Posts Tagged With: Milwaukee

The Hare Brained Road Trip – Eating in Milwaukee or Trying to

We often eat frugally on our trips to save up money for other things. Breakfast each morning was in the hotels. For lunch we packed sandwiches and chips from the first nights grocery stop.

This trip we used an Outback coupon for dinner and Daughter ate a kids meal the first night. It was connected to the Country Inn and Suites so very convenient.

And for night two we had a Groupon for Tazino’s Pizza which offered a buffet, $10 for $20 worth. Sort of like a Cici pizza but a little nicer. This was a ten minute drive from the Radisson.

Our final night was in downtown Milwaukee, we wanted to treat my sister to some good German food.  We were staying at the Hilton City Center and walked to Old World 3rd Street for our dinner. (That walk could be its own blog post, there are some interesting people in that town.)  We planned to stop at Usingers but they were closed for a funeral, I wanted to purchase some sausages to take home to Husband. We love Usingers!

Next interesting stop was the Wisconsin Cheese Mart.  Daughter is a cheese lover!  And she was itching to introduce Aunt to the sample plate nosh we do.  We ordered the Sausage sampler and the cheese plate with the aged cheddar.  Split three ways it was a great appetizer like start for our night. .

Next I planned to hit Mader’s for dinner, I had read hit or miss reviews on Mader’s over at Tripadvisor.  The food sounded great but the service sounded spotty.  We definitely experienced spotty!  We looked at the menu outside to ensure Aunt would enjoy the food. She found something that she would eat and we found a booth in the bar area.  And we waited. The bartender would look at us, and we waited. When the waitress walked past us to the next table we figured she would come right to us. And we waited.  It was very uncomfortable, even Daughter said how much longer?  Then we had a discussion about should we walk up to the bartender who was looking at us and ask for service? Or do we wait? And at which point does it become borderline that if you ask for service are you asking for a spit salad?  (It was an interesting conversation.)  After our discussion said waitress came back and took the payment from the table next to us, never acknowledging us. And the bartender keep looking at us for the fifteen minutes so we gave up.  Obviously for whatever reason we were not going to get service at Mader’s.  I was irritated! I really, really wanted to try Maders.

So we came up with plan B, the Old German Beer Hall. We were greeted once we came in the door! Communal long tables, stump to drive nails in and sausages/pretzels on the menu. We shared pretzels, Landjar, Fried Cheese Curds, Obzatzter (Daughter loved this!!!!) and Bratwust. We enjoyed our dinner and entertaining company.  This was not really the meal I had in mind to show my sister German food, but it was fun instead!



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The Hare Brained Road Trip – Pabst Mansion

After spending our morning at the Milwaukee Public Museum we walked to the Pabst Mansion for a tour. The walk is not quite a mile and through the Marquette University campus for the most part.   I had purchased a Groupon for two adult tours for $10.  I had to pay for Daughters visit when we arrived.  Normal prices are children 6-17 are $5 and adults are $9.   $15 for a tour for 3 sounded like a good way to spend the afternoon with my Groupon.


There is no photography allowed inside the mansion. The website here has some great photos of the interior.

The Pabst Mansion was completed in 1892 and the family descendants sold the house in 1908 to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.  The house has been open to the public since 1978 and I would recommend any one who appreciates old homes visit the Pabst.  The woodwork is outstanding and I enjoyed the little conservatory.

We were a little early for the next tour so we relaxed under the big shade tree while we waited.  Regular tours are offered on the hour Mon – Sat from 10-3pm and Sunday from 12-3pm. The mansion closes at 4pm.

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The Hare Brained Road Trip gets turned around at Milwaukee Public Museum

We had one final day in Wisconsin so we spent it in downtown Milwaukee.  I had booked us into the Hilton Milwaukee City Center hotel and we had plans to hit the city! Naturally we parked at the hotel and walked the couple of blocks to the public museum.

Friends of ours had told me how fun the museum is, how much their kids enjoyed it and how it was an easy walk from downtown.  Having a child the same age I knew she would love this museum!  We were really excited it is an ASTC member museum so we can visit for free.

