Milwaukee Cheap & Free: Affordable Fun For Kids

School’s out for summer. School’s out forever. Ok, not really. But summer can seem like forever when you’re trying to entertain restless kiddos. That’s why we’ve wrangled a list of great – and pretty affordable – options for spending some of those summer days. Now, all you have to do is wrangle the kids.

$20 and under:

It's hard to stay away from the fun of the giant inflatables at Bounce Milwaukee.
Courtesy Troy Freund Photography
Jump & Tumble

Trampolines aren’t just for backyards anymore. Try Sky Zone – $16 for an hour of jumping – or Helium Trampoline Park, which offers a variety of options for different ages at different prices. Plus, if you want to channel your jumping into something more structured, there are a variety of options for gymnastics classes – especially if you’re looking for a more long-term (and, of course, slightly more costly) activity. Try Nicolet High School’s Rec Department, Swiss Turners Gymnastics, Wildcard Gymnastics or Infinity Gymnastics.

Courtesy of Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

A day pass to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is just $8. Unlock imaginations during a day of learning disguised as fun. Kids five to 13 can get into the

Milwaukee Public Museum for $15. And children 12 and under can get into the Milwaukee Art Museum for free. Check out their ongoing Kohl’s Art Generation creative and hands-on activities designed especially for little ones.

$10 and under:


Who doesn’t love a pool or a splash pad in the summertime? Milwaukee County has lots of ‘em – in fact, there are about 50 water-themed spots throughout the county: two water parks – in Greenfield and Lincoln Parks – plus pools in another nine parks, and wading pools and splash pads in another three dozen. Pack the floaties, the beach towels and the sunscreen; we’re going in! Depending on whether you’re looking to go to one of the pools or one of the water parks, admission for ages 12 and up will typically be $2 and $7.25, respectively. And the wading pools and splash pads are free!

Bounce & Slide

Bounce with me, just bounce with me. Burn off some of that youthful energy at any number of area bounce houses and indoor play zones. Once just a rare treat at a fancy kid’s birthday party, bounce houses and indoor playgrounds are now as ubiquitous as burger joints. Ain’t America great? Get your play on – typically for around 10 bucks a kid – at places like Bounce Milwaukee, Chasing Tales in Oak Creek, The Big Backyard in New Berlin or Monkey Joe’s in Waukesha.


Have you considered camp? The YMCA, Urban Ecology Center and Lynden Sculpture Garden are among the many local organizations and outdoor spaces that offer summer camp opportunities. While camp can sometimes seem costly, many camps offer scholarships and assistance.

$5 and under:


Catch a flick for just five bucks. Marcus Theaters’ $5 Tuesdays are a great excuse to get some cinematic action in your life.


Get two scoops of Kopp’s Frozen Custard’s flavor of the day for just $3.60.



Story time at the library is always a safe bet for a good time. The Milwaukee County library system has branches throughout the county. Check your local branch for story time. There might even be other special events on the calendar too. And usually, if it’s library-related, it’s typically free!


Go for a walk on one of our area picturesque Lake Michigan beaches or at one of our many hike-worthy Milwaukee County and neighboring county parks, like Estabrook Park, Lion’s Den Gorge or Grant Park. Here’s a round-up of some of the best Milwaukee-area trails.