Saturday, January 14, 2017

Winter Festivals and Other Cool Events Around Milwaukee

It's been kind of disappointing with the low amount of snowfall we've had this month.  Even the ice rinks have been unusable in the parks. Frankly, it looks a little more like spring out there right now.  Not that I don't like warmer weather, but it would be nice to get the snowshoes out at least a couple more times.

Weather permitting, this is normally a great time to find some fun  at winter carnivals, festivals and other events.  Mark your calendars, cross your fingers for some new snow, and plan to attend these January and February activities. I've included a few that are outside Milwaukee county, but are worth the drive.  Know of any more?  Leave it in the comments. And don't forget my list of 100 Things to do in Milwaukee this Winter. There is no reason to be bored or housebound this winter.

Boerner Botanical Gardens hosts a Winter Fest January 22, 10-2. Most activities will be held indoors, but there are planned nature walks, games, and entertainment by Miss Sparkle the Clown. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested for the nature walks. 

The Urban Ecology Center at Washington Park holds  Winterfest on Saturday January 28. Become a member and use sleds, snowshoes, skates, etc. The festival will include music, hot cocoa, homemade pies, and crafts too. Admission is free.  This is a beautiful park with lots of winter fun choices. 

This is also the kick-off weekend for the Winterfest at Lake Geneva where snow sculptures are created by talented teams of artists.  It's a drive, but worth it if you've never been because it attracts talent at a national level. Winterfest is also home to a Human Dog Sled Race, The Abominable Snow Race, magic shows, helicopter rides, a chili cook-off This lasts from January 28-February 12.

Lynden Sculpture Garden will have outdoor fun as well as art activities indoors at their 7th Annual Winter Carnival.   Free to members or with admission to the sculpture garden. Prices for nonmembers: $9 general admission and $7 students & seniors. Kids under 6 are free. Family passes for nonmembers will be available at the door for $20. Expect outdoor art-making, studio activities, scavenger hunts, tours and tree-walks, and whatever other winter activities--ice skating, painting the pond, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing--the weather permits. This year the highly participatory, artist-driven carnival, curated by recent MIAD graduate Reece Ousey, features an artist's version of an outdoor mini-golf course created by Miguel Ramirez--a winter-friendly extension of previous indoor projects Ramirez has exhibited in Milwaukee. Current and former Lynden artists-in-residence, including Sara Caron and Pat Hidson and Tori Tasch, will be on hand with new projects. Caron is planning a walking performance, and Hidson and Tasch will offer a pressure-printing workshop. The Little Havana Express food truck will be serving Cuban cuisine--sandwiches, empanadas, and hot beverages--from 11 am to 2 pm.

Schlitz Audubon will hold a Winter Carnival, Sunday January 29, though parking will be offsite at Bayside School. All Members: $5 Non-Members: Adult $10 | Youth $5
Scheduled Activities include Lake hikes, trail hikes, Kohl's Wild Theater, Frozen Science, and an Owl Meet & Greet.  Don't miss the Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides too. 

Sheridan Park is the place to be for the Frosty Hog Fat Tire Bike Race, while just down the street is the Yeti Dash at Warnimont Park. Both events will be held February 4.

The Milwaukee County Historical Society in Pere Marquette Park will have a Family Day celebrating the new music exhibit Melodies and Memories-200 Years of Music, February 4, 11-3. Learn about instruments through the Brass Bell Music Store Instrument Petting Zoo, participate in an art project to make your own instrument, see four different performances throughout the day by members of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and enjoy the exhibit including the Cascio Interstate Music’s instrument player pods and 65+ tunes at the listening stations. Admission is free. While you're here, take a walk along Milwaukee's River Walk which can be very pretty to see when the river is frozen.

Mequon Nature Preserve will host its 5th annual Winter Frolic on February 4 from 10-4. Some of the activities: Alaskan Malamute Dog Sled Demos, tractor rides and petting zoo, sleigh rides, workshops, crafts, ice fishing, bonfires, and snowman building.  Sounds like fun. This event was huge last year so expect parking shuttles or go early. 

Weather permitting, the Door County Sled Dogs will give rides at their Big Birthday Bash, February 11-12 at Whitnall Park. Even if there is no snow, you can meet the team and bring a gift from their birthday wish list.  All the dogs are rescues and you can imagine the expense of having so many beautiful large dogs. 

At Wehr Nature Center. Experience Wehr’s Winter Wonderland on Valentine’s Day weekend (Saturday February 11, 3-5 PM) and see why we are so in love with nature! Explore the trails on snowshoes, learn animal tracking with a naturalist, and even make your own edible scat snack! (Don’t worry it is fudge!) Best of all, compete for great prizes in the ultimate Winter Obstacle Course team challenge on the frozen Mallard Lake.Hot spiked cider and cocoa will be on hand as we warm up by the fire and watch the winter sun set. Event is 21+
Price includes all activities, gear, and 2 drinks.
$20 per person; $15 for Friends of Wehr Members
Reservations guarantee your spot. Walk-ins welcome as space allows

Mitchell Park Domes hosts Hearts Under Glass February 14, 6-10 PM. Celebrate Valentines Day with your special someone in the romantic atmosphere of the Domes at night. Take a moonlit stroll through the Desert Dome, enjoy a cocktail in the candlelit warmth of the Tropical Dome, enjoy the whimsical atmosphere of the Great Train Robbery 2017 Train Show in the Show Dome. Admission is $10 per person.

Cedarburg is hosting its 43rd annual Winter Festival February 18 & 19. Enjoy a winter weekend of family-fun festivities with camel rides, chili contests, ice-carving contest, dog-pulling contests, costumed bed races on ice, barrel racing, a parade, pancake breakfast, marketplace, children's activities, tractor-drawn hay rides plus sign-up to tee off with the "Ice-Burg Open Golf Tournament" in Cedar Creek Park and special events at the Cedar Creek Settlement, including an outdoor Chili Bar and Snow Bar on Saturday from 12-4pm, free wine samplings and live music on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday evening, adults will enjoy the "Cool Brew" featuring a beer tasting, appetizers and live music. 
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