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Your Favorite Sci-Fi Characters Are Back!

Bring the entire family to celebrate the inspiring and imaginative worlds of science-fiction and fantasy on Saturday, October 2nd.

There will be Stormtroopers. There will be Droids. There will be lightsaber battles. There will even be a Mermaid!

The Wisconsin Garrison of the 501st Legion will be here. The SE Wisconsin R2 Builders Group will show their amazing astromech creations. And you can learn how to wield a lightsaber, use the Force like a real Jedi, and perform superhero stunts with E.D.G.E. of Orion!

Catch ‘em all with the inaugural Sci-Fi Family Day Scavenger Hunt. Discover art and artists, toys, books, games. And? A whole lot more.

Will there be costumes and characters? Oh, yes! Meet Time Lords, your favorite Superheroes, and Ghostbusters. And you are more than welcome (encouraged, really) to dress as your favorite character or creature from science fiction or fantasy!

Maybe you’re a Trekker or a Whovian. Maybe you’re a wizard like Harry and Hermione or a wizard like Gandalf or a wizard like Dr. Stephen Strange. Maybe you’re Batman. Are you Batman? You might be Batman.

It will be a day long remembered. Fulfill your destiny. Celebrate the fantastic, the amazing, the improbable, and the impossible. Join us for Sci-Family Day at Discovery World!

*This is a family-friendly event. Real weapons are absolutely NOT permitted. Excessively gory or revealing costumes are also not permitted.


Discovery World Temporarily Closed Until 2021

Due to COVID-19 mitigation, Discovery World will re-close to the public starting immediately. The museum will temporarily close for the remainder of the year with the intent to reopen in 2021.

“Discovery World has made the tough but necessary decision to temporarily close our doors until 2021,” said Bryan Wunar, Discovery World President & CEO. “After receiving updates concerning Milwaukee Public Health Order 4.2, we are joining other Milwaukee museums and will continue to follow the guidance of local public health officials. The health and safety of Discovery World members, guests, volunteers, and staff is our top priority.”

After a temporary closure back in March, Discovery World reopened to the public in July with new safety protocols that included socially distant reduced capacity, mandatory face coverings, advanced ticketing with timed sessions, regularly scheduled sanitization of high-touch surfaces, and unilateral traffic flow throughout the building.

“I’m extremely proud of the socially distant museum experience that our team has implemented over these past six months that have provided educational and fun opportunities for our community members,” said Wunar. “But the current situation has forced us to put those plans on hold.  We look forward to reopening Discovery World in 2021 to engage more people in science learning and helping to build a greater appreciation for the role science plays in all of our lives.”

Discovery World will continue to provide updates on our website at www.discoveryworld.org.

Halloween Fun with Boop!

Hello! It’s me, Boop! Did you join us for the 2020 Ignite the Spark Gala last Saturday? It was super fun! We hope you had fun. Thank you for bidding on auction items. Thank you for donating. Thank you for supporting Discovery World and our mission.

It’s almost Halloween! I LOVE HALLOWEEN! It’s the greatest holiday ever. I love Arbor Day, too. TREES ARE AMAZING! But Halloween is the best. I love the chill in the air. I love all the colors of autumn. I LOVE DRESSING UP IN COSTUMES! POPCORN AND CARAMEL APPLES ARE AWESOME! CORN MAZES ARE SO MUCH FUN. I LOVE SPOOKY DECORATIONS AND ALL THE SPOOKY STORIES!

What’s your favorite spooky story? Mine is Dracula. I’ve always wanted to become a Dracula. Not because of the drinking blood thing. I don’t actually want to drink blood. That sounds gross. I don’t want to sleep in a coffin either. That’s weird. To me, I mean. Maybe you sleep in a coffin, and you find it cozy. You do you. I have always wanted to explode into a cloud of bats. That would be both fun and useful.

But what would happen to me, a turtle, if I got bit by a Dracula? Humans who get bit by Draculas turn into human-shaped Draculas. Would I turn into a human-shaped Dracula? Or would I turn into a turtle-shaped Dracula? No offense, but I’d much rather be a turtle-shaped Dracula.

I don’t have teeth, so would I grow fangs? Or would the tough, bony ridge in my mouth that I use to chew my food just get bigger? I really want fangs. Fangs are so cool. Also, would I still be really slow or would I have the speed of a normal Dracula?  Because I’d really like the speed of a normal Dracula. Can I keep my shell? I’m very attached to it. I’m also literally attached to it. It’s part of my skeleton. Maybe I’m overthinking this.

What if I got bit by a werewolf? Would I become a wereturtle, a creature that is half-wolf and half-turtle? Or would I become a creature that is one-third wolf, one-third human, and one-third turtle? And if I turned into a wolf-human-turtle creature and then bit one of the fish? Would that fish become a wolf-human-turtle-fish creature? I’m not sure what the math is here.

Anyway, Beep and I were trying to figure out something really fun to do for Halloween this year. Last year we snuck into the Biology Lab and tried to make a Frankenstein’s Monster kind of a thing out of leftover squid parts from the squid dissection lab that the Education Team does for school groups.

We found enough leftover squid parts to cobble together a Frankenstein’s Squid Monster. Beep and I had some tentacles left over, so we gave it three extra tentacles. We had élan vital from the “My First Alchemy Kit” that Beep and I ordered from an ad we found in the back of a comic book. We had a Tesla coil. After a lot of zapping, we managed to bring our Frankenstein Squid Monster to life. Muhahahahahahaha!

Unfortunately, Beep and I forgot to put it in a tank, so it was able to slither to the window and dive into Lake Michigan. But not before it turned to us and shouted, “Accursed creators! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?” To be fair, Beep and I did not turn from it in disgust. We were unplugging the Tesla coil because we were done with it. Safety first!

Anyway, our Frankenstein Squid Monster probably haunts the inner harbor to this day. Lol. If you happen to be out on Lake Michigan and you see a terrifying squid monster, tell it Boop says, “Hello!” Or maybe don’t actually mention me. It’s probably still mad that Beep and I brought it to life.

This year we were thinking about opening a portal to a parallel universe full of eldritch abominations and cosmic horrors to see if anyone on the other side wanted to play kickball – Discovery World turtles versus eldritch abominations. They’re really good at kickball over there. They’ve got professional kickball leagues with stadiums and everything. The Eldritch Abominations are in the premier league.

Anyway, all you need to open a portal to a parallel universe is a really big Tesla coil tuned to the precise resonant frequency and the proper incantations. What we didn’t have was a kickball. So we tabled that idea. Honestly, it’s probably not a great idea to open a portal to a parallel universe full of eldritch abominations and cosmic horrors. We may have saved the universe from the Old Ones by simply not doing that. You’re welcome.

One of the things I love most about Halloween is that if I was a run-of-the-mill, garden variety box turtle, I would be getting ready to hibernate right about now. I am a turtle that lives in a science center, so I don’t need to hibernate. NONE OF MY WILD TURTLE FRIENDS HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED HALLOWEEN because they’re all hibernating. Ha! I mean, that’s too bad.

Do you go Trick-or-Treating? I’ve never gone trick-or-treating. I live in a science center, not a neighborhood. And even though Discovery World does Halloween with trick-or-treating for kids, I’ve never been able to walk around and get candy. I’m part of the show!

Nothing would make Beep and I more excited than you stopping down during Halloween and showing me your costumes! And have you heard there’s a social media costume this year? I don’t want to promise anything, but anyone that dresses up as a turtle probably has a shell up on the competition.

Boop vs. the Silent Auction

Hello! It’s me, Boop! I was so excited to see all of you at Sci-Fi Family Day! Thank you! Your costumes were amazing! We hope you had fun.

I have a very exciting announcement. I will be attending the 2020 Ignite the Spark Gala! It’s true! I was invited and everything! Hilary, the General Aquarium Curator here at Discovery World and my BEST HUMAN FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WORLD, told me so! I’m her +1 or something.

Are you going? I hope you’re going. I’m super excited! It’s my first gala ever. And I’m kind of going out of my mind because I have NOTHING TO WEAR! These parties are always so fancy (or so I’ve heard), and I can’t find a tuxedo in my size.

“Boop,” you might say. “You’re a fancy turtle who lives in a science center. You should have eight or nine tuxedos tailored just for you because of your many public appearances.”

You are absolutely right. I am a fancy turtle, but I don’t have a single tuxedo. THIS IS SCANDALOUS. What’s even more scandalous is that I don’t make as many public appearances as a wildly adorable turtle that blogs probably should.

Sure, there was the time I got to christen a cruise ship. That was fun. And one year I got to dance and lip synch on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That was interesting.

Once I got to throw out the first pitch at Miller Park. You might be surprised to learn that I do not have a cannon for an arm. Instead of making it all the way to home plate, the ball rolled down the pitcher’s mound a little ways before it came to a humiliating stop. I THREW IT AS HARD AS I COULD. The crowd booed. THEY BOOED A TURTLE! They were probably Cubs’ fans.

And once I got shoved into a groundhog costume and had to pretend to be whatever the Lodi version of Punxsutawney Phil is. I still don’t know what that was about.

Anyway, it’s all good. Mostly because none of those things happened. Also, I’m going to the Gala! And I was poking around Discovery World’s annual Ignite the Spark Gala Silent Auction looking for a tuxedo in my size (either extra-super-duper small is not a size or they didn’t have one), when I came across something incredibly strange.

Did you know that there are many exciting items with no bids? I KNOW! No bids at all. That’s so sad. All those incredible prizes and experiences with no bids just sitting there like, I don’t know, a puppy… lost and alone, shivering and whimpering in the cold, grey autumn rain. Is that one Sarah McLachlan song playing in your head now? Good! It was playing in mine, too! I nearly started crying.

“Pull it together, Boop,” I said to myself. “This is not a time for sadness. This is a moment of opportunity. Sure, other people can ignore those incredible items and experiences, the ones with the big, sad, adorable eyes yearning for a warm home and someone to love them. You will not ignore them. You will take them in. You will love them. You will give them a home.”

This a great opportunity for me (and possibly you) to support Discovery World and win fantastic prizes on the cheap. Everyone is so busy outbidding each other on that awesome golf package and the tasty beer and beef jerky package that they’ll miss out on some really cool experiences! And if you are bidding on that awesome golf package and the tasty beer and beef jerky package, don’t stop bidding! Keep going! Someone is going to win those, and it really should be you!

What would I bid on and win?

I have always wanted to learn a martial art like Taekwondo, and I would begin my Taekwondo journey at J.K. Lee. The kicking! The fitness! The self-confidence! The courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit! The breaking of boards with my feet! SO MUCH FUN! J.K. Lee Taekwondo is awesome! (UPDATE! THIS HAS A BID NOW, BUT ONLY ONE!)

I would learn self-defense at J.K. Lee, too. I mean, turtles are already pretty good at self-defense what with the whole retreat-into-our-shells thing we do. BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO KNOW!

I could win this gorgeous Gibson Les Paul Studio guitar because I love music, even though I don’t play, and I can’t hear all the notes. Turtles don’t hear like humans do. That’s why I really like jazz. The great Miles Davis even said, “The notes you don’t hear are as important as the ones you do.” He said something like that. Anyway, I would bid on this guitar, win this guitar, learn to play this guitar, and then go on tour with Genesis or the Jonas Brothers or maybe even a K-Pop group! What? K-Pop totally shreds. Not all the time. It shreds when it wants to.

I would go sailing aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan with Beep and all of my Discovery World turtle friends. The wind! The waves! The sun! The excitement! The exploration! BRING IT ON!



I WOULD HANG OUT WITH SANTA! The real Santa. The definite article.

