Urban Ecology Center
Milwaukee Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
So continuing on with my Milwaukee tourist activities, I went to the Urban Ecology Center for a self-guided tour. I may actually try to make it back next week to do a tour with the executive director (he has one every Wednesday at 9am). I have been on a tour of the ecology center before, but I just love this place so I wanted to share it with the travbuddies out there.
The Urban Ecology center, like everything great in Milwaukee, is on the east side of town. I took the Oak Leaf trail to get there. The Oak Leaf trail is a fantastic trail that runs through a large part of Milwaukee. This particular portion runs below street level and provides a great multi-use paved trail.
So I head indoors and pick up a self-guided tour pamphlet and I'm on my way. I first head to the Native Wisconsin Animal room to check out the animals. This room houses animals that are native to the area and tells you what "eco-zone" they represent (that wording is straight from the guide pamphlet)!! I had a staring contest with a frog and got the heebie jeebies from a snake.
One of the most amazing things about the center is its use of recycled material. Everything from a table that used to be a bowling alley to a deck that uses wood left over from the Atlantic City Boardwalk. I head up to check out the second level that houses the green roof and deck and has a big tipi (this is how they spell it...I've always spelled it teepee). Apparently in the winter they have a fire and use the teepee as an outdoor classroom.
From the deck you can take stairs that lead to an observation tower (the stairs are actually the backside of the climbing wall). I suppose you are observing the local area, but there really isn't much to be seen from here that is interesting to me. Regardless, they do have some chairs (including kid size chairs) so you can actually just have a seat and enjoy a nice day.
Once I'm back inside I peek briefly into the rooms upstairs, the camouflage room and a citizen science room and then go to the basement that also has a community room for workshops and party rentals,a kitchen and most importantly a room and hallway full of outdoor recreation equipment. Here, if you are a member of the UEC you can borrow all sorts of outdoor fun equipment. They have kayaks, canoes, ski equipment, snowshoes and tools for gardening. This is great if you live in a tiny place like I do and would have no place to keep this stuff. From down on this level there is also a "tunnel" that leads directly back to the bike trail that I came from.
Whenever, I leave this place I am always so thrilled about it. I really need to remember to take my family here the next time they come for a visit.