Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Healing Garden

Parks can be found in many strange places. We have one on the 8th floor of St. Luke's Hospital (2900 W. Oklahoma Ave) and it's open to the public.  With the entire valley out in front of you, it's a fantastic sight, especially with fall colors. Here's a photo from Saturday. Some trees are still green, but maybe leaves will fall before they color this year.

Called The Healing Garden, it was a labor of love, built with donations from both private and public donors.  It's a space where patients can enjoy the fresh air through the season.  There is even an indoor conservatory. Over 100 different varieties of plants are up here, including seasonal plants like mums now. There is an herb garden where you are encouraged to pick and smell. You'll notice sculptures as you make your way around the garden. Hours are 5 am- 9 pm. There's free parking in the garage. You'll have to make your way to the second floor from the parking garage elevator and find the patient elevators, then select the 8th floor.

The herb garden

Raised planters hold annuals and perennials
If you'd like to make a donation, you can have a brick placed in one of the planters. For more information, pick up a brochure in the Healing Garden, or call 877-460-8730.
Make an outdoor brick purchase
While you're up admiring the view, you might notice Leon's Custard is just across the street.  Make your way over there and bring cash (they don't take anything else) to try one of the best Milwaukee custards.
While you're in the neighborhood, Forest Home Cemetery is just down the street.  With an incredibly diverse selection of trees and plants, this is a fantastic fall destination. Here are a few photos from today, when we visited. Download a self guided tour at the website.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sunrises, Salmon & Fall Hiking

So often our weekday mornings are hurried and we like to sleep in on the weekends, but this is the best time to get out and enjoy a sunrise before the time changes and the clocks fall back an hour on November 6. The sunrise is around 7 am, which isn't too incredibly early. We did this the other day and watched the sun rise at Klode Park in Whitefish Bay, but any of the lakefront parks are a good place to watch the sun rise. Armed with donuts and coffee, it made for a real treat!

Another great park for a sunrise is Big Bay Park in Whitefish Bay, which had some repairs done in the past week.  There's a new rain garden at the place water runs out of the bluff drainpipe, complete with plants and mulch. Several of the railings have been replaced and the stone steps cleaned up a bit.  It's quite nice, so if you stop there, be sure to take a walk through the woods. The sandy beach is now under water because Lake Michigan is so high.
Lake Michigan is quite high which eliminated the beach at Big Bay

new rain garden at Big Bay Park

Take the path less traveled through the woods and enjoy the new repairs
Fall also brings salmon upstream in our rivers.  I've been to both Estabrook and Kletzsch Parks this week and found them crowded with fishermen, clad in waders. Salmon are jumping where you will notice them at Kletzsch, while Estabrook you can't see them due to high water levels.  It's a fun fall activity to stand at the waterfall in Kletzsch and root for the fish.
Fall brings salmon fishing on the Milwaukee River
While you're at Kletzsch, do some fall hiking.  Go to the far north end of the park and you can pick up a trail near the picnic area. Estabrook also has the Milwaukee River Trail with some great views.  As you have a view of the river, you might notice fish jumping. These photos were taken early in the week, so with any luck, you'll see some more color.  It's a great time to be outdoors!
Milwaukee River at Estabrook Park

Monday, October 10, 2016

Kayla's Playground Celebrates One Year

I can't believe it took me an entire year to get to Franklin to check out Kayla's Playground, the all abilities play area.  I had read reviews on Google about how great it was, and for a kid, I have to say, this is awesome.  With just one way in/out, parents can also relax while kids play.
The entrance to two separate age appropriate play areas

The volunteers who built this playground have good reason to celebrate, and they came together in a public party on Sunday. Attendees could decorate cookies, enjoy a free soda or water, get a face painting, or even take a photo clad in fun costumes.  The sun was out and it was a great day.  We brought books to exchange in the little free library, which was full of some great kid selections.
Frosting cookies at the festivities

Loaded with kids books to swap
The playground deserves a little more attention, so I'll include a few additional photos just so you can appreciate what can be done here.  Maybe you'd like to have a kid/adult swing where you face each other?  How about a short climbing wall?  Or battle your kid on a session across some rings. They come in two heights so kids and adults can play together, which seems to be the bonus here. It was built with special needs in mind, however everyone benefits when they can play together.  There are ramps, special chairholding swings, and even a place on the carousel for a wheelchair. It's a unique space in the region.
Face to face swings for toddlers and caregivers

A climbing wall

Lots of climbing structures to chase friends or wheel them around on the ramps
There's a wooded nature trail and dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.  All the trails are easily done pushing a stroller or wheelchair- some are paved and others are crushed limestone.  In fall, I'd say this should be on everyone's hiking list.  Beautiful spot. Not too long. Parking is right next to the restrooms and playground. Definitely one of the best playgrounds in the Milwaukee area.  Go check it out with some kids.
Nature trails are very colorful in fall