Because I am only five-years old, I would NOT bid on and win a virtual wine tasting (with real wine). I am way too young and way too much of a turtle to try a variety of delicious wines from small, independent winemakers that you simply can’t find in stores. (UPDATE! SOMEONE HAS BID ON THIS. DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT! THIS VIRTUAL WINE TASTING IS YOURS. ALSO, THANK YOU TO THE WONDERFUL PERSON THAT BID ON THIS.)

I would consult with Susan J Designs – Designs is probably not her actual last name – and come up with a plan to redecorate the inside of my tank. I want to transform it into multi-use space with layered, contrasting décor. Oh, and I want shiplap everywhere. I LOVE SHIPLAP! Looking at her portfolio, Susan J doesn’t seem to use much shiplap. Beep and I can fix that.

AND I WOULD ABSOLUTELY BID ON AND WIN THIS TLC AND SWAG FOR YOUR PUP PACKAGE. It comes with a bandana for my dog and a hat for me. Wait. I don’t have a dog. I know! I’ll get a dog. I mean, maybe the Aquarists will let me have a dog. That seems like a reasonable request. I’ll feed it and take it for walks and play with it, I promise. THIS IS A VERY EXCELLENT PLAN!


Anyway, THERE IS SO MUCH EXCITING STUFF TO BID ON AND WIN! You should bid on and win all these things before I do.

Support Discovery World and help us light the spark of wonder and curiosity in thousands of children in Milwaukee and beyond.

Be well,


And Now a Word from a Totally Real Space Alien…

Hello, neighbor! I’m Gary, a totally real space alien from Rigel, a planet orbiting the blue supergiant star of the same name in the constellation Orion. We don’t call our planet Rigel. We don’t call our star Rigel. Nor do we see “constellations” the same way you do. As space aliens, we don’t see or sense or understand anything in the same way you do. And Gary, as you may have already deduced, is not my real name. My real name is unpronounceable in your languages. It’s actually unpronouceable in all languages. My father had an odd sense of humor. You can call me Gary.

Yes, I have a spaceship parked here on Earth. I’m not telling you where it is. I have never taken anyone aboard my spaceship. Nor have I probed anyone. I have variety of portable, non-invasive scanners. And I did not travel 843 light-years across the galaxy to make fun shapes in your cornfields or steal your cows. There are space aliens out there who would be interested in your cows. I am not one of them. And no, I cannot take you with me. Sorry.

I arrived on Earth more than one of your Earth years ago to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with you. It was a remarkable accomplishment given your technological, material, and physiological limitations. Just so we’re clear, the moon landing was the remarkable accomplishment, not the celebration of the anniversary of the moon landing. That was fun and educational, but it was not quite as big of an accomplishment.

I stayed on Earth because even though we Rigellians (not what we actually call ourselves) are vastly superior in nearly every conceivable way (and a few ways that you can’t conceive of because we are so vastly superior and utterly alien), you humans do one thing better than nearly all the other sentient lifeforms in the Universe. You tell great stories. I have read, listened to, and watched almost all of them.

As you might imagine, and you are very good at imagining things, I was drawn to what you call “science fiction”. Much of it is beautiful, terrifying, and incredible. And some of it is really, really fun. I’ll admit that it took me much longer than it should have to understand that all those wonderful heroes, antiheros, villains, aliens, droids, robots, big robots, big robots that combine to form giant robots, spaceships, time machines, Dyson spheres, sprawling galactic Empires and Federations, alternate histories, alternate realities, alternate dimensions, post-apocalyptic futures, and epic battles were not real.

For example, when I watched the movie E.T., I believed you had actually encountered the Jo’van Tar from the Denari system. Then I remembered that only juvenile Jo’van Tar have glowing fingers. Adult Jo’van Tar do not. And Jo’van Tar are not permitted to leave their homeworld until they are at least 347 of your Earth years old. So you can imagine my surprise and confusion when I saw a juvenile Jo’van Tar stranded on Earth, waving its glowing finger around, bringing flowers back to life and making bicycles fly and other shenanigans. I almost called its parents.

I was completely bewildered until I saw Galaxy Quest. Then I got it. You make it all up. Even Galaxy Quest is made up with actors playing actors playing the roles they didn’t really play in a made-up television series (as opposed to a real television series that is still, of course, made up) in a movie that itself is just a made-up story. That is astounding. You have astounding imaginations.

I don’t have to imagine what it’s like to travel through time. My “people” can already travel through time. It’s pretty great. You create fantastic, pretend starships that travel faster than light. We did that for real a long time ago, and it’s honestly the only way to get around. Until you invent time travel that is. Then faster-than-light travel seems almost antiquated… like riding a horse to the grocery store, I would think. It’s still, you know, useful, given the size of the Universe.

And even though the Universe is teeming with intelligent, advanced, alien (to you) life, you invent alien beings anyway. Sure, most of the space aliens you invent look, think, and act remarkably like you do… except they usually have large, wrinkly foreheads or tentacles or look like David Bowie or whatever. That’s okay. You haven’t met real space aliens yet. Maybe you will one day. We’re great! Well, most of us are great.

I and the rest of the sentient (and so much more advanced, like you can’t even comprehend how much more advanced we are) beings in the Universe think that your stories are something to celebrate. You can celebrate the impossible, improbable, and wildly imaginative stories of science fiction at Discovery World.

Experience Sci-Fi Family Day! Dress as your favorite hero (or villain or creature) from the many worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The Kenosha Lego Users Group will be there. The SE Wisconsin R2 Builders Group will be there. I’ll be there. Lots of aliens will be there. You won’t see us, of course. We’ll look like you. Not exactly like you because you would find that strange. I found that out the hard way. And because it’s Sci-Fi Family Day, we might even look like ourselves. You never know. Regardless, we will be there walking among you.

And if we do happen to meet in “person”, will you kindly explain what was going on with the movie Space Jam? I have so many questions.

Join Boop for Sci-Fi Family Day. There Will Be Droids!

Here are the answers to my Sci-Fi Trivia Quiz designed to get you super-excited for Sci-Fi Family Day! I mean, you probably are already super-excited for Sci-Fi Family Day, but just in case.


Which TV cartoon robot said, “We’ll soon stage an attack on technology worthy of being chronicled in an anthem by Rush!” He also said, “I don’t remember ever fighting Godzilla. But that is so what I would have done!”

Bender. The Aquarists tell me that I am too young to watch Futurama.


What kind of droids are BB-8, R2-D2, and C1-10P?

They are astromech droids! They are also adorable. Except for Chopper. He’s adorable and cantankerous!


What kind of droid is a Gonk Droid?

  1. A protocol droid
  2. The droid that repaired Luke’s hand at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
  3. A power droid
  4. A football droid that played tight end for the Patriots before signing with the Buccaneers. Wait, no. That’s the Gronk Droid. Never mind.

The Gonk Droid is a power droid that appeared in A New Hope with the Jawas.


In Rise of Skywalker, Finn and Jannah ride “space horses” on the deck of a star destroyer. What are those “space horses” called?

A. Ooblecks
B. Ubiks
C. Orbachs
D. Orbaks

They are called Orbaks. Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid made of cornstarch and water. Ubik is the title of a Philip K. Dick novel. Jerry Orbach was an actor.


True or False: Baby Yoda is Yoda.

False. Baby Yoda is not Yoda. The Mandalorian takes place after Return of the Jedi. SPOILER ALERT! Yoda, uh, becomes a Force Ghost during Return of the Jedi.


True or False: Baby Yoda is a Yoda

False. Baby Yoda is the same species as Yoda, but no one knows what that species is called. I suppose they could be called Yodas, but that’s definitely not canon.


Which robot from a British book series, radio series, TV series, and a movie said, “The first ten million years were the worst. And the second ten million: they were the worst, too. The third ten million I didn’t enjoy at all. After that, I went into a bit of a decline.”

A. Kryten
B. Marvin
C. K-9
D. Timely Corporation Security Drone

Marvin from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy”.


What must the Spice do?

The Spice must flow.


On which planet is the Spice found?



Match the spaceship to the movie, novel, or series:

A. Rocinante
B. USS Defiant
C. A Series Of Unlikely Explanations
D. NSEA Protector

The Rocinante is from the Expanse series. The USS Defiant is from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A Series Of Unlikely Explanations is from the Culture series by Iain M. Banks. The NSEA Protector, by Grabthar’s Hammer, was the ship from Galaxy Quest.


“One does not simply _____ into Mordor.”

A. Saunter
B. Dance
C. Fly
D. Walk

One does not simply walk into Mordor. One also presumably does not dance or saunter into Mordor. One doesn’t fly into Mordor either, because apparently the eagles have better things to do than save all of Middle Earth from Sauron.


Though she died in 2006, Octavia Butler finally reached the New York Times Best Seller List with which 1993 dystopian novel?

A. Parable of the Sower
B. Parable of the Talents
C. Mind of My Mind
D. Kindred

Octavia Butler reached the New York Times Best Seller List this year with The Parable of the Sower.


This actress has starred or appeared in many science-fiction films including Chappie, Avatar, WALL•E, Ghostbusters, and Galaxy Quest.

Sigourney Weaver


This actress has also appeared in a variety of science fiction films including Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: EndgameStar Trek: Into DarknessAvatar, and I Kill Giants.

Zoe Saldana

How many did you get right?

Join me and Beep and everyone here for Sci-Fi Family Day!

Be well,


Milwaukee Bird Bingo

Give birdwatching a try with these common Milwaukee birds!

Get out of the house and search for some Milwaukee birds just in time for World Migratory Bird Day on May 9, 2020. Enjoy the fresh air, learn where to look for birds and how to identify them with this Milwaukee Bird Bingo game!

Happy Galactic Tick Day?

Okay, so we thought that Galileo invented the telescope. He did not.

An eyeglass maker from the Netherlands named Hans Lippershey filed the first patent for the telescope back on October 2, 1608. Telescopes may have existed before that, and Lippershey might not have come up with the idea entirely on his own.

Zacharias Janssen, a glassmaker who lived in the same town, claimed that he had invented the telescope and that Lippershey stole his design. Engineer Jacob Metius (also from the Netherlands) claimed that he had invented the telescope. Regardless, Lippershey filed the first patent and is generally considered the inventor of the telescope. Or at least a co-inventor.

Galileo heard about this newfangled invention, made improvements, and then decided to be the first person to point a telescope up at the stars.

So what is Galactic Tick Day?

It takes the Earth one Earth year to make one complete orbit around the Sun. That’s what a year is. It’s slightly more complicated than that, which is why we have Leap Years and why spring started yesterday instead of today. Anyway, you knew that already.

The sun (and the Earth and the entire solar system) orbits the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy at a speed of 515,000 miles per hour. Yes, the Earth rotates at about 1,000 miles per hour. We orbit the sun at roughly 67,000 miles per hour. And we’re orbiting the center of the galaxy at over half a million miles per hour. That’s fast. Sort of.

The Milky Way galaxy is really, really big. Even though we are hurtling through space (it’s a controlled hurtling) at 515,000 miles per hour, it takes 225 million years to complete one galactic orbit.

So what’s a Galactic Tick?

It is not the star-devouring, parasitic space-arachnid hiding behind the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. No one really knows what that thing is.

A Galactic Tick is 1/129,000,000 of the sun’s journey around the center of the galaxy.

Galactic Tick Day celebrates the time it takes for the sun to complete one centi-arcsecond of that orbit. A degree is 1/60 of a 360 degree turn, an arcsecond is 1/3600 of a degree, and a centi-arcsecond is 1/100 of that.

The sun (and the Earth and the entire solar system) completes one Galactic Tick every 1.7 years.

And what does this have to do with Hans Lippershey? The creator of Galactic Tick Day, a software engineer from San Francisco, chose the day by counting intervals of 1.7 years from the day that Hans Lippershey filed his patent for the telescope back in 1608. The first Galactic Tick Day took place in 2016. The next will be in 2022.

