We are enormous fans of the Harley Davidson Museum. In complete disclosure, my husband is a gear head, and everyone in our family has learned to ride a motorcycle at some point. With a stable of 5 motorcycles in the garage, I have to warn friends not to leave unattended children over the age of 10 at our house, or they will be in the backyard on a motorcycle when the friends return.
If you are not familiar with the excitement that comes from being on or around motorcycles, a visit to the Harley Davidson Museum is just the ticket.
While my husband may act like a kid while visiting, I can honestly say that there is something for everyone. From your littlest to your biggest family member, here is the Harley Davidson Museum breakdown:
The See & Do:
While you may not know the difference between a shovelhead and a Panhead motorcycle, the Engine Room is the place for all ages. Shiny motors line the walls, and big and little kids alike can press buttons to make motors throb and hum in the glorious sound of loud pipes.
A true aficionado like my hubby can tell the difference between motors by the sound. Youngsters and neophytes will enjoy the loud noise and the vibration in their chests.
The Experience Gallery is another hands-on don’t miss. Swing your leg over or lift your little onto one of several motorcycles in the gallery. The Harley Davidson Museum gives you the full experience with the large screen in front, showing the thrill of the open road ahead of you.
Are you convinced that you cannot live without your own Harley or want the thrill of a running bike under you? The Jump Start Demo or actual weekend demo rides will convince you that this is your new hobby. Be careful, though, or you could end up with a garage full of motorcycles…I did.
History or Fashion Buff?
The Harley Davidson Museum has something for those who don’t ride or have no wish to hop on an iron horse. A walk through the museum is a walk through American history. With motorcycles from all eras and exhibits showing how Harley Davidson participated and even shaped parts of our past, visitors are treated to a walk through time. Exhibits will take you from WWII motorcycles and their contribution to the war effort to the culture of today’s riders.
Of course, with any iconic historical culture, there is the accompanying fashion. It is hard to miss the style and colors of Harley Davidson through the years, and the museum has exhibits dedicated to the fashion side of the industry. Finish your visit with a trip across the street to the H-D Museum gift shop and purchase some fashion of your own.
Tours of All Kinds
The Harley Davidson Museum offers audio self-guided tours for those who want a little extra on their walkthrough, including great bits on women trailblazers
and police motorcycles. But if that is not enough, here are a few more options:
- Behind the Scenes Tours on Wednesdays & Fridays
- Highlight Tours on Saturdays & Sundays
- Bikes, Brats, & Beer Tours from June thru August
- Inside H-D: an all-day experience
- And an off-site Steel Toe Tour during the week at the Pilgrim Road Facility
Got a scout who loves motorcycles? The Harley Davidson Museum has an engineering merit badge for that. Got a group coming in from out of town? The H-D Museum offers many opportunities for group tours. You can also stop by for a casual walkthrough. Major event coming up? We were fortunate to attend the inaugural TMJ4 Positively Milwaukee Awards presentation at the museum. It was unforgettable.
Need a holiday, birthday, or Father’s Day gift for a special guy in your life? An annual pass to the Harley Davidson Museum worked for us. My husband could stop by for a quick half 1/2 hour if he were passing. Or, if he wanted to meet a business associate or friend for lunch at the Motor Bar and Restaurant, he could indulge in a motorcycle fix without feeling guilty.