Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Your Fall Outdoor Fun Checklist for Milwaukee

Greenfield Park wooded area

I went on a bike ride today and noticed that EVERYONE IS SMILING!!!  It's a great time of year to focus on the NOW.  Keep those warm memories of summer close and enjoy every day while you still can, even though the calendar says it is officially fall.

Any of the county parks will be pretty right now.  Lots of asters and black eyed susans in bloom.  Squirrels scurrying around to find acorns.  Ducks and geese are plentiful on the ponds and in the rivers.  The complete listing of county parks includes a GPS link now at the park system website, which can be helpful if you want to find biking and hiking connectors.  For a paper map, go to the Park People website and submit a request or stop by a golf course shop and some have them.  They cost $5, but the funds go to maintain trails so it's a good thing.

Not sure what to do?  You can always go to the County Parks website for events being held in the upcoming days or weeks.  If that isn't enough, here are some ideas to get you outdoors during this lovely season. You know how I love a good checklist!

Fall Outdoor Fun Checklist

1. Take a fall hike.  There are an abundance of places to hike in the parks both near and far, if you click on the link. Try to get over to the Ice Age Trail at least once. Eddee Daniel recommends finding Mangan Woods.  Though he did it in spring, I'm sure it's just as interesting and enjoyable in fall.

2. Ride a bike.  You can rent a Bublr bike through early December if weather allows.

3. Jog along the lakefront starting at Veterans Park.  Plenty of parking here by the kite shop or along the roadway.  Somehow the air just smells fresher at this park because you're away from the algae that often comes at this time of year.  All you need is a little ambition and a pair of good shoes.

4. Fly a kite at Veterans Park.  Stop by the Kite shop for an ice cream afterwards.

5. Swing on a tire swing at the Swing Park. It's covered so it's a great place in all weather.

6. Enjoy the view from the top of Kilbourn Reservoir Park- at the corner of North Ave. & Bremen.  Bring a picnic and you can soak up the sunshine and the sights.  Or for a spectacular view of the entire area, drive out to St. Luke's Hospital (2900 W. Oklahoma) and take the elevator to the Healing Garden on the ninth floor. No food allowed at the Healing Garden though you can go to Leon's Custard just across the street afterwards.
Gorgeous view from St. Luke's Hospital at sunrise

7. Walk along the Milwaukee Riverwalk and admire the wildlife, boats, and art work. You can still get outdoor seating at many places if you get thirsty.

8. Take a walking tour in the city with Historic Milwaukee Inc. You'll enjoy strolling the city and learn a lot in a couple of hours. Become a member of HMI and the tours are free!

9. Get in a canoe or kayak on the rivers through mid October.  Try Milwaukee Kayak, the Urban Ecology Centers, or Clearwater Outdoors. Washington Park has canoes for the lagoon too.

10. Take the stairs to get some exercise.  Of course Atwater Park in Shorewood is my favorite at this time of year.  The hillside was planted in natural grasses and flowering plants- very pretty.

11. See a sunrise from any of the beaches. Just because it's too cold to swim doesn't mean you can't get your toes in the sand.

12. Join a Fall weedout for a few hours on a weekend.  They are held at a variety of parks until early November.  Wear long pants and bring gloves if you have them.

13. Throw some rocks in the lake at Grant Park at the south end of the city or Doctors Park at the north. Both require a bit of a hike and the view of the lake will be your reward. At Grant Park you are able to park at the beach, but why not hike through Seven Bridges Trail?
Seven Bridges Trail

14. See some outdoor art by doing the Milwaukee Mural Map or the Monuments & Statues Tour through the city.

15. Borrow a dog and go to Lynden dog days or to Mequon's Catherine Kearney Carpenter dog park. It's my favorite. No leashes required and plenty of wooded trails. You may want to bring a towel because many dogs love the water here.

16. Play disc golf. You can pay a daily user fee for some parks or just use the free practice courses. These are all set in parks with beautiful foliage once fall really comes.

17. Try your feet at a game of foot golf with friends.  Pay extra for the golf cart if you need more adventure.

18. Stroll through Boerner Botanical Gardens to see the colorful mums and fall perennials in the trial garden.  There's been some construction going on at the garden so look for the new Whitnall Park Rotary Circle- a new accessible trail.

19. Try kiteboarding or just go watch them at Bradford beach on a windy day.

20. Eat an enormous pretzel at a beer garden.  Hubbard Park in Shorewood also has a beer garden and when the salmon are jumping this is a prime location to have a spot on the river. Often there is live music and it's free to listen.

21. Swap books at a little free library

22. Buy fresh food at a farmer's market. Most go until mid October.

23. Do the walking tour through the old Soldiers Home or Forest Home Cemetery.  Both have some interesting historic sights and pretty trees. You can download the self guided maps.  At Forest Home there's a new option which includes Civil War veterans.  
Forest Home Cemetery, home to beer barons and Milwaukee heroes

24. Go geocaching.

25. Unicycle at Red Arrow Park Tuesdays and Wednesdays as long as weather allows. Check the schedule or visit the Facebook page for more information.

26. Oktoberfest. It's all about brats, music, and beer. There are many events with some in parks.  OnMilwaukee put together a guide that will help you choose. Barktoberfest is this weekend.  Don't miss it if you love dogs!

27. Check out Villa Terrace gardens.  You've probably driven by those beautiful wrought iron gates.  Pay the admission and see the inside and walk down the hill through beautiful plants.
Villa Terrace

28. Take some photos of family, friends, or just cool nature.  Here's a blogpost about some great sites to try in the parks.

29. Go to the zoo.  There's a new baby giraffe and all the animals are peppy in cooler weather. The fall colors are pretty on the lagoon.
Milwaukee Zoo

30. Watch the salmon jump at Kletszch, Estabrook, or Hubbard Park. There's also a good spot near the North Avenue pedestrian bridge over the Milwaukee River.
31. Take a guided walk to look at nature and birds with the Urban Ecology Centers.

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