Explore Milwaukee: Urban Ecology Center – Washington Park Branch

I know I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I absolutely love my city and all the great things that we have here. You can always find something to do! I like to be able to take the boys to explore new places and to do new things. It’s so exciting watching their reactions.

Today I took the boys to the Urban Ecology Center’s Washington Park branch. This was a new experience for us as we had previously only been to the Riverwest branch. I plan to explore all three branches, but picked the Washington Park branch to start with.

What exactly is an Urban Ecology Center? You can read their mission statement here but I’d summarize it as making land and the outdoors and science accessible to people who live in the city, especially young people. They do a lot of work in the community and with schools as well.

I realize I am at a slight disadvantage going in the winter, because we couldn’t take advantage of all the great summer activities they have to offer – like kayaking – but one of the things that I do like to do is show that while the experience you may have at some places that you think of as “summer places” is different, it can still be enjoyable and worthwhile for sure. And they do offer winter activities – like snowshoeing – for example.

The Washington Park location is smaller than their Riverwest one, but they do have classroom space and the staff is very friendly! They greeted us right away and showed where things were and told about the place and I appreciated that a lot.

We spent the majority of our time in the Native Wisconsin Animal Room, though they also have classroom space and general space too. But of course, Dominic loves animals. He really enjoyed looking at them and talking about them with me. Most adorable moment: “We’re looking at the animals, Allen!” I really appreciate that there are plenty of stools in the animal room, which made it easy for Dominic to get up high enough to see.


My favorite, the turtles.

My favorite, the turtles.


The Urban Ecology Center plays host to tons of events and regularly occurring programs throughout the year, like their  Young Scientists Club, which provides science and nature related activities throughout the year for kids – something I’d love to get the boys involved in when they’re older, I’m sure they would really like it. They also offer camps and classes. You can drop by anytime they are open and they told me when I was there, that if you drop by at 1 on Saturdays you can see them feed the animals (Washington Park location – the others might be different). I encourage you to check out the Urban Ecology Center and all the other great places we’ve explored!

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