In Travel & Visitors Guide

Make him howl!

11 Milwaukee Public Museum insider tips

Milwaukee Public Museum is, by far, the most-visited museum in the state. And, did you know, it's the sixth most-visited natural history museum per capita (18th most-visited museum of all types!) in the country?

Even the folks who stroll the Streets of Old Milwaukee and explore the rainforest on a regular basis can miss some of the many little details scattered around this Milwaukee institution.

Now, you might not be able to surprise too many adult Milwaukeeans with some of these nuggets, but the kids – and out of town visitors – will marvel at your intimate knowledge of one of Milwaukee's treasures.

1. The Snake Button, of course

Pretty much everyone knows this one by now – in the Bison Hunt diorama on the second floor – but I include it here so you won't all tell me that I "forgot" it.

2. The second snake button

On the first floor, in the Exploring Life on Earth area, is the second snake button. It can be found in the first diorama at the top of the stairs. You have to reach underneath.

3. The howler monkey button

That monkey in the Rain Forest actually howls. Look behind you for the button.

4. Look inside the trees

While you're nosing around the Rain Forest, remember to stick your head in a tree or two. It's not only allowed, it's encouraged. But almost no one does it.

5. Find the Schlitz can

Up on three, walk up the steps into the Living Oceans exhibit. Then spiral down the ramp, keeping an eye out for the Schlitz can hidden among the sea life.

6. Bird's eye view of the Guatemalan market

While you're up there, stop in to see Latin America, which includes a big Guatemalan market scene. Up above are some windows that are not just for show. Follow the path to the left of the market and go around the back to find the stairs up. Walk to the far end to the window and you can wave at your friends below...

7. Watch the music video

Seriously. Just watch the video. There are no words that can accurately describe it.

8. The walls have eyes

While you're being distracted by the quaint old panhandler with the flip-up hat in the European Village, these two zombie-like little ones are watching your every move.

9. Hidden dragon

In the Third Planet on the first floor, there's this giant watery diorama filled with the sorts of ancient sea creatures that occupied Bay View long before the cool kids. Try and find the little purple plastic dragon (yes, it's in this photo). Hint, it's on the left side.

10. Make the beetle buzz

Kids love to sit on top of the beetle, and parents love to snap photos. But did you know the beetle buzzes? Reach under the left side of the shell near the head to make it work.

11. The "Crossroads" brothers

Wow your friends and family with the knowledge not only that these two figures in the new "Crossroads of Civilization" exhibit were modeled on a pair of brothers, but that those brothers work at the museum.

You can download museum floor maps here.


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