Friday, August 23, 2013

Fun Dog Events and More Space

In July, the Currie Park dog exercise area went from 2 acres to 10.  The fencing and wood chips are down and it can handle many more doggies.  Go check it out!  There are 5 dog parks in the county system currently.

We don't have a dog, but take every opportunity to find them and give a hug or 2

Riverwest neighborhood will soon have a dog park too.  It has been under construction, as it was a lot owned by Johnson Controls that needed remediation.  The dirt was contaminated with chemicals and was replaced by good soil.  Now the grass needs to grow in enough to make it useable.  It will be located at the city block between Concordia and Auer Avenues and Bremen and Weil Streets.  You can follow the Milwaukee Dog parks website for more information as it happens. 

Whitefish Bay is hosting their Dog Days of Summer this Saturday, August 24 from 9:30-2.  Bring your favorite pooch downtown and get free stuff and advice about dogs. Stop by the Farmer's Market and the theme will be Dogs also.  

Lynden Sculpture Garden does a dog day once a month on the 3rd Saturday from 12-5.  For their schedule, check the Lynden Dog Days link.

Don't miss out on the big summer pool event for dogs- the Doggie Dip!

Monday, Sept 2
630-8 pm
Cool Waters in Greenfield Park  |  2028 S. 124th St.
2013 Admission:  $5 per dog
Special Offer
While at the Doggie Dip, purchase your 2013 Dog Exercise Area Permit for only $10—that’s a savings of up to 67%! Be sure to bring the license number and rabies tag number for each of your dogs.
Advance Admission BraceletsDue to the popularity of the Doggie Dip, you can buy your admission the day before the dip. You will receive a wrist band that allows you to enter the pool without waiting in the admissions line. 
 COOL WATERS (Beach-Entry/Zero-Depth)
 Sun., Sept. 1, 2013
 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  Admission PRE-SALE   Cool Waters in Greenfield Park, 2028 S. 124th St.
 Mon., Sept. 2, 2013
 6:30–8 p.m.
  Doggie Dip! Cool Waters in Greenfield Park, 2028 S. 124th St.

Friday, August 16, 2013

South Shore Park- my favorite Saturday park

People often ask me what park is my favorite.  It's always a tough question because there are so many parks I love and they are often for very different reasons.  I didn't grow up in Milwaukee, and there are still many parks I have yet to explore.  With every one of them that I visit, I grow more in love with this city I call home now.  We really have the best park system I have ever seen, which says a lot because I've been on 6 continents and called many places home over the years.  And they do it all on a shoestring budget.  We owe a lot to the founding fathers of this city who did the planning and purchasing many years ago.  We are still enjoying the fruits of their labor now.  But I digress....

View of the lake and the city from South Shore Park
The absolute best place to be on a Saturday morning in Milwaukee is at South Shore Park, in Bay View.  They host a farmer's market all summer into early fall from 8-12, so you can even pick up your breakfast, lunch, veggies, whatever.  People show up toting kids, wagons, cloth bags, and go away smiling with their arms full of goodness.  The place with the biggest line?  The Creperie!  You can learn more about that at the farmer's market link.  It's actually a blog with lots of photos, so you can get an idea of what goes on all season long and take a look at last season too.  It's rare to see such a large farmer's market in a park.  Like some others, this one also has music.  Bring a blanket and plant yourself in front of the performance tent for awhile.

This is a dog friendly park.  You will find lots of dogs on leashes.  They are not allowed in the children's play area or on the beach. Picnic areas are also off limits, but anywhere else is fine.  For the official rules on dogs in Milwaukee county parks, check this link.  We saw a poop bag post, so I know this is a place where dogs are welcome.  My son loves it for this reason.  The Oak Leaf Trail runs through the park, so you could take a walk in either direction.

