kids of all ages, from a real fire truck to a doll hospital to a convenience store to an art studio to a STEM innovation lab.

The Discovery Tree is the best part of the museum since it has live animals, including a bearded dragon and a bunch of birds that kids can interact with. The Happy Baby Garden is explicitly designed for the youngest visitors and has several tree forts and nets to climb through.

Visitors who could use a break from all the stimulation can use the quiet area provided. The room is dimly lit and has a rocking chair for nursing newborns and sensory-friendly toys and books. The displays are accessible for those using wheelchairs.

100-things-reusuable-block

CENTRAL WISCONSIN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

1100 Main St., Stevens Point

On the main street, you’ll discover the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum in the heart of Stevens Point. This historic building has two stories and is home to exhibitions such as the Simple Machines, Down on the farm, and the Robin’s Nest, designed specifically for toddlers and crawlers.

The museum has exhibits and activities designed to foster self-assurance, competence, and originality in children of all ages. The Happy Teeth Dental Clinic at the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum is one of its most impressive features. It comes with a dentist chair, tooth “x-rays,” and lab coats.

The “Life in a Pine Log” exhibit is another excellent way to teach your kids about animal habitats. The area designated for baby care has a cozy rocking chair, a changing table, and a collection of appropriate toys and books for babies. The museum has a Create-it Art Room, an Exploration Gallery, and Imagination Stations for kids to use their imaginations.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF EAU CLAIRE

220 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire

Learning can be a blast at the Children’s Museum in downtown Eau Claire, with activities like riding a moon rover and playing life-size chess. Several hands-on exhibits make this one of the top family-friendly activities in Eau Claire.

Featuring a massive water play area, an imaginative city, and a play construction zone, this museum has everything a young visitor could desire from a children’s museum. There’s a replica of the digestive tract for your children to explore by climbing, sliding, and crawling.

The Waterworks and Construction Zone will be massive hits with your kids. The Family Farm and Under the Wisconsin Skies are two displays focusing on Wisconsin culture and geography.

Dinosaur lovers will enjoy the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire’s new structure, which has a fossil dig.

The sensory space for children experiencing anxiety provides a space where kids may go if they’re feeling overwhelmed, process their emotions, and then return to the exhibits in a more positive frame of mind.

CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF FOND DU LAC

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF FOND DU LAC

75 W. Scott St., Fond du Lac

The Fond du Lac Children’s Museum features interactive exhibits designed to spark creativity and an interest in learning among its young visitors. Many different play exhibits will provide your kid real-world experience in potential future professions, such as pizza making, vehicle repairs, working on a family farm, firefighting, and many others!

The Great Wall of China, a radio station, a shadow safari, and many more are all on display. Once inside, you must test your mettle on the bull and bear market, a mock stock exchange! The museum provides noise-canceling headphones and other aids for a sensory-friendly experience.

Younger guests can enjoy the Great Toddler Reef’s suspended jellyfish, seashell island, and bubble mirrors. At the same time, older children can get creative in Wagener’s Workshop, a maker space stocked with building materials and two friendly robots.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF GREEN BAY

1230 Bay Beach Rd., Green Bay

The Green Bay Children’s Museum is a cute, one-story building perfect for preschoolers and elementary school students. It is on the banks of the Fox River in the city’s commercial center. Near the museum’s entrance are a big motor room and a large arts and crafts room. Children may learn digestion by sliding down a big tongue at a museum display.

At the Green Bay Children’s Museum, visitors may enjoy a dinner set in the ’50s with a jukebox, jugglers, and hula-hoops. A vet clinic complete with a microscope and medical equipment is also available, as is a garage with tools, spare auto parts, and room to pretend to work on cars.

The fire station features a pumper wagon with a hose, a fire simulator, and a fire pool. The recyclable art studio, the literacy-building Lego sets, and the outdoor discovery center all help kids hone their motor skills while having fun. There is a sensory trail for families to walk down and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the Discovery Center.

Field of Flowers North Farm
Click on the picture to check it out

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF LA CROSSE

207 Fifth Ave. S., La Crosse

The Children’s Museum of La Crosse is a top attraction for families with young children. A dinosaur maze, a working crane, and a giant block equipped with an “Imagination Playground” are just a few interactive exhibits on all three levels of this La Crosse museum.

Some examples are a fire engine display where children can dress up as firefighters, a dinosaur maze where they can test their knowledge of prehistoric animals, and a construction crane where they can act out various roles as builders.

The Luckey Climber is a combination jungle gym and work of art that your children will love exploring. There is also a Mississippi River display where kids may operate trains, float boats, and control the water flow through dams and locks.

Accessible to visitors using wheelchairs, the museum also offers backpacks stocked with sensory aids such as timers, ear muffs, and fidgets for children on the autism spectrum who may benefit from them.

