Discovery World focuses on innovation and conservation in the Great Lakes region, and is a high-tech haven for curious kids. It offers a wealth of fun interactive exhibits, many with a local flavor.
The museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, so there’s a strong maritime theme; the Reiman Aquarium houses exotic sea life from the Florida Keys and the Caribbean, along with indigenous freshwater species from the Great Lakes. You can practice the art of seamanship on the open water on a fully working replica of a 19th century schooner, or learn the secrets of water recycling from the Milwaukee Water Works.
The museum covers more than 120,000 square feet (11,000 square meters), and there’s an extensive array of hands-on exhibits, gadgets and demonstrations. Kids can dip in and out of different organized activities such as investigating crimes in a CSI-style forensic science lab or becoming a virtual rock star at the Les Paul House of Sound. Journey into a 3-D virtual reality in The Hive, a room which lets you become totally immersed in a 3-D projection. Sit back and feel the raw power of electricity at the Nikola Tesla live show, a 55-minute performance about the history of electricity that plays on weekends.
Older kids and adults can partake in workshops as diverse as screen printing, interior design and even brewing beer.
Leave several hours to explore the museum. Take a break in the café, which serves salads, sandwiches and cakes.
You can find Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin overlooking Lake Michigan within easy reach of many city hotels. The 200 parking spaces fill up quickly on weekends, so catch the bus. The center is closed on Mondays.