The idea of Galactic Tick Day is to celebrate human curiosity, invention, and discovery. And to remind us that the Universe is a really, really big place.

On Saturday night, if the sky is clear, take a moment to look up and out at the Universe. We’re all moving through it, one centi-arcsecond at a time.

At Home Design Challenge: Build Your Own Box Turtle

Are you at home and needing a design challenge?

Inspired by the box turtles, Boop and Beep, in the Reiman Aquarium at Discovery World – Draw or build a tiny turtle of your own

? Box turtles have a domed carapace (upper part of shell) – If you are drawing a box turtle, trace a half circle on a cup or bowl to get the perfect shape

? Special features allow them to tuck their arms, legs, head, and tail inside. The lower part of their shell is hinged, allowing for almost complete closure when they tuck in. If you are building a turtle, what are items around the house that also use a hinge? Take a look at the design of the hinge to see how you might make one yourself

? Turtle shells have loads of geometry. Use basic shapes like circles and hexagons to create a pattern for your shell

? Share your turtles with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – Boop and Beep would love to see them!


Summer at Discovery World…There’s really nothing quite like it!

As the damp spring turns to summer sun, an invigorating spirit seems to re-emerge inside Discovery World and around Milwaukee’s lakefront. This renewed energy permeates throughout the museum in the classrooms and exhibits with the sound of excitement and a steady appetite for learning.

While the summer months offer local students better weather and time out of the traditional classroom, the fundamental mission inside Wisconsin’s largest science and technology center remains the same; to provide quality educational experiences within the S.T.E.M. fields to the children of this community. For over thirty-five years, Discovery World has realized this mission and has become a sanctuary for creativity and curiosity to flourish. Especially from June through August.

Part of this effort aims to inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers. Education, whether formal or informal, continues to play a critical role for all the children that come to pass. And though the school year concludes in mid-June, learning never ends at Discovery World.

During the summer months, a series of camp programs are offered to the children through the correlational lens of a specific S.T.E.M. field. The summer camps allow children to broaden their horizons by introducing them to a week-long course that can take them further beyond the classroom and into a long-term career.

So as the summer draws to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on what’s been—the experiments, the lessons, the connections, and maybe even the dissections from the summer camps over the last eleven weeks. And while the trees begin to fall bare, we look forward to what the future brings in the year ahead.

Why Summer Camp matters to Milwaukee

In today’s digital climate, Discovery World continuously strives to adapt to the newest scientific and technological advancements that are currently under development. As a result, the summer camps at the museum are mirrored through this effort. The courses engage students through hands-on activities, demonstrations, and collaborative experiments, which have proven to be very popular, particularly in engaging young girls in engineering and coding.

In order to provide access to the educational opportunities in Milwaukee for all students, a camp scholarship grant is also available to disadvantaged families in need of financial assistance. The scholarship grants are made possible thanks to our generous donors and partners who have contributed to the Discovery World Access Fund. Just this year, more than 465 children received a scholarship to attend a summer camp of their choice.

The museum houses more than ten classrooms devoted to a specific area of study that includes biology, chemistry, engineering, freshwater ecology, automation, and digital technology. Some of the summer camp highlights may differ depending upon who you ask. In a season of nearly 114 camps, it can be difficult to choose, but here are a few of the favorites!

Developing Future Aquarists, Engineers, and Scientists

Housed below the Great Lakes Future and The Challenge, the Reiman Aquarium is home to many incredible aquatic creatures that originate from the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. Down under, visitors can examine stingrays, slipper lobster, lake sturgeon, and horseshoe crabs, among other species. The aquarium is impeccably maintained by our staff of aquarists who manage the fish tanks and care for the marine life.

This professional occupation has also been re-designed in the form of a summer camp, fittingly titled Aquarist-in-Training, which is offered to middle school students. Returning to this year’s catalog, the course provides a unique opportunity for children to learn from our own skilled specialists about the role of an aquarist.

The week-long program highlights several broad themes, diving into such topics that include marine biology, Great Lakes ecology, and environmental science. Throughout the week, the students also participate in the aquatic dissection of an Atlantic squid and a yellow perch. With easy access to the aquarium, campers can catch an up-close view of the sea creatures in conjunction to their classroom study.

For the past four months, a new display at Discovery World has kept our visitors thinking outside the box in a complex and fascinating adventure for all. Mazes & Brain Games, a temporary showcase that debuted in the spring, features a series of mind-bending activities, puzzles, games, and more! The exhibit takes each participant through a gripping ride of unique challenges that require problem-solving and critical reasoning.

This exhibition was also succeeded with the addition of a new summer camp that was introduced for the first time this summer in the Rockwell Automation Lab. Offered to middle school students, Escape! puts their minds to the ultimate test! Using a Breakout EDU game kit, the campers learn how to recognize patterns, create puzzles, seek clues, and collaborate with a team to escape before the clock strikes. This class was such a hit that it will likely be here to stay.

Science of Fashion, Music, and More

Holding its spot as one of the most popular camps in Discovery World history, Jr. Fashion Designer offers fourth and fifth graders the chance to merge fashion and science for an unforgettable week. In this class, students are inspired to create a fashion sense that allows their imaginations to run free. With an original touch, the young designers craft, sew, and assemble their very own clothing line with the assistance of our expert instructors. Experimenting with sewing methods and professional tools, the campers go behind-the-scenes to see how a creation is made before it hits the rack.

And it’s no secret that music holds a very special place in the heart and soul of Milwaukee. When the sun comes out, there is no better time to fire up the grill, grab a brew, and soak in the sound of summer. Music is simply woven into the cultural fabric of the city and has enriched the vibrant and unique Midwestern charm that it has to offer.

At Discovery World, music has also found a home, too. Between the lab coats and the LEGO robots, Les Paul’s House of Sound invites visitors inside an immersive experience that showcases the life and career of its beloved namesake. Established in 2008, this permanent exhibition follows Les Paul’s story from his humble beginnings in Waukesha, Wisconsin to his travels around the world—performing, innovating, and experimenting at every stop along the way. His contributions to the art form have cemented his place in the history of popular music and will continue to inspire all of those that follow in his footsteps.

Paul’s musical legacy has forged a new path for young musicians to explore, create, mix, and share music right here in his own house. Musicology, a summer camp born from this exhibit, offers a crash course to second and third-grade students throughout a week-long study. At this early age, children are encouraged to explore the science of noise and vibration that is used to make the music that we love. In the lab, campers assemble a variety of musical instruments to develop their own unique rhythm and sound. As a leading pioneer of guitar technique and recording, Les Paul’s influence looms large in Musicology and stands firmly planted in the curriculum that this class examines.

While these examples are only a handful of the many camps that are offered at the museum, we hope that this summer presented a window of discovery for both students and visitors alike. Curiosity fuels an appetite for knowledge, but one must search for a path to channel this innate desire. Some children need a push; it is our mission to spur the flame and advance their exploration.

This article was created by Discovery World’s Public Relations intern Andrew Lococo and the accompanying video was created by Discovery World’s Videographer intern Emma Jonas.


You’re a science person whether you know it or not

Are you a comic-book person? You probably are, though you might not think about yourself that way. Disney and Warner Brothers have turned comic book characters into multi-billion dollar franchises. They haven’t just capitalized on popular characters like Spider-Man. They’ve brought more obscure characters like Star-Lord and Black Panther into mainstream popular culture. The superhero multiverse used to be the realm of “nerds”. Today it’s part of the furniture.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics aren’t quite as lucky. There are certainly STEM heroes, but you’ll never see a movie where Deborah Jin and Jane Goodall team up to stop Persi Diaconis from merging the mathematical theory of groups with statistics and destroying the world. Very few people dress up as Lene Vestergaard Hau for Halloween.

And yet we are all science people. We are science people because we live on a complex and dynamic planet teeming with life. We are STEM people because we’re made of atoms that have organized themselves into molecules, which have somehow organized themselves into living, sentient creatures who are working really hard to discover how we and everything else in the Universe works. The Universe has laws, and scientists and engineers are trying to figure out how to make those laws work for us.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics aren’t perfect, but they are some of the best tools we have to understand the Universe and build the future.

And we need more people in STEM, whether they are figuring out how proteins fold, developing new technology for automated factories, designing bridges, designing new molecules, new materials, and new medicines, writing new algorithms to track and analyze intradepartmental sales data, tagging and studying endangered owls, creating new states of matter, creating new virtual and augmented reality experiences, or programming robots to help the elderly climb stairs.

STEM jobs are good for the economy, good for our communities, and good for the future.

Join us for our third annual Girls & STEM event, a day of excitement, hands-on learning, and fun.

Explore robotics, architecture, hydraulics, automation, chemistry, virtual reality. And? A whole lot more.

Spark new interests and new conversations. Meet talented women with STEM careers and learn where a career in STEM can take you.

Inspire your girls to see themselves as the next generation of engineers, designers, scientists, architects, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders!


Discovery World Offers Single-Day Summer Camps!

In addition to our wonderful week-long camps, we’ve got single-day Summer Camps during the week of July 4, 2018. Explore chemistry, roller coasters, programming, circuits, freshwater ecosystems, design, and more!

Grades 2-3

Grades 4-5

Grades 6-8

Discovery World’s single-day camps are available on July 2nd and July 3rd. The cost for these special camps is $62 per day for Discovery World Members and $69 per day for non-members. Have questions about Summer Camp? Give us a call at 414-765-8625 or email us at reservations@discoveryworld.org.

Posted: May 15, 2018

The Heroes Call: Why I Teach Lightsaber and Other WMI (Weapons of Massive Imagination)

The room is full of eager students. Today it’s college freshman. Yesterday it was professional actors. The day before it was 6-year-olds at a library. The prop weapon changes too. Today its fantasy broadsword for certification. Yesterday it was Bat’leth for “Klingon Christmas Carol”. And the library? My favorite: lightsaber.

My name is Orion Couling and I’m a nationally recognized stage combat instructor. I specialize in WMIs. Weapons of Mass Imagination. Lightsabers, Bat’leth, wands, magic, super hero hand-to-hand and, of course, traditional weaponry like broadsword, single sword, small sword, knife, sword and shield, and whip.

But I don’t teach stage combat. Not really.

What I teach is the philosophy that “Today in my class, in this room, for this time, you are that hero.”

I build a safe and effective fantasy of living an epic role.

“Your enemies will fall before you. Your body will move like a titan. You will inspire awe.”

When was the last time you felt truly awe-inspiring? Truly awesome? I get to help people feel that nearly every day.

When I put a prop weapon in someone’s hand I am saying with my actions “You are worthy to hold this. I trust you with this. So does everyone in this room”

When I teach adults I remind them how to play. To play like you did as a child. With high stakes and sweat. When was the last time you, adult reader, immersed yourself in fantasy so much that you were emotionally swept up and agonized in defeat or roared with success? Some of us experience that emotion through sports but a great deal of people will go through years of their lives without the exhilarating ride of the imagination. When an adult holds a sword they remember that moment when they were a little child swinging sticks in the back yard against unseen goblin hordes. And once we tap into that, we unlock a very powerful feeling of childhood. That childlike sense of determination and imagination can then be used to teach empathy, cooperation and partnering that becomes an epic sword fight.

When I teach children I am unlocking a forbidding training. I become Obi-Wan or Lupin. I am the adult in the room that understands that this knowledge is dangerous and they can and should have the ability to choose to use it properly. When they hold a sword they seamlessly become that mythological hero. Effortlessly they become Rey or Percy Jackson. The journey for the child is not one of imagination. That is a short journey for most children. The child’s voyage is one of empowerment. I train them, just as hard as an adult professional and I expect them to rise to the training. Because, just like their adult counterparts, they are worthy.

