Discovery World in Milwaukee is a fun day trip destination for families in Northeast Wisconsin with older kids. The museum has interesting and interactive exhibits that engaged our kids from age 5 and older for long periods of time. In fact, our kids were so engaged in the exhibits in the aquatarium on our first visit that we didn’t have time to explore the larger half of the museum at all on our first trip!
Discovery World – Science + Technology Center
500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Some of our Favorite Spaces
- Aquatarium – Aquariums from the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. The first floor has an amazing exhibit of the Great Lakes. It darkens and storms periodically with rain, thunder, and lightning effects. This was another area of great interest. The lower level of the Aquatarium has large aquarium tanks and cool interactive labs in little submarine feeling domes. The highlight of this area for our kids were the touch tanks! They were able to pet stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and sturgeon. We spent a lot of time in this area and the museum attendants at the touch tanks were really informative and fun.
Enjoy animal encounter demos (no extra cost for admission)
- Tuesdays at 11: Caribbean Tank Feeding
- Wednesdays at 10 am: Lake Michigan Tank Divers & Sturgeon Feeding
- Thursdays at 10 am: Touch Tank Feeding
- Fridays at 2 pm: Python Interaction
- Virtual Explorer – a Virtual Reality (VR) exhibit for ages 6 and up
- Physics & You – Hands-on building of rockets, sail air cars, circuits and more to learn the fundamentals of physics
- Milwaukee Muscle – Explore interactive stations exploring motors, gears and engines
- The Challenge – The Challenge is a replica of a Great Lakes Schooner that sailed 1852-1889. This area would be a little trickier to navigate with a stroller as there is an actual large ship.
- The Kohl’s Design It! Lab – Create projects to take home. Projects can take between 5 – 45 minutes. Plan extra time during busy times, there may be a waiting list.
- Automation Everywhere – Explore robotics
- Simple Machine Shipyard – Interactive simple machines that are entertaining to try out for every member of the family.
- The City of Freshwater and Liquid House – This cool exhibit about water supplies for cities has some tighter spaces and may be difficult with strollers.
TIP: The third floor of the Aquatarium has no exhibits but has a great view of the surrounding area and lake! There aren’t a lot of people up there and it was a great spot to catch a few minutes of a quiet break. In warmer weather, there are outdoor viewing balconies that can be used also.
Where do we put our stuff?
There are lockers near the elevator in the parking garage available for stashing belongings.
Can we bring in strollers?
There are elevators for using a stroller, but there are several areas that a stroller could be tricky for navigating exhibits. A compact stroller would probably be best if needed. Strollers are also available on a first come, first serve basis for $3. You’ll need a drivers license for checkout.
Make sure to budget money for parking. Discovery World has an underground, heated parking lot that holds about 200 vehicles and has an elevator that lets you out right inside of the museum. Make sure you keep your ticket in a safe place and bring it in with you because you pay on your way out at an automated kiosk just across from the elevator (if you lose it the lost ticket fee is $25!).
Special events may have different rates but will be posted.
- Members: $6
- 1 hour or less: $5
- 1 – 2 hours: $7
- 2 – 3 hours: $9
- 3 – 6 hours: $11
TIP: There are also other parking ramp options nearby or metered street parking if you are lucky enough to find them. Metered parking is FREE on Sundays.
Monday (March 26 – Labor Day): 9 am – 4 pm
Tuesday – Friday: 9 am – 4 pm
Saturdays and Sundays: 10 am – 5pm
Special Hours and Closed Days in 2018
- April 1, 2018
- May 28, 2018
- July 4, 2018
- September 4-7, 2018
- September 10-14, 2018
- November 22, 2018
- December 24, 2018
- December 25, 2018
Early Closure or Extended Hour Dates
- July 28, 2018: Early Closure for Annual Gala, 9 am – 3 pm
- November 23, 2018: Extended Hours, 9 am – 5 pm
- December 18-23, 2018: Extended Hours, 9 am – 5 pm
- December 26-31, 2018 & January 1, 2019: Extended Hours, 9 am – 5 pm
Children 3-17: $16
Children Under 2 & Under: Free
Seniors (age 55 and older): $16
College Student with ID: $14
Military with ID: $14
Do you have a Family Explorer Membership from the Building for Kids or another local museum? Admission is FREE for Discovery World! Learn more about the membership here.
There is a cafe inside Discovery World that has sandwiches, salads, sushi, and grab-and-go items. The cafe closes one hour ahead of the museum closing time.