Unfortunately when I get together with my sister we do not always do well with details. It might be a genetic thing but for the life of us we couldn’t figure out how to heck to enter this museum. Every door we tried was locked.  It was to the point of being comical, we would grab a door handle, pull, and nothing happened.  Really it was just odd, we finally found a door that opened from the courtyard where people were snacking.  Once we  entered a very dis-interested young man finally helped us with tickets after I stared at him for 2 minutes at the ticket counter.  So far not a great start as we couldn’t get in and then we couldn’t get helped with admission.  This is a museum, you would think you want people to visit?

On the plus side it was free with our ASTC membership (Association of Science – Technology Centers) so I did not have to pay admission for the three of us.  Normal admission is $15 for adults while Children(3-12) and seniors are $11. We only visited the MPM and did not do the Dome Theater Show.  Metered parking is free on Sunday on the street otherwise there is parking in a covered ramp adjacent to the museum. (Walking up like we did we missed the main entrance which is from the parking ramp.) Parking in the ramp varies from $5-$12 depending on the length of your visit.

The ground floor is only the museum store, dome theater entrance and admission.  Up the stairs there are three floors and amazing exhibits on everything from streets of Old Milwaukee to Africa.  I have to say this museum had some of the best exhibits I had seen. We have visited a lot of museums but Milwaukee Public had incredible displays! There was a replica of a European Village, Native American exhibit, Africa exhibit and a rainforest.  Very impressive!



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The Hare Brained Road Trip Continues at the Milwaukee Art Museum

After spending the morning at Discovery World we crossed the lawn to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  This building looks amazing outside! We did not get the opportunity to see the “wings” open but the building is impressive to say the least! Lunch was quick sandwiches we had stashed in a cooler in the trunk before entering the museum.


We were lucky as it began to pour once we entered the museum.  It was fun to watch the storm over Lake Michigan from the museum windows.

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The Hare Brained Road Trip Day Two – Discovery World Milwaukee

Day two of our amazing adventure, or the trip to torture Aunt Em took us to the Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee. The museum is on the shore of Lake Michigan east of town and shares a green space with the Milwaukee Art Museum. We actually parked at the art museum and walked over to Discovery since we planned to finish at the art museum.

For Discovery World we used our ASTC Museum pass for our admission.  IF we had paid admission was $17 for adults and children 3-17 are $13. Active military is $10 for them and their family members.  Parking is  $8 for two to three hours or $10 for three to six hours. I had done some research online but was not sure what to really expect here but my child loved it!

She played in the flight simulator, and with the pulleys.


She laid on a bed of nails and tried to look serious like it hurt.


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More of the Hare Brained Road Trip – Mitchell Park Domes

After our stop at Jelly Belly Visitors Center we had a free weekend in Wisconsin.  I love to sniff out places that are off the beaten path if we have time.  Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) is one of those places.  The Domes are located to the West of Milwaukee off from I-94.


The domes were completed in 1967 and at a cost of $4.5 million.

Once we found the parking area we were reminded to remove anything valuable from the car. There were signs on the front doors and I think in the parking lot. So don’t leave that GPS hanging from the windshield.

As you can see there are three domes.  We started in the Tropical dome.


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The Hare Brained Road Trip Continues – Milwaukee County Zoo

We had a zoo membership that has AZA reciprocal admission so we used the pass at the Milwaukee County Zoo.  We had stopped at the Jelly Belly Visitors Center in the morning so it was around noon when we arrived at the zoo. It was hot enough that we debated even going to the zoo or waiting for the next morning to visit. Since it was supposed to rain the next day we put on our sunscreen and hit the zoo.

Our admission was free for the three of us but parking was still $12.  IF we had paid admission is $14.25 for adults and $11.25 for kids ages 3-12.  We would have paid $51.75 for the three of us to visit the zoo, glad I paid $12.

As I said it was hot, so we alternated into buildings whenever possible.  In spite of the heat the animals were very active.


We stepped into buildings to break up the heat.


The hippo had the right idea, we needed to cool down somehow.

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The Hare Brained Road Trip – Country Inn and Suites Brookfield, Wisconsin

There was a Club Carlson promotion during our road trip, stay at a Radisson and a Country Inn and Suites you received a heap of points. I think it was 50,000 for the Radisson and 44,000 for the Country Inn and Suites stay.  I was in for this one!!!!!!

So for our first night stay (and 44,000 points) was Country Inn and Suites in Brookfield, Wisconsin.  There is a grocery store around the corner from the hotel and an Outback Steakhouse connected to the hotel.  We needed to grab groceries for lunches and then ate at the Outback. Very convenient!