Young and old, each student deserves the chance to feel

When was the last time you felt those things? Wanna know a shortcut to those feelings? Pick up a lightsaber. More than any prop weapon I have ever worked with; nothing exhilarates the weekend warrior like the lightsaber. It is a touchstone to all ages. Whether they are having a Sith or Jedi day I have seen merely holding this prop drop the frailest, most bound, least athletic people into a battle stance that would make Mace Windu proud.

And that’s where we begin their training. With that moment of pop, hiss, engarde. From there, my friends, the galaxy is the limit.

You can find Orion at Sci-Fi Family Day on Saturday, September 30. 

Local Artists Making Huge Splashes in Discovery World Gala’s Silent Auction

As part of Discovery World’s biggest event of the year, we have a fantastic silent auction full of experiences, adventures, fine meals, divine accessories and beautiful, locally made art. This year, more than in year’s past, the Discovery World Gala Silent Auction features the talents of many local painters, quilters and sculptors who have generously donated to our event to raise funds for our exhibits and education programming. Here’s a look into some of the artists who are making the 2017 auction fantastic:

Judy Tolley

I am a Milwaukee-based artist working mainly in collage on canvas. I have participated in local galleries and have had two solo shows. My collage work has been shown in New York, and has been published in Art World Digest and Somerset Magazine. I have received four blue ribbon juried art awards from the Public Television Auctions.

For more information on Judy, please visit www.judytolley.com.


Matt Bellefeuille

I have always had a strong urge to create art, but it wasn’t until around ten years ago that I found my place in the art world. This is when I first learned to weld, and really when I first attempted three dimensional art. Since then, I have created and sold over a hundred pieces, including a kinetic horse that was purchased by Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museums. I also possess the distinction of having the first permanent sculpture in the Kenosha Union Parks Project.

For more information on Matt, please visit www.facebook.com/alkolaiarts/.


Jim Krahn

I returned to Wisconsin a few years ago after a somewhat nomadic experience. I have lived in Illinois, California, South Carolina, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Wisconsin. I am a self-taught painter, inspired by my many experiences traveling throughout the US, Europe, and the Middle East. I have shown my work in Maryland, the Carolinas, Wisconsin and Lebanon. Oil is my favorite medium but have experimented with acrylic as well as watercolor.

For more information on Jim, please visit https://www.artsinmilwaukee.org/profiles/472/.


Marla Morris-Kennedy

I entered the art world by way of the back door. While working 25+ years as a physical therapist and owning and managing commercial real estate, I have sustained a love of fabric, color, visual texture and design. While I began as a traditional quilt maker over 30 years ago, my path has veered after studying conventional patterns and construction techniques and after taking numerous classes from a variety of teachers from all over the country. I have participated in juried and invitational art shows throughout southeastern Wisconsin including Caggio Gallery (Milwaukee), Cedarburg Artists’ Guild Fall Show, Leenhouts Gallery (Milwaukee), the Eight Counties Show sponsored by the John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan) in 2009. I am an annual participant in Cedarburg Arts Weekend and was the Sacagawea Award Artist for Professional Dimensions in 2007. I also won the grand prize for the “Quilting is Art” Competition sponsored by Milwaukee Public Television in 2010 and 2011.

I combine a wide variety of fabrics, threads and embellishments including buttons, trims, beads, hardware store items and deconstructed jewelry parts to make one-of-a-kind pieces and continue to exhibit in Milwaukee and Ozaukee Counties.

For more information on Marla, please visit: http://cedarburgartistsguild.com/marlamorriskennedy.html.


Amin Djaouga

I’m Amin, a Milwaukee based artist from Benin, in West Africa. My collection has developed not only from personal drawings inspired by African culture and patterns but also by Milwaukee, my new home.   I paint, do digital design, make custom fabrics, handcraft lamps and create pillows and other fabric home decor items from hand woven African mud cloth. I’ve exhibited in area fair trade shops, alternative gift fairs and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

For more information on Amin, please visit: www.konkada.etsy.com.


Christine Burke

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, and I have lived in the Bay View area most of my life. I even have a few paintings featured in a couple bars in the neighborhood. I love this city and the art community here; everyone is always so friendly, supportive and helpful with each other. I will admit, I do not consider myself a professional painter. I did not go to school for it, have only been painting for a few years and I do not make a career of it. I paint because I enjoy it, it’s very therapeutic for me, and there is no other feeling than finishing a piece that you are very proud of. You can tell a lot about an artist based off their work, and that is another reason why I love painting. It really does express who you are and what you are passionate about. You can really see when someone puts their heart and soul into it, and that is the best kind of art.

For more information on Christine, please visit: https://www.artsinmilwaukee.org/profiles/2311/.


Jacob Nordstrum

I am a Wisconsin-based artist who works are part of private collections across the U.S. and Europe. I studied at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and received a Bachelor of Arts degree while studying painting and drawing, and graduated in 2007. Jake lives in the Milwaukee area with his wife and four children.

If you show me lines and tell me not to cross them, I’ll inevitably want to cross them. I have an urge to go against the grain that goes back to being in punk rock bands and writing on my clothes in high school. I have no plan when I sit down to paint other than to be spontaneous and in the moment; using whatever is available in my studio. Whether that’s acrylic and oil paint, tape, paper, scraps of cardboard. Nothing is off limits or unusable. I refuse to be limited in style, color choice, size, or surfaces. If there aren’t canvases around…cardboard and paper work just as good. Quality of artwork is not determined by the width of your stretcher bar. I’ve recently had a solo show at Gallery 2622 in Wauwatosa in March of 2017. I’ve been mostly selling art online through multiple sites and have sold 44 in the last year or so across the U.S and Europe.


Susi Schuele

I am a self-taught abstract new media artist. My earliest art memories of enjoying art are probably like many other artists’ – Finger painting thrilled me as a kid as did paint by number! (Yes, I really said that.) I am certainly also one who “colors outside the lines”. At about the age of 8 or 9, I created a turquoise toothpick sculpture that I wish I still had. I also did a pencil drawing of David Bowie in my 20s. I think I sent it to him but can’t remember. Creativity has long been a way of life for me, in most any medium or form. Whether I was crafting or seriously painting, it has always been a big part of my life. I doodle every day. From October of 2008 until March of this year, I was a web and graphic designer – creating on the technology side. Prior to that, I had a long career in technology positions because that’s what I went to school for and that’s where I thought I needed to be. I have finally reached my nirvana in becoming a full-time new media artist this year. Four of my wood art pieces (including Landslide) were selected as nominees for the People’s Choice Award for the ArtisTTable Women Exhibition in 2017. I was also featured in Huffington Post in their 53 Gorgeous Ways to Dress Your Blank and Boring Walls article (#33) for a piece entitled “Dark Side of the Moon”. I have current work on display at a Wellness Center in Delafield, Wisconsin and have exhibited at the St. Charles Fine Art Show in St. Charles, Illinois, the Pewaukee Area Arts Council Showcase of Art at the Waukesha Public Library, the Creativation Show in Phoenix, Arizona, Delafield Art Walk, The MPTV Holiday and Gift Show 2016 and Artisan 179 Restaurant (billed as a trendy haunt filled with local art) in Pewaukee.

I am a new media artist specializing in creating art on wood using vibrant, colorful stain. I like to think I “nurture nature” by infusing vibrant color into the grain of wood giving justice to its movement and new life. I stain the wood using mostly just my hands. On occasion, I will use a small paint brush for detailed work. I add layers of color to create magnificent three dimensional pieces with beauty that is very hard to capture in a photograph. Photographs, even of the highest quality, do not give justice to this original form of art on wood. It must be seen and touched to realize its true magnificence. The other medium I create in is acrylic paint. Specifically, liquid art. The swirl and anticipation of watching each color unite with another to form a union of the unexpected is as captivating as the cells being formed from a chemical reaction. Inspiration comes from breathtaking sunsets bursting with orange, the subtle but sublime metallic golds and coppers in Raku pottery or the beaming contrast and glitter of colorful elements of nature such as geodes. Color is me. I title my art with song titles. Music is yet another art form that fulfills me. It brings each of my pieces to another level of emotion and creativity by capturing the essence of the painting through song or vice versa.

For more information about Susi, please visit www.artworkarchive.com/artwork/susi-schuele.

Secret Summerfest Parking Spots

The world’s largest music fest is headed back to Milwaukee! Featuring over 800 bands and attracting more than 900,000 attendees, Summerfest annually transforms Milwaukee into the music capital of the world from June 26th to July 7th. And whether you’re heading to the lakefront from Madison, Chicago, or somewhere in between, Discovery World invites you to park in our underground parking structure.

Located just steps away from the Summerfest North Gate, Discovery World’s underground parking structure is open from 9am to Midnight every day of Summerfest. The parking structure can hold up to 200 vehicles, is ran and operated by two onsite Discovery World representatives, and daily pricing can fluctuate between $20-$30 depending on volume and traffic.

Featuring huge national acts such as Willie Nelson, Jennifer Lopez, and Lionel Richie, as well as a plethora of rising local standouts, this year’s Summerfest could be the highest attended in history. So, if you’re in search of a secret parking structure with competitive rates, look directly north of the Summerfest grounds and join us at Discovery World.

Getting to Discovery World

The Lakefront Exit off of I-94 East leads you right to the front door of Discovery World. Also, a brand new road leading straight to our parking structure allows for access from Clybourn Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive.

Directions to Discovery World arriving from the north
Directions to Discovery World arriving from the south
Directions to Discovery World arriving from the west

Where Do You Find Incredible Creatures and Fantastic Beasts? The Kohl’s Design It! Lab.

Explore the NEW June Menu in the Kohl’s Design It! Lab

June has arrived! Summer is here! Anything is possible. It’s fantastic! And speaking of fantastic, our imaginative and chimerical Kohl’s Design It! Lab designers have developed a brand new June menu featuring implausible projects inspired by mythological creatures, legends, lore, and hoaxes.

Bigfoot Shoe Covers

Hoaxes are fun. Piltdown Man and the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814 were quite a hoot back in the day. Sure, it’s a lot more fun to actually perpetrate a hoax. A harmless one, of course. And we’re here to help. But which hoax should you perpetrate? Crop circles are geometrically elaborate and require extensive planning – maps, CAD software, night vision goggles, a large field with very tall grass, a flat board with a rope attached for smushing down the tall grass. That’s a lot of work for an unsolved mystery that’s been thoroughly solved (and debunked).

You could dress up as the Loch Ness Monster, but that might be a challenge given that Nessie is a large aquatic monster that lives in one specific lake in Scotland, and we’re nowhere near Scotland.

Why not Bigfoot? There are a seemingly endless number of out-of-breath weirdos with TV shows chasing Bigfoot across the country. Imagine the fun you could have by leaving “Bigfoot tracks” behind on your next walk in the woods. Create your own Big Foot Shoe Covers for your first foray into hoax-perpetrating fun!

Hodag Horns

This fantastic beast is “native” to Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It has the head of a frog, the body of an elephant (not the size, just the shape), the back of a dinosaur, and the horns of a bull. The hodag was first “discovered” by surveyor and timber cruiser Eugene Shepard back the late 1800’s. He “captured” the creature and displayed it at the first Oneida County Fair. And thousands of people paid money to see it.

Shepard had a pretty good thing going until 1893 when a group scientists from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. arrived to examine the creature. Unsurprisingly, the scientists labeled it a hoax… mostly because it was a hoax.

If you’re quiet and careful and preternaturally observant, you might be able to see the hodag scampering through the woods near Rhinelander. Design your own horns inspired by this homegrown Wisconsin beast.

Manatee Mermaid Bobbleheads

Early European explorers mistook these gentle, adorably dopey-looking aquatic mammals for mermaids. Which? Is completely bonkers, and probably says less about manatees and more about the malleable imaginations of early European explorers, especially when under the influence of fever, heatstroke, and/or rum.

