Reproductions of both a Tyrannosaurus rex and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome prove that attractions in Milwaukee are not limited by time or distance. The hometown of Laverne, Shirley and the Fonz offers insight into the 1846 city’s culture and more at nationally recognized gardens and museums.
Built along Lake Michigan’s shore, this Wisconsin city fascinates fans of architecture, science and history with its diverse entertainment options.
|Courtesy Discovery World
Behind the modern world’s machinations and automations lie not magic, but logical processes that most people don’t consider when they switch on a light or turn the key of a car. Discovery World uncovers both man-made and natural wonders most take for granted at the 120,000-square-foot science museum’s hands-on exhibits.
Guests can walk inside a 3-D virtual environment, navigate a plane at a flight simulation and play tic-tac-toe with a robot. The World of Water section presents lessons on America’s waterways with the world’s largest model of the Great Lakes, a touch-tank and an aquarium with aquatic life from the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.
Other rotating exhibits, such as Les Paul’s House of Sound, chronicle other inventions and the geniuses behind them.
Milwaukee Public Museum
A humpback whale skeleton, a Tyrannosaurus rex reproduction and the Hebior mammoth skeleton found less than
|Courtesy Milwaukee Public Museum
30 miles from the museum all bring the past into life-size view for visitors at the Milwaukee Public Museum. One of the largest museums of human and natural history in the country, the 150,000-square-foot museum preserves more than 6 million specimens.
The Streets of Milwaukee, a re-creation of the early-20th-century city, stays authentic down to the gas-lit cobblestone streets built from stones original to the city. At the Third Planet, paradigms of how the Earth’s surface changed over the centuries depict Wisconsin underwater and a battle between dinosaurs.
Dioramas at the museum depict scenes from every continent; examples include scenes of an African lion hunt and a South American rain forest.
Basilica of St. Josaphat
In case the pope ever stops by unannounced at the Basilica of St. Josaphat, parishioners keep a chair and an overhanging canopy ready for him in the 1901 sanctuary. After being designated a basilica in 1929, the congregation took on the patriarchal basilica responsibility of saving a seat, called the papal throne, for the pope.
The classical Romanesque church, with statues, stained-glass windows and wall-to-wall frescoes, is open for tours of its ornate interior. The church’s design and decorations, including the spacious dome near the front of the church, mimic those of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
A basement exhibit on the history of the basilica displays photos and information on the building’s origins as a Polish Catholic church made out of recycled material from the Milwaukee Custom House.
Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes
Even in the dead of a Wisconsin winter, a tour through the Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes can warm the blood with a desert oasis, a tropical jungle and a special floral garden. The three beehive-shaped glass domes stretch 140 feet across the diameters of their bases and 85 feet in height.
|Courtesy Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Arid Dome houses cacti and other plants from Madagascar, Africa, South America and the Canary Islands. The Tropical Dome has a jungle atmosphere with colorful orchids, thick vegetation and tropical birds.
The Floral Show Dome houses rotating themed plant exhibits. Background props add to the ambiance; for instance, poinsettias surround a Norwegian cottage during the yearly Holiday Show.
Greater Milwaukee Convention