What to do in Winter


by Emily Neidhardt, UWM Service Learning Student

It is a quiet time in the great city of Milwaukee, WI. The distant rumbling of the Harleys have ceased, along with the pounding bass of the various summer festivals. Bradford Beach has taken down it’s volleyball nets and tiki bars. Thousands of die-hard football and baseball fans are lost in the repetitive reality TV shows, where they once watched their beloved teams trample the competition. We can no longer stumble upon one of the many festivals celebrating popular streets in the city. Yes, it is wintertime here in Milwaukee.
Fear not, city dwellers, for there is a world beyond summer, just as magical and exciting as those precious four months we look forward to from underneath our blankets. Because we live in a place where there are four seasons, you could say we live in four different worlds. People can’t imagine the disguise their favorite park puts on for winter. You may think you know Grant Park like the back of your hand, but imagine it with no grass, no leaves, and a fresh blanket of powder. The roaring waves over the icy beach create hidden ice caves, ready for exploration.

Besides the beautiful winter scenery, you may also enjoy the solidarity of a winter park. People are sparse. With the exception of a couple dogs and their humans, the place is yours and yours alone.

Now, let’s touch on some below zero activities. Not everyone can handle the cold, nor do they have to in this vast city. There are hidden gems everywhere you look. Besides the favorite past time in Brew city, of guzzling your warmth down at the local tavern, you could expand your mind! Milwaukee has plenty of museums and centers for intellectual growth. After warming up at the Tropical Dome at Mitchel Park Domes, swing through the Public or Art Museums and even without a membership, a college ID will get you a good deal on admission.

Interested in something a bit more interactive? Look no further than our very own lakefront, and experience Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin. This hands-on science and technology center will captivate you for hours.

Les Paul, a Waukesha native, has an entire exhibit highlighting the inspiration and innovation, which brought him to be the father of music. Physics, engineering, music, and electronics only make up half of this place. As one walks to the Natural Sciences side of Discovery World, an unbeatable view of Lakeshore State Park expands down the pier inspired promenade. Once you pass into the Aquatarium Building, you see the largest to scale model of the Great Lakes. From their size, to their depth, this exhibit is spot on fascinating. Control the locks, and check out some of the wildlife on display native to the various ecosystems. Try to spot a soft shell turtle poking his head out of the sand, and watch the Fox Snake catch some rays under his heat lamp. Grasp an understanding of what happens when it rains over the Great Lakes by starting a booming indoor thunderstorm.

If you look up, you will see the keel of the 19th century schooner, the Challenge. Walk upstairs and find the replica of this mighty great lakes cargo vessel. This will get you ready for a summer sail on the S/V Denis Sullivan, but for now, winter is our focus.

Read the full article at riverrevitalizationfoundation.org:

River Revitalization Foundation is Milwaukee's urban rivers land trust. We focus on conservation and protection of riparian corridors.