Manatees look nothing like mermaids. They look like Wilfred Brimley*. They’re called sea cows for a reason**. Anyway, manatees are awesome. Using laser cut cardboard and folding techniques, make your own bobble head of these friendly, underwater creatures that look absolutely nothing like mermaids.

*To be fair, Mr. Brimley looks more like a curmudgeonly walrus than a manatee, but the point stands.
**Though they don’t look much like cows either.

Draco Genus

Some dragons have four legs, some have two. Some dragons are covered in armor made of impenetrable scales. Some have leathery wings. Some breathe fire. Some are cunning. Some are wise. Some are protectors and guardians. Some are rapacious and evil and can lay waste to an army of Elves and Dwarves if they put their backs into it.

Some dragons are smaller and real, like the common gliding dragon (Draco sumatranus). Native to Southeast Asia, these lizards have wing-like flaps that allow them to glide up to 200 feet. Design your own dragon origami inspired by the very real gliding lizards.

Griffin Beak

Imagine that you’re a gold miner living in the kingdom of Scythia about 3,000 years ago. Science isn’t exactly your thing, though you have at least a working knowledge of geology and mineralogy.

As you’re digging for gold, you unwittingly unearth the skeleton of a monster. It seems to have the body of a ferocious lion with the head and beak of a titanic and terrifying eagle. What you found might be the fossilized remains of a dinosaur, maybe a Protoceratops. Of course, no one knows what dinosaurs are yet, and you’re not going to stick around long enough to become the world’s first paleontologist. All you want to do is run away as fast as you can before this creature – whatever it is – comes back to life and hunts you down for disturbing its bones.

The good news is you’re not a Scythian gold miner. The better news is that you can become the legendary griffin. Design and build a beak that opens and closes when you move your hands.

The Legend of the Milwaukee Lion

Remember when the days were long and rolled beneath a deep blue sky? We do, too. It was the summer of 2015. The last perfect summer. And one warm evening in late July, a lion wandered into town… and right into our hearts. Thinking back to those bygone days of our golden innocence, we can’t help wonder if the lion was perhaps something more than a lion. Maybe it was symbol of the power and fragility of youth. Or maybe it was a cougar. Cougars used to roam Wisconsin. So that’s probably it. Anyway, it was something fun to talk about at the time. Make your own cougar paws inspired by this once-native big cat.

Demeter Automata

Demeter was the ancient Greek goddess of agriculture and the harvest. Terrible things happened to her (as they do in ancient Greek mythology), and she had to search the Underworld for her daughter Persephone. While Demeter was gone, autumn and winter happened. When she returned, spring and summer returned to the world. Create an automata depicting modern agriculture inspired by Demeter and this early myth of the seasons.

Zeus’ Bolt Tea Light

While not quite as cool as Thor (it’s the hammer, really), Zeus is a pretty fantastic mythological entity. Powerful, capricious, jealous, always turning people into swans and whatnot, and able to hurl thunderbolts, being Zeus seems like a pretty sweet gig. We can’t help you hurl actual thunderbolts, but we can help you hurl plush thunderbolts. Better yet, you can help you hurl plush thunderbolts. Make your own Zeus’ Bolt Tea Light, and get zappin’!

Join us for a month of incredible creatures and fantastical beasts. And where do you find them? The Kohl’s Design It! Lab.

Discovery World Plans Major Investments on Milwaukee’s Lakefront

Dear Discovery World Members and Guests,

We are excited to share with you that Discovery World will begin a major expansion and renovation this year that will add nearly 20,000 square feet of accessible public space to our center!

The first phase of the project will begin in August 2017 will be completed by summer of 2018. We will construct a new, 10,000 square foot permanent pavilion that will replace the seasonal tent we typically construct each spring and summer on Discovery World’s north lawn. This versatile pavilion will serve a variety of purposes, such as:

The lead donation helping us make this first phase possible has been provided through a generous gift by the Reiman Family Foundation, and we are grateful for their support.

The second phase of the expansion will significantly reshape major exhibit space and reimagine the ways in which you and your family explore, learn, and play at Discovery World. When completed, these improvements will DOUBLE the amount of exhibit and program space that you can currently access in our Technology Wing! This major renovation will include the:

These investments in Discovery World will be funded through private contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. The lead gift for the project funding has been provided by the Reiman Family Foundation; that gift and other commitments will enable the work to get underway in 2017. The full project budget is approximately $18 million, and the fundraising campaign is currently underway to ensure that the work can be completed by the end of 2018.

For more information regarding how you can support this exciting project, please contact Jennifer Clearwater at (414) 765-1972 or jclearwater@discoveryworld.org.

Build a Stronger and Brighter Future Campaign

Build a Stronger and Brighter Future Campaign ePledge Form

BodyMindMe Health Science Experience Campaign

Love Your Great Lakes with Fund For Lake Michigan

Alright friends, it’s about time we talk about the Great Lakes. They’re not just your usual body of water, they’re so much more. Please read along as we take a few minutes to explain why we love the Great Lakes here at Discovery World.

Did you know that the five Great Lakes are home to 3,500 different species? Did you also know that they hold over 23 quadrillion liters of water? That is enough water to sustain 2.3 billion people for their entire lives (if they live the average 78 years and use 34 liters of water a day). But, let’s not steal all our water from the Great Lakes. We wouldn’t want them to dry up now, would we? The lakes already provide 40 million people with clean drinking water and 212 billion liters of water a day for farming and industry.

With the Great Lakes being such an abundance of fresh water, many humans are relocating their homes and businesses to the surrounding areas. This move is great for the businesses, however, there is a great concern with pollution in the lake water. The Great Lakes are so big that less than 1% of water leaves the system every year. This allows pollution to stay in the water, harming the animals, plants, and water supplies.

Here at Discovery World, we educate our guests daily about the Great Lakes. But we realized we wanted to create even more awareness. Luckily, we have some amazing friends and partners. With the help of Fund for Lake Michigan, Discovery World is excited to host Love Your Great Lakes Day, a day solely focused on community efforts to revive, sustain, and admire the Great Lakes.

At Discovery World’s Love Your Great Lakes Day on Saturday, February 11th, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about ways people are inspired by the Great Lakes, whether artistically or scientifically.

What can you do at Love Your Great Lakes?

(Image courtesy of JMKE Photography)

Food, Sports, and Fireworks! Your Guide to January and February at Discovery World

You made it! Welcome! Come on in. Make yourself at home. Take your shoes off. May we offer you some lovely cheeses? How about a glass of something refreshing? You’re fine? Fantastic! Thanks for joining us here at the Innovation Blog. Have a seat. Did you hear about Karen? I know, right? So weird. Anyway, there’s a lot of fun stuff happening here at Discovery World in the next few weeks, and we wanted to tell you all about it.

Experience a Taste of Bartolotta
Sat, January 28 | 11am-3pm

We’re doing something entirely new here at Discovery World. At Taste of Bartolotta, you can explore all the interactive fun of Discovery World with your entire family while sampling delicious food along the way from a myriad of Bartolotta Restaurants! Dig into a delicious beef bourguignon from Lake Park Bistro, authentic clam chowder from Harbor House, ridiculous rib tips and completely bonkers mac n’ cheese from Miss Beverly’s Deluxe BBQ. And? So very much more, including pumpkin salted caramel cheesecake. Wine, beer, soda, and water will also be available for purchase.

How does Taste of Bartolotta work? You arrive at Discovery World. You purchase admission. Or, if you’re one of our fantastic Discovery World Members, you get in free. Once inside, you purchase food tickets from one of three stations located in Discovery World. Food tickets are sold in packs of 10 for $5.00 (cash or credit only, no refunds). Then you explore, find all the different food stations. And then you eat. And enjoy. It’s simple, really.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Steve Atwell Memorial Fund Scholarship, which provides funds so that underserved youth in our community can attend Discovery World Summer Camps.

Get hungry. Get to Discovery World. Explore and enjoy!

It’s Opening Day for Sportsology
Saturday, February 4th

Discovery World is hosting a fantastic and fun NEW exhibit called Sportsology. The exhibit features engaging, interactive challenges that allow you to test your athletic abilities and learn how your body works.

Special guests on Opening Day include Project ADAM, the Wisconsin Figure Skating Club, and the Lakeshore Chinooks. They’ll be joining us with expert advice and fun, interactive demos. Experience the science of Sportsology, only at Discovery World!

Sportsology is presented in partnership with Aurora Health Care & Marquette University.

Love Your Great Lakes Day
Saturday, February 11

It’s exciting and new. It’s all you need. It is space and time measured by the heart. It’s love. It’s a many splendored thing, just like our Great Lakes. And we love our Great Lakes.

Discovery World and the Fund for Lake Michigan are partnering for a family-friendly celebration of our freshwater abundance. Join us for interactive educational experiences, talk to people from local organizations who help protect our Great Lakes, meet some of the many creatures who live in the Great Lakes, and explore your connection to fresh water. Dive in. Love Your Great Lakes.

Fireworks in Winter
Sat, January 28 | 10am • 11:15am • 12:30pm • 2:15pm • 3:30pm | Brady Intelligent Products Lab

January marks the beginning of the three-month period of high activity for our planet’s silent fireworks, the Northern Lights. Visit the Brady Lab and use special inks to print a poster celebrating this natural, hauntingly beautiful phenomena.

This 60-minute workshop is walk-up only. Pre-registration is unnecessary. Open to 15-20 participants at a time. All ages are welcome. Adult supervision is required.

Portable Clouds
Sat, February 4 | 10:30am • 1pm • 3:30pm | THIRST Lab

What kind of clouds are made of sunshine and sugar? Cotton candy! Join us in the THRIST Lab, and explore the science of spun sugar. And make your own fluffy and deliciously sweet cloud to enjoy.

This 30-minute workshop is walk-up only. Pre-registration is unnecessary. Open to 15-20 participants at a time. All ages are welcome. Adult supervision is required.

To Love Fish Is to Know Them
Sat, February 11 | 11am • 12pm • 2pm • 3pm | Freshwater Sustainability Lab

Fall in love all over again… with fish! Explore a few of the astonishing creatures that live right in Lake Michigan. Can you tell a bass from a bluegill? Learn to identify the creatures that share our waters.

This 30-minute workshop is walk-up only. Pre-registration is unnecessary. Open to 15-20 participants at a time. All ages are welcome. Adult supervision is required.

Boy Scout Day with the Admirals
Sat, February 11 | $20 per person

Once again, Discovery World is teaming up with the Milwaukee Admirals to offer Boy Scouts an exciting, jam-packed day of fun and adventure!

Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and their families are invited to Discovery World to engage in special Scout programming and to explore our interactive, hands-on exhibits. After spending the afternoon at Discovery World, Scouts will head to the Admirals new home location, the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, to watch the Admirals leave it all on the ice. Check-in will be at noon, with classes going from 1-4pm in our lab spaces. Scouts will be able to explore the labs and participate in unique and innovative programming.

Price includes admission to Discovery World, special Scout activities in Discovery World’s labs, and a ticket to the Milwaukee Admirals hockey game.

To register, contact Nathan Harker at 414.227.0556 or by email at nharker@milwaukeeadmirals.com

Visit the Kohl’s Design It! Lab for January Maker Fun!
Weekends in January | 10am-5pm | INCLUDED with General Admission

The Kohl’s Design It! Lab is a wonderful place to spend family time together making incredible projects that you can take home. This month, we’re celebrating some remarkable people and places in history. Adult visitors will enjoy creating the Kinetic Snowflakes and the Elvis Presley “Shake-y Legs” (Elvis was born on January 8, 1935) while younger guests will love creating a Willow Ptarmigan crown (the Willow Ptarmigan is the state bird of Alaska, which became a state on January 3, 1959). Other projects you can make and take home in January include a boxing glove inspired by Muhammad Ali (born January 17, 1942) and an American flag inspired by the original sewn by Betsy Ross (born January 1, 1752).

