Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Milwaukee Microadventures

I consider myself an adventurer. I'm a person who likes to plan adventures wherever they can happen.  There are some that take a lot of planning and expense like a hot air balloon over the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, or a trip to Japan during Cherry Blossom season.  Though those are memorable and wonderful, I think it's equally important to have some fun right here at home in Milwaukee.  These close to home adventures are more like "microadventures".  It's not a word I made up.  There's a famous bicycling adventurer, Alistair Humphreys, who wrote a book about it.  He talks about how most of us work from 9-5, but have free time to fit in some fun from 5-9.  He gives examples in his book.  Follow his blog for some great photography and extreme adventuring.

It seems that this time of year (late winter) is extremely difficult for me and everyone else.  We're a bit tired of the cold.  There isn't enough snow in which to play.  We long for summer and sunshine. I'm reminded when I drop my son off at school and am asked, "what's new?", I have no interesting response. Have I become that boring?  Have you become that boring?

I decided to make up a list of some microadventures you can have right here in Milwaukee during the hours you aren't working. Since this is a blog about the green spaces, they will all include some portion of fun in a park or in the outdoors.  With a little brainstorming, I'm sure you can come up with even more.  Feel free to share your ideas and microadventures in the comments.

Pick up a Bublr bike and ride along the lakefront.  The bikes return March 16 to a station around the city. Get the mobile app for more information about locations.  I find it easiest to pick up a bike at Discovery World and then you can either bike north to Bradford Beach or head west to the Domes via the Hank Aaron Trail.

Fly a kite at Veteran's Park. The Gift of Wings kite shop is open year round if you need a kite, ice cream or other goodies.

Join a group outing at Lake Park.  Their events calendar has a variety of choices including bird walks, clean-ups, and yoga.

Learn to make maple syrup or do some birding at Wehr Nature Center.  Ask for a copy of the Oak Leaf Birding Trail map.



Take a picnic to one of the highest points in Milwaukee- there are three I have in mind, but maybe you know more: Sheridan Park along the bluff, Kilbourn Reservoir Park, or Juneau Park.  The views are pretty amazing right now because the leaves are all gone from the trees.  Or watch a sunset from Lakeshore State Park- it's the best view in the city, in my opinion (the sun sets over the city- not the lake).  Or if you're an early morning person, bring your doughnuts to the lakefront and watch a sunrise.
The view from Kilbourn Reservoir Park

The Rock Sports Complex still has a few runs open for skiing because they make snow.  Go strap on some skis and do a few runs.  Stop in at the Beer bar to try out some craft beer.

Take your camera out and shoot some photos.  Here's a blogpost about some of my favorite spots, and Shothotspot has recently developed a map of the best places in the county, which includes many of mine.  This is a site that automatically finds places based on photos posted all over the world using Flickr. Go check it out!

Download the Best of Brew City app to find out about what's happening today in our city.

Go to the Mitchell Park Domes to enjoy the indoor plants, concerts, or Saturday Farmer's Market.  The final concert is March 19 and it's a family beach party!  The Farmer's market is spectacular and runs through mid April. If you have a membership to Boerner Botanical Garden, entry is free to the Domes.

Become a member of the urban ecology centers (there are 3 to choose from) so you can rent seasonal equipment for FREE!  Go fishing, hiking, birdwatching, volunteer, take a class.  They always have something going on.

Sit on a swing at the Swing Park with some friends and be a kid again.  If you're not sure where to find it, put Trocadero in your GPS- 1758 N. Water- and get a bite to eat while you're there.

Feeling energetic?  See how many times you can do Atwater Park stairs or any others in the parks (the link gives you several options).  That will really get your blood flowing!
Atwater Park stairs


Go see the birds of prey at Schlitz Audubon Center and take a hike.  There's something happening nearly every day of the year at the center.

Join a spring clean up at a park or the river.  One of these is fun, huge (50 places to choose from), and very organized by Milwaukee Riverkeeper.  Put April 18 on your calendar now.

The Grohmann Museum's rooftop will open when weather permits.  Grab a 50 cent coffee in the basement, then go to the roof.  You can view the current exhibit, The Art of the Milwaukee Road, until late April for $5. This is a must see for anyone interested in railroads or trains.

Hike a part of the Oak Leaf Trail.  Most of it is paved and easy to access. There's an interactive map on the Park People website. A new printed map will be available with the passport May 1.

It won't be long before the rivers will thaw and it will be kayak season.  The lagoon at Veterans Park will be ready for watersports like stand up paddle boarding.  In fact, for more warm weather ideas, check out my previous blog with the "Not Bummer Summer list".  There should be no excuse for not doing something interesting.
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