A Family Guide to Summerfest



Anyone who knows anything about Milwaukee knows that summer in the Brew City brings the biggest music festival this side of the sun…..SUMMERFEST. The Big Gig. The festival to end all festivals. It’s the stuff of legends, quite literally. The biggest names in music have graced the Summerfest stages for decades and you will often meet people who have at least one or two epic Summerfest Stories in their arsenal that they can act out to the delight of their audience. 

Bringing Kids to The Big Gig

Summerfest for FAMILIES? The world’s largest music festival may be best known for what happens when the summer sun goes down, but did you know that The Big Gig has plenty of fun in store for families with kids of all ages? This guide will break it down for you, with the can’t-miss info any parent needs when it comes to bringing kids to Summerfest. 

Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance offers a variety of family-friendly activities and special attractions for fest-goers to enjoy each day of the festival.  From special admission discounts to the Summerfest parade, Latin Music Day and more, Summerfest offers something for fans of all ages. 

summerfestThis year’s festival runs June 28 – July 2 and July 4 – July 9. Plan your family’s visit at Summerfest.com/kids. Highlighted family amenities and special attractions are as follows:

Festival Amenities

LOST CHILDREN’S AREA – There is a designated area near the Mid Gate for children who become separated from their parents. Children are brought to this secure area and checked in by a member of the Summerfest staff. In addition, identification wristbands are available at all gates for parents to write down emergency contact information. Sponsored by Aurora Health Care.

NURSING MOTHERS STATIONS PRESENTED BY AURORA HEALTH CARE – These Pods provide a comfortable, private and convenient space for moms to nurse their children. Pods are located within the Children’s Area (open noon – 9pm) and at the South Gate Information Booth (open noon – midnight).

Aurora Health Care’s Healthy Food Menu – Jamming out to your favorite bands can really make you work up an appetite. Feed your hunger the healthy way with these good-for-you options, hand-picked by an Aurora nutritionist. Tips for making healthy choices:

  • Avoid anything deep-fried, highly processed or high in added sugars.
  • Share! Splitting a treat with a friend is a great way to enjoy your fave fare without overdoing it.
  • Remember moderation. Gotta have ice cream? Go for it. But keep your calories in check by getting one scoop (not three).
  • PRINT OUT the Aurora Health Care’s Healthy Food Menu and refer to it as you explore the park, making it easy to make mindful choices. Download the handy menu HERE!

Activities and Attractions

THE ELIZABETH “BO” BLACK FAMILY FOUNTAIN PRESENTED BY MCDONALD’S AND B93.3 – Your day at Summerfest would not be complete without a stop at the “Splash Pad.” Kids of all ages can splash and play the day away while keeping cool. Patrons will have the opportunity to win great prizes at the McDonald’s display. For deals and information from your local McDonald’s, follow them on Twitter: @McDonaldsMKE.

SUMMERFEST’S WHEEL IN THE SKY PRESENTED BY CONVERGED TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS – “The wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’” on the north end of the grounds! Jump aboard this giant ferris wheel and enjoy spectacular views of Summerfest, Milwaukee’s downtown and Lake Michigan. Operating from noon – 11:30pm daily.

GRUBER LAW OFFICES SPORTSZONE with WTMJ RADIO – The Gruber Law Offices SportsZone is the ultimate destination for sports fans! This area offers interactive daily programming including sports demonstrations and clinics from the Milwaukee Bucks, the Milwaukee Admirals and much more!

MEIJER HOLE-IN-ONE CONTEST – with CBS 58 and 540 ESPN MILWAUKEE Tee up 3 balls for $8 for a chance to hit a Hole-In-One! The first lucky winner will take home a $5,000 Grand Prize. Support provided by 540 ESPN Milwaukee, CBS 58 and the Michels Corporation. For contest details and rules visit Summerfest.com.

PADDLEBOAT WATER EXPERIENCE – Celebrate Summerfest on the water! Presented by Badger Meter, this family-friendly activity provided by Lakeshore Paddle Sports will give patrons the opportunity to relax and take in views of the festival and downtown Milwaukee. From noon – 7:00 pm each day, paddle around part of the lagoon for 30 minutes in boats that hold up to 4 people. Located at the boat dock on the north end of the grounds, this is an experience that can’t be missed!

SUMMERFEST SKYGLIDER – presented by UBER, take a ride on the Skyglider, a true family favorite! Located high above the main walkway, this gentle ride provides passengers with a scenic view of Henry Maier Festival Park, Lake Michigan and the entertainment below. One-way and round-trip fares available.