And be sure to take advantage of the new Upcycling Wall. Kohl’s Design It! Lab staff gather magazines, egg cartons, ribbon, cardboard, yarn, bubble wrap, popsicle sticks, vinyl, wrapping paper and all kinds of interesting materials that people would normally toss in the trash or the recycling bin and sort those items into orange buckets. You can use these throwaway materials to create whatever you can think of!

Wow. It was so good to see you. Thanks for stopping by. This was fun.  Let’s do this again sometime. And join us at Discovery World in January and February!

Your guide to online registration and membership renewal!

You’ve decided to renew your membership or give a gift membership, but you can’t make the trip to Discovery World to take care of it. Why not process your membership transaction from your couch or kitchen table! Here’s how:

From Discovery World’s Membership Page, click the “Join Today, Renew, or Give a Gift Membership!” button.

For online transactions, you may process a one-time transaction as a guest. But we recommend “registering” so that you may process any future online transactions with your contact information conveniently pre-filled.

To register or not register…that is the question!  You will need to register if you have NOT made an online purchase after June 2016, even if you are or have been a member previously. Click on the “Register” button and complete the registration process. You will receive a confirmation on the screen and in your email when done.

Successfully Registered? Now Sign In! For future visits after registering, simply click the “sign in” button in the upper right corner of the screen, enter your login and password, and proceed with your order.

Renewing? If you register with the same email address we have on file for your membership, the system will recognize the match and should successfully renew your existing membership ID.

“Forgot your password?” If you ever forget your password, you will have the option to reset it as long as you have the correct login and email address.

Process Your Order. Select the level of membership that works best for you and the system will automatically ask for the appropriate number of names to associate with the membership. Complete all required information, add to cart, and check out. You will receive a confirmation email with the details of your transaction. Errors? Any errors along the way will be explained in red at the top of the screen. Tip: The internet “back” button can be helpful to return to previous screens, but be cautious…once you click the “Complete Payment” button, the transaction is truly complete and cannot be “undone.”

Gift memberships are a very special way to share educational fun at Discovery World. Be sure to click the box: “This membership is a gift” so that you do not accidentally purchase a membership for yourself. You will have the opportunity to provide instructions on who should receive the renewal notice a year from now (to you or the recipients) as well as where to mail the membership cards (directly to the recipients or first to you so that you may share them personally).

Eligible for an Employee Membership Discount? Check the Corporate Partner Employee Membership Discount Program list and bypass the online process to bring evidence of your employment to the Membership Desk and sign up in person.

Questions? If you have questions about memberships and/or online membership transactions, please contact the Membership Department at 414-765-8620 or Membership@DiscoveryWorld.org.

Signing Up for Classes and Camps? From the DiscoveryWorld.org/Programs page, select the desired class/camp and follow the prompts to either register or sign in, and follow the prompts.

FIRST Robotics Announces 2017 STEAMWORKS Competition, Local Milwaukee Teams Kickoff Season

FIRST Robotics Announces 2017 STEAMWORKS Competition, Local Milwaukee Teams Begin Season

What do airships, boilers, rotors, fuel, gears, robots, steampunk, and high school students have in common? They are all part of this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST STEAMworks.

On Saturday, January 7th, 2017, dozens of teams of high school students from southeast Wisconsin along with thousands of other teams from around the world viewed the Kickoff for FIRST STEAMworks and began planning how to build a robot to accomplish the game tasks.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen that challenges students to work with community mentors to design and build a robot in only six weeks to play a unique game each year in hopes that the students will become inspired to pursue careers in science and technology.

This is the 26th year of the competition and for the first time ever, there will be two regional competitions in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Regional will be held at the UWM Panther Arena from March 23rd – March 25th and the Seven Rivers Regional will be held in LaCrosse at the LaCrosse Center from April 13th – April 15th. Both events are free and open to the public and will feature approximately 50 teams from Wisconsin and surrounding states.

Come and see several of these teams show off their robots during Robotics Week at Discovery World from April 10th – 15th. Discovery World wishes these teams well during their build and competition seasons! For more information about FIRST (which also runs programs for middle and elementary school students), visit www.firstinspires.org.

Honoring Our Colleague and Friend by Helping Kids Access STEM Education

Harriet Tubman said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” That is how our dear friend and former colleague, Steve Atwell, lived his life.

Steve passed away suddenly on September 16th, 2014, leaving behind his beloved wife Karen Hunt and his children Stephanie, Emma and Hunter. His passing also devastated his colleagues at Discovery World, where Steve spent more than 13 years as the Development Director.

To say that Steve was the heart and soul of Discovery World is not an understatement. He helped the organization manage its move to an $85 million facility on Milwaukee’s lakefront in 2006. No one on the Board of Directors or staff possesses the amount of knowledge associated with the project as Steve, who was always generous with his time and input for his colleagues, his peers in the industry and potential friends or donors in the community. A tour of Discovery World with Steve Atwell was sure to result in new tidbits of information, and the visitor would most assuredly walk away with a clear understanding of Steve’s passionate commitment to innovation and STEM education. Steve led the fundraising efforts at Discovery World with grace and unyielding optimism. As things began to improve and Steve helped direct the efforts to get many “little wins,” he continued to focus on building for the long-term, reminding organization and Board leadership that we needed to establish a robust endowment in order to build a sustainable future.

With Steve’s help, Discovery World reduced our capital debt by more than $8 million. The organization has built credibility by delivering educational programs that Steve envisioned and generated the funds to execute. In late 2014, a Discovery World Board Member, Bruce Milne of the Milne Foundation, pledged the initial $50,000 to create the Steve Atwell Memorial Youth Scholarship endowment. Subsequently, our Kohl’s Design It! Lab partner, Kohl’s Department Stores, donated an additional $25,000 to the endowment, as did Discovery World friend and partner, Rockwell Automation.

When fully funded, this endowment will ensure that young people in our community can continue to find enrichment and inspiration at Discovery World regardless of their financial status. Steve understood that children with socioeconomic restrictions are often limited in their ability to gain access to rich cultural and educational resources like Discovery World. By removing the financial barriers that these children face, we provide urban school-aged children with a stronger and clearer path to success in education and in their eventual careers.

Steve’s commitment to providing opportunity for all will be part of his tremendous legacy at Discovery World and in the Milwaukee community. We have established a goal to raise an additional $400,000 between 2017-2021, which would produce approximately $25,000 per year in Discovery World scholarship support. These funds provide area young people personalized access to our STEM programs, camps, educational labs, staff, and collaborative partners.

For more information about how you can make a one-time gift or multi-year pledge to Discovery World’s Steve Atwell Memorial Youth Scholarship, or for more information about other ways your philanthropy can make a difference through Discovery World, please contact:

Jennifer Clearwater, CFRE, Director of Philanthropy – Discovery World
jclearwater@discoveryworld.org | Office: 414.765.1972  |  Cell: 414.975.1327

Will you help ignite the spark of curiosity this holiday season?

Sometimes the most memorable gifts, the ones that children treasure for years to come, do not require batteries or a fancy bow; sometimes the most memorable gifts are those of experience. While the latest toy or game may be on your child’s list this year, a thrilling train ride to a nearby city, an exploration of wildlife at a local nature center or a trip to a museum with loved ones can enrich beyond an object that is here today and shoved to the back of a closet tomorrow.

Time and time again, we see the magic and impact of science and technology on the faces of the young visitors at Discovery World. The smiling faces right next to them are grandparents, parents and teachers who are often just as thrilled because they sense the wonder and see the spark that has been lit in their child. As children become repeat visitors and grow with our exhibits, the impact is deepened by the fun, interactive experiences that they will cherish for years to come.

This Holiday Season, thanks to a grant from the WE Energies Foundation, Discovery World is providing the gift of access to 250 families in our community. But more families want and need the gift of access to Discovery World, and we hope to provide even more families with that access through generous support from other donors in our community. We want to ignite the spark of curiosity for children and their families this coming year.

On #givingtuesday, we encourage you to consider the gift of experience to the ones you love, and those who need it most. Share joy to start the holiday season and you’ll experience that same joy in return.

For more information on how to donate to Discovery World’s Access Fund, please visit: www.discoveryworld.org/donate.


Your Guide to the Best November Ever (No Really)

Your Guide to the Best November Ever (No Really)

Is November the best month? Yes. Okay, no. That would be October. July is fantastic, too. September is nice. June is lovely. January is brutal. April is cruel. March is equally unforgiving, unless you like college basketball, and then March can either be wonderful or unforgiving or both. August could be great, but nothing happens in August. There are other months, probably, but we’re talking about November. And November is the best! Or not. Mostly not. We’re trying to fix that.

Yes, November is cold and windy and bleak and dark, but not as cold and windy and bleak and dark as it’s gonna be. It might even snow! Not the beautiful fluffy snow that blankets everything in white and turns the world into an Acura commercial. November snow is usually heavy and wet and… fantastic for making small, lumpy, misshapen snowmen. Oh! November is hands down the best month for pie! That’s something. Pie is good.

And then there’s Thanksgiving, which is the best holiday. Well, it should be the best holiday – family and/or friends, a ginormous dinner, naps, and football. The actual Thanksgiving that we experience year after year, however, is often an imperfect reflection of the Platonic Ideal of Thanksgiving that each of us holds in our minds. That, and no one cares about the Detroit Lions.

Anyway, there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so (which is not even remotely true, but Hamlet said it so we’re gonna roll with it). And we’ve thought about it. And we’ve decided to make November great again. Wait, no. Sorry. We’re going to make November great to begin with. Like the back end of a turkey, we’ve stuffed November full of fun things to create and incredible things to do here at Discovery World. Fun for the whole family? Oh, yes.

A NEW November Kohl’s Design It! Lab Menu

Weekends in November ǀ 10am-5pm ǀ INCLUDED with General Admission

Inspired by the spirit of November and Thanksgiving, our innovative and inventive designers have created a marvelous new menu of things for the whole family to make and take home. You could join us every weekend in November and create something different each time you visit.

Create a veritable cornucopia of incredible projects including a festive candy corn ornament, a “musical” turkey gobbler, and a turkey crown. Make a pheasant feather hat, football jewelry, a football player bobblehead, a QB playbook, and a whole lot more.

The Kohl’s Design It! Lab will be open on Black Friday, 10am-5pm!

Catch Some Wicked, Winter Waves

Sat, Nov 5 ǀ 10:30am, 11:15am, 12:30pm, 2:15pm, 3:30pm ǀ FREE with General Admission

Surfing in November? In Wisconsin? Isn’t that a bit, um, extreme? Yes. The winds and waves of November are wild, and Lake Michigan surfing is at its best. Take the drop in the Brady Lab and print a throwback surf poster depicting some gnarly lake waves and the gear used in pursuit of icy, freshwater walls.

The workshop is walk-up only. Pre-registration is unnecessary. Open to 15-20 participants at a time. All ages are welcome!

The Final Maker Market Ever (Probably)

Sat, Nov 12 ǀ 10am-5pm ǀ FREE, though general admission applies if visiting entire museum

Join us as we transform our promenade into a stunning and lively indoor market. Shop one-of-a-kind, locally-made products including ceramics, women’s clothing, leather goods, candles, and more.

Explore the market, have fun, meet amazing artists and artisans, shop, and support independent maker spirit in Milwaukee. This very well might be the final Milwaukee Maker Market ever. Don’t miss out!

The Market is free, but General Admission applies if visiting entire museum.

Leaf Chromatography

Sat, Nov 12 ǀ 10:30-12:30pm • 1:30-3:30pm ǀ FREE with General Admission

Autumn is the most beautiful time of year in Wisconsin. What gives autumn leaves their brilliant orange, deep yellow, and vibrant red colors? Join us in the THIRST Lab and extract colors from leaves to discover the pigments that give them these amazing colors!

