Riverside Park

Milwaukee Travel Blog

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My favorite place in Milwaukee is Riverside Park. Even though it's not exactly my neighborhood park, I probably spend more time there than other other area in the city. Kids will love the Habitat Playground, especially the huge spiderweb. It's pretty tempting for an adult also. Riverside Park is associated with the Urban Ecology Center, who also coordinates volunteers to clean the playground and the park in general. They also host events such as the Friday Fire, and festivals celebrating each season. For any resident of Milwaukee who enjoys the outdoors, a membership to the UEC is a great plus. You can borrow equipment such as canoes and snowshoes free of charge if you are a member, if not, you can still do it for a small fee.
For a great blog about the UEC itself, see my friend hancock826's blog about it!

There is a 15 acre wooded area located south of the UEC. It's an amazing place to hike within the city limits, but not with a constant reminder that you are still in the city. I love going there throughout the different seasons. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an explorer when I grew up. This area gives me and my daughter that opportunity. We've gotten to know the trails because we have visited so often, but we also always find something new. You can walk for hours if you wind through the trails. It's also an incredible place to see wildlife. Among the more exotic (for Milwaukee) animals we've seen are coyote, deer, and snakes... we're pretty much The Crocodile Hunter.
We have taken pretty much every path at one point or another, we've discovered this really creepy tunnel, a cliff type wall that we climbed up only to find a dead squirrel and had to backtrack all the way back down (I'm afraid of living squirrels, so if you think I would walk over a dead one you're wrong), and we've also slid down a steep hill or two on our asses. Just a minor note here. At the very beginning of the East Bank Trail is a sewage pipe... you'll know this if you start from the top where the sidewalk is. If you are coming towards it from Riverside Park, you will not be made aware of this situation. At certain times, the stench is enough to warn you, but it's not always there. So if you find yourself walking along the natural trail along the Milwaukee River and come into an area covered in rocks, don't try to be adventurous and just cross over, because you'll be walking in sewage.
We found this out backwards, I'd like to save others from this if I can.

Actually, just a small warning here. If you're the easily frightened, not really adventurous but enjoy a stroll through the park now and then type, and you decide to walk along the East Bank Trail, it's still a fabulous walk. Just stick to the man-made trail, don't wander down the natural ones to get a closer look at the river, especially in the summertime when everything grows very high and you can't see where you're going. I can almost guarantee there are creatures lurking in there. You might not see them, but that will probably freak you out more when you hear them race past you. And the worst thing ever is a screaming girl that you can't see in the woods, screaming about a snake or a large insect.

Although we have hiked in every direction, our average hike begins at the UEC and then takes us south until we reach the end of the trail. Afterwards, we emerge onto Brady Street where we eat a fine meal at either Jimmy John's or the Dogg Haus, and then we take either the 15 or 30 bus to get us back downtown. Which reminds me that I have no idea how to find Riverside Park or the UEC in a car. It's makes sense to some extent because I don't drive a car (because I am both a.) a hippie and b.)poor.) But I'm also an idiot because I don't even know what street it's on. When people ask me where this great place I'm always talking about is, I tell them it's close to Riverside High School, and hope they know where that is (and they usually don't). One time, a friend of mine was having her son's birthday party at the park, and needed me to come and watch the picnic tables while she went to get food. My sister (who gets lost everywhere she goes) gave me a ride, and I made her drive me around the city for like an hour before I finally figured it out. My advice, take the 15 bus to Park Place, and you'll see the park. And then walk, some exercise will do you some good!
hancock826 says:
Know what's funny? I don't know how to get to the UEC by car either... I always take the bike trail. Mayra asked me where it was once and I'm like I don't know - One mile down the bike trail.
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008
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