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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Indoor at the Lake

2013 Summer Guide

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If the weather chooses not to cooperate with your beach plans, visit one of the lakefront's indoor venues. Most offer breathtaking views of Milwaukee’s Great Lake and all offer hours of enjoyment. Another plus: these venues can be enjoyed throughout the year, not just in summer.

 

Betty Brinn Children's Museum

929 E. Wisconsin Ave.

414-390-5437

bbcmkids.org

Plans to take the kids to the lakefront don't have to be scrapped when it's raining or too hot. Take them to the dry, air-conditioned Betty Brinn Children's Museum instead. Different exhibits appeal to all ages of children, from toddlers to pre-teens. Knockout views of the lake and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava expansion just across the plaza will please Mom and Dad. It's nice to see the obvious community support throughout Betty Brinn's hands-on exhibits. Visitors will recognize names from lots of local businesses, such as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle "shop," a Sendik's grocery "store" and a Palermo's Pizza "café." (Susan Harpt Grimes)

Discovery World

500 N. Harbor Drive

414-765-9966

discoveryworld.org

Pitched out into the harbor, Discovery World's location seems to have one foot in the water. Indeed, entering its aquarium, one can feel submerged by the ingenious glass enclosure design, which in certain locations, allows sea life to swim over and under you. Fish range from freshwater to oceanic, but you’ll find no large predators here. The gorgeous luminescence of the Caribbean coral fish seems to require batteries. You can board a reproduced Great Lakes schooner and a contemporary underwater marine lab. Distinctive features include Les Paul's House of Sound and the Dream Machine. Summer abounds with teen workshops and camps. (Kevin Lynch)

 

Milwaukee Art Museum

700 Art Museum Drive

414-224-3200

mam.org

Undergirding the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the world’s great underground parking garages, climate controlled, curvaceous and resembling the vast rib cage of a whale—but come summer, you might want to park outdoors in the War Memorial Center’s north lot and walk along the lake to the museum. And if it’s a rainy or stormy day, the lake view from the expansive windows of Windhover Hall, the museum’s glistening white entrance, affords a gorgeous view of the waves. (David Luhrssen)

 

Villa Terrace Decorative Art Museum

2220 N. Terrace Ave.

414-271-3656

villaterracemuseum.org

If Italy seems beyond reach, visit Villa Terrace instead. The museum was built in the 1920s as a private home that replicated the architecture and landscaping of one of those gorgeous villas hugging the Mediterranean coastline—with a backyard sloping down toward the sea. On a sunny day, Lake Michigan is a good stand-in for the wine-dark Mediterranean. The interior of Villa Terrace houses changing exhibitions, but come Sundays in summer, the front patio, walled and focused around a statue of Mercury, is transformed into an outdoor café with coffee, bakery and quiet, conversation-level live music. (D.L.)

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