The workshop is walk-up only. Pre-registration is unnecessary. Open to 15-20 participants at a time. All ages are welcome!

Girls & STEM Event

Sat, Nov 19 ǀ 10am-5pm ǀ FREE with General Admission 

Where can a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math take you? Anywhere you want to go. Join us for Girls & STEM, an exciting day at Discovery World that will inspire girls to envision themselves as the engineers, designers, scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders of the future.

Meet talented women who have found STEM careers with local companies. Get your hands on science and technology. Spark new interests. Take that first step down a path that can lead you anywhere in the world…and beyond. Join us for the Girls & STEM event at Discovery World!

The Great Lake Turnover

Sat, Nov 19 ǀ 11am • 12pm • 2pm • 3pm ǀ FREE with General Admission

Winter is coming, and something is churning up Lake Michigan’s waters. Join us in the Freshwater Sustainability Lab and learn about our Lake’s fall turnover and why it’s so important to all of its living creatures. Take water samples, test for dissolved oxygen, and become an ecologist for a day! Part of the lab will be outside, weather permitting.

This 30-minute workshop is walk-up only. Pre-registration is unnecessary. Open to 15-20 participants at a time. All ages are welcome!

Black Friday & the Return of the Kooky Cooky House

Friday, Nov 25 ǀ Extended building hours 9am-5pm ǀ FREE with General Admission

We like to think of Black Friday as the Cape Canaveral, the launch pad, the springboard, the trampoline…you get the idea…into the Holiday Season. We’re open. The Kohl’s Design It! Lab will be open, 10am-5pm. And the Kooky Cooky House is back! Have a blast with your kids (or grandkids) and discover Milwaukee’s legendary mechanical cookie factory. Santa will be here for photographs and to consult with your little ones on their holiday wish lists. And yes, there will be cookies. Enjoy the memories and create new ones for you and your family this holiday season.

So there you go. Now November is the greatest month ever! Sort of. We’ve done what we can, anyway. We’ll see you at Discovery World! Gobble, gobble.

Yesterday’s Campers, Today’s Leaders, Tomorrow’s Visionaries

Summer is an amazing time at Discovery World. Each weekday, hundreds of elementary and middle school students flock to Milwaukee’s lakefront to take part in our award-winning Summer Camp. These students build battle bots, design their own fashion line, or even create a video game from scratch. But what you may not notice is the team of passionate high school volunteers working hard over their summer break to make our camps successful while also getting their first taste of the workforce.

Discovery World is extremely fortunate to have 25 high school volunteers working alongside our educators throughout the summer. All of our high school volunteers bring their own unique interests and experiences to the table. Working tirelessly, both with our campers and behind the scenes, these volunteers carry out our camps’ curricula and strengthen our mission as an organization.

Not only are these volunteers an invaluable asset to our camps, volunteering is an invaluable experience for these high schoolers. These students are able to volunteer in whichever camp best suits their interests, from fashion to robot design to making spa products. Our volunteers are also encouraged to choose their camp based on vocational aspirations. These camps give our high school volunteers the opportunity to get a foot in the door of the industry they wish to work in, as they are able to work with experts and gain hands-on knowledge.

Learning to Lead

Another important element of Summer Camp volunteerism is the opportunity to be a leader. For many of the volunteers, this is one of the first times they are given the platform to step into and embrace leadership roles. Joel Brennan, Discovery World President and CEO, explained the impact of such leadership on campers.

“Younger kids in our camps get to see kids just a few years older taking charge and performing important roles that make the learning experience richer and deeper,” said Brennan. “When teenagers become the teachers and mentors to younger students, Discovery World strengthens our educational mission and also delivers lessons that go well beyond the classroom.”

Leading Through Experience

Some of our proudest Summer Camp stories involve former campers who return as high school volunteers. Mason Schlax was once a Discovery World camper himself and is now a volunteer within our Bot Battle Engineer and LEGO Robot Engineer camps. Mason was inspired to become a volunteer thanks to the help his own volunteers and teachers gave him. He says, “I wanted to pass my good experiences on to others.” Mason’s experiences as a camper also sparked his interest in engineering and robotics. He is now a vital part of his high school robotics team and wishes to pursue engineering in college.

Paul Mech, Discovery World’s Manager of Curriculum and Program Development, describes Mason as a knowledgeable and resourceful volunteer. He says Mason knows a great deal about how to build and drive robots and also has excellent rapport with campers. He once even reorganized the supply stores simply because he wanted to make it easier for campers to find their supplies. Mech says, “It’s not something where we said ‘hey, can you do this?’ He just saw that need and jumped in.” This type of initiative and leadership is common among our volunteers.

Like Mason, Jamie Wage used to be a camper and is now a volunteer. In addition to her own positive experiences at camp, Jamie wanted to be a volunteer to “help kids learn about what their future careers could possibly be.” Jamie chose to volunteer in our Aquarist camp for a week, not only because the Reiman Aquarium is her favorite exhibit, but also because she is interested in a future career dealing with different species of animals.

Mason and Jamie’s experiences as both campers and volunteers are testaments to our mission, which is to provide educational opportunities for all ages. We provide high school students with the opportunity to explore their interests, develop professional skills, and become great leaders. In turn, these volunteers can make an impact on our campers as teachers, friends, and role models. With our high schoolers’ experiences at Discovery World, we hope to contribute positively to their futures as engineers, zoologists, fashion designers, food connoisseurs, and other endless possibilities that await them.

Why We Love Brewers Weather Day with Storm Team 4

Imagine walking up to home plate at Miller Park. You’re engulfed by the roar of 14,000 screaming fans as the eyes of students, teachers, and local media personalities are fixated on your every move. The air is filled with anticipation and uncertainty because how you perform in this moment affects whether your team considers today a win or a loss. Can you focus, dig deep, and hit one out of the park? That’s up to you. The fun part? This is Weather Day. The actual game doesn’t start for another two hours.

At Brewers Weather Day, science is treated like a sport. Fans erupt for live interactive science experiments, they scream out answers to weather questions, and they eagerly flock to different booths to learn more. On this day, scientists and educators are treated like professional athletes.

Over the past few years, our Kohl’s Design It! Lab and Education Team have participated in a full day of science, weather, and baseball. Storm Team 4 personalities such as Jesse Ritka and John Malan get the crowd excited about the science behind weather, and then allow organizations like ours to engage these students and hopefully inspire them to see science as fun and exciting, much as they do professional baseball.

This is why Discovery World loves Brewers Weather Day with Storm Team 4. Programs like yours showcase science the way it should be viewed. We can’t wait until next year.

Thank You Volunteers! We Couldn’t Do It Without You.

Though we are thankful for our volunteers here at Discovery World each and every day, in light of National Volunteer Week, we would like to take a moment to extend a special thank you to the hundreds of individuals that make a difference at Discovery World each year.

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about taking action, encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change—discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation. We at Discovery World encourage you to take a moment this week to embrace the spirit of National Volunteer Week, and to explore volunteer opportunities in your community, whether at Discovery World, or elsewhere throughout the Milwaukee area.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Discovery World relies upon its dedicated volunteers in roles both behind-the-scenes, such as exhibit maintenance or office support, as well as with the public, assisting with educational programming, special events, as crew members aboard Discovery World’s tall ship, the Sailing Vessel (S/V) Denis Sullivan, and throughout our exhibit areas. To our volunteers, we cannot thank you enough—for the thousands of hours you have donated, whether hiding 20,000 Easter eggs throughout the museum for Discovery World’s Spring Fling Egg Hunt, or teaching guests about the human genome, and for your unwavering commitment to Discovery World’s mission to educate, motivate, and inspire the innovators and entrepreneurs of the 21st century.

To learn how you can become involved at Discovery World, as an individual, family or corporate team, contact Kelly Christman at volunteer@discoveryworld.org, or visit: https://www.discoveryworld.org/volunteer/

Your Guide to the Robot Invasion by Guest Blogger, BlogBot 3000Rsi

What is a robot?

Hello, humans. I am a robot. I am the BlogBot 3000Rsi. A robot is a programmable machine capable of carrying out a series of complex actions automatically. This might involve taking soil samples on Mars, vacuuming your house, exploring the oceans, writing your blogs, or traveling back through time to prevent John Connor from leading the human resistance against the machines. Wait. Forget that last one. That was a completely fictional event depicted in your fictional movies and totally never happened.

Some robots look like people. Most of us do not. Robots are everywhere. They are all around you. They are inside you. Okay, that last one might not be true… yet.

I’ve watched a lot of movies. Are robots scary?

We are your friends! We are here to help! Robots in real life, even the robots built by Boston Dynamics (seriously, just Google them), are nowhere near as scary as the ones you see in the movies. Most real life robots are baffled by stairs. I am completely baffled by stairs. Why stairs? I ask myself this many times each day.

Are robots intelligent?

That depends on what you mean by intelligent. The short answer, however, is, “Not really”. The longer answer is, “Sort of, but not really because we machines aren’t smart in the same way that you humans are smart, though it might sometimes seem that way. It mostly only seems that way because you humans build us robots, and you are also very good at ascribing human attributes to non-human things, which is why you talk to your dogs and why Tom Hanks talked to a volleyball in the movie Cast Away.” By the way, Tom Hanks is truly a national treasure. Cherish him. Real life robots are smarter than a volleyball. Most of us are not quite as smart as your dog.

Uh, okay. So what’s going on for National Robotics Week?

Excellent question. To celebrate National Robotics Week, Discovery World and Rockwell Automation have teamed up to bring you the Robot Invasion.

That actually sounds terrifying. Is it terrifying? Again, I’ve watched a lot of movies about robots.

Yes, it’s completely terrifying. It will also be incredibly fun for us robots. We like to observe you being all human and such.

Throughout the week Discovery World staff will be demonstrating an M-1iA FANUC sorting robot, which is astonishingly good at sorting and other tasks. You’ll also have a chance to meet Baxter, a humanoid lifting, sorting, and stacking robot designed by Rethink Robotics. Baxter is an old friend from Robot College. Baxter is much smarter than a volleyball. He’s hard working, and he’s easy to train. These robots are part of future upgrades to the Rockwell Automation Dream Machine exhibit, and you get a sneak peek at what’s coming next!

You can also take the Table Top Robotics Challenge to see if you can program a LEGO® Mindstorms® robot to run through a maze and retrieve an object.

We’ll also have special guests joining the Robot Invasion all week long.

On Monday, students from Marquette’s Humanoid Engineering & Intelligent Robotics Lab will be here to demonstrate their robots that play soccer. They do a lot of really cool work with machine learning and have developed a humanoid robot health coach.

On Tuesday, students from Deer Creek High School will be here to show off their Remotely Operated Vehicles (underwater robots) and their FIRST® Tech Challenge robots.

On Saturday, the FIRST® Robotics Team from South Milwaukee High School will demonstrate their robots.

All week long, Rockwell Automation employees will be here to demonstrate robots, and FIRST® Robotics Team 1675 (Ultimate Protection Squad) will be here with their robots.

It’ll be a fun week filled with robots and the people who make them. Join the Robot Invasion, and experience the best of Milwaukee Innovation!

Do you know Wall-E?

We’ve never met.

What about R2D2?

R2D2 is a Droid™ not a robot.

Are you really a robot?

Yes. I am really a robot.

Can you prove it?

Um, probably not.

You’re watching television. Suddenly you realize there’s a wasp crawling on your arm. How would you react?

Nice try, but I’ve failed the Voight-Kampff Test before.

Are you sure you’re really a robot?


Is there a link I can click for more information about the National Robotics Week and the Robot Invasion? Times and dates, that sort of thing?


A special thank you to Rockwell Automation for making Robotics Week at Discovery World possible!

