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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

Five Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The Challenge

The Challenge has been part of Discovery World since almost the very beginning, and serves as centerpiece for the museum’s Aquatarium building.  But there are a cargo holds worth of facts that most people might not know about one half of Discovery World’s fleet, and here are a few of them to put you in the mood for maritime adventure!

  1. The Challenge was constructed by a team of sixteen volunteers in 2006, including a Master Shipwright named Rob Stevens, who was also one of the builders for the S/V Denis Sullivan.  If 2006 seems a little recent of a construction date for such a majestic (and large) sailing vessel, that’s because this Challenge is a replica of the original, which was constructed by shipwright William Wallace Bates in 1852.
  2. William Wallace Bates built the Challenge at the age of 25 with only an eighth grade education!  However, before you tell kids to drop out of school and focus on building ships, it should be noted that Bates was from a family of shipbuilders, and had spent much of his life around ships and shipbuilding.  He was able to design the Challenge to be a fairly advanced vessel for its time however, including specialized design elements to let it go into the many different water depths all over Lake Michigan.  But only Lake Michigan, as the Challenge was specifically designed to face the challenges of that particular august body of water, and not the different obstacles that the Atlantic Ocean presented.
  3. Discovery World’s team of volunteers were able to create such a lifelike replica in part because of the records that Bates left behind, including an article he wrote in 1856 about the Challenge. The modern day builders were able to match the size, type of wood used, and even the same type of planking design.  They even used period formulas to mix the paint, and the color scheme is taken directly from paintings of Great Lakes sailing vessels of the same type.  However, some aspects of the Challenge necessarily had to be changed.  Its scale is only about 85%, and the masts are only 22-foot tall instead of the 90 ft that the real Challenge would have possessed.  But even the design of the spine of the ship – the keel on the bottom – is accurate to the original vessel.
  4. Speaking of the original Challenge, Discovery World hears a lot of guesses as to what its role was on Lake Michigan – everything from passengers to food to pirate treasure (this last mainly from our younger guests).  But very few guess that its main cargo was wood products.  The growing communities of southern Lake Michigan, including Chicago and a little town we all call Milwaukee, needed huge quantities of planks, raw lumber, and even shingles to keep up with the demand from various builders and architects, and the Challenge was a part of the infrastructure that kept those demands fulfilled.  The Challenge was designed to go at a speed of fifteen mph without any cargo, and drop to nine mph when loaded with lumber.  And while this doesn’t sound very fast compared to our modern modes of transportation, in 1852 this speed was fast enough to earn the Challenge the nickname “The Belle of Lake Michigan” due to her speed and the regularity of her deliveries.
  5. While the Challenge was certainly a valuable and reliable part of Lake Michigan’s trading web, the vessel would experience her fair share of troubles.  Steering a sailing vessel is no easy task, and the Challenge did sometimes run into problems.  Sometimes literally.  She did run into other ships on rare occasions, and while many vessels can lay claim to the dubious honor of having run into (sand)bars, the Challenge is probably in a smaller category that have run into saloons.  While being towed up the Menominee River, the Challenge struck a riverside saloon and carried away 20 feet of the building!

Bonus Fact:  While the Challenge does sometimes look rather precarious hanging from a set of ropes attached to the ceiling, don’t worry!  Those are mainly for stability and decoration, and the ship is actually resting on a set of three concrete pillars attached to the building structure, giving it a much more secure perch while you explore!

The Challenge reopens on Saturday, October 24th!

Your entire family is invited to climb aboard the replica of a Great Lakes Schooner that sailed from 1852-1889. And because The Challenge will be unveiled during our Halloween celebration, you can be sure it’ll be decorated with fun and spooky decorations for all ages.

This blog was written by Discovery World’s Leif Mogren.

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.

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.

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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!

Membership pays for itself in just two visits!

Membership is the best (and most cost-saving way) for your family to enjoy fun and learning throughout the year!

With all of our memberships you’ll receive free admission, program discounts, special member-only events, and more!

  • Free, Unlimited Daily Admission
  • Discounts on Programs
  • Advance Notice of Events and Programs
  • Special Member Only Events
  • Reciprocal Admission to Over 300 STEM Museums Worldwide
Join Today, Renew, or Give a Gift Membership

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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