The hotel staff was very nice, the pool area was very nice. It was a great looking hotel, and even though I had read some mixed reviews I was happy with the start of the evening. Daughter swam, we went for dinner and came back to crazy town.  Sports groups of boys ages 8-13 had begun to gather in mass at the hotel.

I wasn’t worried, we had stayed with sports teams before.  But then it went from bad to worse, the male chaperones parked themselves out on the front porch with drinks.  And the youngsters were running wild in the halls and at the pool.  It was crazy enough that Daughter asked to go back to the room and leave the pool area.  There was no supervision that night.  It was banging doors and running through the halls well past 11pm.  The front desk apologized at check out when I mentioned it but I would not recommend anyone stay at this location if teams continue to use it.

We survived breakfast with the young people, we ate in our room instead of trying to find a table.  The stay earned me 44,000 points so that is a little comfort but it was one of our worst guest stays.

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Look at joining your local museum!

We have for a couple of years joined our local museum.  To be fair its about an hour away and we have only visited twice, so why did we join?  We purchased a family membership at a discount and use it everywhere we travel.  If your local museum or any museum you will visit is an ASTC member join them to save.  Your membership card will say ASTC on the back and show that at any ASTC museum for free general entry.  Here is a current reciprocal list:


If I can catch a Groupon I pay less than $30 for a year of visiting museum and science centers. Otherwise full price at our local museum is $50 for a family membership.  But your family can be your child and their best friend, or if your husband will not go take your friend along.  (Its generally for 2 adults and up to 4 kids per visit.) We often visit the Museum of Science and Industry with our friends.  The girls check out all the exhibits while we chat, its 2 adults and 2 kids visiting so its free with the ASTC pass.  They check out the hatching chicks, play in the tornado or climb a rock wall.  So keep an eye on the Groupon museum listing!

We have used our ASTC pass so many different locations, for example:

  • Pacific Science Center in Seattle
  • Impression 5 in Lansing
  • Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
  • Alder Planetarium in Chicago
  • Field Museum in Chicago
  • Discovery World in Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee Public Museum


The ASTC reciprocal is good for any listed museum that is more than 90 miles as the crow flies from where you live. Often your local museum has a separate deal worked out with nearby museums if you buy from them for reduced admissions.

If you visit the following museums with a family of 2 adults and 2 children I have listed what general admission would cost. With the ASTC reciprocal membership you avoid these costs with your one membership.

  • Museum of Science and Industry – $58.00
  • Field Museum – $62
  • Alder Planetarium – $80
  • Impression 5 – $28
  • Pacific Science Center – $62
  • Milwaukee Public Museum – $52
  • Discovery World Milwaukee – $60


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Save on Museum and Science Center Visits


Save on Museum and Science Center Visits

We stumbled upon a Groupon that was a huge savings for us. In fact this type of membership is a savings even if you pay full price for it!

I purchased in 2011 a Groupon to the Kingman Museum in Battle Creek for a family membership.  Huhhhh?  Why would I want to purchase a family membership to a museum?  And how is that a good deal????!?!?!??

I paid $20 for the Groupon back in 2011; I had to drive to the museum to activate it and to get our membership started. It wasn’t a huge deal but it took up a good chunk of a Saturday with drive time and then touring the smaller museum.  Then the same Groupon appeared in late 2012 for $18 and I could do it online.  Sold!!!!

So why did I want a family membership to a small local museum?  The Kingman Museum is an ASTC member. So joining the Kingman gets us reciprocal memberships to many museums and science centers. They need to be be over 90 miles away as the crow flies from my home to qualify for benefits.  And lucky us the Chicago locations are close to 95 miles away!  So my membership allowed us entry during spring break 2012 to the Alder Planetarium and the Museum of Science and Industry.  The membership saved us $49 on that trip.

Then we went to Milwaukee in the summer of 2012, used it for the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Discovery Center in Milwaukee.  Once again we got in free and $53 saved on the Milwaukee trip alone.

This fall joining the Kingman Museum for $50 is something I will most likely be doing if there is no Groupon.  We travel to the Museum of Science and Industry several times a year. And it’s nice to have something free to do as we travel and we have used it in Florida and Washington on prior trips.

Here is a link to the ASTC website to view the museums near you

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