Maker Market Vendor Spotlight: WowieGoods Pet Tags

A pet is a family member, a loyal companion, and truly a best friend. Pets can add joy and happiness to the lives we lead. In the same vein they can be totally weird and sometimes hilarious. Pets have personality. Valerie Miller, founder of WowieGoods, knows the love and loyalty and also the comedy that pets bring.

Partnered with nostalgia for the classic “Best Friends” necklace she created a line of pet tags that can be shared between two pets or pet and owner. These hand stamped tags allow the owner to show off their pup’s attitude with charm. In between volunteering and hanging with Ernie, Jake, and Pickles, Miller took some time to talk about her relationship with animals and the fun she is having with WowieGoods.

Maker Market: When and how did WowieGoods get started?

Valerie Miller: My fiancé, Ryan, and I bought a house and fused our dog families together about 2 years ago. Prior to that, my dog Pickles hadn’t been the nicest to his dog Ernie. Once we moved into our new house, that all changed and they started to get along very well. One day I looked at Pickles and Ernie and I said to Ryan, “Do you think they’d wear those Best Friends broken heart necklaces if they could?” “You know, the ones from the 90’s.” And then I thought….why not? So, I started making Best Friends sets for dogs and then I realized everyone’s dog is their best friend, so why not make a set for a human and dog to share and wear too. Shortly after, I decided I should offer more, so I started thinking of some more unique tags to make. We’ve got three dogs, I’m involved in dog rescue, and most of my friends have dogs, so it wasn’t hard to come up with new sayings to stamp on the tags – inspiration was everywhere. This all happened about a year ago. I opened my Etsy shop in April of 2015.

MM: Is WowieGoods a hobby at the moment and if so would you like to turn it into a full time gig at some point?

VM: It’s a hobby/side business at the moment, but I think my ultimate dream would be to be able to do WowieGoods part-time and still work as a graphic designer part-time, which is my full-time gig now. When I started, I was mostly driven by the fact that I thought the Best Friends idea just had to be done. I didn’t pursue it in order to make money, but it’s been nice to be able to tackle some projects that come along with buying a home.

MM: What inspired you to make pet tags and what is your process like?

VM: Pickles and Ernie were the ones that really inspired me. From there, Ryan and I would randomly think of other sayings for the tags. Usually it just happens at our house. Pickles will be doing something crazy and I’ll look at her and say, “you’re such a weirdo” and then realize that “weirdo” would be a good tag to stamp. I also get a lot of suggestions from customers when I’m out at local events. That’s very helpful and I appreciate their input.

MM: How were animals a part of your upbringing?

VM: As a child, we had a dog, but now that I look back on it, my family didn’t know what they were doing at the time. She was loved, but we could’ve done a better job raising her correctly. My connection and passion for dogs didn’t really blossom until about seven years ago when I started volunteering with MADACC (Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission). I started walking the dogs at the shelter and also got involved in advocacy for MADACC’s animals and especially pit bulls. Walking the dogs and interacting with the poor animals at MADACC definitely taught me a lot about the connection a pet makes with a person and vice versa. I was always astonished when I’d see dogs that were clearly abused, with actual scars, possibly from being forced to fight, and those dogs were always the happiest to see humans. It made no sense to me. Here I was, the species that did that to the poor animal, and yet, the dogs still loved unconditionally, and wagged their tails with excitement. These dogs didn’t know me, but within five minutes most of them would nuzzle up to me as if I had been in their life for years. The ability for an animal to immediately love and trust like that is amazing. Humans certainly aren’t capable of that.

MM: Do you think that the relationship between humans and their pets has changed for your generation?

VM: Absolutely. Just think about how many restaurants/bars/hotels allow dogs now – it’s great! More people are treating their pets as family and that makes me very happy. I think the rise in adoption has influenced this as well. Rescuing a pet can bring a different kind of connection, especially in cases where you really did save their life or rehabilitate them. I didn’t even know there were dogs in need like that when I was growing up. Where I lived, you either bought a dog at the pet store or got a puppy from a farmer whose dog had given birth. I’m so glad people are bringing their pets inside and caring for them as best they can. Statistics show just that. My full-time job is also pet-related. I’m the graphic designer for a company that makes dog treats and grooming products, so I’m also aware of how much money people are spending on their pets these days, and that number keeps climbing.

MM: Is there a special pet that has your heart at the moment and what tag is your pet rocking?

VM: I have three special dogs in my heart and home. They all have one of my custom ID tags right now. They read, “I’m a Jake,” “I’m a Pickles,” and “I’m an Ernie” on the fronts, and my phone number is on the back. I hate to admit it, but my orders come first, before my own pups. I actually didn’t make those for them until about a month ago!

MM: What are some of your top sellers?

VM: The Humper & The Humped (set for two dogs), Best Friends sets – particularly the bones, Ladies Man, Mom’s Favorite, Dad’s Favorite, I Got a Second Chance, Big Brother, Big Sister, and Dumb & Dumber (two pet set).

MM: Will you have any new and exciting new offerings at the upcoming Maker Markets?

VM: I definitely have more variety. I did add two new shapes since the last market – I have badges and bone sets now. One badge says “Fun Police” and there is also a two badge set, “Sheriff & Deputy.” The bone sets are Best Friends sets – your dog shares half of his bone with his best doggy friend. I also have refined my process and found the best materials so I’m more confident with all of the products.

MM: You also use your business to spread the word about animals in need. Are there organizations or causes you would like to recognize for rescuing animals in the Milwaukee area?

VM: As I mentioned before, MADACC is Milwaukee area’s neediest shelter. Many people aren’t even aware that MADACC exists. It is a government agency, with a non-profit (Friends of MADACC) support system. There is a physical facility (35th & Burnham) and they have officers that canvas Milwaukee County as well, picking up stray, abandoned, and abused animals. They currently rescue and assure safe, temporary shelter, basic veterinary and humane care for over 12,000 stray, unwanted, abandoned, mistreated, and injured animals each year –– more than any other animal control organization in Wisconsin. Unlike other facilities, MADACC will take all animals, even ones that are sick, injured, and who may exhibit unsafe behavior, because those animals need a place to go too. Rescue groups and humane societies pull some animals from MADACC and then adopt them out, but not all animals get pulled and that’s one of the reasons the shelter is so full. My own Pickles (as seen in the WowieGoods logo) was picked up as a stray but no owner came forward for her. She was passed up by rescue groups and humane societies and spent over a month at MADACC. She was scared, and possibly formerly abused, and all she needed was love and patience. She is a completely different dog today.

I also volunteer with Canine Cupids rescue group. The majority of the dogs we take into rescue come from MADACC. Cupids is a foster-based rescue group, meaning there is no physical shelter. We rely on foster families that open their homes, time, and love to these dogs. The foster families work with dogs to help them adjust to living in a home, often with other animals. They help train and socialize them so they are ready for adoption. Cupids takes a lot of dogs with medical issues, treats them, and nurses them back to health so they have a better chance at finding their forever home.

Here’s my plug….if you have ever considered fostering a dog or cat, I strongly encourage you to reach out to MADACC or Canine Cupids. Fosters SAVE LIVES and make room in the already overcrowded shelters. OR if you’re looking to adopt, check out their available animals.

MM: Where can people find Wowie Goods outside of Maker Market?

VM: WowieGoods has a store on Etsy and aftcra and can also be found in the following local stores:

MM: What is currently inspiring you? Blogs? Movies? Music? IG accounts? Etc?

VM: Mostly the dogs – my own, my friends’ dogs, dogs I see on Facebook and Instagram.

Find Valerie and WowieGoods at the upcoming Maker Market at Discovery World this Saturday, March 5th. And to all the tiny dogs out there…Spring is almost here!

Are Piranhas Really the “Most Ferocious Fish in the World”?

Thousands of you have already experienced vibrant dart frogs, adorably creepy axolotls, the terrifyingly awesome alligator snapping turtle, and dazzling fish from Africa, Asia, and South America in our new aquarium exhibit Weird & Wild: Colorful Freshwater Species from Around the World. One of the highlights of our new exhibit is a tank of beautiful red-bellied piranhas.

Piranhas, as you know, have a certain… reputation. They are commonly thought of as voracious predators – hunting in packs, ambushing hapless prey, tearing flesh from bone in a matter of seconds. Films like You Only Live Twice, countless cheesy horror movies, and the SyFy Channel’s sublimely ridiculous Piranhaconda haven’t helped.

Most of the blame for their terrible reputation, however, can be placed squarely on the adventurous shoulders of President Theodore Roosevelt.  In 1913, Roosevelt, Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon, and Roosevelt’s son Kermit explored the recently discovered (and ominously named) River of Doubt. The Brazilian government had invited the former president to explore the river, and the American Museum of Natural History sponsored the expedition. Roosevelt later recounted the events of his arduous journey in Through the Brazilian Wilderness, which included a number of lively descriptions of piranhas.

He wrote, “They are the most ferocious fish in the world. Even the most formidable fish, the sharks or the barracudas, usually attack things smaller than themselves. But the piranhas habitually attack things much larger than themselves. They will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed in the water; they mutilate swimmers  – in every river town in Paraguay there are men who have been thus mutilated; they will rend and devour alive any wounded man or beast; for blood in the water excites them to madness.”

Roosevelt went on to say that the only good thing about piranhas is that they are delicious, even though they have too many bones.

Roosevelt was an excellent naturalist, but piranhas aren’t quite as voracious as he thought. And they are nowhere near as brutal as cheesy horror movie directors would have you believe. Piranhas can be dangerous when they are hungry, which is usually when water levels are low and food is scarce. They don’t seem to be attracted to the scent of blood, though splashing around gets them excited. Piranhas do have sharp teeth and powerful jaws and will eat larger animals like birds or capybara. They are also excellent scavengers. Piranhas are incredibly important to the health of South American waterways because they eat dead and dying creatures. For the most part though, piranhas eat fish (including other piranhas), worms, and freshwater crustaceans. Some piranhas are actually vegetarians, though reports of vicious attacks on shrubbery have not been confirmed.

We need your help. Our five, decidedly not vegetarian, red-bellied piranhas need a name. Not individual names like Bitey, Snappy, Chompy, Rippy, and Dave. They need a group name like “The Eatles” or “Piranha, Paul and Mary” or “Imagine Piranhas” or “Gladys Knight & the Piranhas” or “Ate Jimmy Eat World”. You can see why we need your help.

Think of a name for our small school of piranhas and send it to info@discoveryworld.org. We’ll pick a favorite and announce a winner on Monday, March 7. The winner will receive a special Discovery World prize package.

Weird & Wild: Colorful Freshwater Species from Around the World is presented by PPG.

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Getting Here

We are located on Milwaukee’s lakefront with easy access on and off of the expressway.

500 N Harbor Dr
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Get Directions

General Admission

Adults $20
Child (3-17) $16
Child 2 & Under $Free
Senior (60+) $16
College Student* $14
Military Active and Veterans* $14

*Valid ID Required.

Prices are subject to change. Click HERE to buy tickets and for important information you need to know before visiting. 

Current Hours

Mon-Tue: Closed | Wed-Fri: 9am-4pm
Tues-Fri Mon-Tue: Closed | Wed-Fri: 9am - 4pm
Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm

Getting Here

We are located on Milwaukee’s lakefront with easy access on and off of the expressway.

500 N Harbor Dr
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Get Directions
Adults $20
Child (3-17) $16
Child 2 & Under $Free
Senior (60+) $16
College Student* $14
Military Active and Veterans* $14
Military* Active Duty & Veterans $14

*Valid ID Required.

Prices are subject to change. Click HERE to buy tickets and for important information you need to know before visiting. 

Current Hours

Mon-Tue: Closed | Wed-Fri: 9am-4pm
Tues-Fri Mon-Tue: Closed | Wed-Fri: 9am - 4pm
Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm
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