There's a ship themed play area that includes swings and a sand pit.  Bring your swimming stuff because the beach is nice.  If you need a workout, there's a helios multigym unit right next to the tot lot. You can even pick up or drop off a book at the little free library.  If you live in the area and want to become more involved in the park, join the South Shore Park Watch.
And if you're already in the neighborhood and still need another cool place to visit, why not drop in at the Alterra/ now called Colectivo on Kinnickinnick & Lincoln.  There's a wonderful outdoor seating area that includes a small waterfall which is stocked with ducks and boats.  I underestimated how much fun this would be for my own son and didn't stuff the meter with enough coins.  We ended up making a donation to the Milwaukee county parking fund.  Don't make my mistake.  Park in the back lot if space allows, or stuff the meter to the max.  This is also the place with the bakery so you and your kids can sit and watch them at work making all the good food you enjoy at every Colectivo in the city.  This is another dog friendly place, so feel free to bring your pooch along.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Historic Kosciuszko Park

View of Basilica of St. Josaphat from Kosciuszko Pond

Kosciuszko Park is one of the original park commission purchases made in 1890.  It started out as a 26 acre tract with an addition of almost 11 acres in 1902.  Situated in a heavily populated area of the city, it was always well patronized.  It was referred to as Lincoln Avenue Park until it was officially named Kosciuszko Park in 1900 upon the request of the Polish citizens of the area.

You can see by the photo above, that it sits right across the street from one of the loveliest Milwaukee landmarks- Basilica of St. Josaphat.  If you're visiting the park, you might as well go over to the basilica and take a look inside.  You can make a donation, but it is free to visit.  If it doesn't take your breath away, I'd be surprised.  It was built with stones from the old post office in Chicago and the story goes that the parishoners did all the labor.  You can read more about that in the lower level of the basilica.  It's a magical place with colorful windows, and fantastic paintings.  The shiny floor reflects the colors of the glass windows on a sunny day.

The pond you see above is open for fishing, but state fishing regulations apply.  It's also a good place to see turtles on a sunny day.  Be sure to walk around the pond and enjoy some of the art work created by local children.
artwork by children
turtle getting a little sun

This is one of the parks on the Oak Leaf Discovery Tour.  If you're doing the passport, you can find your word on the side of the Community Center near the gym.

Pelican Cove is located here- one of Milwaukee's water parks.  There's just one more week before it closes for the season.  It's a fun place to cool off, and it is cheaper than the other water parks in the city. It's open daily 12:30-4:30 pm.  There are evening hours Tuesday and Thursday 5:30-7:30.

The playground has a climbing structure and a foam base.  Go have a turn on a swing and watch the world go by!

There's a pretty important statue of Thaddeus Kosciuszko on a horse, that is currently missing and being renovated in Ohio.  Come to the park on Veteran's Day to see it unveiled.  I'm sure it's going to be beautiful.  When it was originally dedicated in June of 1903, more than 60,000 people attended the celebration!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Friday Fish Fry and Nite Glow Golf

If you enjoy golf, but want to take it a little less seriously, why not try nite glow golf?  It's offered here in Milwaukee every Friday through mid- September starting at 8:30 pm.  For $15 you get a nite glow necklace, glow in the dark ball (with $2 of it being a deposit, if you choose not to keep it), and 9 holes of golf.

There are 3 courses which offer this fun:  Lake Park has it every Friday.  Hansen and Warnimont Park do it every other week, so check the schedule at the nite glow golf link.  You can schedule a tee time for this and any other course on the Milwaukee county golf website.  If you're planning to golf at Lake Park, you don't need a reservation.

You could time this so you can go out for Friday fish fry first, then meet on the golf course.  There are 3 different county parks that offer the Friday fish fry.  Hubbard Park in Shorewood also has a Friday fish fry, which is closer to Lake Park and you get a view of the river too.  Sounds like a great father-son date night, or why not a golf party for teen boys?  Here's the county menu.  Click on the Hubbard Park link to see their menu.

Traditional Milwaukee Fish Fry Served every Friday, Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend 
4–8 p.m. at Brown Deer and Grant; 
4–9 p.m. at Whitnall
  • Baked Cod
  • Fried Cod—hand-rolled in homemade batter and fried to a crisp golden brown 
Included with your Fish Fry
  • French Fries or Parsley Buttered Potatoes
  • Cole Slaw
  • Rye Bread
  • Cookie
Traditional Fish Fry: $9.25 ($9.75 at Brown Deer) per person
Kid's Portion (for age 12 & under): $4.25  ($4.75 at Brown Deer)
Additional piece of fish: $1 each 
Fish Sandwich: $5 ($5.50 at Brown Deer) 
Carry-out charge: $0.50 per item

