Places to visit in MKE with COVID-19 precautions

Milwaukee+Art+Museum+recently+reopened+to+the+public+July+16.

Photo by Zach Bukowski

Milwaukee Art Museum recently reopened to the public July 16.

As places around Milwaukee are gradually beginning to reopen, new health and safety regulations are being implemented in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. Some locations are being especially cautious and may be worth a safe visit.

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the largest museum’s in the United States, with over 31,000 pieces of work ranging across a variety of time periods and styles. It showcases photos, paintings, textiles, sculptures and more.

It reopened to the public July 16 with new health and safety precautions in place in order to protect visitors and staff members. In order to admit as many guests as possible without breaching the museum’s maximum capacity, all reservations are timed. If you are a high-risk visitor, you have the option of visiting the Milwaukee Art Museum a half hour earlier than its regular hours, at 9:30 a.m. This extra half hour gives high-risk visitors the opportunity to enjoy the museum exhibits without worrying about contracting the virus from large crowds. Other health and safety accommodations include a nearly touchless experience, with timed tickets and plexiglass sales areas, a high-quality filtration system, an emphasis on outdoor exhibits and safely prepared and pre-packaged food and drink options.

For the time being, visitors will only be able to access the first floor of the museum. If you are someone who prefers to err on the safe side, you will still have the option of exploring the museum virtually. Online tour options can be found on the Milwaukee Art Museum website.  

The Warehouse

Located in the Guardian Fine Arts Services building, The Warehouse is another art museum with a permanent collection of 3,600 modern and contemporary works on paper, paintings, photography and sculptures, according to its website. The Warehouse will be showcasing a new contemporary look designed with the needs of the community in mind.

It opened again this summer and is free to the public. Reservations are recommended, but not mandatory, and can be made over the phone, by email or by submitting a form on the museum’s website.

The museum has a maximum capacity of 15 people and offers prioritized access to those with reservations. The experience also includes automatic doors and bathroom amenities. Visitors will also have constant access to hand sanitizer and face masks. If you do choose to visit The Warehouse, you will be asked to follow the code of conduct, which highlights standard safety behaviors, in order to keep other visitors, staff members and the greater community safe. The Warehouse is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is, according to its website, “fully prepared to safely welcome all visitors back.” 

Milwaukee County Zoo

The Milwaukee County Zoo is open to the public once again, but only at 50% capacity and with limited hours from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this point in the reopening process, you will not need to make a reservation unless you plan on attending a popular event such as a Family Free Day. Currently, five buildings are open for visitors to explore: Apes of Africa, Aquatic & Reptile Center, Herb & Nada Mahler Family Aviary, Dairy Barn in the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm and Elephant Care Center / Conservation Outpost. Each of these buildings has safety accommodations such as hand sanitizer stations and designated visitor pathways. The Milwaukee County Zoo website lists zoo guidelines that detail expectations for visitors as well as the zoo itself. The zoo currently has a single point of entry and promises thorough and continuous cleaning of its facilities. You can expect some concessions, but limited access to bathrooms and high-touch areas such as the Goat Yard. If you would like to know more about a trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo, you can visit the zoo’s Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Avalon Atmospheric Theater

After months of closure, the Avalon Atmospheric Theater reopened Tuesday and became one of the first theaters in Milwaukee to open up to the public once again. Located off of Kinnickinnic Ave., just a short bus ride from campus, this theater may be a good choice for film fanatics who miss going to the movies. The Avalon is open in compliance with the CinemaSafe guidelines created by “leading epidemiologists to support a safe return to movie theaters,” according to its website. The theater offers a cash-free purchasing experience, and guests are encouraged to buy their tickets online beforehand. Additionally, the theater will only be open at 30% capacity. The Avalon carries masks available to guests, but for a small charge, so it may be helpful to bring your own. Movie showings will be spaced out with greater time in between so the theater staff can deep-clean the theaters before each viewing. Tickets can be purchased on the Avalon Atmospheric Theater website

Harley-Davidson Museum

The world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum is ready to welcome back visitors with new health and safety measures in place, according to its website. College students interested in exploring the history and mechanics of H-D motorcycles can get tickets at the reduced price of $16 as long as they have their school ID for verification. Currently, all tours and other special events are either cancelled or postponed, but attractions like the museum and the shop are still open to guests. All indoor attractions are being held to higher standards of cleanliness and undergoing thorough disinfection to protect visitors and staff. The museum will be operating at 25% capacity in order to lower health risks and sanitizer stations have been situated across campus for guest use. 

The MOTOR Bar and Restaurant is open to guests for dine-in, take-out and delivery with a limited occupancy and menu including sandwich and burger options. The Museum Shop will also be open with new health and safety regulations. Tickets can be bought online.

Many places across Milwaukee seem eager to create a safe and healthy environment in the midst of a pandemic. But it may be useful to remember that there will always be an element of risk involved when gathering in a public place, and this risk factor must be taken into consideration when going out to enjoy everything that Milwaukee has to offer. 

This story was written by Charlotte Ives. She can be reached at charlotte.ives@marquette.edu.