Fun for babes under 1

RM reader Beth suggested we put together a list of fun places to take children under the age of 1. Such a great idea! I know I struggled to find places to bring Milena last year – especially during the winter months. Below is the list we came up with, but we’d love to hear from you as well!

Milena exploring Olbrich Gardens last summer

Madison Children’s Museum: Although the museum doesn’t open until mid-August, we already know the Wildernest area is going to be a great place for your little ones! The best part is that children over 5 years of age aren’t even allowed in this section of the museum unless they’re acting as “helpers” for the younger ones, so you won’t ever have to worry about the area being overtaken by school-aged children.

Wiggle Room: Held at the Westside Community Service Building in Sun Prairie (2598 W. Main Street), Wiggle Room takes place in the fall and winter. Appropriate for those over 6 months and under 6 years, Wiggle Room can be a bit chaotic at times, but there’s a nice separate area for younger children. It’s a great place for parents with more than one child! Admission is $1 per child.

Henry Vilas Zoo: The zoo is perfect for all ages! Plus, it’s free and open all year! And don’t forget about the indoor exhibits – they’re warm and inviting during the cold winter months.

Parent/baby groups at Happy Bambino: Although these groups are intended to be more for the parents than the kids, there are always lots of fun toys around! And Milena and Dahlia met most of their current friends in these groups (since Maggie and I met a lot of our friends there!).

Olbrich Botanical Gardens: The outdoor gardens are free (!) and open at 8 am during the summer (I know I’m always looking for something to do with my early-riser!). The Bolz Conservatory is a great place to go during the winter months! It opens at 10 am year round with a $1 admission for anyone 6 and up. (During Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies – taking place now through Aug 8 – admission to the Bolz Conservatory is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and under).

Library Story Times: “Book Baby” storytimes are for children 0-15 months, while “Storytime for the Very Young” is for ages 0-35 months. Both include songs, stories and activities! (Check the events’ calendar for dates, times and locations. Some libraries require you to pre-register.) And we’ve found that the children’s section is always a great place to play as well!

So how about you? Where do your little ones love to explore and play?

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