Madison Children's Museum#9 in Best Things To Do in Madison, WI
Price & Hours
The Madison Children's Museum is home to a variety of spaces and activities to keep little ones entertained. Along with indoor exhibits like an art studio and a Frank Lloyd Wright-themed mock building zone, the museum offers outdoor exhibits that aim to teach kids about sustainability and composting. It also features plants, as well as animals like chickens.
Past visitors said the museum is a great place to bring small kids (no older than 12) thanks to all the interactive exhibits. However, they did warn that the food at the on-site cafe is average and overpriced. Save your money by packing your own snacks or lunch.
If you're hoping to avoid any school crowds, plan your visit for a weekday afternoon. According to the museum, the attraction usually welcomes school groups during the spring semester around mid-morning.
The Madison Children's Museum is located in downtown Madison, within walking distance of the Wisconsin state Capitol. During the school year, it's open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; during the summer months, it welcomes visitors daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $9 for adults and children, $8 for seniors and are free for infants 1 and younger. There are parking garages and street parking available nearby. Note that due to COVID-19, the museum is temporarily closed. For information on reopening dates, visit the official website. On-site facilities include a cafe and gift shop.
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#1 University of Wisconsin – Madison Memorial Union
One of the star attractions of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, the Memorial Union is beloved by students and locals alike. Open since Oct. 5, 1928, and perched on the shores of Lake Mendota, the union is perhaps best known for its terrace, which faces the lake and is filled with colorful sunburst chairs and tables perfect for enjoying the view, a brat and a pitcher of beer. When the terrace closes for the season (typically in late September), retreat inside to Der Rathskeller. With its German beer hall vibe and cozy fireplaces, Der Rathskeller is a popular spot to watch Badger games. There's also a stage for open mic nights and plenty of seating. Other Union attractions include rotating art exhibits and galleries, an ice cream shop, multiple eateries and a store selling grab-and-go items, along with Badger apparel and gifts.
Past visitors raved about the union, specifically the terrace, with a few calling it among the top spots for Madison travelers to visit. According to reviewers, the best time to visit is in summer, when the weather is just right for enjoying the building's lakefront perch. Just remember: This is a popular spot, so you may have to wait for one of the coveted terrace tables if you're here during the busy evening hours.
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