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Sisters stand outside of Summerfest's mid gate. Photo By Journal Sentinel

Summerfest guide for parents


Summerfest offers several options for family fun this year. Here's a guide to help you navigate the festival, which is June 24-28 and June 30-July 5 at Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Dr., Milwaukee.


Kids are welcome anytime. Gates open at noon, and the crowds are smaller earlier in the day.


Tuesday, June 30 is Children's Fest Day. 

- All patrons arriving between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. are FREE and will be welcomed by The Dragonfly Stiltwalker, the Famous Racing Sausages and Bango.

- Be sure to pick up a copy of the Map of Fun and obtain a stamp at each of the locations throughout the festival grounds. Completed maps can be turned in at the South Redemption Area, where you will be entered for a chance to win Family Ticket Package giveaways. Children will receive prizes for participating.

- Enjoy samples from Sentry and Dean's Milk and Ice Cream with a donation to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Other ongoing family activities:

Kohl's Captivation Station

Each day of Summerfest, families can make art with the Milwaukee Art Museum, do hands-on projects with Discovery World and Penfield's Children's Center and watch a performance by Kohl's Wild Theater. Come see Radio Disney Road Crew, Comedysportz, Mad Science and the Figureheads. The area is open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Northwestern Mutual Children's Theater & Playzone

Family can enjoy a large play area with jungle gyms and slides as well as performances from magicians, dance groups, jugglers, puppets and more. Performers include David Seebach's Wonders of Magic, Accompany of Kids, Ron Fable & Kathi, Dancers in Motion and Waybe and Wingnut - Red Hot Chilli Puppets.

The Kids Activity Tent

FREE family activities daily from 12-5 p.m.! Check out the UB The Band experience and F.I.R.S.T Robotics. (There will be a multi-school competition at the Gruber Law Offices SportsZone on June 30 from 12-5 p.m.)


See the sights on a ride on Funjet's Summer-of-Fun Skyglider with views of the festival park and Lake Michigan. One-way and round-trip fares available.

Paddleboat Water Experience

Paddle around part of the lagoon for 30 minutes in boats that hold up to four people. This activity is located at the boat dock on the north end of the grounds and runs from noon to 7 p.m. each day.


The parade will start at the south end at the Marcus Amphitheater Forecourt and complete a full lap of the grounds. See the parade at 3 p.m. June 24-26, June 30 and July 1.

School of Rock

School of Rock will host a "Battle of the Bands" competition on June 27. The top bands will appear in the finals on Sunday, June 28. Visit schoolofrock.com for more information.

Wheel in the Sky

The 80-foot Ferris wheel on the north end of the grounds will run from 12-11:30 p.m. daily. Tickets are $5 per person.


Participate in daily sports demonstrations and clinics from the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Admirals and the Milwaukee Wave.


Cool down at the Splash Pad and enter to win great prizes at the McDonald's Clubhouse display.


Admission for children 2 and under is FREE and $6 for ages 3-10. Weekday admission is $12. General admission on evenings and weekends is $19. Multi-day passes are available. Also, be sure to check for various free or discounted admission promotions.


Lots open daily at 9 a.m. Preferred parking is $20. Freeway Flyer service is available from various park-ride lots.


Strollers are allowed everywhere except the Marcus Amphitheater.

Baby food is permitted, but any other food or snacks are not.

Only small bags are permitted, so leave the big diaper bag at home. All bags will be searched before entering.

Sunscreen, bug spray and umbrellas are welcome. 

Wagons are not allowed.

Check here for other items NOT ALLOWED.


In case you and your child get separated, agree in advance on a meeting place. Information centers are located adjacent to all gate areas. Security personnel will be located by all gates and throughout the grounds for assistance.

Columbia St. Mary's is sponsoring a lost children's area near the Mid Gate. The area is secure and checked in by a member of the Summerfest staff. Identifications wristbands are available at all three Summerfest gates for parents to write down contact information.


A family restroom is located on the north wing of the Mid Gate building. The door key is available at the check-in service desk at the Mid Gate.

Drinking fountains are located outside each restroom area and near the Children's area.

First aid stations are located inside the North Gate, inside the South Pavilion and inside the Marcus Amphitheater.

Stroller rental is available for a minimal charge. Rental stations are located on the North, Mid and South gates.

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