Go, See, Explore: The Swallows at Lakeshore State Park


When I saw a photo of these colorful giant swallows, I knew I needed to plan a visit right away – especially since both of my little ones are interested in bird watching. 

The Cracking Art exhibit and Out of the Box Series run June 20th – August 1st. 

It was a beautiful day to explore – sunny and warm with some clouds in the sky. In general, a visit to the lake is enough to put a smile on my face – the calming sounds of the water and the gentle breeze is always good for all of us. But when we got down to the lakefront and saw the bright colors of the swallows in the distance, I could tell by our faces that we all were a little more excited than usual.

We walked around and all picked our favorite colors. They are beautiful and vibrant: my favorite was the fuschia and my son’s was the yellow. The little ones sat on them. We watched other kids and adults climb them and appreciate them. Everyone was smiling. They are simply birds – something we often don’t think twice about seeing everyday – but because of their size and color are quite surprising and beautiful. As we walked back to our car, I left the lakefront with a growing appreciation for the beauty of our city today. Turns out that giant bright colored birds can have quite the positive effect on people.


When I did a little reading about where the birds came from, I appreciated them even more. The bird installation, called REbirth, is the first temporary public project on Lakeshore State Park. It is sponsored by Black Box Fund and created by an artist group called Cracking Art. All of the works Cracking Art creates are from repurposed plastic. The artwork is designed to inspire a community-wide conversation about the importance and the environmental impact of recycling. 

The concept of REbirth feels particularly relevant and meaningful in 2021. As we continue to heal and emerge back into society after a difficult year, we are being given the opportunity to rethink our places in society, our roles in the community, our relationships with one another and with nature. We are being given an opportunity to rethink and decide what we want our new normal to look like.

The birds are here to remind us of our footprint here on the earth and how it impacts nature. Enjoy their beauty and get outside and play in this beautiful spot in our city. But let’s make sure to support their message of paying attention to our planet, respecting the land, and keeping it beautiful however we can.

Out of the Box

To complement the Cracking Art exhibit, Black Box Fund is organizing Out of the Box, a six-week series of family-friendly performances, workshops, and walking and learning tours. You can read more about the activities on Black Box Fund’s website

The Cracking Art exhibit and Out of the Box series runs from June 20 through August 1.

The Park is located along Lake Michigan just east of the Summerfest Grounds and immediately south of Discovery World. A State Park Sticker is not required, and free parking is available at marked locations and along the road. When you visit, make sure to tag #Crackingart and #OutOfTheBoxMKE on all of your pictures and videos!

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Nicole is a thirty-something-year-old, born and raised in Milwaukee, and a current stay at home mama of two. Before she became a mama, she taught high school English, and before that worked in advertising. Her current role as a SAHM is not one that she ever saw for herself, but a decision that she will never regret. She is loving every moment and challenge of this chapter of her life, contemplating what she wants to do next and learning more about herself everyday.


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