SUMMERFEST PARADE 6/28 – 6/30, 7/5, & 7/6, 3pm – The Summerfest Parade will bring additional entertainment to the grounds during the festival. Incorporating a second line style, the parade will start at the south end of Henry Maier Festival Park at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater Forecourt and complete a full lap of the grounds. Fans are encouraged to join in with participants and strut their stuff!

NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL CHILDREN’S THEATER & PLAYZONE – Kids of all ages can enjoy family-focused entertainment and activities in the Northwestern Mutual Children’s Theater and Playzone. Open daily, noon – 8pm. Visit the daily lineup pages for information on performers and show times.

KIDS ACTIVITY TENT – Open daily, noon – 5pm, kids will enjoy the following activities:

UB the Band! – Hey kids, want to be a “real” rockstar? Now’s your chance to shine! UB the Band brings all the gear, including colorful drum sets for ages 2 – adult, awesome character and special guitars complete with wireless microphones, stage monitors, real stage lighting and all the trimmings. No experience necessary!

537 Charger Robotics – Take the controls of miniature remote controlled robots. The robots are built by teenage members of Charger Robotics Team 537 from Hamilton High School in Sussex, WI. Team members will be on site every day and there will also be a multi-school robotics competition at the Gruber Law Offices SportsZone on July 8.

 KOHL’S CAPTIVATION STATION Open daily, noon – 7pm – This area offers music and educational experiences for children and families. Create hands on art projects, see live theater and be amazed by family friendly performers. Plus, the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, Penfield Children’s Center and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin will be on hand to provide activities – just for kids! Here are a few of the things you can stop by and check out:

KOHL’S WILD THEATER – Meet new characters and enjoy new adventures in conservation-themed performances using drama, songs and puppetry with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Check the official schedule for show times.

KOHL’S COLOR WHEELS – Families can enjoy a fun-filled, hands-on art experience with the mobile extension of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Not only do kids take part in creative projects, but they also grow and learn through art!

KOHL’S DESIGN IT! MOBILE LAB – Your ingenuity will soar as you turn your ideas into products you design. Learn techniques and methods for making things from Discovery World design professionals with unique take-away projects. Dream it. Build it. Take it home.

KOHL’S BUILDING BLOCKS WORKSHOP -Through the Kohl’s Building Blocks program, Penfield Children’s Center promotes the health and positive development of children and celebrates their unique abilities. They will be on-site providing children and their families with an opportunity to learn about differences and disabilities as well as promote acceptance and inclusion through hands-on activities. The Kohl’s Building Blocks Storytime will also be available 7/3, 7/5, and 7/9. Times vary.

KOHL’S CARES GROW SAFE & HEALTHY – Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin brings health and safety education to local families through an interactive Mobile Unit. Kids can play the “Keep Spriggy Safe” game and parents can pick up free injury prevention information.

Visit Kohl’s Captivation Station on the south end of the grounds. Learn something new, be creative and just have fun!

Admission Promotions

KOHL’S FAMILY DAY — Sunday, July 2 • noon – 3pm (while supplies last)

The first 2,500 patrons who donate 3 nutritious non-perishable food items will receive 1 FREE admission ticket, valid for the day of the promotion only. Suggested items include canned chicken or tuna, fruits canned in 100% juice and low sodium vegetables. All donations benefit Hunger Task Force.


All patrons arriving between noon – 3:00 pm will be admitted FREE! Spend a fun-filled day with the family enjoying Children’s Fest activities including the Map of Fun and the Family Ticket Package drawing. Select food vendors will offer discounts on food and beverage items.

MAP OF FUN – Kids! Grab a Map of Fun on Children’s Fest Day

Pick up a copy of the Map of Fun upon entry at the gates and obtain a stamp on your map at each of the locations throughout the festival grounds. Present completed maps at the South Redemption Area (across from Chubby’s Cheesesteaks) and enter for a chance to win one of the Family Ticket Package giveaways. Children will receive a prize for participating, while supplies last.

NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL “MAKE A CHILD SMILE” DAY — Saturday, July 8 • noon – 3pm (while supplies last)

The first 1,500 patrons who donate new or gently used children’s books (preferably picture books and early readers for children birth through age 10) with a $10 minimum value will receive 1 FREE admission ticket, valid for the day and time of the promotion only. All books collected will be donated to The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

Summerfest Family FunSummerfestThere truly is something for every family at Summerfest! Get started on planning your family visit at summerfest.com/kids

Download the Summerfest Family Fun Guide to have all this great info in one handy place, smear on some sunscreen and get ready to enjoy the world’s largest music festival in a whole new way. We can’t wait to hear all about it! 

Connect with Summerfest on Social Media! 

Snapchat & Twitter – @summerfest

Instagram – @thebiggig




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