LocationHoursReservationsCall for Reservation/Carryout
Brown Deer Golf Clubhouse
7625 N. Range Line Rd.4–8 p.m.yes(414) 352-8220
Grant Park Golf Clubhouse100 E. Hawthorne Ave.4–8 p.m.yes(414) 762-4817
Whitnall Park Golf Clubhouse6751 S. 92 St.4–9 525-4765

Friday, August 2, 2013

Cave of the Mounds- Day Trip- Discovery Days

This is a big weekend for Cave of the Mounds in Blue Mounds, WI.  It's about a 2 hour drive from Milwaukee and yet so very different than anything you'll find here in our own backyard.  This weekend they are celebrating the founding of the caves at a celebration called Discovery Days.  We were there yesterday and it was a great day for the whole family.  No matter what the temperature outdoors, it's always a cool 50 degrees inside the cave, which makes it a great choice for a hot summer day...or a rainy day for that matter.  Just bring a jacket.

The tour takes about 45 minutes and is led by someone knowledgeable about the caves.  You start the tour with a movie, and then your group is led through the cave, with lights being turned on as you approach certain features.  This weekend, they are doing flashlight tours too, which is quite a twist.  Contrary to what you may have heard about caves, there are no bats inside.  This cave has no above ground entrances, other than the one through the building entrance.

At the end of the tour, you are left in the gift shop where you can find lots of gems for sale, although none of them are actually from the cave, and in fact many come from very far away.  You can step outside and dig for treasures, gems, fossils, in 3 large sandboxes.  Stay as long as you like.  You only need to pay if you decide to take any of them home with you.  There's also a place where you can "pan for gold", where you buy a bag of sand with rocks or fossils inside.  You put the sand in a sluicing trough with running water and see what you get.  Normally you have to buy these, but this weekend they are giving them away.

Admission is $16 adults/$8 children, plus tax.  Ages 3 and under are free.  You can prepurchase your tickets online at their website, but there is no discount.  For about $5 more per person, you can purchase an annual pass that allows multiple entries during a year.

The summer flowers are in full bloom right now, and you can hike the grounds either alone or on a guided tour this weekend.  Pack your own lunch and drinks and make a picnic on the grounds.  I might also mention, there is only one bathroom.  If there is a bus or large group, it could mean waiting in line for a very long time.  You may want to find a rest stop on the way here.  The buses were there in full force yesterday, but most were finished with tours by 12:30.  A visit later in the day might be better.  You can always call ahead to find out what the tour situation is for the day, and plan accordingly.

We also stopped in Mt. Horeb to look at the carved wooden trolls on the troll way, and then had an early dinner in Madison at Ella's Deli- another magical place for kids.  Make a day of it and have fun!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Juneau Park- What a View!

View from Juneau Park overlooking Veteran's Park and the lakefront

 I was searching for a scenic geocache this week and found myself in Juneau Park at the statue of Solomon Juneau.  Part of the commentary about this particular spot was that it was such a beautiful place to see the lakefront.  I admit, I've driven by this park hundreds of times, but never stopped.  If you've done the same thing, I encourage you to park the car and take a short walk to the bluff, especially during this week.  The Milwaukee Air & Water Show is this weekend, and I saw aircraft flying near the lakefront doing practice runs, so you may get a sneak peek at what is to come.

I might also mention that if you're using your smartphone or gps device to find "juneau park", you're likely to end up at Alterra by the Lake.  This is a park that is split both on top and bottom of the bluff.

It isn't a large park, but it has a few features you should look for.  Of course, there's the prominent statue of Solomon Juneau, first white settler and first mayor of Milwaukee.  You can see a replica of his log cabin there too.  It's kind of crazy seeing a log cabin with highrise buildings in the background.

Solomon Juneau's log cabin home replica

Solomon Juneau statue

There's also a statue of Leif Ericson, explorer.  You can find both of these statues on the Milwaukee Statue Tour, another fun way to explore the city and get into the parks.  And you may come across a very tame deer.  I heard from people who live in the area that she's there frequently and isn't bothered by people while she's eating the bluff vegetation.  This is a great place for yoga or a picnic.  The bathrooms are clean and open.  Parking is by meter at the south end of the park, but free toward the north end.  This is also just up the street from Cathedral Square- another great destination, and within walking distance of the Art Museum and War Memorial, where you will find another statue on the tour, Abraham Lincoln.
Leif Ericson statue
urban deer