Among the most respected nationally and number one nationwide in exhibits is the Milwaukee Public Museum (800 W. Wells St., 414/278-2702, www.mpm.edu , 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat., from 10 a.m. Sun., closed Tues. in summer, $12 adults.). The Milwaukee Public Museum initiated the concept of walk-through exhibits in 1882 and total habitat dioramas (with a muskrat mock-up) in 1890; today, its “Old Milwaukee” street life construct is quite possibly Milwaukee ’s most visited tourist spot.
Milwaukee Public Museum’s multilevel walk-through Rain Forest of Costa Rica—featuring its own 20-foot cascade—wins kudos and awards on an annual basis. Among the catacombs of displays on archaeology, anthropology, geology, botany, ethnography, and more are its jewels of paleontology: the world’s largest dinosaur skull and a 15-million-year-old shoveltusk elephant skeleton obtained from the Beijing Natural History Museum.
Milwaukee Public Museum constantly reworks itself to allow some of the six million-plus pieces in storage to see the light of day. The Live Butterfly Garden has become the most popular exhibit with the general public and especially with this author’s relatives. The $17 million IMAX theater/planetarium is a big deal, as it is the only place on earth to have such advanced computer projection systems.
Take walking shoes, as the three floors—and you’ll want to see every one—will wear you down.