University of Wisconsin

Kid’s Guide to Madison

Fun and excitement is in the air during any weekend in Madison, especially when it is a home game weekend. But the fun isn’t only for adults. Here is a kid-friendly guide to Madison!


MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS…Gain a little knowledge:


Madison Children’s Museum. Photo courtesy of

Madison Children’s Museum
100 N. Hamilton Street
(608) 256-6445

A stone’s throw away from the capitol, this Museum offers a wide range of activities to inspire children. Kids can role-play while learning about the hardships that American settlers in the Midwest had to endure by exploring the museum’s Log Cabin, or they can explore their artistic and scientific sides through the many other exhibits and workshops inside the museum.

Dairy Cattle Center
1815 Linden Drive
(608) 265-9500
The Dairy Cattle Center is the home of the cows kept by the students of the Dairy Science Department. Bring the kids to observe the daily milking! Open daily to visitors during milking, 4:30pm-7pm (closed during home football games).


PARKS & RECREATION…Blow off some steam:


Henry Vilas Zoo & Vilas Park

Henry Vilas Zoo & Vilas Park
702 South Randall Avenue
(608) 266.4732

Kids need to fall asleep early tonight? Just take them to Vilas Park, where they can learn about their favorite animals at the zoo, play catch in the park, and practice their breast stroke in the lake, all in one day and all in one place.
Admission and parking are free.
Daily, 9am-5pm

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Avenue
Olbrich is special because it has an indoor conservatory that is set to tropical temperatures. Inside, there are various birds and butterflies that fly freely. There are also several unique tropical plants, which give kids the exciting exposure to new non-native organisms.
Outdoor Garden Hours-Daily: Apr-Sept, 10am-8pm; Oct, 9am-6pm; Nov-Mar, 9am-4pm
Bolz Conservatory Hours: Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun, 10am-5pm

James Madison Park
614 E. Gorham Street
Exactly what you would expect at a park. Volleyball nets, a beach, grass, and a playground. James Madison is located near the capitol, which is perfect, because it has everything kids would need after a long educational visit inside the building.
Daily, 4am-10pm

Madison Ice Arena
725 Forward Drive
(608) 204-7606
Hartmeyer Ice Arena

1834 Commercial Avenue
(608) 442-0071
Both of the above arenas offer public skating throughout the week. See website for days and times.
Adults $4, Children $3, Skate Rental $2.


KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS…Fuel up and have a few treats:


Ella’s Deli & Ice Cream Parlor

Babcock Hall Dairy Store
1605 Linden Drive
(608) 262.3045
This ice cream shop is affiliated with the University, which means that they are interested in all aspects of dairy, including the process of making ice cream. That is the reason this shop is equipped with an observation deck that allows you to see the whole process. Kids will love licking their ice cream cones while they see action unfold. They also offer breakfast sandwiches, grilled cheese, and soups. Tours are available by advanced appointment.
Mon-Fri, 7:30am- 5:30pm; Sat, 11am- 4pm; Football Sat, 10am-5:30pm; Closed Sunday

Ella’s Deli & Ice Cream Parlor
2902 East Washington Avenue 
(608) 241-5291
Ella’s is equipped with a kid-friendly menu, a restored 1927 carousel, and entertaining images throughout the restaurant such as a train set and automatic acrobatic puppets. It’s been popular in Madison as a kid’s favorite for quite some time. Ella’s has a full breakfast menu, huge deli sandwiches, soups, pastas, grilled cheese, fish & chips, and a delectable selection of desserts from root beer floats to grilled pound cake sundaes. So grab some goodies for your kids, saddle them on their favorite colorful horse, and enjoy.
Sun-Thurs, 10am- 10pm; Fri-Sat, 1oam- 11pm


AJ Bombers – Kid’s Eat Free on Sundays! Photo courtesy of AJ Bombers Facebook.

AJ Bombers
201 West Gorham Street
(608) 305-4474

Just one block off State Street in downtown Madison, AJ Bombers is grand burgers in a casual atmosphere.Gourmet burgers, plain burgers, and crazy burgers-AJ Bombers will have your taste in burger. Other menu items include grilled cheese, sandwiches, tater tots, cheese curds, and fries. Sign up on their Facebook page, and your kids will eat free on Sundays!
Mon-Thurs, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-12am; Sun, 11am-10pm

About: Kovas Lapinas

Kovas is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a history degree. He enjoys learning about historical figures from Winston to Magellan, but is just as enthusiastic about his Badgers. To him, watching any exciting sports game surrounded by friends and great food constitutes the perfect day. Kovas also enjoys hip-hop, traveling, and Googling random things on the internet.