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“hands on fun” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Discovery World

Discovery World
500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202-5601
+1 414-765-9966
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Milwaukee Sightseeing Bus Tour
Ranked #12 of 153 things to do in Milwaukee
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Discovery World connects innovation, science, technology and the environment with exploration and learning through interactive exhibits and experiential learning programs. We are dedicated to helping people positively impact their communities by developing a better understanding of technology and the environment while fostering both innovation and creativity. Discovery World is a 120,000-square foot facility that includes interactive science, technology and freshwater exhibits, learning labs, theaters, television and audio studios, and fresh and saltwater aquariums. Venture into our world of technology Take a 3-D journey into virtual environments. Feel the dips and dives of flying an airplane. Lie on a bed of nails. See the inside of a nuclear reactor. Immerse yourself in our world of water See aquatic life from the Great Lakes, North Atlantic, and the Caribbean. Interact with stingrays, sea urchins, sturgeons, and more in our touch tank. Navigate your own ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). View the world's largest model of the Great Lakes while you learn about native amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Discovery World is also home to the S/V Denis Sullivan, a 137-foot replica of a 19th century Great Lakes schooner and a floating classroom for water education and conservation programs, day and night sails, and private receptions. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, our grounds and promenade provide plenty of opportunity for strolling, picnicking or just enjoying the view.
Level Contributor
71 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“hands on fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

We went here for an afternoon of entertainment and were not disappointed. We were able to play with all sorts of things from a realistic plane simulation, to a 3-D planet experience. We were able to interact with musical instruments and see how they work. We explored inside of a boat and touched huge replicas of the great lakes. We tried out various kinds of maual machinery and learned about sustainability. Then we went downstairs to the aquarium, that went below our feet and over our heads. We ended up at the touch pond where we were able to pet sharks and sting rays. It was an awesome and very interactive experience. If you do not have children with you, then we suggest going after 2:00 during the weekdays (not sure on weekends) due to the children clean out about then and you have the place to yourself! A very fun time.

Visited April 2013
Thank FoderickE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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364 reviews from our community

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Level Contributor
151 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Great hands on experience and lots to do”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

Great place for 2-3 hours for 8 year old boys. There was plenty of hands on things for them to experience- operate a flight simulator, sit on a bed of 3600 nails, The aquarium area is fund to walk around-makes you feel like you are in the aquarium with the fish. There is a chance to touch stingrays and sharks even. They liked climbing around the old ship too.
Parking is convenient.

Visited April 2013
Thank Spiketon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mequon, Wisconsin
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Best Museum in the Midwest”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

I love this museum. It is very creative and a great teaching musuem. The museum is doing a terrific job of teaching kids from ages 3 to 22 years old in a fun way but it is also teaching adults as well. The musem Introduces technology in the fields of industry, music, medical, aviation, Great Lakes and fresh water. It encourages entrepreneurship and teaches math, science, and engineering.

Don't miss a day or evening sail on the three masted Dennis Sullivan 1880's replica of a cargo ship.

One very important aspect of the museum that a lot of museum attendees don't know about is the six teaching labs on the second floor starting with the Kohl's Design It lab. The other labs are Biology, Electronics, STEM plus lab, Digital Literacy and the Thrist lab. Children during the week can build robots, disect things like baby sharks, make all sorts of designs cut on a lazer cutter out of paper, design clothes, take apart and rebuild your own electric guitar, make big posters or design your own silk screened t-shirt in the digital literacy lab. They have a professional video and audito room used by many people in the committee to do promotional videos. It is open to music goers to get a guitar lesson from Les Paul via video recording. Then the Thirst lab is a study about water where students learn the chemister of water while making sodas, teas, prefume and ice cream to name a few of the projects they do. On the weekend all the labs are open to adults and families. The adults can make their own brew and study the ancient history of beer making.

Finally the "TESLA LIVES" show is absolutely spectacular and amazing. It is a must see when you go to the museum.

Roger S. Smith

Visited April 2013
2 Thank RoigerS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubuque, Iowa
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great potential. Poor execution.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

This museum has great potential to help young people get enthusiastic about science, and educate and entertain adults as well.
As an engineer, I was happy to see many "interactive" exhibits. Unfortunately, very few offer any explanation of what they are, how they work, or why they're relevant. Kids push a button, something happens, they ask their parents "why," parent looks around, shrugs, on to the next exhibit. Most displays are a wasted learning opportunity.
Maintenance is a serious deficiency. Many, if not most, of the interactive displays don't work.
While technical information is lacking, general information is of questionable integrity. One display incorrectly identifies the capital of Wisconsin. How did that slip through?
While I generally applaud private funding, a good portion of the museum is an advertisement for the Nuclear energy industry and Caterpillar. The nuclear energy display is blatantly biased and laced with half truths. The whole exhibit feels like it was put together in the 50s.
The museum supposedly has wind and solar generation on the roof. They have a display on renewable energy, but they don't show what they already have. Put a web cam on the roof and a real time display of generation! The lighting display was terribly outdated (where are the LEDs?). I found it ironic that their CFL display touts the benefits of using CFLs, yet the display (and the rest of the museum) is lit by inefficient filament bulbs.
The lack of identification and documentation carries into the aquarium. Most exhibits have no indication of what you're looking at. As on the hard science side, interactive exhibits were poorly maintained and many did not work.
They advertise a "cafe." Unless you're into hot dogs and pretzels, assume there is no food available in the museum.

Visited April 2013
2 Thank Sacul4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Just Mediocre”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

We visited the Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee over Spring Break, and I have to say, it was a pricey visit ($84) just to be barely mildly entertained. The museum falls short on creativity, interactive opportunities for the younger kids, and interesting facts for the teens and adults. Our kids are 13, 11, and 8. The 8 year old was BORED to tears. Although the website says there are "interactive" exhibits, we went to the Great Lakes exhibit where there was not much to look at. I think my older ones were interested just because it was different. Seeing how the bottom of the lakes look was somewhat interesting, but you have to crawl on your hands and knees on hardwood, which, as an adult, hurts a bit and ruins nice clothing. They didn't even connect Lake Michigan to the other lakes; it was connected by painting on the floor. So, it really gave us adults the impression of lacking the genius that one finds in Chicago or Rockford area museums. There is so much more they could have done with it, especially given it applies to this area - the museum is right by Lake Michigan. It was disappointing to see a "major" museum fall so short. Then, onto Les Paul exhibit. Two of my kids are very active in music (violin), so we thought this would be very cool. Wrong! None of the guitars can be removed from the wall, so you basically look at them (nice, but what kid just wants to look?). There weren't even actual music recordings of Les Paul's work so we could identify why he he had an entire exhibit devoted just to him. I walked away feeling as uninformed about what he did for music as I did going in. There are one or two small things that are interactive, but either they didn't work when we were there, or we weren't doing it correctly. We are regular visitors to museums everywhere we go and we found this a mediocre museum and mildly entertaining. We bought the year pass (a total of $6 more than the total for day passes) but I don't know if we'll return. There are too many great museums in Chicago or Rockford that call to us rather than driving two hours, wasting gas and time, on something that falls quite short of our expectation. Would we recommend it? No, not really. Drive to Chicago or Rockford and visit their museums instead.

Visited March 2013
2 Thank CTheWorld-5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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