Explore Milwaukee’s lakefront cultural campus and beyond as the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Gifts to the Community program returns in 2016 with a special day of free admission to four signature destinations on our region’s shoreline. On Saturday, Oct. 15, visit Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Discovery World, Milwaukee Art Museum and the Port Washington Historical Society’s Port Exploreum and 1860 Light Station for free. The Foundation’s Gifts to the Community are being presented this year in partnership with Fund for Lake Michigan.  

Date: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016

Hours: Vary by institution (see below)

Betty Brinn Children's Musuem

Where:  929 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202

Hours:  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website   |  Directions & Parking  |  Phone: 414.390.5437


About Betty Brinn Children's Museum

Betty Brinn Childrens Museum logo.pngThe Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is dedicated to providing hands-on educational experiences that help children build fundamental cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills during their formative years, and to educating adults about the profound influence of early learning on a child’s academic and lifelong success. Museum exhibits and programs reflect developmental milestones recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, as well as state and national academic standards, and promote school readiness by focusing on early literacy; beginning math and science concepts; the development of planning and problem-solving skills; cooperation; self-esteem and self-discipline; and physical coordination. The Museum enables adults to share educational experiences with children, and provides information about child development, learning styles and effective parenting. The Museum is committed to ensuring access by all children and families in the community.


Specifics to know

  • Explore the Museum’s fun, hands-on exhibits where children can follow their interests, try new things, solve problems and have fun working with others as they learn about the world around them.
    • Discover the people, places and processes that make a community work and explore commerce during a visit to our pretend kid-sized business district.
    • Listen, share, read, write, perform and create in our pretend global communications company, where literacy comes to life.
    • Step into a giant game board with activity stations and physical challenges that highlight ways to stay healthy through proper nutrition, regular exercise, safe practices and good personal care.
    • Preschool-age children can build important skills in our pretend urban park filled with sights, sounds and developmentally-appropriate activities for infants and toddlers.
  • Design, tinker, collaborate and create something amazing in the Be A Maker space, the Museum’s communal workshop. Participate in do-it-yourself projects that feature real tools, materials and technologies, with activities that promote science, technology, engineering, arts and math, and help children build new skills, collaborate and share their accomplishments.

Discovery World

Where:  500 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53202

Hours:  10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website   |  Directions & Parking  |  Phone: 414.765.9966


DW Logo.jpgDiscovery World offers fun and learning for the whole family! Experience interactive exhibits, the Reiman Aquarium,  DIY projects in the Kohl’s Design It! Lab, and more! In the summer months, come aboard for a Family Sail on Discovery World's Tall Ship, the Sailing Vessel (S/V) Denis Sullivan, a 137-foot replica of a 19th century Great Lakes schooner.


Specifics to know

  • All exhibits and Kohl's Design It! Lab will be open.
  • Representatives from Project Adam will be located in the exhibit area that will be the future home of a permanent medical exhibit. Visitors can learn about Adam's story, see cardiac images, and gain hands-on exposure to CPR. Staff members from the Herma Heart Center and Project Adam will be present throughout the day to answer questions and aid in teaching hands only CPR.
    • About Project ADAM: Project ADAM began in 1999 after Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old Whitefish Bay, Wis., high school student collapsed and died while playing basketball. Adam suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in which his heart could not properly pump blood to the brain and other vital organs. Defibrillation or an AED could have saved his life, but one was not available that day. To honor his memory, Adam's parents — Patty Lemel and Joe Lemel — collaborated with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to create this program in Adam's memory.

Milwaukee Art Musuem

Where:  700 N. Art Museum Drive., Milwaukee, WI 53202

Hours:  10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website   |  Directions & Parking  |  Phone: 414.224.3200


About the Milwaukee Art Musuem

MAM_wordmark_stk_blk.jpgThe Milwaukee Art Museum’s mission is to serve the community and present art as a vital source of inspiration and education. Through exhibitions and related programs, the Museum is committed to bringing people together to inform, educate and engage in conversation around art. Home to a rich collection of over 30,000 works of art, the Museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its campus includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, annually showcasing three feature exhibitions, and the Eero Saarinen–designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and David Kahler-designed addition. The Museum recently reopened its Collection Galleries, debuting dramatically transformed galleries and a new lakefront addition, with nearly 2,500 world-class works of art on view. 


Specifics to know

  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Hands on art making 
  • 10:30 a.m. – Story time in the galleries 
  • 10:30 a.m. – John Gurda, Milwaukee historian and author, presents Milwaukee: A City Built on Water in the Lubar Auditorium. The talk explores Milwaukee’s relationship with water, how it has been used for work and play, and what needs to be done to protect it going forward.
  • 11 a.m. – Drop-in tour 2 p.m. – Drop-in tour 

Port Exploreum and 1860 Light Station

Port Exploreum

Where:  118 N. Franklin St., Port Washington, WI 53074

Hours:  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Website   |  Directions  |   Parking  |  Phone: 262.268.9150

1860 Light Station

Where: 311 Johnson St., Port Washington, WI 53074

Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Website   |  Directions  |  Phone: 262.268.9150


About Port Exploreum and 1860 Light Station

PE logo.jpg1860Logo.jpgAs part of the Port Washington Historical Society, the 1860 Light Station and Port Exploreum vividly tell the stories of Port Washington from its earliest days to the present. The Light Station, located just east of the historic St. Mary’s Church, has been restored to reflect the life of a Light Keeper in the late 1800s. The Port Exploreum, located in downtown Port, is a history and maritime museum that uses the latest technologies to interactively tell the stories of Port Washington and Lake Michigan.

Gifts to the Community

Launched in celebration of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s centennial in 2015, Gifts to the Community aimed to provide special opportunities connecting greater Milwaukeeans while showcasing some of the region’s most positive characteristics. Last year, 275,000 people directly participated in 12 surprise gifts that engaged 25 different partner organizations.

Gift Highlights 2015