Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum

You don’t have to own a motorcycle to appreciate the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum. I can attest to that. But be forewarned, visiting it may very well whet your desire to ride one home. What’s surprising…the museum is 100% family-friendly!

Wow. Upon arrival of the riverside 20-acre Harley-Davidson property, I was stunned by its magnitude – surely summer events are a spectacular sight – but inside the main building it’s even more impressive.

We checked-in and the kids were happy to be handed an activity book to accompany their museum tour, but before we headed upstairs my family had to hop on the new Blackline model in the lobby and score a Harley-Davidson-themed pressed penny.

Learn about the machines. Next, we meandered upstairs to the fiery-orange engine room to kick-off our experience. The Harley-Davidson Museum calls the bright wall the “family tree” of engines. You can press buttons to hear the sound each motor makes. As you can imagine, the kids loved it! I was intrigued by the Exploded Bike display, a 1940s Knucklehead mechanical drawing brought to life. At first glance – and at the right angle – the bike look put together, but move slightly and you’ll see it’s actually an illusion. Looking at the photo below you can see the bike is in pieces.

Endless Exhibits. The Motorcycle Galleries and Journeys exhibits each illustrate a different era. For example, the Motorcycle Gallery Part 1 covers 1903-1040’s while Part 2 is 1940’s to the present. As you weave through the displays read about the people, history and products that helped develop the Harley-Davidson brand and culture. There’s even an exhibit called Women at the Handlebars which celebrates females riders.

Just for the kids. Downstairs is the Imagination Station Kids Area (look for the green sign). Kids have a blast with the the dress-up biker clothes, coloring table and motorcycle-themed books. But the most fun, after getting dressed in the Harley gear, is hopping on the kid-sized Harley. There’s even a mirror angled so the kids can seem themselves ride. This Milwaukee attraction certainly isn’t your average museum experience.

 Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum

Interactive games. My clan also found video games – popular with all ages.

Look for…Dancing with Danger is the 16-foot tall crashing, hill-climbing motorcycle statue. The bike has no-spokes to offer the impression the bike’s tires are spinning.

Souvenirs. Finally, don’t forget to visit The Shop right across from the museum. Everything is Harley-Davidson themed. Warning: you won’t walk away empty handed.

With the number of hands-on activities and tons to look at, the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum is one place the kids won’t get bored and they might even beg to stay longer – and your husband, too!

Thanks to Harley-Davidson Museum for hosting our visit.

2 Comments on "Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum"

  1. I love Wisconsin. It is a haven for the off-beat, like the Sport Fisherman’s Hall of Fame in Hayward – with the giant Fiber Glass Muskie out front; or Fred Smith’s Concrete Park in Phillips, a monument to obsessive, untrained art. But the Harley Davidson Museum? That’s love.

    Wisconsin is also my favorite state to bicycle through. Lots of great trails, rolling terrain, clean air, friendly Midwestern people. Love it.

  2. Those who love Harleys should also stay at the nearby Iron Horse Hotel. I agree with Judith – lots of cool museums to check out in Wisconsin. =) Nice photos!

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