DISCOVERY WORLD

500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee

The whole family may enjoy 120,000 square feet of hands-on science and technology displays at Discovery World. Innovation Planet, Physics & You, Les Paul’s House of Sound, and The Music Factory are hands-on science exhibits with educational and entertaining activities.

Discover fascinating themes, including robotics, mechanics, and boats. In the museum, you can participate in various exciting and educational programs, such as tours of the design lab and a virtual reality demonstration.

While taking sailing lessons, visit the Reiman Aquarium and sail the Great Lakes in a replica of a 19th-century schooner, the S/V Denis Sullivan. You and your kids can explore machines and physics and get lots of practice innovating and designing.

EXPLORE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

1433 W Main St., Sun Prairie

The Explore Children’s Museum in Sun Prairie is a local institution that promotes classroom environments that inspire students to engage in critical, creative, collaborative, communicative, fun, and cross-disciplinary thinking.

Explore Children's Museum in Sun Prairie

Exhibits at the Explore Children’s Museum are both permanent and temporary. There is an emphasis on helping kids develop their interests and abilities in various fields, including the visual and performing arts, ecology, science, physical education, and potential careers.

The Explore Children’s Museum in Sun Prairie has activities and exhibits for kids of all interests and ages. This brand-new museum has interactive exhibits, from a treehouse to arts and crafts materials to a section for repairing vehicles.

FARM WISCONSIN DISCOVERY CENTER

7001 Gass Lake Rd, Manitowoc

Opened in 2018, this state-of-the-art facility offers visitors a fascinating and immersive experience that celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of Wisconsin.

At the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, visitors of all ages can learn about the importance of agriculture and how it impacts their daily lives. The center features a variety of interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and engaging displays that showcase various aspects of farming, food production, and sustainable practices.

One of the highlights of the center is the Discovery Center Exhibit Hall, where visitors can explore different agricultural ecosystems, learn about crop production, dairy farming, and livestock management. They can also get a glimpse into modern farming techniques and technologies that contribute to the efficiency and sustainability of the industry.

The center also boasts a Dairy Land Virtual Farm Tour, providing a unique opportunity to witness the inner workings of a dairy farm through virtual reality. Visitors can experience firsthand the milking process, learn about the care and feeding of cows, and gain insights into the dairy industry’s economic impact.

Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center Hours

For those looking to have a hands-on experience, the Farm House exhibit allows visitors to simulate various farm activities such as planting seeds, harvesting crops, and even operating a combine harvester. This interactive exhibit fosters an understanding of the hard work and dedication required in the agricultural sector.

GREATER WAUSAU CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

10101 Market St., Wausau

In the summer of 2015, the Wausau Children’s Museum opened as a “museum without walls,” hosting weekly programs that encouraged community members of all ages to participate in creative, interactive play for learning.

Active play, hands-on science, sensory play, hosting birthday parties, music, technology, art, and engineering, are just some of the activities that take place at these special events. STEAM Saturdays, Kids in the Kitchen, Preschool Science, and Mother-Son Dance, are some of the fantastic annual and weekly programs here.

Children can play while climbing and constructing. The design allows you to keep an eye on your happy child without constantly chasing after them. The Greater Wausau Children’s Museum is ideal if you’re looking for a place where kids can enjoy themselves while learning.

MADISON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

100 N. Hamilton St., Madison

Just a few blocks from Madison’s picturesque capitol square, the non-profit Madison Children’s Museum awaits your visit! It has a wide range of hands-on displays, including scientific, artistic, medical, historical, and other areas of interest to children.

The museum features several popular exhibits, including one that teaches children about the environmental effects of trash and another that introduces them to the joys of sustainable gardening.

Our kid at Madison Children's Museum on the rooftop

The museum also features special events and programs in addition to permanent displays. The Log Cabin, Community Concourse, and Art Studio are just a few themed places open to guests.

The water dome allows young children to dump, pour, and splash water around with abandon. Check out their rooftop garden, home to exotic animals like the bearded dragon, rotating adventures, and a breathtaking view of Capitol City.

NORTHWOODS CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

346 West Division St., Eagle River

Twenty-four outstanding exhibits are available for children to explore and learn from at the Northwoods Children’s Museum. The beautiful Northwoods are home to various attractions, such as a ranger station, a pioneer cottage, a giant loom, and more.

Children can practice their shopping and social skills in a small grocery store while a Lite-Brite wall, a bike-powered turbine, and a winding maze teach them about renewable energy. Small children can explore their shadows and encase themselves in enormous bubbles.

Visit the colossal Bubble Station, get creative in the Art Studio, or try on some vintage clothes at Grandma’s Attic. Put down the phones and tablets and have genuine, hands-on group fun while exploring the interactive exhibits.

Final Thoughts

The exhibits in Wisconsin museums provide plenty of fun, interactive ways for kids of all ages to learn through imaginative play. Visit one of Milwaukee’s family-friendly museums, where your children will have a blast without realizing they’re learning!

Did we miss one?

If you know of a place that we should include – please let us know!

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