Milwaukee is a city full of surprises, and one of its most exciting features is the abundance of wildlife that can be found all around.
Whether you're a curious tourist or a local looking for a new adventure, there are plenty of spots in and around the city where you can catch a glimpse of some of the most fascinating creatures around.
From the parks and natural areas scattered throughout the city to the nearby forests and wetlands, there are plenty of places to explore and discover the incredible diversity of wildlife in the region.
The best part? Many of these spots are completely free and accessible to anyone with a sense of adventure and a love of nature.
From majestic birds of prey soaring overhead to playful otters frolicking in the water, there's no shortage of wildlife to spot in Milwaukee.
Whether you're an avid birder or just looking for a fun day out with the family, there's something for everyone in this vibrant and exciting city. So grab your binoculars, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore some of the best spots to see wildlife in Milwaukee.
1. Lakeshore State Park
Lakeshore State Park is a 22-acre urban state park that offers a serene escape from the bustling city.
Visitors can enjoy a 1.7-mile paved trail that winds around the park, providing picturesque views of Lake Michigan and Milwaukee's skyline. The park also features a fishing pier and marina, making it an ideal spot for fishing enthusiasts.
Wildlife is abundant here, with various bird species and small mammals often spotted along the trail.
The park's well-maintained grounds and benches make it a great place to relax and soak in the beauty of nature. Lakeshore State Park is a must-visit for anyone looking for a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.
2. Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park
The Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park is a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts. The center offers a range of activities and programs for visitors of all ages.
With well-groomed trails and miles of paths, visitors can explore the park's natural beauty and observe different species of wildlife.
The center also provides equipment rentals for activities such as canoeing and camping. The knowledgeable staff is always available to answer questions and provide guidance.
This non-profit organization is a wonderful place to learn about the environment and enjoy the great outdoors.
3. Riverside Park
Riverside Park is a beautiful spot for nature lovers to see wildlife in an urban setting.
The park offers a variety of landscapes, including woods, prairie, and riverfront. Visitors can hike, fish, and kayak along the Milwaukee River.
The park also has a playground and ballfields for families to enjoy.
The Urban Ecology Center is located within the park, offering educational programs and resources for those interested in learning more about the environment. It's a hidden gem for nature and fun in the heart of the city.
4. Friends of the Domes
Friends of the Domes is a unique and educational spot to see wildlife in Wisconsin all year round.
It houses three distinct ecosystems under one roof, including a rainforest, desert, and floral show dome.
Visitors can encounter a variety of plant life and even some small animals, making it a great place for families and individuals alike.
Don't miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience!
5. Three Bridges Park
Three Bridges Park is a hidden gem for nature lovers. The park offers a beautiful combination of prairie landscape and industrial architecture, creating a unique backdrop for wildlife sightings.
Visitors can spot various animals, including chipmunks, ducks, raccoons, birds, and snakes.
The park also has access to the river for kayaking, adding to the outdoor experience. The paved walkways make for easy walking, while the gravel trails provide a more natural path.
Despite being a new park, it has great potential and is worth a visit to see how it will mature.
6. Hawthorn Glen
Hawthorn Glen is an urban oasis for wildlife enthusiasts. The peaceful nature reserve offers a variety of hiking trails suitable for all ages, making it a perfect spot for families to explore.
Visitors can learn about the different species of plants and animals in the area through the educational tours offered by the park.
The park also has a playground, soccer pitch, and a nature center with a small museum showcasing native frogs, turtles, birds, and other animals.
It's a great place to spot deer and other wildlife year-round. Hawthorn Glen is a hidden gem that provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
7. Milwaukee Riverwalk
Milwaukee Riverwalk is a great spot to see wildlife. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful and peaceful surroundings while watching different types of animals in their natural habitats.
It's a great place to take a walk and explore the area.
If you're lucky, you might even spot some rare species of birds or other animals.
So, if you're a nature lover, make sure to add Milwaukee Riverwalk to your list of must-visit places.
8. Museum Center Park
Museum Center Park is a beautiful spot to see wildlife. Nestled between downtown Milwaukee and Lake Michigan, the park offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Visitors can enjoy a picnic with a stunning lake backdrop or take a stroll through the park to see the various sculptures and art pieces that tie into the surroundings.
The park also serves as a gateway to the lakefront and offers various bridges, stairways, ramps, or elevators that link to the city.
For a better viewpoint, visitors can take the stairs up to the north garden. The park is a must-visit for those who appreciate art and nature.
9. Kilbourn Reservoir Park
Kilbourn Reservoir Park is a must-visit spot for wildlife enthusiasts. This multi-use park offers a fantastic view of the city and is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with family and friends.
The park has a diverse range of activities, including a playground and a half-court for basketball, making it a great spot for kids and adults alike. However, the highlight of Kilbourn Reservoir Park is the stunning panoramic view of the city from the top of the filled-in reservoir.
Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking scenery while spotting various wildlife species in the park. The park is dog-friendly, so visitors can bring their furry friends along for a walk.
With its beautiful views and diverse recreational activities, Kilbourn Reservoir Park is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some time in nature.
10. Kaszube's Park
Kaszube's Park is a hidden gem for wildlife enthusiasts. Despite its location in an industrial area, the park offers a serene and quiet environment.
Visitors can sit on benches and enjoy the view of the grassy area.
The park has a rich history, with a small memorial dedicated to Milwaukee's fishing village.
It is also a great homage to the Kaszube people. Although the park is small, it is a must-visit for those who appreciate wildlife and history.
11. Milwaukee County Zoo
Milwaukee County Zoo is a 190-acre wildlife park with a wide range of animals, including giraffes, big cats, elephants, and more.
The zoo features clean and accessible restrooms, stroller rentals, and handicap accessibility. It is also well-decorated during fall and Halloween.
Visitors can enjoy affordable food and a variety of exhibits, including a sea lion show and a gorilla VR experience.
The zoo lacks space for some of the larger animals to run around, but overall it's a great place to visit, especially during the Wild Lights exhibit.